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An Old Phrase's New Turn

By Anne E. Kornblut
DOVER, N.H. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may be aiming for the "change" mantle, but on Monday morning, she took the time machine all the way back to the 1980s.

"What is, as famously was said years ago, where's the beef?" Clinton said, referring to former senator John Edwards, in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America." "You know, where is the reality? And I think that's a fair question."

A fair criticism of her challengers? Perhaps. But not exactly a hip nod to the YouTube generation that propelled Barack Obama to victory in the Iowa caucuses last week.

The phrase, initially made famous in a Wendy's commercial featuring two elderly women poking at a half-filled burger bun, has not been in wide rotation since 1984, when Walter Mondale used it to question the substantiveness of his rival, Gary Hart.

Clinton has been trying to raise doubts about Obama's and Edwards's depth for months. Her advisers hinted that a "where's-the-beef-like" strategy was in the works last week after her stinging loss in the Iowa caucuses. And she has pushed hard on the notion that Obama, her main rival nationally, is all "talk" and no "action" since retooling her message here over the weekend.

Clinton did not repeat the Mondale catchphrase during her numerous other morning show appearances, or at a rally here. She returned instead to a new frame, spoken in a near-whisper, listing her rivals' alleged accomplishments and then dismissing them as "not change." And judging from the reaction of her advisers when asked about the line, it did not appear likely that "where's the beef?" would appear on her campaign signs anytime soon.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 7, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Ron Paul Buzzes N.H.

Comments

Bottom line:

I think Hillary Clinton must get back on that horse that brutally through her to the ground back in 1993. That horse is HR 676 (Medicare For all). Insurance mandates of any kind are totally unacceptable to the American people . Thank God. The vast majority of Americans know better than that now. They want single payer tax supported government managed universal health care free for all as a right. And they want it NOW! And they are right to demand it. The American people are suffering by the millions, and dieing by the ten's of thousands now. It's not just about everyone having coverage anymore. It's about the disgraceful quality of health care in America. Even for people with the best insurance coverage you can buy. And it has to end.

I have enormous admiration, and respect for Hillary Clinton. She fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds back in 1993. To prevent this disastrous health care crisis that is now devastating the American people, and America. She fought so hard for the American people that she risk almost completely destroying her husbands presidency. I haven't forgot her heroic effort. If anyone has reason to be reluctant to get back on that bucking bronc again, it's her.

But I think the time is now. And more importantly. I think the American people are ready to do what they have got to do. To fix our disastrous, and deadly health care delivery system. At least I hope so. For all our sakes. Hillary Clinton is right. This is not a game. It's bigger than parties, and politics. It's about the life, or continued needless deaths of millions of Americans. And HR 676 (Medicare For All) is the way to save us.

Posted by: JackSmith1 | January 7, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

How about Hillary Clinton just starts reading aloud from Barry Obama's books?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Who's keeping score of what sticks to the wall?

"Where's the beef" ain't gonna stick as a new message.

"I'm the real change candidate" isn't playing so well either.

What's next?

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

zippi:

Here you go : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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