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Clinton Lands Seasoned Operative for S.C. Effort

With so much focus on Iowa and New Hampshire, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that South Carolina is still positioned to play an absolutely critical role in deciding the identity of the Democratic presidential nominee.

To that end, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) scored something of a coup this week when longtime operative Steve Bouchard agreed to head up her efforts in the Palmetto State.

"We are going to be hitting the ground and ratcheting things up in the coming weeks," said Bouchard, who is already ensconced in South Carolina in advance of the state's Jan. 26 Democratic primary.

Bouchard comes to the Clinton campaign from the American Association for Justice (a.k.a. the trial lawyers) where he served as vice president for state affairs. Before joining AAJ, Bouchard ran Sen. Evan Bayh's leadership political action committee -- All America PAC -- and was seen as a member of the Indiana senator's political inner circle as he prepared a run for president. (Bayh dropped those ambitions right around this time last year.)

During the 2004 election, Bouchard was the Ohio state director for America Coming Together -- the massive independent get-out-the-vote organization that spent more than a $100 million in an attempt to elect John Kerry president in 2004. Bouchard also worked on the '04 primary campaigns of retired Gen. Wesley Clark and former Florida Sen. Bob Graham.

The addition of Bouchard all but ensures that Clinton's ground game in South Carolina will be top notch. Polling in the state shows a two-way race between Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 21, 2007; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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