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Clinton On Message, and On Television

By Perry Bacon Jr.
NEW YORK -- Appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman," Sen. Hillary Clinton, asked by Letterman about what role her husband would play in her administration, said, "in my White House, we will know who wears the pantsuits."

On the eve of a series of key votes in states around the country, Letterman repeatedly pressed Clinton about her views on the two men who have dominated the news about the Democratic presidential race in recent weeks, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Of Obama, Clinton said, "Barack is a friend of mine. He'll be a friend of mine when this is over no matter what happens....One of us will change history."

Pressed on whether she had to rein in her husband after his attacks on Obama, she said "it was more like, you know, I think that we need to get back on the positive here, because this campaign really has to be about the future."

If Clinton was on message with Letterman, she was even more so in a bizarre event her campaign organized that was dubbed "Voices Across America."

A "national town hall" that was broadcast on the Hallmark Channel, XM Satellite Radio, and her campaign website, the event appeared heavily staged. Clinton, appearing before an audience in a studio in New York, took questions via satellite from supporters in Feb. 5 states around the country who had organized in their own small town hall-style forums. Clinton faced questions such as "what kind of country do you want children to inherit?" and "will you do away with no-bid contracts?" that allowed her to repeat standard stump lines.

She said she was the only candidate left in the race with a "universal" health care plan, a dig at Obama, touted her ability to lead from "Day One," her plan to remove most troops from Iraq in the first year after she takes office and literally dozens of other policy proposals. The candidate sounded as if were running for "Wonk-In-Chief" as she took a question from a person in every state and two from California.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 4, 2008; 10:59 PM ET
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