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Clinton in Ohio: Work Not Words

Even as political junkies across the country were waiting expectantly for the results from tonight's Wisconsin presidential primary, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) was preparing to deliver a speech in Ohio in which she draws a stark contrast between herself and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.)

"Both Senator Obama and I would make history," Clinton was set to say, according to excerpts of her remarks provided to reporters by her campaign. "But only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, and ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter and a champion for those who need a voice. That is what I would bring to the White House. That is the choice in this election."

WOW.

But it doesn't end there. "It's about picking a president who relies not just on words -- but on work, hard work, to get American back to work," Clinton is set to say. "Someone who's not just in the speeches business -- but will get America back in the solutions business."

Obama's campaign quickly rebutted Clinton's message. "We agree with Senator Clinton that there is a choice in this campaign," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "The choice in this election is between more of the same divisive, say-or-do-anything-to-win politics of the past and real change that we can believe in. That's the change that Barack Obama offers, and that's why more and more voters across America are choosing him as our next President."

The aim of the Clinton speech -- and the reason it was released before the Wisconsin results were known -- is to show that regardless of what happened tonight Clinton is committed to driving a serious contrast between herself and Obama in the two weeks before Ohio and Texas vote. (As we've written before, she may have no other alternative.)

The message is simple: Clinton is a doer, Obama is a talker. What Clinton hopes to do over the fortnight is use Obama's soaring rhetoric against him -- to say that he gives a great speech but is there any substance behind it.

To date, Obama has been a difficult target for Clinton, as hits on his experience and readiness for the job have largely missed the mark. Clinton's speech tonight unveils her closing argument in this race, the message she and her advisers believe can turn the race around as it heads into the Ohio-Texas Two-Step (winner of The Fix "Name March 4" vote).

Will it work? It's tough to predict given the topsy-turvy nature of the nomination fight so far. But the back and forth virtually ensures the next two weeks are going to be fun to watch.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 19, 2008; 8:59 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Fix's First Take on Wisconsin Results

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Posted by: ujln zsknbifye | April 16, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I strongly feel that Senator Hillary Clinton, if she win the nomination, she will be one of the best first female president of United States of America. She has all those ability and experienced to run our great nation in the right direction.

Posted by: akber_kassam | February 20, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I was growing increasingly agitated with the Clintons as their attempts to win became more and more Rovian. I do not recall John McCain's reaction to these attacks in 2000, but he eventually got over it. Hillary and Bill, as well as those democrats sharing the entrenched, stagnant and losing mindset, need to be enlightened. Hillary is a casualty of GW's appauling fascism, just as McCain was a casualty of Bill's blatant sexcapades.

Hillary is not being rejected because she reminds me of our screaming wives. She is being rejected because she reminds us of George W Bush. We cannot blame her or her team for not knowing the true state of the union, but we can commend Barack Obama. He saw this. He voted against the war, when nobody else did. That is all the proof I need. He IS presidential, just by following his own lead and his own lead proving true.

Now the only decision the Clintons have left to make is whether they want their legacy to be part of the solution, or coupled in with GW, Rove, Cheney, DeLay as catalysts of the revolution.

Posted by: ruairc1 | February 20, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear Clinton Supporters:

How long will it take for you to see the writing on the wall? Hillary repeatedly demonstrates that she is only concerned about winning. She is not truly concerned about the voters as she did not have the decency to thank the hundreds of thousands of voters who braved the arctic temperatures to vote for her. She did not show basic courtesy by refusing to congratulate Obama until after her speech, and probably only because her staff did a poll and the results told them she had better do it. Is this who you want to lead our country? Let go of your hate and join the good side of the force!

Posted by: Ted3 | February 20, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Poor Hillary she just doesn't get it. Words without action are just words.

Obama's words must mean something, look at all the states he has won. His words have inspired people into taking action and turning out at the polls. This is not rhetoric or just words. His words have meaning to people who are craving real change in government.

Hillary says she is ready to lead on day one because of her 35 years of work. But her work on this campaign speaks differently.

Obama's strategy has been better than Hillary's. His ability to strategize and plan an effective political campaign, given the fact that he hasn't been on the national scene as long as she has, shows he would be a better Commander in Chief than Hillary. Hillary has not shown the out-of-box thinking that is required to take America to the next level. She has based her campaign on the old outdated polictical machine, which is broken down and ineffective.

Obama has managed his campaign finances better than Hillary. This shows he would manage our federal budget better. With her 35 years of work experience Hillary couldn't manage her campaign finances. Why then should we trust her to manage the federal budget? Would she write a personal check to the federal government if she screws up the budget and we run out of money? She was pathetic last night in the first part of her speech pleaing for money to help her campaign.

At this time words speak louder than work. It's time for the Clintons to step aside.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | February 20, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

It's all about Texas and Ohio- if Clinton wins those and goes on to win PA. she will be the frontrunner again.

But either way Obama better get ready for the onslaught of negative articles and columns. Reading Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post today is only the beginning. Obama will now begin to get the scrutiny he should have been getting all along. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination I will be supporting him, but the more we know of his record and background the better it will be for the Democratic party.

The comments of his wife will not help him either. To say that this is the first time she is proud to be an American won't play well. Michelle Obama is a woman of substance and is a highly payed Harvard lawyer. America has been good to her.I can just see those commercials already that the Republicans will run with this. Obama won't wear a flag lapel pin and his wife isn't proud to be an American. I hope the Obama team will get their act together. This will be a hard enough campaign if he is the candidate without handing Republicans more amunition.

Take a look at the built in commercial the Republicans will have with this-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o

It is a spokesperson for the Obama campaign on Chris Matthews unable to name one legislative accomplishment of Obamas.

Let's not hand this election to the Republicans- it is to crucial a time to give this away and I believe it is the Democrats to lose.

I still stongly believe that Hillary is the candidate that can win this. Let's not get carried away with Obama's wins in small states or states that will end up going Republican anyway.

But if Obama is the candidate he will even need to fight for California as the Hispanic community there could easily go Republican. His negatives will be driven up immediately and it will be a fight to the finish.

The time to think about those things is now- not when it is too late.

Posted by: peterdc | February 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Were I lawyering for HRC:

I would say to the supers - even if DNC excludes the FL delegation, remember that FL is one of the two pivotal states in recent elections and that HRC has shown she is stronger there than BHO. OH is the other; wait and see who wins OH.

I would avoid arguing about "constituencies", or about states any D will win [CA, NY, IL] or states any R will win [TX].
-------------------------------
Were I advertising for McC against either D, I would posterize Putin, for example, and ask who do we ultimately want sitting on our side of the table from him.
I would never talk about "experience" but always talk about "accomplishments". I would avoid bluster, but suggest that knowing the military realities as McC does will allow him to see all of our options as we prudently transform our mission from daily combat to peacekeeping and nation building. In the case of BHO, only, I would hammer "the Pledge" [http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/02/the_obama_pledge.html]
and argue that McC is the true reformer. If BHO ultimately agrees to keep his commitment, all the better, b/c McC would gain parity and b/c it is "the right thing."
------------------------------
BHO does not need my help, right now.
-----------------------------


Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 20, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"Hard work?" Isn't that a line from George W. Bush? He's not the guy you want to be "plagiarizing" right now, Hillary. Seriously, she does look like she's working hard and it can't be much fun. I would hope she and her campaign would reconsider their tactics and at least rise or fall with some class in the next two weeks.

Posted by: johnsonc2 | February 20, 2008 6:12 AM | Report abuse

"Will it work? It's tough to predict given the topsy-turvy nature of the nomination fight so far. But the back and forth virtually ensures the next two weeks are going to be fun to watch."

What's topsy-turvy about 9 back-to-back wins?

Posted by: squeakycat | February 20, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Hillary, please concede

Posted by: claytonpf15 | February 20, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Hillary keeps throwing the same things at Obama, and they keep failing. You'd think she'd try something new...

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | February 19, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza:

"Will it work?" is not the question you should be asking. The question you should ask is why the WaPo no longer does anything remotely approaching real reporting.

Your "fact checker" is pretty bad and got one thing probably intentionally wrong (his NAFTASuperhighway denial), but at least he's hinted at pointing out flaws in the candidates' comments.

But, so far I've yet to see any WaPo "reporter" ask a candidate anything remotely approaching an uncomfortable question and make them defend their policies. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that I've asked tougher questions than anyone at the WaPo has within the past decade:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/005696.html
http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/004082.html

It's not just me, even truthers are more willing to ask uncomfortable questions (even if their questions are weak):

youtube.com/watch?v=5AasdjfbdTM

Even a little lady has a bigger pair than anyone at the WaPo:

youtube.com/watch?v=tIK9ZawRMlg

This isn't a football game, this is the U.S. presidential race. Please do your job.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | February 19, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris writes
"The message is simple: Clinton is a doer, Obama is a talker. What Clinton hopes to do over the fortnight is use Obama's soaring rhetoric against him -- to say that he gives a great speech but is there any substance behind it."


That message would be so much more plausible, if Sen Clinton had a record of accomplishment to which she could point.

.

Posted by: bsimon | February 19, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

It looks like The Media and the Repubs have done about what I expected, although a little better than about 12% or so I had predicted earlier. I have been trying to analyze the exit polling data available, and it does not make any logical sense whatsoever. From reports there are better than 3 to 1 voting Dem. This would appear that Repubs are voting overwhelmingly for Obama, and not the 12% or so I had thought would be the case. I was dead wrong about the opposition to Hillary, it is much greater.

Posted by: lylepink | February 19, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Note to Hillary:

As Glinda the Good Witch of the North said:

"You have no power here. Be gone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!"

Posted by: rippermccord | February 19, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The "Chronicle's" live blog of BHO's speech to 18k in the arena was positively gushing.

http://blogs.chron.com/houstonpolitics/

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 19, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Note to Superdelegates:

Obama is singlehandedly responsible for turning out the largest number of voters ever seen in a primary race and energizing them in a way that will stand the party in good stead for decades -- if you have the sense to stand with him. And with the millions upon millions of us.

Posted by: rippermccord | February 19, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Why are they cutting away from Hillary Nixon for Obama? I want to hear it from her mouth: "You won't have Hillary Clinton to kick around any more!" Damn the MSM and damn the vast left-wing conspiracy! I want to hear her concession! YOU'RE THROUGH, CLINTONS! THE ONLY WORK REMAINING IS TO EMBARRASS YOURSELVES EVEN MORE! Good-bye to you and good-bye to the politics of sleaze and hypocrisy and selfishness and division and triangulation!

Posted by: bondjedi | February 19, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Note to the press: Americans are ready to shed the cynicism that pervades the Fourth Estate. The strength of Obama is predicated not upon any Messianic belief in him, but in a prayerful, hopeful belief in ourselves and what this country can be. THAT is the storyline that alll of you are missing.

And that's why Sen. Clinton's attacks literally backfire and we see Obama dancing between the "raindrops" that she and Howard Wolfson so persistently shower upon him.

Posted by: rippermccord | February 19, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

It's over. Obama is up 56-43 with 32% in as I type this, and looking at the county results, that lead will grow bigger not smaller. And Hawaii will be bigger. It's over.

In a couple of weeks, Texas and Ohio and Vermont and Rhode Island can add their concurrence, and then we can move on as a party, as a nation.

Posted by: novamatt | February 19, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Nothing succeeds like success. And nothing sucks like Hillary's negative attacks. Cheese, anyone?

Posted by: rippermccord | February 19, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

WOW? I see no "WOW" here. Just the same, tired argument she's been making for the past two years. The mythical 35 years, blah blah. If that's the best she can manage, it's already over.

Posted by: ProgRook | February 19, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Hillary in Youngstown, Ohio A few minutes ago. was not the Hillary I have seen over the years. It looked to me like she is trying to throw the election. Something is terribly wrong.

Posted by: lylepink | February 19, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she's going to do it in the last sentence of her speech tonight, but Hillary still hasn't congratulated Obama on his Wisconsin victory. That makes three weeks in a row that she couldn't muster the words, which belong in the first minute or two of a speech -- not in a press release the following day. The Clintons needs to get some manners.

Posted by: Brian15 | February 19, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. Barack Obama was projected to have defeated Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Wisconsin's Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, according to NBC News, showing strong support across a range of constituencies, some of which had previously leaned toward Clinton."

So much work, so many millions "invested", so little gained, for Hillary aka "Nightshift Worker".

What will Hillary say next- You owe me!

As I have said before, the little people will give the bigshot Superdelegates their marching orders.

Obama is the people's choice. Tough luck, Billary and your shady insider games.

The people will decide the nominee, not The Machine. Lady Democracy loves Democrats.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 19, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

WOW? Why Wow? Clinton spews some mindless garbage and you say wow? I think CC had better look behind Clinton's words and see whether there's any substance. So far, billary is the one full of meaningless words.

Posted by: freedom41 | February 19, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

NINE IN A ROW!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 19, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

NYTimes projects Obama win in Wisconsin.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 19, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

This is just loser talk from Hillary. I can't wait to see her deliver this nonsense with a straight face!

Posted by: julesadelphia | February 19, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

This is just loser talk from Hillary. I can't wait to see her deliver this nonsense with a straight face!

Posted by: julesadelphia | February 19, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

CNN have called Wisconsin for Obama.

Posted by: Boutan | February 19, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Americans are declaring their independence from politics-as-usual. The wagon trains are packed and the folks are heading west to the land of hope. Some are staying home to take their Prozac......
http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/02/20/america-hope-or-prazac-nation/

Posted by: glclark4750 | February 19, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

If the WI exit polling is anywhere close to reality, Sen. Clinton is not going to have a happy night. It looks like Obama is gaining her traditional base while his stays firmly in place. Also saw a Gallup poll that has Obama within single digits in OH.

Just wondering: As this Dem primary moves along, is it possible that the electorate is getting Clinton fatigue?

Personally, I wish Sen. Clinton would run on her accomplishments - telling us what they are, not just referring to 35 years. I'm sick of the negative campaigns and ridiculous accusations - none of which have real bearing on the campaign.

Most of all, Bill Clinton needs to be put away. If Sen. Clinton does not do well this evening, I'm afraid Bill will only get more contentious. It would be nice to see him act Presidential, as someone you wouldn't mind seeing back in the White House.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | February 19, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Tooting one's own horn always sounds less than compelling.

Go to

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=300022

After you have been impressed, so to speak, go to

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=400629

Oh, you might also want to check

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=300071

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 19, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

"NBC News said the Democratic contest between Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton was too early to call. Its analysis of data from surveys of voters as they exited polling places indicated, however, that Obama had a substantial lead in Wisconsin" -NBC

Work, work, that's all Sen. Obama's been doing.

Talk, talk, grasping for straws, that's all I see Billary do.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 19, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

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