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Clock Ticking as Clinton Struggles to Rewrite Script

Where does the Clinton playbook lead now? (Reuters).

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- If you wanted a measure of how discombobulated Hillary Clinton's campaign has been since Iowa, look no farther than to the memo sent out by chief strategist Mark Penn shortly before the Democratic debate on Saturday night.

"Where is the bounce?" the e-mail subject line read. Noting two newly released polls that showed a close race in New Hampshire, Penn argued there was no statistically significant change in the Democratic race pre- and post-Iowa.

It was an utterly foolish and unnecessary argument to make -- similar to assertions that Barack Obama's youth corps would never turn out to vote in Iowa -- and within 24 hours it was rendered inoperative.

New polls released Sunday showed a surge of support for Obama -- confirming what has been evident since the presidential candidates landed here in the dark on Friday morning after Obama's victory in Iowa.

Obama's freight train for change has overrun the Clinton campaign. Top officials inside her campaign and alarmed allies outside are braced for a defeat on Tuesday. Five days is not enough, they have argued, to slow and reverse the momentum Obama has developed since Iowa.

For these Clinton loyalists, the hope is that the real campaign turnaround can begin after New Hampshire. "Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on," Clinton told CBS's Harry Smith Monday morning. "And we're going to keep going until the end of the process on February 5th. But I've always felt that this is going to be a very tough, hard-fought election, and I'm ready for that."

But like Penn's memo from Saturday, that may be more wish than reality. By Wednesday, it may be too late. By then, Obama's surging campaign may have inflicted enough damage on the woman-who-was-once-inevitable that no amount of readjusting, recalibrating and rearranging will give her the wherewithal to overcome two big losses in the first contests of the 2008 nomination battle.

The New York Post headline this morning read "Panic." Asked by Smith, "Is your campaign in panic?" Clinton replied, "Well I'm not."

Others close to the New York senator said she has been clear-eyed about the challenge since arriving here early Friday -- and determined to turn things around. But there is far less confidence in the team around her right now. Her loyalists describe a campaign that failed to provide Clinton with a new core message or focus before that arrival Friday.

She spent Friday in one mode -- reiterating in slightly stronger language her Iowa message that the key issue before the voters is who is ready to be president. By Saturday she began to toughen that message. By Sunday she was making even stronger arguments against Obama and by Monday morning she was in all-out contrast mode.

Meanwhile the clock ticks.

Bob Shrum, the veteran Democratic strategist blamed for so many losing campaigns, used an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News to gain some redemption by shredding the Clinton campaign's basic strategy. He described it as a rerun of her husband's 1996 reelection campaign, with Hillary Clinton running as a "pseudo-incumbent." He also said that in these final days in New Hampshire, she has been talking more about herself -- and her 35 years of experience making change -- than about the voters.

Winning campaigns are those in which a candidate captures and then embodies the mood of the country. Jimmy Carter unexpectedly did it in 1976 and Ronald Reagan did it four years later. Bill Clinton's campaign did that in 1992 when economic anxiety and frustration with Washington were the underlying emotions of the voters.

Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq. Obama has tapped into what seems a more powerful yearning -- a combination of dissatisfaction with the Bush years and with the style of politics that have typified both the Bush and Clinton eras.

No matter what happens here Tuesday, one thing is notable: The Clintons are not quitters. The scandals and troubles that hit Bill Clinton 16 years ago this month would have felled an ordinary politician, but he refused to give up. She may be every bit as tough and determined as he.

So the question is: What next?

Clinton hopes to buy time after New Hampshire -- time for the weary and beleaguered candidate to catch her breath and get a good night's sleep - but the assault on Obama will be underway by then. The Clinton team hopes that with more time, they can shift the focus to Obama in a way that will force voters in later states to take a second and harder look at him.

Clinton wants this campaign to continue as a competitive contest at least through Feb. 5, when the big states come into play. But the comeback is built on a series of assumptions, some of which could prove as faulty as the "Where is the bounce?" memo. Her advisers believe their first lifeline is Nevada, where pre-Iowa and pre-New Hampshire polls showed her with a big lead.

But that's a dubious assumption based on the history of this and past campaigns. Her New Hampshire firewall began to crumble even before Iowa. What's to say Nevada will be any more impregnable? If Obama wins in New Hampshire, he will have the inside track on the endorsement from the Culinary Workers union, who could play a significant role in a caucus process that is brand new to Nevada voters.

Her next stop must be South Carolina, the first primary state on the Democratic calendar where African Americans will play a significant role. The Clintons have a long and strong relationship with black voters, but she will have a struggle on her hands against the first viable African American presidential candidate. The historical significance of a Clinton-Obama showdown in South Carolina cannot be overstated.

Clinton also faces mutiny inside her labor support. Over the weekend, there was a rebellion inside the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees over the union's negative radio ads and direct mail aimed at Obama. A group of state leaders accused AFSCME President Gerald McEntee of putting dishonest ads on the air and of violating a pledge not to attack the other candidates but simply to promote Clinton's candidacy.

The Clinton campaign also hopes to build another firewall among superdelegates -- the party officials who have automatic status and a vote at the national convention next summer. But some of them are resisting pleas for endorsements. They say Clinton must win this with the voters, not with the party establishment.

Finally their strategy includes subtle and direct pressure on the media to take a harder look at Obama. The Illinois senator, they believe, is getting a free ride from the press, while Clinton is picked apart for everything.

Echoes of the 1984 Democratic race between Walter F. Mondale and Gary Hart abound here on the eve of the New Hampshire primary. It was 24 years ago that Hart caught fire here in the final days and upset Mondale on primary day with a generational contrast to Mondale and a message of new ideas and a new politics.

Hart went on to lose to Mondale, but only after a long and difficult struggle, and it is Clinton's hope that, with time, she can do the same against Obama. Clinton unexpectedly summoned up that race Monday morning when, during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, she asked of Obama, "Where's the beef?"

That phrase helped Mondale stop Hart 24 years ago, but veterans of that campaign year see Obama as a more formidable and unshakable candidate than was Hart. The former Colorado senator was an underfunded candidate in 1984. Obama already has enormous resources and, the Clinton team fears, will collect so much money on the internet that he will now have a big financial advantage heading forward.

Hart labored in obscurity and then suddenly was in full public glare after his victory. Obama has been in rock star status since he announced almost a year ago. The long campaign has toughened him and given him confidence for the next round. Hart was less prepared for the assault the Mondale campaign mounted against him.

What could happen here in New Hampshire cannot be overstated, given assumptions about this campaign a few months ago. An Obama victory will mean a radically different race -- the first-term senator as front-runner and the mighty Clinton machine as underdog. Few could have written the script for that when this campaign began.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 7, 2008; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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Chances are nobody will read this but I have to say it. I was for Obama. I want change and I love his message of peace. I have an issue with his ability to get things done. I think he has great intentions but I would feel much safer knowing Hilary was making important decisions. She really does know how to get things done and how to deal with emergencies that might come up. New Hampshire... PLEASE!!! If you are independent, vote for McCain.

Posted by: girltruckr55 | January 7, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

How willing is the Democratic party going to be to watch Senator Clinton weaken Senator Obama through negative campaigning after her candidacy is no longer viable? Will party elders step in at a certain point and pressure her to bow out? At what point does she begin to hurt her position in New York?

Posted by: the.rohliks | January 7, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm not stupid, kuku (but thanks for the baseless ad hominem attack). What does any of that have to do with the quote I posted above from "Audacity of Hope" -- if anything, Obama working with the poor may have made him MORE likely to support "Muslim Brothers" -- again, not sure what your point is though.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't be stupid JakeD. Obama is someone who turned down the prospect of millions of dollars at large wall street law firms (which he could have had easily as president of Harvard Law Review) and took a job a community organizer for a non-profit set by a group of Chicago Churches working with laid off steel workers. His salary: $12,000. When his classmates and (and John Edwards , for that matter) were busy making money with their law degree, this guy chose to help those in need at great financial sacrifice. That is character and it speaks volume about the kind of man he is: genuine, honest, man with conviction and great judgment.

Posted by: kuku | January 7, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

For all we know, the quote from "Audacity of Hope" could have come straight from a chapter entitled "My Muslim Brothers Are Always Right". No one has proven it was taken out of context at all.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse


Do you have the paragraphs for "context" then? If you don't, then how do you know it was taken out of context?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Oops! I meant to say best candidate, but here's hoping he is the one to beat everyone else!

Posted by: phoebej | January 7, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - If you would read the paragraphs those sentences were taken from, you'd likely have your answer.

Pretty sad when folks not only take stuff out of context, but then you also push the out of context stuff with no knowlege of what it really means.

Need to stop reading the propaganda...

Posted by: Alex3 | January 7, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Why is it assumed that Obama will win out over Clinton among black voters, either in S.C. or nationwide? As an African-American woman, I find that particular line of thinking naive and bordering on racist. Can black voters not see past race? Do we automatically jump on the bandwagon of every leader with our skin color? I am not a supporter of Clinton, not because I think Obama will necessarily support my causes, but because I see her as a power-hungry, shameless and terribly narcissistic woman (no evidence on this one, just a gut feeling.) I think an Obama win will be good for the country (unless it is used as a reason to further roll back affirmative action on the basis of "he did it, why can't you?" thinking. I support Obama as the beat candidate, and not because he is black.

Posted by: phoebej | January 7, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The irony is that it was apparently the Clintons who wanted the primary schedule compacted so that they could capitalize on what they thought would be her momentum. So it is hard now for them to complain about having only 5 days between Iowa and New Hampshire.

Posted by: andrewgerst | January 7, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I find a lot of the comments about the electability of women interesting, both on the board, and in the press the last few days. I don't think for a woman to win she has to fit the cold and calculating "Iron Lady" mold; Ann Richards is a great example of a female politician who was tough but with a big personality and a sense of humor.

The bottom line is, Hillary Clinton makes a good senator, but a terrible presidential candidate; she is a perfect example of the crappy democratic candidate that we had the last election cycle: a wonkish know-it-all senator from the Northeast (and although GOre is technically from TN, he fits that mold as well). Gee, that's a winning recipe. Clinton is smart and well-prepared, but is not a natural on the campaign trail. Honestly, she and Mitt Romney are a lot alike: clearly intelligent capable people, but seemingly incapable of taking a position or operating without legions of consultants (seriously, would anyone really be suprised if Romney turned out to be a man-bot?). A Clinton vs. Giuliani matchup in the general election would be the Battle of the Unlike-ables.

Finally, all those complaining about the unfavorable coverage Hillary Clinton gets in the WaPo should head on over to the NYT site...they have been pushing Hillary down the readers' throats HARD for the last several weeks.

Posted by: edilla | January 7, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear on this. Obama's approach to the Iraq war has more or less been the correct one, which is to say:
--Strongly object to it before the fact and note the horrible consequences likely to result
--Support every effort to fund troops in the field. Cutting off funding to troops is just a non-starter, as is stating a public timeline for withdrawal.
Sad to say it, but we're more or less stuck there for a long time due to dubya and cheney's incompetence. You just can't withdraw and leave a civil war and/or Iranian hegemony behind. You just can't. All US credibility in this critical region will be shot at that point.

Posted by: akminstral | January 7, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

35 years working for change? Where?

What are the top 3 bills she has introduced in the Senate? The Clinton Health Care bill? Child Care bill? Missing after 6 years of trying? Why?

Posted by: SJobs | January 7, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The only real primaries and elections Hilary Clinton has ever won have been cakewalks through New York. She was given the New York Senate seat as a gift from the Democratic establishment. Never had a real primary fight, never had a real tough election.

It should be painfully obvious by now that she is done for. The path to the presidency is NOT a kushy New York Senate seat for a decade or so. You need to face real electoral battles and win them, something Hilary has never done before. The presidential race (her first one) is NOT a good place to start trying things you've never done before. I too wouldn't be shocked if Edwards put her into third again in NH tomorrow, as she simply is not a very good politician, especially when compared to the likes of Barack Obama or John Edwards Hilary's swimming with the sharks now, and it shows.

You cast your vote for Hilary, and you cast your vote for the losing campaign of a weak candidate. Iowa proved that last week, New Hampshire will prove it again tomorrow. I just don't see her voter support being that strong to put up with her losses for very long at all.

Posted by: errinfamilia | January 7, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse


Shhhh!!! Don't TELL them the plan!

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is dead as a political candidate.She has had her era and it is over.She is old hat and needs to go back to baking her cookies at home.No one cares about her.

Posted by: fredsndrs | January 7, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and no way would Clinton be VP. That is a bad idea on so many levels I won't waste time listing them. For Obama VP? Feingold! Russ Fengold should be the VP. I was thinking Biden would work well with his foreign policy experience, but Joe Biden would also be useful as a Secretary of State working with the UN. Russ Feingold would be the best compliment to Obama in the election year and then as vice president. So Biden as SecOfState, Obama as Pres, and Feingold as VP. There's the dream team.

Posted by: grimmix | January 7, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Folks, get ready for another GOP administration in the fall,Karl Rove's plan is working!Get rid of HRC first, help Obama to be the Democrats nominee, GOP can deal with him much easier.The worst situation is to let Obama become a one-term president like Jimmy Cater.Democrats should look into where the votes and money came from in Iowa and NH for Obama, then my point will become much clear.What a genius, Karl Rove, you are not only just a genius, you are also a dark prince conspirator. I was wondering why you quit the WH job, now I know where you spent your time. Plesase accept my solute. Decocrats, you people will never be in power as you are all stupid and emotional.

Posted by: johnycheng1 | January 7, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

In response to today's NY Times editorial page:

I don't know why we should expect anything else from the NY Times, but I am greatly disappointed that there is hardly ever a mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict either in presidential debates or NY Times or Washington Post editorials. This is probably the preeminent foreign policy issue of our time and as our dear leader says is on the verge of bringing us to WW III.

It is a national disgrace that we continue our unconditional support for the apartheid Zionist invaders who continue their racist subjugation of the Palestinian people and illegal occupation of Palestine.

I intend to vote for Barack Obama in November, but I'm very disappointed in his stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The problem is that this issue is not given an honest airing for the American people. As a result, the American people are basically ignorant of this issue, and it would be political suicide for an ambitious politician to address this issue fairly. Just as it would have been political suicide for Hillary to vote against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Here is an article that shows what we are up against. It shows how Barack Obama executed his abrupt flip flop on Palestinian support when he began his campaign for a US Senate seat from Illinois:

How Barack Obama learned to love Israel

Posted by: rick22407 | January 7, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's probably already lost this campaign for the simple reason that the terms of the election are being cast by Obama: the whole thing is revolving around the word--HIS word: "change."

He's set those terms and now everybody is responding, Democrat and Republican alike.

Posted by: edmj | January 7, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The killer for Billary's campaign was her teary eyed speech this morning. It was horrible. On the other hand, what Obama ever got passed in Illinois is anyone's guess - actually, he accomplished pretty much nothing. So much for change. What a duo.

Posted by: birvin9999 | January 7, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

For Clinton it will be a hard climb to get anywhere from here. She believed her own hype when she was inevitable and destined to win Iowa and thus had no back-up plan. Just losing one state is nothing if you have the right buzz. Look at McCain, Guiliani and Ron Paul. They're still waiting for their moment to strike. Maybe if she was an Internet favorite like Ron Paul (whose fans I swear have completely taken over youtube, haha), or had planned defeat to come back in another state like Guiliani and McCain... But no everyone on the Dem side went straight for Iowa ignoring the other states, and that is why Iowa is so important now. That's why it is such an uphill battle to come back from Iowa. The candidates went ONLY there, so the media all went ONLY there, and now if you lose Iowa you might as well quit while you're ahead. No one has to win Iowa to get the nod, but no one had a back-up plan so yeah they do. New Hampshire is just the final nail in the coffin, but it was settled in Iowa.

Posted by: grimmix | January 7, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary is having a rough time, it's because she has refused to kowtow to interest groups of any kind."

ROFLMAO!! Thanks for the laugh.

Hillary IS the queen of kowtowing to special interest groups. She's DLC and AIPAC. She supports any corporation that gives her money. She supports AIPAC, which lobbies for a foreign power and pushed us into war with Iraq (and wants us to bomb Iran)

Hillary is a special interest ho.

Posted by: TomIII | January 7, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Considering she's got at least $50 million in the bank, I'd say she can hold on fairly long ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Insofar as Hillary is having a rough time, it's because she has refused to kowtow to interest groups of any kind. No sloganeering here. She is the most experienced candidate, the most knowledgeable, and by far and away the gutsiest. If she doesn't get the nomination, on our heads be it.

Posted by: avi31547 | January 7, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

This campaign could end in NH for Hillary. If Edwards pulls a second place finish I think that's all she wrote for her. And that's not at all beyond the realm of possibility: Some polls have him within six points of her and bigger upsets have happened. Granted its unlikely, but it could happen. Even if not the odds lean steeply against Hillary. Obama can match her dollar for dollar and if he wins NH and SC he'll have a national profile every bit as big as hers. Clinton needed to keep Obama from winning Iowa. If they were thinking they'd have went negative in a hard way early on. Likely she was afraid of what happened to Gephardt in 04 happening to her; he took out Dean but the price was he lost too, but unlike for Gephardt she could have withstood an Iowa loss. At least a loss to Edwards. Even if it had only helped Edwards in Iowa it would have helped her in the long run. If Edwards had won Iowa Clinton could have simply waited until it became a national contest on Feb. 5th and buried him under money and organization. But Obama's organization arguably on par with Clinton's or at least not noticeably worse and he has as much money. If she comes in third in NH it's over now, and even if she doesn't all she can do is hold on as long as possible and hope Obama commits a huge gaffe.

Posted by: slduncan79 | January 7, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"I have three requirements for any candidate I will vote for as president:

1. Promise to prohibit government-sanctioned torture, and commit to honoring both Habeus Corpus and the Geneva Convention for ALL prisoners held by the United States;

2. Refuse to allow wiretapping or surveillance of Americans without a court-issued warrant;

3. Get U.S. troops out of Iraq -- NOW."

You'll want to vote for Congressman Kucinich then. He's the only guy who will do all three of these things.

Hillary won't. She wants to keep all the extraconstitutional powers Chimpy stole, so she can pursue her own vendettas.

Posted by: TomIII | January 7, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand these calls for Hillary for VP?! Obama stands for CHANGE, having Hillary on the ticket would be a step baskwards. Also, having Hill as VP would allow all of her negative baggage to creeep into the campaign. Obama needs to selct a VP who is experienced, but also passionate and exciting. I think it could be Edwards or Bayh. Also, Hillary would not accept the VP nomination.

Posted by: NMModerate | January 7, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

>8 years as first lady do not help, especially if one looks at how her inexperience then plagued her political efforts whenever she did try to get off the porch and run with the big dogs (see Health Care, part I).

In fact those eight years gave her a great deal of experience. That she was less experienced then than now is a given.

Posted by: davewyman | January 7, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

One thing not much noted in this discussion is the centrality of the canard, "follow the money." Hillary's comes from the Democratic establishment, but Obama is no "populist." Watch Illinois' ADM underwrite his support for ethanol, for instance. No candidate who is not beholden to the corporate machine would be noticed by the corporate media who make and destroy candidates. Consider, e.g., the invisibility of Ron Paul on one side and Dennis Kucinich on the other, both, by the way, much more experienced than either Clinton or Obama. As usual the choices in this "democracy" are between the 40 yard lines, not across the whole field.

Posted by: wes | January 7, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse


Not at all -- I will continue to ask the same questions, however, until I get an answer.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that has gotten in her way is her massive ego. She doesn't hear or listen well. Bill Clinton's role in the White House would be relegated to making cookies, or, she'd send him to another country just to show that SHE is in charge.

She constantly says "Some of us are ready and some of us are not", a clear dismissal of Senator Obama. Unfortunately she can't dismiss his wisdom, intelligence, experience or the poll numbers.

When Senator Obama wins the nomination, she and her high dollar pals will help McCain or the Republican nominee behind the scenes, just to say 'I told you so'.....

Posted by: MissV | January 7, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse


Gary Hart actually waged a strong campaign in New Hampshire, Ohio, California and all through the West -- it really did look as if he could win -- his downfall came when, in a televised debate, March 11, 1984, prior to the New York and Pennsylvania primaries, Mondale said he was reminded of the Wendy's slogan "Where's the beef?" whenever he heard Hart talk about his "New Ideas" program. I recall that was the best line of the debate, and the audience laughed and applauded loudly -- Hart was never able to shake the impression created that his policy lacked weight -- Mondale gradually pulled ahead from then on. By the time the Democratic convention arrived, Mondale had a lead in total delegates (owing largely to the un-elected super delegates from the party establishment) that Hart was not quite able to overcome, and Mondale was nominated.

I believe you are confusing that 1984 campaign against Mondale with Hart's 1988 campaign which, indeed, ended when the Miami Herald staked out his residence and observed Donna Rice, etc.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

This election seems a little like 1960. Obama has the style, the speaking ability and the "vision" of John Kennedy. In the end the Kennedy-Nixon election wasn't about experience or position papers, but about youth, a vision of a different future, and charisma. Americans are tired of politics as usual and hope that Obama can actually deliver a new kind of politics. It really doesn't matter if he can figure out how to put together a Congressional majority around his health care plan; it matters that he uses his bully pulpit to push us all, including Washington insiders to follow our better angels. He may not have "the beef." Certainly, many believe that Kennedy failed as a President. But Kennedy rekindled young America's belief in and commitment to America's future, and that was a wonderful thing.

Posted by: jmwolgin | January 7, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I see you're now cutting & pasting the same comments to multiple topics. It seems you're more interested in promoting misleading talking points than engaging in rational discussion.

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The writing is on the wall... Winning New Hampshire will set Obama up to win South Carolina. Then, with the first three primaries going his way, he will undoubtedly enter Super Tuesday with great momentum. It's over for Hilary. The status quo is going to change, even though those in power will not allow it without a fight. But they will lose that fight.

Posted by: errinfamilia | January 7, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting to note that Obama is making promises for change when there is no easy way for implementing changes in our current govt setup. It will take a lot of leadership skills to broker deals, negotiate budgets, control spending and above all, how is he going to change the influence of the lobbysts and special interest groups? A change doesn't happen in vacuum but must come from different groups - and it is always gradual.

Posted by: spothuku | January 7, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse old are you? I'm 35, but I remember that Hart went down overnight from a sex scandal, not after a "long and difficult struggle". Take off the historical blinders! Obama Baby!

Posted by: frank | January 7, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

You say: "Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq." But that misses the same point that she missed. People hate George Bush and his sinful war. Clinton voted for it, and refuses to admit she made a mistake. So why in the world would those voters support her?

Posted by: havok26 | January 7, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse


I have not read both of Obama's books -- do you remember these passages?

From "Dreams of My Father":

I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.

From "Audacity of Hope":

I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Quote from Rob5: "Clinton should just play the sex card. Obama isn't immune just because he's black. She should remind women, that a woman hasn't been president. Her campaign can leek (sic) a shocking discovery that Obama is sexist. That his whole campaign, really, was orchestrated to stop a woman from becoming president.
. . . .
She...can win the nomination by reminding Democratic women, that they really don't have any choice."

Well Rob, like many of the others posting here, you just don't get it. You're still stuck in the racial and sexual identity politics that many Democrats shamefully exploit in party politics and the race-baiting that Republicans have shamelessly exploited in every general election since 1968.

Hillary Clinton, Obama, Edwards, et al. are all very smart people and would make excellent presidents. Anyone with any experience in national politics knows that anyone of these candidates will end up staffing an administration from the same general talent pool, except for a few hundred top policy-level positions.

It isn't about who which candidate has the best health care plan. A president has to articulate policy goals, mobilize the public behind those goals, and negotiate with legislators and (OhMyGod!) lobbying groups to get legislation passed. The two principal skills needed in a president are good judgment and the ability to articulate public concerns and proposed policies.

Hillary isn't the devil and Obama isn't a naive fool. The difference is that Hillary is running her campaign from Bill's playbook and donor list. Obama is articulating what a lot of voters think: that it's time to move on to a less confrontational model of politics; and he's convincing them that he has the skill set to do it. It's the same argument a 46-year-old politician with no national experience made in 1992, and he was elected President. And he had the necessary skill set. He also had serious impulse control issues that seriously sidetracked his presidency and our country.

It's obvious from this and other threads that many of those posting need to demonize the opposing candidate, regardless of whether its a primary or general election adversary. Obama speaks to those of us who don't think you need to demonize the opponent to be an effective leader. So he hasn't played racial or sexual politics Rob.

By the way, I am a 57-year-old white guy from Iowa. I caucused for Obama last week after supporting Hillary for the last year. Hillary's campaign targeted women heavily in Iowa. I know. My wife got many calls from the Clinton campaign. I only got called by Clinton after Christmas. By then I decided Obama spoke to, and for, a larger group. After you get through listing all the cliches about pig-farmer, hayseed, lily-white Iowa, you just need to understand one thing: Obama's skin color wasn't an issue for most of us. His vision, his sincerity and his resume mattered to us. Does that mean we are a racial garden of eden without discrimination? Of course not. It means that he, and we, transcended race to focus on the bigger picture.

By the way Rob, Hillary lost the women's vote in Iowa to Obama and she is losing the women's vote in New Hampshire to Obama. It seems that more women want to dump the politics of personal destruction too. Not a suprise unless you eat and breathe racial and sexual identity politics.

Obama did it in Iowa. He is doing it in New Hampshire. He will do it in America. And by that act alone, he is the indisputable candidate of change. To use the words of a prophet, Obama will prove that we as a country can judge a man by the content of his character rather than by the color of his skin.

Posted by: kmkirlin | January 7, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"An Obama victory will mean a radically different race -- the first-term senator as front-runner and the mighty Clinton machine as underdog. Few could have written the script for that when this campaign began."

I guess I am among the "few" who saw this coming. I'm from rural downstate and I don't think that I knew anything about him prior to his candidacy for the IL Senate.

I paid attention to him and was won over by his style & record. I have read both of his books and I believe in what I see & hear from him. I can't say that about any other candidate with the exception of Mr. Richardson. He would be a great VP on an Obama ticket!

As for believability - how about the Clinton era, "I never had sex with THAT woman!"

Posted by: sonofbill | January 7, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The true leadership is the ability to inspire. Hilary simply does not inspire. Her claim to expriences also ring hollow as she has not accomplished much in a Republican-controlled senate. If Obama waited anoher four years, he would be saddled with the same baggage. If you examien the history closely, a long career in the Senate is always detrimental to presidental inspirations.

Posted by: fzheng501 | January 7, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Edhere, actually, Hillary said a lot more than "Where's the beef?" She said: "All of a sudden you start to ask yourself, Wait a minute. I mean, what is the substance here? What, as famously was said years ago, where's the beef? You know ... where is the reality?"

For some reason, she had to expand the slogan into four rambling sentences. Perhaps she can mangle another dusty old tag line during the next debate. Somthing like this: "Wait a minute, there, hold the phone! I mean, you already said that. Here, as famously was said years ago, 'there you go again!' You know ... that's the same thing you said earlier."

Posted by: langohio | January 7, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse


I'm gay (i.e. happy) as well, but I can't vote for Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse


There's a new Clinton thread that mentions both Obama AND Edwards ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know that Hillary's any worse or better than the others. Check out everyone's advisers (easily found on the internet).

In addition, if Clinton is for civil unions, I'd be real happy with that. I am gay and want to take the 'w'edge away from the marriage issue. Civil union is just a euphemism, anyway.

Posted by: sbirnbaum100 | January 7, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

She's crying? The phony deserves it. Obviously she lacks serious judgment if she thinks democrats who pay attention to things do not see through the crap her campaign has slung. Her ability to divide democrats is disgusting. As for Obama's staff, I simply haven't seen them do the stuff that Clinton's camp has done.

Posted by: steveaisenstein | January 7, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Jake D.

Not faulting Dan. I think he does a great job. It was just that this piece served to remind me of some other stories I've been seeing.

Posted by: zippi | January 7, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse


One of the many (although less significant) reasons why I can't vote for Hillary Clinton either -- my wife jokes, however, that she will cancel out my vote this year ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse


As pointed out, above, I doubt she will drop out anytime soon.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I just read where she is now crying and telling everyone how hard it is. If this is how people are going to vote for a President then we need all the help we can get. She also called up Bill when he was speaking on her behalf to tell him she loved him. I havent' puked in a long time but I think I might now. This is the strong woman that wants to run the country that when she thinks she is going to lose she starts with tears.

Posted by: sque1 | January 7, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame. Hillary likely would make a good President. Still, if she does drop out, she will have served as a pioneer in presidential races.
We are not as mature or as open-minded on the whole in this country as are people in Europe, Scandanavia, India, etc.

Posted by: IIntgrty | January 7, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

PS if Obama is unelectable as Hillary is now saying, why did he get 41% of the vote among Iowa independents, while she only got 17%?

Why did he get 57% among under-30s (who voted big in the primary and will again in Nov), while she only got ELEVEN PERCENT?

Hint: It's because nobody likes her and nobody trusts her, not Democrats, not Republicans, not Independents ... not even kids.

Posted by: bourassa1 | January 7, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse


I was considering voting for Obama -- I even donated to his campaign -- I was turned off by his campaign staff as well.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

No, the "woman president" line doesn't cut it. I am not at all opposed to a woman president (would that there were a Barbara Jordan to vote for!); just the Clinton woman. While I'm hardly a strict constructionist, I do believe that the Constitution has taken some nasty knocks over the past years by things that aren't strictly illegal (depends on what the definition of is is...), and I sure don't buy the idea of getting "two for one"; the Billster is not predictable and will not control himself.

Interesting thought: what if McCain and Obama were to win the nominations? I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that the next president, no matter who it might be, will be a one-termer. As an independent, I'd almost be willing to see McCain (who has no use for circumlocutions) in the White House for one term, clean up some stuff, and then Obama will have had time to rack up more experience, he could run again, and be president for two terms.

Just a wig bubble.

Posted by: nemodidit | January 7, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

As a democrat, I'll tell you what really turned me off to Clinton: Mark Penn's and Bob Kerrey's sleazy, calculated comments. Mark Penn's smirk on Hardball really hurt the Clinton camp, in my opinion. I've come to really dislike Clinton for her dirty campaign tactics and sense of entitlement. She should cut her losses and drop out. It's over, sadly.

Posted by: steveaisenstein | January 7, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse


To me, Hillary Clinton's time in the White House is on par with Leon Panetta and John Podesta -- again, I wouldn't vote for any of them -- but, I think it is a mistake to argue she's got ZERO experience.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

For Hillary Clinton, it is nearly over. There are two remaining items that she can do to attact attention. 1) Cry. Turn on the tears. It needs to be done publicly, and in response to something the Obama campaign (no matter how trival) has done. She needs to make the country believe that she is some how human. 2) Play the race card. Say that 'Obama cannot win' with the implication that the country will never elect an African American to be President. Dress up the comment by implying that Obama is 'inexperienced', but everyone will really know what Hillary is talking about.

Posted by: bobothechimp | January 7, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Biden for VP

Obama - Biden. '08

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 7, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

aboyzboi: "Obama in a post 9/11 world !! Im scared. I will move to Sweden if I have too. Come on Hillary! Don't give up yet! Hillary 08 !!"

This is the second time in 24 hours I've heard a Clintonite channelling Cheney and his "vote for us or the terrorists will hit us again" line.

GOP-style fearmongering seems to be one of the new strategies. That and saying Obama's "unelectable" (because he's black).

The lows you Clinton people sink to when you're desperate.

Why not just join the GOP, Clintonites? You're already there in spirit.
Oh yeah. They don't like Hillary either.

Posted by: bourassa1 | January 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

aboyzboi writes
"The most brilliant mind in politics might go down to someone who has no experience to be in the oval office."

Wake up dude, its 2008. You're flashing back to 2000.

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

More than anything else, I'm very happy that Americans have said they have had enough! Iowans voted for their future not their fears. And I'm also encouraged to see that ideas and solution to issues are what is being discussed and measured.

For the first time in my life time campaign money is being seen as only a tool/means not the reason why someone is being voted for. For the first time, a candidate having a long political pedigree is a liability rather than an undeserved boost.

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | January 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse


To be fair, Dan Balz may physically be with Clinton in New Hampshire -- that's why this article is about her and the only other candidate she's talking about -- plenty of other Post writers are on the trail with the other candidates.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Clinton may be more experienced than Senator Obama, but she also lacks experience. One superficial term as a Senator from a state she never lived in plus one extra year does not bestow experience on someone. 8 years as first lady do not help, especially if one looks at how her inexperience then plagued her political efforts whenever she did try to get off the porch and run with the big dogs (see Health Care, part I). Somebody had the lame-brained idea to put her on the Senate Armed Svcs Ctte...probably with the intent to pad her resume for this candidacy...but given her (and her husband's) ironic paucity for military experience or judgment, her presence only undermined the committee's efforts to fix the Pentagon's biggest problems, many of which Pres Bush Sr.'s administration began and Pres Clinton's mismanagement carved into stone.

Clinton can't articulate why the Iraq war was started (Pres Bush Jr has yet to do it so the voters can understand it), or why it should continue, and many Americans are still confused about its nature, methods, consequences, and priority. Mr. Obama promises to bring the troops home and leave Iraqi indigenous leaders to scrap like children following the rupture of a pinata at the cost of its progress and citizens. Worse, Iran and Saudi Arabia will augment their proxy wars at the Iraqis expense just so Mr. Obama can keep his promise of "change" to an otherwise well-intentioned but poorly communicated critical component to national and international security.

On the other hand, the Republicans are wanna-be Reagans (see Beirut, 1983) who flipfloop from centrist origins in order to woo misled conservatives, most of whom equate "supporting the war" or "supporting troops" as putting a bumper sticker on their car, not unlike how they cheerlead their favorite football team at playoff time. A lot of them "support" troops, as long as it doesn't interrupt listening to their Limbaugh and O'Reilly broadcasts or increase their taxes.

Meanwhile, Americans--politicians and voters alike--are misinformed about how to prosecute a global national security strategy. So, each side blusters with superficial comments that mean nothing but lull voters. Conservatives beat war drums about what they know or see from a strategic "surge" (20,000 troops moved within one country is a tactical decision and hardly strategic unless you are an ignoramus, a micromanager, or a journalist), and Liberals wax poetic on abstract concepts of "change," "hope," "universal healthcare" (we can't afford to reduce the deficit and/or save social security, but we're suddenly going to pay for everyone's healthcare?) Besides, have we all forgotten what a big deal that journalists and others made of the deplorable state of U.S. military health care less than a year ago? The gov't can't take care of the military during war because Pres's Bush Sr and Clinton gutted military budgets (and Bush Jr has fought a seven year war while cutting taxes), and somehow I should "hope" that Sen Obama can provide healthcare to my next door neighbor? Or trust Sen Clinton who already bothched healthcare the last time she was in the white house? Wait...back then, she only had 24 years of experience...the last 13 may have made a fantasyland.

If being a lawyer for 35 years makes one experienced to be President, then we should have a million lawyers around the country claiming "experience." The Republicans of course do not even point this out: it's easier for them to fix health care by getting us all to sign gov't mandate, according to Gov Romney, 300 million strong, the nearest healthcare corporation (read: big business).

Woe is me...the lost independent voter with an ounce of critical thought...I yearn for a national leader. Somebody, please...

Posted by: sumononu | January 7, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I have been a die-hard Obama supporter from day one. Naturally, I'm excited and hopeful for a big win in NH tomorrow.

The only thing that worries me in the month between NH and Super Duper Tuesday is this:

The campaign needs to hit hard on policy. His stump has to stay the same, with the hope theme, but the campaign needs to add to the substance. I know what he wants to do, policy wise: you can find it on the campaign website. But the message needs to spread. The Clinton campaign may get traction from the "style over substance" tactic if it's not thwarted. A month is a long time.

Posted by: cam8 | January 7, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq."

Huh? This statement is just flatly incorrect.

This is the same Senator Clinton who voted to authorize Bush to invade Iraq, and who refused to promise to have all of our troops out of Iraq by the end of her SECOND term? Hillary Clinton's campaign is failing because she is trying to be all things to all people and is ignoring the intense anger of an energized Democratic base. Democratic voters want a candidate who will clearly repudiate the disastrous policies of the administration which has mismanaged this country for the past eight years.

Personally, Barack Obama is a bit too "Mr. Rogers" for me. I don't want yet another president who is going to cave in to the Republicans under the guise of "bipartisanship." I want a leader who is willing to take a stand for the principles of democracy which have made our country great. I have become an Edwards supporter because I feel he is the only candidate who is willing to take a strong stand against the sewer of money and corporate interest which is Washington today. This country has had way too much of "business as usual."

I have three requirements for any candidate I will vote for as president:

1. Promise to prohibit government-sanctioned torture, and commit to honoring both Habeus Corpus and the Geneva Convention for ALL prisoners held by the United States;

2. Refuse to allow wiretapping or surveillance of Americans without a court-issued warrant;

3. Get U.S. troops out of Iraq -- NOW.

Posted by: jerkhoff | January 7, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama for President of the UNITED States of America.

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 7, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me what experience Hillary has other than:

Sleeping with the President for six years.
I assume the pillow talk stopped after Monicagate.

Botching health care reform so badly it was shelved for ten years.

Voting to invade Iraq.

Voting with the Republicans to declare the Iran Guard a terrorist organization.

Supporting the NY Governor's attempt to award driver's licenses to law breakers.

"Where's the beef?" suggests a bankrupt imagination.

Posted by: 2sense | January 7, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary was already President once before?

As for experience, what am I to make of "experience" that includes bad votes? Bad decisions?

Bush had one of the most experienced White Houses ever assembled, and look where it took this country.

I'll take Obama.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | January 7, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse


Thank God you cannot vote.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Not every Obama supporter is swept off his feet by the rhetoric of "change". Personally, I doubt he'll drain the Washington cesspool which is really a natural outgrowth of the US economy.

But he's the one first-rank candidate who, in 2003, could see the obvious fact in front of his nose - that invading Iraq was deeply wrong and deeply stupid.

That alone is worth far more than any "experience" the other candidates can point to.

Posted by: Bud0 | January 7, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I first met Hillary Clinton in 1990 when she keynoted an education meeting I held in Little Rock Arkansas. She was the first keynoter I ever had that didn't come to me and ask what my attendees would like to hear. She spoke to over 2000 attendees and said she agreed with some of their ideas and disagreed with others and laid out a coherent message on what education should be like for our kids. It was galvanizing and incredible for the amount of information she had at her finger tips.

From that day forward I have followed Hillary Clinton's career. She has been as consistent as anyone I have ever seen on the public stage. She has won some and lost some but the basis of her message never changes.

Even when Edwards was recanting his vote on Iraq Hillary refused too. She took responsibility for it. She has changed her views as Bush has screwed up the war but not on the fact that a President as commander in chief needs the authority to act.

In recent days Hillary has taken to pointing out the inconsistencies in what Barack Obama and Edwards are saying. I think that the press has been dissecting her every move and every remark but has generally given the others a free ride.

When Obama keeps saying that he opposed the war in 2002 it is right to remind him and the public that in 2004 he said he may have voted differently had he been in the Senate. And when he finally reached the Senate he has voted for every spending bill for Iraq. Where is the truth in his words? Where is the truth in his words when he ran for the Senate and opposed the Patriot Act and then voted for it when he got there? He keeps talking about telling the truth to the American voter- I wonder exactly what he means by that. Then he goes on to chastise the lobbyists and makes a huge deal about how he takes no money from them. Then it's pointed out that his NH Campaign Chair is a lobbyist for the drug companies. Where is the truth in that? He also takes money from lobbyists for his PAC which he then used to give money to those in the lead off states. If you shade the truth on these issues what else will Republicans find about him when they may have to run against him and what does this say to the youth he is courting?

Edwards is another story. He claimed in the recent debate that his shining moment in the Senate was passing a Patient's Rights Bill. It took Hillary to remind everyone that this bill didn't get passed in the House and isn't law. So if that is his shining moment in the Senate along with his vote for the Iraq war which he keeps apologizing for what he did in 6 years in the Senate. Then no one has taken the time to really challenge him on working for the hedge fund. He gave them $18,000,000 of his money to invest and took a salary of over $500,000. He said to learn about economics. Well he now claims he didn't even know about what they invested his money in- sub-prime mortgages- and then had to apologize for that. Another issue is his campaign against lobbyists. Well the biggest lobbyists are the lawyers who have funded most of his campaigns. He says the average person has no lobbyist. Well what about the lobbyists the teachers hire, the lobbyists the unions hire, the lobbyists the mill workers hire? It is not the truth that he claims to tell.

I do not go into this election with rose colored glasses. I am a Hillary Clinton supporter but don't claim she is perfect. No one is.

But the reality for me is who I will elect that will allow me to sleep better at night. Who has the experience to communicate with world leaders? Who has the experience to work in Washington? Who has the experience based on years of fighting for children, the elderly, women and civil and human rights for every minority? That person is Hillary Clinton. Hillary in the White House will let me sleep better.

I buy her argument that making real change is based on experience and knowing how to do it. I find Barack Obama to be inspiring. His words soar and bring to mind John F. Kennedy.

But I ask the voters of New Hampshire to remember what happened when we elected John F. Kennedy. We first had the Bay of Pigs. We then had the Cuban Missile Crisis because leaders didn't know what his real strengths were and wanted to test him. And then we didn't get Civil Rights legislation passed until after he was shot. It was Lyndon Johnson who knew how to get it passed who lost the campaign to Kennedy because Kennedy spoke of change and passing the torch so eloquently and Johnson merely told us he has the experience to get the changes done.

Hillary may be the Lyndon Johnson of this campaign and Obama is the Jack Kennedy. Kennedy didn't have the chance to do all he wanted to do but we do know that Lyndon Johnson made the real changes in how we dealt with all of our domestic issues.

Hillary has already made the commitment that both Obama and Edwards have made to end the war, so I know some will say that Johnson got us deeper into Viet Nam, but that is not the situation today and she is committed to as they all are, of keeping us safe and strong. Edwards, Obama and Clinton positions on the war are nearly identical at this time. And it is Hillary Clinton who will rebuild the domestic programs because like Lyndon Johnson she has the experience to do so.

The world is in crisis and we really don't have the extra year to wait in today's world for Obama to possibly learn how to be a President and truth be told- we don't have enough information on him to know what he really wants to do.

I urge the voters of NH to think about all this as they go to the polls tomorrow.

Posted by: peterdc | January 7, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, don't blame Chimpy on us baby boomers.

He is the Repukes' fault. He was their puppet President for two terms so Cheney and his big business pals could rape the US Treasury and steal everything that wasn't nailed down.

Most Baby Boomers didn't vote for Chimpy...only the inbred rednecks did.

Posted by: TomIII | January 7, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Big question: is HRC willing to nuke her party rather than lose herself? Will she go so ballistic in her attacks that the Dem winner trudges wounded into the general election? Once out, will she pick up her toys and go home rather than campaign for the winner?

Posted by: twstroud | January 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

obama is gracefully preparing the
eager audience for the candidate we
need. he seems happy as VP.
He has all the charms4it

Posted by: tabita | January 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Jake D.

I don't see the Post in print. I'm basing my comment on what I've seen in AP stories, my local media and much of what I've seen online.

Even the piece we are responding to, which is about the democratic race, only mentions two candidates. That is what got me thinking about the Hillary strategy of only having to face the biggest problem put in front of her ... Obama.

Posted by: zippi | January 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq. Obama has tapped into what seems a more powerful yearning -- a combination of dissatisfaction with the Bush years and with the style of politics that have typified both the Bush and Clinton eras."

This seems a baffling statement when it was Obama who opposed starting the Iraq war, while Clinton supported it.

Worse, she's never apologised for her role in it.

Hillary's campaign is in trouble in the first place not because some new JFK figure has come along, but because people can't forgive her behaviour on Iraq, and also fear what she might do with Iran.

It's wrong and offensive to suggest that Obama supporters are less angry about the war than Hillary supporters. In fact it's the opposite of the truth.

Posted by: Bud0 | January 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Praise to Dan Balz for the most blunt and accurate line of this campaign season: "Bob Shrum, the veteran Democratic strategist blamed for so many losing campaigns, used an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News to gain some redemption by shredding the Clinton campaign's basic strategy."

Posted by: KevinNReynolds | January 7, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign has been brought low for several reasons. Some they seem awate of, others not.

First, Hillary isn't Bill. A short, shrill and dumpy woman in her early sixties can't be repackaged into the hail and well met, six plus foot "player" her husband was. Bill Clinton could win in a heart beat.

Second, there really is a judgement issue in play. It's unspoken but very real none the less. That she stayed with a man who repeatedly and publicly betrayed her might be admirable in a spouse but it isn't so in a President. Spoken or not, voters believe this. A solid supportive spouse is the polite way of saying she has been Bill's door mat. It makes no difference at all that this might or might not be true.
Giulliani is just itching to roll this out against Hillary and if he does, it will end both candidacy's. Game over and Rudy will be desperate enough to pull this rabbit out of his hat very soon.

Third, Americans have had just about all of the "Boomers" at the helm that they can tolerate. Eight years of Clinton and another eight of Bush have proven beyond all doubt that the "Greatest" generation has well and truly produced the absolute worst.

That is the real dynamic that propels the Obama campaign today and will drive the election in November.

"Mission Accomplished", the baby boom generation of political leadership has succeded in revolting their peers as well as the entire country.

John R. Carroll
Los Angeles, California

Posted by: jcarroll | January 7, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

....I am in tears already. The most brilliant mind in politics might go down to someone who has no experience to be in the oval office. Sad. Obama in a post 9/11 world !! Im scared. I will move to Sweden if I have too. Come on Hillary! Don't give up yet!

Hillary 08 !!

Posted by: aboyzboi | January 7, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: TennGurl | January 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If she'd divorced Bill when Monicagate came out late in his presidency she could now claim to have gotten his experience in the settlement. Instead she's reduced to arguing that it came to her through osmosis.

Posted by: light_bearer | January 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse


What makes you think that Hillary Clinton would accept the V.P. spot? I have a feeling this race is going to get a lot nastier before the Democratic convention.


You're welcome -- I don't read the print edition of the Washington Post though -- is their blog paying more attention to other candidates than what's in the print edition?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The only bounce is in Hillary's middle-aged mammaries.

Hillary is DLC and AIPAC. That makes her a DINO...a Democrat In Name Only.

I do not want any more Bushes or Clintons in the Oval Office. This is a democracy, not a kingdom with hereditary rule.

Posted by: TomIII | January 7, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

First, thanks Dan for the excellent political analysis -- a rare commodity to find in the mainstream media.

Second, and I think this is something that needs to be considered: if there happens to be some type of terrorist attack between now and November (and I wouldn't count this out), I'm not sure if it will prove to be so wise to have a freshman Senator at the top of the ticket. If Obama is the nominee, I will not hesitate to vote for him. But in politics, perception is reality, and the perception of Obama as being a neophyte politican (not to mention a minority politician, as unfair as that is) against, for example, the gravitas of a McCain will significantly impede the Democrats from prevailing in a must-win election.

Posted by: mikejd | January 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh Please! This reporting is pathetic. The press dislikes Hillary Clinton and has NOT held the other front runners to the same standards. It is so evident it is shameful. As a foreigner I used to trust the American Press, looked for it as a point of reference for the truth, especially the written press, but what I have seen in the last few weeks is beyond belief, it is shameful. The US press is becoming third world press filled with agendas. To the naive American readers, please, this is not a Hollywood film.

I really did not care about Hillary until now, I have said this repeatedly. I respected her intelligence but I never thought she had a chance, now that I see what is being done to her by the press, I wish I could vote. This is truly, truly sad. The press is not reporting facts it is giving a tone to the facts according to its preference to each candidate. Really, truly p a t h e t i c.

Posted by: poh123 | January 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

america has millions of brilliant women the world will always be thankful for their global leadership + vision.
It happens hillary is not one of them
Hillary is a dark negotiator of the gun + killer industry.
should we continue to pretend we are stupid
or change gears and demand courage + vision
instead of weaselish not fresh charms?

Posted by: tabita | January 7, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Jake D.

Thanks! I was referring primarily to the mainstream media outlet storyline, though. However, I do agree that's what makes the blogs so great.

Posted by: zippi | January 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Sen Clinton played the gender card on Sat night, during the debate. She said that electing a woman president would be a change. While true, her comment serves as proof that she doesn't get it. The change that Obama is promising isn't based on gender or skin color, its based on tossing out the politics of 'us vs them'. Senator Clinton probably can't remember a time when she wasn't demonized by the 'vast right wing conspiracy', so she deserves a little sympathy for her inability to recognize what our country needs to change.

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

On November 5, 2008 - this will all be for naught since if either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton were nominated as the Democratic nominee he or she would in fact lose to the Republican nominee. Like it or not... pc or not... America will elect neither a Woman or African-American as President. Look, we're talking about the same people that were responsible for Bush/Cheney being elected to office not only once, but twice. Never underestimate the stupidity of the American electorate.

Posted by: rikkirat | January 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA for President!! Hillary for Vice!! the only way democrats can win!

Posted by: pyal_h | January 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton's refusal to disavow her intentions to continue Bush's war policies is what is hurting her the most among many voters. She endorsed the invasion of Iraq and cannot seem to make a definitive promise not to continue a war that began based on lies and deceit. The people that vote have all but begged her to change her position. Hillary's refusal to listen to the people aligns her even more with Bush. Bush does not listen to the American people and neither does Hillary. That's too bad because she could make great president. END THE WAR IN IRAQ.

Posted by: jimarush | January 7, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse


Plenty of candidates are getting attention here on the Washington Post blog at least. Plenty of candidates are getting even LESS attention than Edwards though.

John Edwards -- 43 threads

John McCain -- 31 threads

Ron Paul -- 9 threads

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

All along this myth of Hillary's "electability" was the mantra for her campaign and the biased media. Now we have real votes in real primaries and it's becoming very clear, the American people don't like Hillary Clinton and never have. Now the spin machines are in overdrive trying to concoct a senario that will give wind to her sails. Sorry people, this old battleaxe is about to be retired.

Posted by: czer2006 | January 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I am finally excited about a candidate. Obama is what we need!

Posted by: ListenUpPeople | January 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse


What exactly is "vile" about urging Hillary Clinton (a woman) to play the gender card -- perhaps you haven't heard her on the campaign -- what do you think she's doing when she cites to 90-old grandmothers bringing their grand-daughters our to see her?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

One thing the Obama-Clinton storyline effectively does is to siphon off attention from any other candidate (such as Edwards). That means, at least for now, Hillary doesn't have to fight the field. She just has to solve her "Obama problem."

Posted by: zippi | January 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

CNN as well as the other liberal news outlets -ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC weigh their polling numbers very heavily to the left or in the case of Hillary they weigh the numbers very heavily in her favor. Pollsters love to assume certain things--this is how they get the results they want...

Posted by: charko825 | January 7, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Where's the beef?" is from the 1984 campaign. I remember it - it was one of those great lines from a commercial that was repeated ad naseum for a while because it was so funny. But it was funny because of the commercial, with the little old lady asking it. Since it's from 1984, no one born after, say, 1977, will remember that commercial. So is it any wonder that this Baby Boomer candidate is having trouble connecting with voters under 30?

Full disclosure: I've been volunteering for Obama.

Posted by: JohnTEQP | January 7, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Howard Kurtz (of the WaPo)has been presciently accurate in his comment that the media has missed all of this by a mile... Hillary was never "inevitable" to begin with-save for a media environment which completely ignored reality on the ground and chose to anoint her regardless. And how could CNN get their polling in the run up to Iowa so embarrassingly wrong???

Posted by: lamjam1 | January 7, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Clinton will have a tough time drawing contrasts with Obama without going too negative and negative ads will only fuel people to look to Obama as the hope of a new Washington. She is behaving exactly like Obama wants her to which is to act like a modern politician while he takes the high road and talks about being able to bridge the dialog gaps in Washington which is what the people seem to be asking for.

She is going to need a home run hit soon to knock him down because she can't just chip away him at this point.

Posted by: johnhodson | January 7, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

A funny thing happened on the way to the corination: the pain-in-the-ass voters got in the way.

Posted by: diabloquick.wa | January 7, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton's big idea of change for America was to vote FOR the Kyl-Lieberman bill.
America does NOT want more war in the Middle East fighting imaginary terrorists.
And we already have a brain-dead moron in the White House ignoring the will of the people - we don't need another!

Posted by: chasemonster | January 7, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Folks, I know in our arrogance, we think we are beyond Political influence from abroad.
In the year 2008, Nothing could be further from the truth.
What talking points do you think the World Labor Party used to swing Spain?
The Talking Points are persuasive, but HOLLOW! THAT is WHY, France and Germany, moved back!

Soros, has Banked on Obama and Edwards!

Clinton Moderates, the Children have stolen the Party!

Welcome to the Big Tent!

Posted by: rat-the | January 7, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Everyone here should read rob5's post to see how vile Clinton supporters can be. What a disgusting act you posit. Maybe you support her because you see a little of yourself in her.

Posted by: shahpesareh | January 7, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh just reported that Hillary broke down in coffee shop in New Hampshire--the era of Clinton is over. Hillary is to wrapped up in possessing the power of the Presidency. Women do not have the emotional make-up to handle such power--her breakdown proves this. She really needs to resign, go home and relax. Maybe she can get back to making her husband some cookies. Please go home Hillary...

Posted by: charko825 | January 7, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

So tell me is Obama Democratic or Independent.
He seems like he wants the I vote more then the D vote so what party will he work with! What party views does he share were is he o ya vote for me I have a dream. Please come back in 4yrs. after you have done something.

Posted by: McNamara1508 | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

It's electability, stupid. Obama has it, Hilary doesn't.

Posted by: justsayin | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Its over Obama to presidency Clinton candidate to Vice president. Carisma with change together

Posted by: gs316 | January 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Clinton should just play the sex card. Obama isn't immune just because he's black.

She should remind women, that a woman hasn't been president. Her campaign can leek a shocking discovery that Obama is sexist.

That his whole campaign, really, was orchestrated to stop a woman from becoming president.

She should remember her roots. It doesn't matter if it sounds outlandish to republicans....she can win the nomination by reminding Democratic women, that they really don't have any choice.

Posted by: rob5 | January 7, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh I LOVE watching the dinasaurs flail to their political expiration in the tar pit of polling place reality!

Independents (formerly-known as centrist Democratic and Republican party members) are taking the dinasaur government by the horns, wrestling it to the ground - with the K street and MSM parasites holding onto its backside.

Next, we're gonna brand it, clamp a number tag onto its ear, neuter it with the good ol' Elastrator (look it up, its a ranch tool, folks) put a ring in its nose, and then peel off those pesky parasites from K street.

If you're a partisan, a NEO-CON, a Gloria Steinem/George McGovern era dinasaur, a talk show entertainer/bloviator, an MSM reporter, a national pollster ignoring cell phones, or a wingnut extremist from either side of the political divide look around and save your skin...



Posted by: onestring | January 7, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Her loyalists describe a campaign that failed to provide Clinton with a new core message or focus before that arrival Friday"

This is the real problem with modern U.S. politics - it's not a matter of conviction or performance, it's a matter of crafting a sales pitch that matches the research. Perhaps this is the most telling comment in the whole piece. I'd rather hear the candidates real "core message," not some contrivance.

Posted by: jdolsak | January 7, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

What Barack Obama needs to realize that if he does win the nomination, he will get pummeled by the Republican machined due to his lack of experience. Already the republican nominees are calling him too young, not enough experience etc. The only way that Barack Obama can win the general election is if he appoints Hillary as his vice president and then the whole package is complete imo.

Posted by: pyal_h | January 7, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hillery was so much more presidental in the Saturday debate than Obama. If the big momentum Obama now has with the young and nieve Americans who seem so taken with him actually gets him elected President-- Hillery will have another opportunity four years later, when everyone will be totally disillusioned with Obama's failure to get anything done.

Experience matters folks. Who would you trust to build your house, a guy who has lots of concepts, or a guy who has a portfolio with dozens of houses he actually built?

Obama may one day be a great president (he's got plenty of time), but he's not the guy for a country desprite for strong leadership NOW. We can't afford another failed presidency.

Let him get his training off the job first.

NObama in 2008 please!

Posted by: rjp | January 7, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will lose because a new generation is infatuated with a vaporous candidate and campaign. Etherware in the form of Hope and some social integration of Coming Together.
This is Jimmy Carter Redux. This generation of Obama's followers were not even alive then. Carter accomplished nothing, decapitated the CIA and led us to Reagan extremism in reaction. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We are being led by Facebook nets. It's clever. It works. But there is no substance in his ideas or the means to handle reality in Washington and abroad. A very merry Ghost Dance in digital form.
These "progressive" waves will overwhelm all oppostion and then die and evaporate like powerful ocean waves on the rocks of reality.
Hillary offered skillsets and knowledge for the White House. Obama has them for the campaign trail.

Posted by: bern445 | January 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

When newspapers, such as this one, choose to gang up on a candidate who didn't come in first, it impacts how people vote. It's like peer pressure. People who don't feel like reading beyond the headlines, or doing research on their own, make a decision based on just headlines. You have a responsibility to avoid such generalizations and realize your role in the outcome. It's a bad system, but it's the system we have.

Posted by: Susan9 | January 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Watching her melt away with her cackling laugh and shrill voice evokes memories of a wonderful moment in a storied legend.

I am so happy I could burst. Please NH, deliver us from her.

Posted by: shahpesareh | January 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hillery was so much more presidental in the Saturday debate than Obama. If the big momentum Obama now has with the young and nieve Americans who seem so taken with him actually gets him elected President-- Hillery will have another opportunity four years later, when everyone will be totally disillusioned with Obama's failure to get anything done.

Experience matters folks. Who would you trust to build your house, a guy who has lots of concepts, or a guy who has a portfolio with dozens of houses he actually built?

Obama may one day be a great president (he's got plenty of time), but he's not the guy for a country desprite for strong leadership NOW. We can't afford another failed presidency.

Let him get his training off the job first.

NObama in 2008 please!

Posted by: rjp | January 7, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

...And we conservatives collectively let out a sigh of relief and a collective groan. While darkening prospects of Hilary getting the nomination may be bringing smiles and good cheer to conservatives throughout the country, it doesn't take long to realize that just about any other democrat will have a much better chance against the republican nominee. In some ways I was kind of looking forward to seeing the republican base go from apathetic to wildly energized when Hilary got the nomination, however its a fair trade off to not have that dread of "what if she actually wins??".

Posted by: wolfcastle | January 7, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

A couple of points re Dan Balz's reporting:

1) "Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq." That's nonsense. Hillary supported the war from the start and has proposed sending MORE troops, not ending the war. Her four-page pre-campaign survey mailings did not include the words "Iraq" or "war" anywhere in them. She is not, and has NEVER been, an anti-war candidate.

2) How can a political reporter discuss Hart vs. Mondale without mentioning "Monkey Business" or Donna Rice? That's what damaged Hart, not Mondale and "Where's the Beef?" No one would have beaten Reagan in 1984, but Hart could easily have been the Democratic candidate that year and perhaps in 1988 without that little problem.

Posted by: franklinmjohnson | January 7, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post reports are excellent and the variety gives one a chance to form your own opinion. I just have to mention that it was very interesting to see the Democratic Machine lining Hillary up for a victory in NH. Making sure the people are sitting in the right places to block any positive reaction to Obama. I am certain the the bonzes in the DNC have made commitments to Bubba Clinton against the money the Norman Hsu has paid Hillary. What Bubba and Hillary did not expect is that the American voter would wake up and mess up their plans. The whole world is looking at what is happening and the Clinton´s just do not have the respect to abide by the peoples wishes. Bill is clearly of the opinion that he can fool us all. To see him wondering around looking for people to tell his story and his days as pres and his successes is a sorry thing to see.

Posted by: coatesmoe | January 7, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Clinton's campaign was built around anger among Democrats and independents toward President Bush and the war in Iraq." And that's her biggest problem because there is no substance to it. She voted for the war and still thinks it was the right way to vote. Her very late criticism of the "conduct of the war" is entirely poll-driven. Her first serious criticism of the conduct of the war came two days after polls showed that Joe Lieberman was going to lose the democratic primary in Connecticut in 2006. Thinking that support for the war and other neo-con foreign policy initiviatives, like the effort to begin a war with Iran, would gain her support from conservatives, she has been closely aligned with Bush/Cheney throughout her Senate career. With her record, she is in no position to call for support based on opposition to the war.

Posted by: bdmail | January 7, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"but veterans of that campaign year see Obama as a more formidable and unshakable candidate than was Hart. The former Colorado senator was an underfunded candidate in 1984. Obama already has enormous resources"

Yep, plus Mondale maintained monolithic African-American support, while Obama will beat Clinton among African-American voters.

Imagine Hart vs. Mondale if Hart had as much money and more African-American support. Unless she can slime Obama viciously and successfully, Obama's the nominee.

Posted by: lappzimm | January 7, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama gets the free ride.

Obama votes to continue the war in IRAQ and nobody questions.
Obama votes for Patriot Act without Civil Liberty safeguards and nobody questions.

How this guy gets a free ride to the White House is beyond me.

The Primary is the time to hold these dopes responsible for their votes.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 7, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Do any of these last-minute pitches - from Hillary or Romney - have a chance of working? The messages are basically the same; voters know what these candidate are about.

Posted by: parkerfl | January 7, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

As most Presidents discover (to their dismay)things often do not go as planned and adversity is a regular visitor to every administration...what is important is how the candidate handles adversity. Hillary has a real test ahead and this should give voters a chance to see how she handles her opponent's early success. My guess is that she will not fold her tent and quit the race...Bill toughed it out and I expect Hillary will also. In any case, the voting public will be watching closely to see how she deals with the obstacle that Obama has proven to be.

Posted by: Jerryvov | January 7, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

If you actually think Matt Sludge has an inside line to the Clinton campaign then I have a bridge in NYC you should buy.

Hill will stay in until she spends the last dollar of her considerable war chest. Remember, all candidates, including Obama can make big mistakes.

Also, if the Republicans have dugup any dirt on Barack they will use it now. They do NOT want to run against him.

Posted by: Flyer90 | January 7, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually it appears that even the most intellectually challenged democrats are realizing that Clinton (take your pcik which, they're both the same)has no redeeming qualities. No ethics, no morals, no integrity, and no experience, except running attacks on women who object to being assaulted by her husband. Maybe there are a few intelligent liberals after all.

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 7, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Where's the beef?"

Hillary has nothing to say.

Goodbye, Hillary.

Posted by: stevefought | January 7, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, it occurs to me that they are still in denial . This time the loss in New Hampshire will be even massive . and then heads will roll in the clinton camp ... Just watch out .

Posted by: oragar | January 7, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Getting political advice from Bob Shrum is like getting military advice from the French.

Posted by: dfc102 | January 7, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: If Hillary loses NH by double digits, it will likely be a deadly blow.

If she loses SC as expected and Nevada, it's over whether she continues on to Feb. 5th states or not.

Posted by: jttx | January 7, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

For all of Balz's hype, he's right that Clinton will not fold any time soon. She wants to be president, and she learned from Bill's time in the WH that there really is such a thing as political survival through grinding it out. She's in for the long haul. Obama's gonna have to win a lot more states before there's any serious discussion of Clinton bowing out.

Having said that, politics, more than ever, is not just about momentum, but peaking at the right time. And if Obama wins NH, the Mo train will be at full throttle. At that point, the press will start feeding the idea that Obama's nomination, not Hillary's, is inevitable, and thereby reinforce such a perception and help bring it into reality.

Posted by: mbcnewspaper | January 7, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan for another good piece. In my view the Clinton campaigns has two hurdles. 1) how to develop a message that connects with voters without looking desperate (i.e. throwing at the wall to see what sticks); 2) how to effectively contrast with Obama's so-called inexperience without exposing Clinton to the same examination - she's trying to claim her husband's experience as her own.

I don't think they'll be able to accomplish either goal, and I think we'll all be better off for it.

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

For the record, there are no homosexuals in the entire country more qualified than a woman who says she wants equal rights for all, but cuts them off with a 'civil union' cop-out.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

She actually said "Where's the Beef?"????

You would think that pro-Clinton Stephanopoulos would have cautioned Senator Clinton beforehand that the phrase was a line from a then-popular television commercial. Now it's just vague and childish.

While I don't think she's the best person to be President at this time, I wish Senator Clinton all the best and I hope she doesn't go any more negative. It will only work against her.

Senator Obama is leading a movement in this country to fundamentally change Washington and bring this country together to deal with the challenges we face.

Posted by: edhere | January 7, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton thinks his wife is 'the single most qualified person for president in America,' isn't he by virtue of this saying:

1. there are no black men or women in the entire country more qualified than his white, very wealthy wife.

2. there are no Hispanic men or women in the entire country who are smarter than a woman who flunked her first attempt to pass the bar exam.

3. there are no Asian men or women who are more qualified than a woman who last year made a joke about Ghandi having worked at a gas station.

4. there are no lesbian or gay people in the entire country more qualified than a woman who says she wants equal rights for all, but cuts them off with a 'civil union' cop-out.

5. there are no disabled persons in the entire country more qualified than Hillary.

Get the idea--the very demographic these two use to propel their 'careers' are never a part of their lilly white upper class political machines or cabinets.

EXACTLY why this conservative (who would vote for Condi in a heartbeat) made America's only politically confrontative music CD-one that takes on Hillary, Congress, and the whole Ward Churchill crowd. One-of-a-kind stuff @

Posted by: Truscott1 | January 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps you missed Clinton's own words (above)?

"Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on," Clinton told CBS's Harry Smith Monday morning. "And we're going to keep going until the end of the process on February 5th. But I've always felt that this is going to be a very tough, hard-fought election, and I'm ready for that."

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this is true, but The Drudge Report is saying that, facing a big loss in NH, Hillary may drop out soon. Hillary's team does love tipping off Drudge. Here's the report...

Posted by: writeava | January 7, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

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