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Should Hillary Go Negative?

Amid all of the armchair quarterbacking that has gone on over the past eight days about what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) should do to turn around her campaign, one solution that doesn't seem to come up much is perhaps the simplest -- and most dangerous: going negative.

"Going negative is a not a bad option for Clinton," said one Democratic strategist based in Washington who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the less-than-savory topic. "Her positive message seems to have a ceiling and her contrasting message that [Sen. Barack Obama] just might not be ready enough is her strongest argument."

For the majority of this -- now extended -- campaign, neither Clinton nor Obama has aired a true contrast ad that mentions the other candidate by name and in a less than favorable light. A genuinely negative ad? Forget it.

The closest we've come is in the last two days as Clinton's campaign launched this spot in Wisconsin in advance of that state's Feb. 19 primary.

The ad has none of the ominous music or unflattering pictures that are standard fare in traditional negative advertising, but it does seek to make a contrast between Clinton and Obama. That contrast? That Clinton is a substantive doer while Obama is a gifted speaker light on details. The ad's narrator suggests that Obama has not agreed to a debate in Wisconsin because he'd "prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions." The ad then goes on to detail Clinton's plan to fix the economy and the health care system.

And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is what passes for a rough-and-tumble campaign ad on the Democratic side.

Even that sort of contrast, however, is a new strategy for Clinton, who largely ignored Obama in her paid media throughout the campaign. For much of the race, that sort of Rose Garden strategy made sense; Clinton had wide leads in national polling and was seen as the clear frontrunner in the race. Why engage a challenger if you don't have to?

Of course, much has changed in the past two months. Obama has risen from insurgent to frontrunner, thanks to a series of wins this month and huge successes on the fundraising front. Given where Clinton stands today, needing either a stunning win in Wisconsin next Tuesday or clear margins in Ohio and Texas on March 4, it is she who has her back to the wall.

The truth is that if the campaign dynamic doesn't change between now and the Democratic convention in August, it's hard to see how Clinton winds up as the nominee. Obama is the candidate with the momentum, the candidate who has become a movement.

Like it or not, the quickest way to change the shape of a race is to begin drawing stark contrasts (call them comparative, call them negative) over the airwaves.

Contrast/negative advertising gets a bad rap. Many voters blanch at the alleged pettiness of it. But in contest after contest, from the state legislative level to the presidential level, this type of advertising gets results. Voters may not like negative ads, but they tend to at least listen to the charges leveled in them.

While Clinton has yet to run a true contrast ad against Obama, she has shown a willingness in debates to go after the Illinois Senator with the sorts of attacks that could well make for effective commercials. Remember how she called out Obama as a hypocrite for having a lobbyist as one of his lead strategists in New Hampshire? How about the "slum lord" reference to Tony Rezko?

There is a major difference, however, between digging into the opposition research book during a debate and doing the same in a broad-based television campaign. And, as the Clinton campaign is no doubt aware, the decision to go negative is freighted with potential landmines for their candidate.

For starters, voters -- even within the Democratic party -- are far more divided in their feelings about Clinton than they are about Obama. The knock on Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is that they are too political, willing to do or say anything to get elected.

That political reality makes Clinton a potentially flawed messenger to deliver a straight negative message against Obama in her television advertising. Put simply: Due to the doubts about her among Democratic voters, Clinton runs the risk of a significant rebound effect if she decides to attack Obama, whose entire campaign is based on uplift and hope, in places like Wisconsin and Ohio. Obama would have a ready answer that amounts to "Here they go again" that would likely resonate with many Democratic voters.

The other risk for Clinton in running a series of contrast ads is that Obama is better funded at the moment and is likely to enjoy that advantage throughout the next month. While the Clinton campaign has made much of the $12 million they have collected online since Feb. 5, it's still hard to imagine they have the sort of campaign cash to "double track" -- run a flight of positive spots as well as a series of negative ads -- in large and expensive states like Ohio and Texas. (Such double-tracking -- although probably impossible -- would allow Clinton to avoid being portrayed as simply a "negative" candidate.) If Clinton did decided to embark on a series of contrast spots, she would have to do so with the understanding that Obama, if he chose to respond, could throw far more financial weight behind his ads.

Given the high-wire risk/reward elements of going negative, what can -- and should -- Clinton do? We put that to a number of unaffiliated strategists. One response in particular stood out.

One Democratic operative said she can win on contrast ads "if it's done correctly." The source added: "Think Mac vs PC ads. Huge attack ads, but make you smile and feel good."

In some ways, the ad the Clinton campaign is currently running in Wisconsin is a variation on that Mac versus PC theme. A contrast is drawn but it doesn't look or feel like a negative ad. The next few weeks will show whether that ad was an isolated incident or a sign of things to come from the Clinton campaign.

Will it work?

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 14, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: What Does the Romney Endorsement Mean?


Obama, is not above reproach. Hillary has to go negative (softly on the negative side.) She needs to change the tenor of her campaign if she wants to win.

Posted by: vze21a9c | February 17, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary goes negative it will be the end of her national role. The Dems are not interested in attacks this time around. We like both candidates and expect the second-place candidate to keep her/his eye on the ball: winning in November. November is more important than August.

Plus, it's not working this year. There's an argument to be made that Hillary went from 40% African American support to 15% (at best) when Bill began race-coded attacks in South Carolina. It laid the table for Barack's sweep of the south.

Posted by: LesterOR | February 15, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Hillary is deterred from crude negative attacks by what she knows might emerge in retaliation.

All Things Considered, NPR, February 13, 2008 ·


"Last year, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the unusual step of renting out some of her [mailing] lists. The transaction once again highlights the Clintons' connections to a businessman who now faces questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission...."

Posted by: FirstMouse | February 15, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

In the movie, Hello Dolly, just before Dolly Levi (Barbara Strisand) is to marry Horrace Vandegelder (Walter Matthau), Dolly says, "I will send his money out into the world".

Apparently Barack Obama has the same thought about our money. There is an item in the Congressional Record listing a new Barack authored bill that will, if passed, distribute .7 percent of GDP of US funds in the form of aid to foreign countries.

Posted by: rodhug | February 14, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired of hearing this nonsense about Obama not having any substance, it's completely ignorant. Senator Obama has a whole website full of substantive (and interesting) policy positions here: The fact that he doesn't bore people with them when he's on the stump doesn't mean they don't exist.

Reading his Blueprint for Change, it's impressive how much of his agenda is shaped by the desire to put government back in the hands of people, not lobbyists or party insiders. I encourage everyone to read it before taking the media's or some clown on a blog's comments section word for it that Obama is style at the expense of substance, because in reality, he is a damned good mix of both.

Posted by: tasteblind | February 14, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Larry Sinclair endorse Barack obama on youtube. Check it out! Obama/Sinclair 08

Posted by: bill.hannemann | February 14, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse


You're thinking exactly backwards about the electability question, in my opinion. Hillary was a known known before she started this new campaign. But because she chose to run an openly negative and dishonest campaign after New Hampshire and before South Carolina, she has reinvigorated the republican complaints against her, e.g., that she's dishonest and will do anything to win, regardless of the costs of her actions to others (e.g., Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones). Now if Hillary's the nominee, the republican attack against her will hit with more of a vengeance than ever, and because we democrats have all seen what she's tried to do to Obama, many of us will be less inspired to rush to her defense like we did in the past, and might even start to seriously distrust her political commitment to women's concerns.

On the other hand, after this long, national primary season, polls show that a lot of democrats, independents and republicans have grown to admire Obama. Americans never had a chance to get to trust John Kerry before he was swift-boated.

So, in my opinion, Obama's the one who's stick-free in the general election, not Hillary.

All best wishes,


Posted by: catuskoti | February 14, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry - she'll have that youth vote in her pocket in no time with this way-cool music video..

Posted by: rlb1 | February 14, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hillary gave a speech today in which he attacked Obama for giving speeches. I do not understand her!

Posted by: kwakuazar | February 14, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

One can choose to call it a negative ad,
a soft negative ad or a contrast ad depends
on the effect you are going for. Clearly,
we are down two only two candidates, and
despite, the previous 18 debates, these two, have only debated once. We could ALL
benefit, by seeing them go one on one.
On CNN, Gloria Borger, was addressing the
issue of Obama being more closely scruti-
nized, what she said concerns me. That the
press will wait till the nominee is chosen
and then will examine them more closely.
(paraphrase) Folks, we cannot afford that.
The MSM should VETTING Senator now. Are
we to wait til "after" our nominee is elected, to then have the Republicans turn over "every stone". The voters deserve the
information the MSM should provide so voters can make an informed choice.

Posted by: soni13 | February 14, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

HILLARY CLINTON is NOT running scared! The media has refussed to call Obama on ANYTHING he promised in his uplifting speeches. Nothing. He can do a rally and say God is about to decend to Earth and the media says "HAIL OBAMA". Hillary comes up with detailed plans for fixing the country and they bash her! The Clinton are shining light on Obama's flaws because the press refuses.

Posted by: cobbcity | February 14, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

MANY THANKS to Capt. Denny Keast and to Ejeanbob1 for the February 14, 2008 12:19 PM post.

Posted by: TJMortimer | February 14, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse



Methinks you may be a Clinton supporter in McCain's clothing.

Posted by: veeve | February 14, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I'm the only McCain supporter who thinks this, but I think Obama (in spite of the current polls) is a much more beatable candidate than Hillary.

There are a few reasons I think this:

1. Obama-mania:

This guy has been hyper-inflated by the media. His expectations are set way too high. Once people start paying close attention next fall, a lot of the bloom will be off the rose.

2. Obama's appeal to white working class voters

I think Obama will lose these voters big time when it comes to the general. White working class voters tend to love the Clintons, but I don't think this will transfer over to Barack. He's too much of a pretty boy, and when he does fight, he comes off as arrogant and condescending (see the Democratic debates).

Plus, a few key issues can literally sink him with the white working class. Affirmative action hasn't been an important issues in a few election cycles. If Obama's the nominee, I suspect it might become an issue, especially in the South and the Midwest. How difficult do you think it would be for a 527 to run some ads criticizing Obama's support for racial quotas? You think that won't stick in the minds and hearts of white working class voters. Don't count on it.

How about immigration? Obama has already come out in favor of driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Sure, that might help him in California and a few other states that he was probably going to win anyway, but it could fry him in the South and the Midwest.

3. Obama as a credible commander-in-chief?

- This is the biggest killer for Obama. I don't think most voters will view him as a credible leader of the armed forces. Democrats can claim that this election is all about the economy, but many voters are still very concerned about terrorism and the possibility of future attacks. When it comes down to crunch time, will voters put a guy with virtually no experience in charge of the armed forces? I doubt it.

Let me tell you this. I am a public educator. I work almost exclusively with white liberals. Every time politics is even broached or McCain is mentioned, this is what I hear from all of them: "I really like John McCain," or "McCain is the one Republican I might vote for."

Mix in a little doubt about Obama with a very reasonable, admirable Republican alternative and you get...

President McCain.

I really like the sound of that. I can't think of a man better suited to bring the country together and to restore fiscal sanity to Washington.

Posted by: ds11 | February 14, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

She is already going negative on every front. Even McCain is helping her. That should tell you Clintonistas something. McCain obviously feels that she is an easier opponent for him. Duh!

Posted by: veeve | February 14, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

kkarageorge, you asked a question, and I was happy to give an answer. It depends what issues matter to you (economic policy, foreign policy, ethics legislation, etc) -- the Oprah angle is what it is. So is the Vockler endorsement, Bloomberg's statement about Obama's economic policy, Robert Reich statements, Powell's statements. I don't know how closely your friends follow politics, but if they've studied the issues and done their due diligence, I think they would probably have a pretty good answer to the "why" question.

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

According to the Obama campaign, and most of the fawning press, anything critical of Sen. Obama's short record of accomplishments is 'old politics' (negative).

She should go negative - point out that this is a senator who comes from one of the most corrupt states, and benefited from that corrupt nature by excepting lobbyist contributions to his state and US senate races, as well as the showing poor judgment by letting Rezko (who was under federal investigation at the time, and was widely viewed as soon to be indicted) lend a 'helping' hand by purchasing half of the property of a home Obama couldn't have afforded without his help. Obama did nothing to 'change' Chicago politics, in fact, he used the tired and undemocratic tactics of removing opposition from the ballot with arcane election laws the Chicago way.

Talk about yet another politician who is claiming he is going to 'Change' Washington because he was able to work across party lines in the statehouse, is not tide to special interest in Washington, and has no foreign policy credentials ala Bush.

Her best line is "All hat, and No Bull" - it is hard to criticize a record that doesn't exist.

She has to do something - Obama is so clearly unqualified to President and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.

But the press will spin any criticism of him as racist, never mind that if he weren't Black no one would take his candidacy seriously. There is nothing there - no record of accomplishments - to merit his candidacy.

McCain is not Bush - and most certainly is not Alan Keyes. Obama will have his clock cleaned in a general election. Most working 'Reagan Democrats' are going to take a second look at Obama in a general election - and McCain will breeze into the Whitehouse.

The Democrats are about to do what no one thought they could do - loose the Whitehouse after such an unpopular 8 years of divisive and incompetent Republican rule. Unbelievable.

Posted by: clawrence35 | February 14, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Celebrities as Politicians and Pawns

Another made-for-tv repeat? Mixing politics with Entertainment Tonight is a recipe for disaster. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Ronald Reagan are examples of people who are good entertainers, but incompetent leaders of government. They are singularly long winded, short on ideas, and come with unknown consultants running the show behind closed doors.

Barack Obama is a celebrity turned politician lifted from the set of the Oprah show. Obama hopes to use his celebrity, charisma, and star power to change the world. In fact, celebrity newcomers to government usually act out of ignorance, don't initiate major reforms, and eventually get labeled as boobs, like former Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota ; or as pawns, like former President Ronald Reagan.

Is Obama different? He is already looking a bit like a pawn and a boob. His campaign has spent the most hiring Washington lobbyists and consultants. He has been accused of plagiarizing Hillary's economic plan. He is notoriously vague and unspecific about what he actually plans to do to change government. He makes people feel good, and they like being around him, but he is not wearing any clothes. I guess he fits right in.

Posted by: pagebike | February 14, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Hell yes she should go negative! Her back is against the wall now. If she loses Ohio, Pennsylvania or Texas, she's toast. Barack Obama is nothing but old-school, class warfare, nanny-state extreme liberalism wrapped up in a shiny new package. That's his vulnerability.

Let's face it: When you can be rated as more liberal than the likes of Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy, you've really accomplished something!

The GOP has done the smart thing by nominating John McCain, a war hero who is perceived as being right-of-center but not a raving far right wing ideologue like Rush Limbaugh or Tom DeLay. His greatest drawing card is among moderate Republicans and independents. If the Dems nominate Obama and if the GOP can draw him into specifics about his voting record in the U.S. Senate, McCain is ultimately going to come off as the prefered choice for a majority of independents and even some moderate & conservative Democrats, especially in the south.

IMHO, Hillary should aggressively go on the offensive and paint Obama as an old-school liberal who would play directly into the Republican Party's strengths in the general election. The time for caution is past. She needs to pull out all the stops now.

Posted by: danram | February 14, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

When has Hillary not been negative in this election?

From the start, she has come on like a blast furnace, a machine designed to make bricks from the half-baked mud she slings.

Item: She is the candidate of "35 years of experience" while Obama is a political neophyte (funny how the neophyte seems to be kicking her behind).

Item: Until the strategy backfired, Hillary set loose her husband to define Obama as "the black candidate." Although she denied it at the time, turns out she can muzzle Bill when it serves her purpose.

Item: She maintains that her health care plan would provide "universal coverage" and Obama's would "leave out 15 million people." Except that the facts support neither of those contentions.

Item: While Obama rightly contrasted his community activism on behalf of displaced workers with her years as board member and top attorney for notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart, she cleverly retorted that he was working for a "slum lord." Again, her command of rhetoric exceeds her commitment to facts such as Obama has not been accused of any wrongdoing by his one-time donor. And let's not talk about Hillary's own shady donor, Norman Hsu, wanted for 3 YEARS while Hillary took $1 million from him.

Item: Her website feature "The Fact Hub" devotes itself to sliming Obama. His "Know the Facts" feature is employed most often in rebutting her twisted attacks.

Item: While the results of Iowa didn't matter because it was just the first state and S. Carolina didn't matter because it was too black and Super Tuesday and the eight races since didn't matter because they were just small states, Hillary touched touched down in Florida to congratulate herself on winning a race Obama never contested and both candidates agreed to give up.

Item: Both and allow you to compare the candidates' devotion to accuracy. His record, while imperfect, is far superior to hers.

Item: In her Texas stump speeches, she alludes to Obama as "all hat and no cattle" while proclaiming tht she is "the candidate of solutions" and he "is the candidate of promises" -- more of her "empty words" attack theme.

Item: Hillary wants more debates to continue attacking Obama in front of a large audience and slow his momentum. Her attack ads in Wisconsin never mention that and are self-serving, as usual.

Will her "new" negative strategy serve her? She must think so. Now that her air of "inevitability" has evaporated, she will rely on an earthier approach -- and an ample supply of red Texas mud.

Posted by: rippermccord | February 14, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The most alarming development for HRC has got to be McCain focusing on Obama and ignoring her, and Obama returning serve with friendly moonballs. It looks like Obama and McCain are conspiring to finish her off now by robbing her of airtime and attention. Her way back into this fight is to get in McCain's face, and she needs to do it quick. Otherwise, it won't matter a whit if she rocks Texas, OH and PA, because the Obama-McCain matchup will be the media agenda by next Sunday's talk shows. She lacks funds to drown out Obama on TV, nobody is going to watch a 23rd debate between them, and she is no longer the front runner. Therefore she has no claim on the bullhorn before then, all the while Obama and McCain have begun the general election.

Posted by: wharwood | February 14, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Clinton go negative against Obama? There are so many things wrong with that I don't even know where to begin....

Let me point out the most obvious: Obama used to play poker in friendly games with his colleagues in the Illinois Senate. He knows how to match and raise.

Posted by: TomJx | February 14, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

She already is going negative in Ohio. Check on and the article with the ridiculous picture of Hillary holding up boxing gloves. For someone who has accepted more lobbyist money than anyone, Republican or Democrat, in the race, she has no room to talk.

Posted by: yoss22h | February 14, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse


The answer is fairly straight forward.
Being ridiculed as children who have no idea of the struggles past, without acknowledging the role that the next generation has in moving the debate forward while continuing to consolidate those hard won gains made by their parents lends itself to the backlash of a 20, 30 or 40 something standing up and saying; "I am no longer 5 my dear parent"!
If you refuse to respect our political & social judgment as immature, hollow and thoughtless then expect to be treated as one that has no respect.

Posted by: paul94611 | February 14, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Phew! It was tough slogging through all those posts, but didn't want to be (too) repetitive.

OK, so here's the deal. Everything I read and hear tells me that Sen. Clinton has been out-maneuvered, outworked, and out-fundraised -- in other words, beaten -- by the Obama campaign, and has to win some 57% of the remaining delegates to catch him in the pledged-delegate count. So in order to win the nomination, she has to:

1. Pick off enough unelected superdelegates to get to a majority; and/or

2. Find a way to get the delegates not chosen in the Michigan and Florida non-primaries seated at the convention; and/or

3. Start going (more) negative against Obama - kind of like she did in a speech today.

One or all of these strategies risks either blowing up the party, or backfiring in her face, or both.

In my view, if this is how she has to get the nomination, it will be basically worthless. The millions of young people and minorities who were energized by Obama to become involved in the political process will sit on their hands, and Clinton will deliver us into the hands of a Republican president who can keep us in Iraq for 100 years and complete the transformation of the Supreme Court into a rubber stamp for the right-wing crazies (how long can Stevens and Ginsburg last, anyway?).

So I guess we're about to find out if it's true that she'll say and do anything to win, and damn the consequences for the country she says she loves.

Posted by: jac13 | February 14, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The reason the Clinton campaign won't go negative in a big way is because they know Obama has much more dirt on her than she has on him.
In essence he is taunting her.
Daring her.
Go ahead.
Make my day!

Everything Hillary can do now, including doing nothing, is bad for her.

All one can do is wonder how the most powerful political machine of the past 30 years came to this at the hands of a 40 something startup now arguably the most powerful name in American politics. .

Posted by: paul94611 | February 14, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

By all means, Hillary should go negative, so we can see her in her natural habitat, and be reminded how effective Billary's attacks were in South Carolina. It will further illustrate to us all the difference between what has been and what can be. Can't hardly wait.

Posted by: ched | February 14, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you to both Rose48809 and Ladyeagle. I couldn't agree more. It is sad that this is how the issues are being addressed, with such nastiness. Passion is wonderful, but you don't need to demonstrate passion with such venom.

Posted by: kkarageorge | February 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It is a well known fact that most of Mr. Obama's support comes from young people. I am a mother of that generation. I have 5 children between the ages of 35 and 23. I'm glad you young people are getting involved. However, it leaves me to think, what did I do wrong as a parent of this generation? What did the other parents do wrong. Yes, we taught you to be independent thinkers. However, I don't remember teaching mine to spew this hate filled venom. Why are you spewing it??? Because someone has an oppinion different from yours. You are spewing hate and don't even know the people you are spewing it about. You haven't met them. You are spewing it because of what??? Because they have a different political view than you??? If I find out one of this hateful, hurtful, rude statement are coming from any one of my 5 children. They will be getting a lecture like they haven't had since they were 17. Is this the "change" - "hope" - "it's our time" - "together we will unite the country" you have been taught? Sure don't sound like uniting to me. If this is what we have coming, I'm voting for the other side.

Posted by: rose48809 | February 14, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

To JPRS ) I was just asking what Obama did to deserve this as I have heard others stating that he deserves the nomination. That is a legitimate question. No need to get defensive.

Posted by: kkarageorge | February 14, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

kkarageorge, the bottom line is you need to do some research on your own.

You might ask yourself the question too: What makes a successful president?

For those of us who did due diligence on George W. Bush in 2000 there haven't been any real big surprises. He's been pretty much a disaster everywhere he's gone.

On the other hand, a guy like Obama has done a good job of forging coalitions even under difficult circumstances during his political career (going back to Illinois). He's got a first rate intellect -- an ability to prioritize, and on balance good judgment. I'm willing to risk a learning curve in his first year or so, because they guy has a great upside. He's not talking about 100 year wars, or more tax cuts at a time of record deficits; or rolling out a new slogan every week and over-stating his credentials.

So far he's run a smart campaign, and he's surrounded himself with good people -- even in the face of some pretty long odds he's run a good, clean campaign.

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

To cmsore: These are two distinct quotes from two people of this form:

That way you will be quickly bounced and Obama will get the nomination he deserves... and give the democrats a chance at winning in November!

And, that is why he will will handsomely in the rest of the primaries and earn the democratic nomination by the mandate of the electorate and go on to become the next president of our nation. America needs this change.

Those are just two comments that I happened to see. So yes, indeed people believe he deserves/has earned his way towards a democratic nomination. Mirror mirror on the wall...

Posted by: kkarageorge | February 14, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

She should withdraw from the race after congratulating Obama for doing such a great job of winning the last 5+ contests. She could do it for "the good of the Dem Party." However, since she doesn't have any class, to even acknowledge his wins, she'll happily destroy the Democrat Party before she gives up.

Posted by: anitabe | February 14, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The Mac vs.Obama polls in Key states are favoring Hillary! Just by a little.

Maryland exit polls showed nothing has changed in the dynamic of the race. Obama does will with the young, blacks, and latte drinkers. Maryland was 37 percent black and lots of rich voters. Hillery won women by a wide margin.

The Polls in Ohio and Texas add wight to this statement.

Reporters are not good with numbers so they kind of missed this story. (I am a demographer so I am good with numbers)

Va made me panic but 5 points of that loss was republicans voting for Obama.

Posted by: mul | February 14, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Should Hillary go negatve? No. Too late.
The Billary duo went negative between NH and SC. It cost her my vote. I think it cost her the whole campaign.

As CC analyzed it, going negative simply confirms voters' worst impressions of Hillary. There is no up side for her in it.

Posted by: ChokoChuckles | February 14, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I am a registered Independent voter. It frightens and disappoints me to see the level of hatred that people think is acceptable to level at another human being. it is one thing to be supportive of one candidate, but it is inexcusable, especially for those wanting a new kind of politics, to spew such venom.

I guess it all these folks would be willing to say these things to the candidates faces, and would not mind if their wives, girlfriends or mothers were attacked in the same manner.

Posted by: LadyEagle | February 14, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I understand the argument that if Clinton goes negative it will alienate all those who love Obama's message of change, and who want change in Washington. One small problem with all this change talk. Once someone is in the Whitehouse, Obama included, they are going to have to work within that Washington system if they want to get anything accomplished. So either Obama will fail as a President or he will have to become one of those Washington insiders himself. So on that note, who knows best how to work that system? Hillary Clinton!

Posted by: clint403 | February 14, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hillary wants FREE PRESS. I bet you one thing Obama will not sit down again in any more Debates like Hillary likes to do.

BILL, HILLARY, JOHN McCAIN AND BUSH and their WAR have ruined our Country. As Bill Clinton's Vote for NAFTA has ruined our Economy.

NAFTA signed into law by President Bill Clinton. [12/08/93].

They were Co-Presidents then, of course she supported it. They are trying to revise History because Bill Clinton signing that NAFTA Bill has caused America's economy to be in the horrible condition it is in.

Of Course Hillary now has to distance herself from the truth as always. She never admits she is wrong. Her Vote for the Iraq War was wrong on DAY 1 and she cannot admit she was wrong then.

Her Solutions are too late to fix the MESS she and HER HUSBAND have created.
This is her pattern of their Character.

We have SPENT BILLIONS AND BILLIONS on her WAR Vote, we have lost our young women and men in this War as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives.

Our Infrastructure is crumbling and we have to borrow from China, but yet her VOTE FOR WAR has nothing to with our poor economy.
Hillary and McCain are one in the same, of course they are BEST FRIENDS BFF.Hillary is like Bush, he cannot admit when he is wrong either.

But yet she has the SOLUTION to the MESS she and her President Husband has created.

What is so amazing they think they can fool the American People

Clintons' Terror Pardons

Obama need to read

Posted by: YTTP | February 14, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

hdimig, cite a source at least. Find a youtube clip or something. You're not credible basing your charges on memory.

Posted by: stvn_le | February 14, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It is no question in my mind that Hillary will go negative. It's not a matter of "should" but "when". You have got superdelegate Hillary-supporters like Jim Carville saying that if Hillary loses Ohio or Texas, then its over for her. With those type of statements in the media, Hillary knows she has to stop the Obama "wave" any way she can. I think Bill Clinton will go negative first and then Hillary.

Obama in 08!

Posted by: ajtiger92 | February 14, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"When did Obama "admit" to not liking policy work in a debate?"

He said it. I do not remember which debate it was. It was the same time he said his desk was messy. He said he did not like to immerse himself in the everyday details and that his leadership skills were higher level: setting a vision, inspiring, etc. Hillary of course said the details are important.

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Also, for every deed Clinton charges Obama with, Obama has an adequate and true response. That's why negatives hasn't been working against him.

Charges against Clinton? She seems to add further spin.

She won't release her financial information until "after she's nominated".

Her opposition to the Leven Amendment (an amendment that forced the US to get the United Nations permission before going to war with Iraq, but by no means restricts the US's abilities to defend themselves). Her defense was in her belief that it would've crippled the US's abilities to defend. False rebuttal.

The Obama campaign has Clinton's campaign outsmarted and outplayed.

Posted by: stvn_le | February 14, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

kkarageorge - what type of mirror world are you living in? Who here is saying the he deserves it? People say they think he's doing a great job, he has their support, they think he would make a good president and even that they are feeling he will win. Maybe 'he inspires me', 'he'd make a good president' or 'i think he'll win' are all sentiments of entitlement in twisted logic, but most Obama supporters would probably say that there is no entitlement to the presidency for anyone. More like a strong and refreshing possibility or even probability.

Alternatively, Clinton has acted like she has the nomination at various point, she and her supporters have insinuated that Obama should 'wait his turn' where there is some mythical pre-ordained order where she will be president before him and he's ruining it. Entitlement has much more frequently been a Clinton theme.

Posted by: cmsore | February 14, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse


What's there to discuss? This is just a campaign ad that uses fear tactics like Republicans and Bush. It doesn't present a point of view or idea to discuss.

Posted by: alterego1 | February 14, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

PROUD: You must have been out in the cold and are having a bad hair day. What it is there with the chill factor -40 or so?

Posted by: lylepink | February 14, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish someone would point out how ridiculous HRC's plan for fixing the foreclosure crisis really is. By "freezing" foreclosures, she is denying a company of their legal property. This would never hold up in court. The banks are merely exercising their contractual rights to the property. The only legal way to keep a foreclosure from happening is for the holder of the loan to voluntarily renegotiate the terms or give the homeowner more time to catch up. I've heard some legal experts say that her plan would require a constitutional amendment. If she tries to hammer Obama on her plan, she should be prepared for him to point this out.

Posted by: NMModerate1 | February 14, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I've an issue with the argument that Hillary is ready to go negative and is tough and ready for the republican fight against Mccain. She's losing to an Obama campaign. A campaign that is accused of being weak and whimpy and whiny. Hillary is losing this relatively soft fight and dares to argue that she's ready for a tougher one? I'm really at a loss as for how people buy into that.

Posted by: stvn_le | February 14, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I donated over $500 to this campaign because I worry about my children's future. Please discuss this if possible.
"Community Organizer for President"

He was a community organizer in an inner city Chicago. Then he wrote a book. Then he ran unopposed for the local state senate. Then he ran unopposed for a vacant Illinois state senate. And now he wants to be the president of the United States of America

The country is drifting from its historic path to an uncharted territory. Eight more years of experimentations and ill-conceived judgments even with good intentions could find our beloved United States unrecognizable and hard to correct. He said that he can not manage the nation but will hire good people.

In these times of the whole world is competing for our economy, jobs and livelihood it is very critical to methodically evaluate your choices and have the vision for future consequences. You must have the sound judgment and experience or we will find our selves in the richest third world country. With experience and competence come good judgment not just contents. But he will hire good people around him he said.

In the last few weeks the United States Navy had a close encounters with Russians fighter jets and Iranian navy boats in the Strait of Hormuz. One can restart the cold war with a nuclear nation and the other could stop the flow of most of the world's petroleum that could send the world into an economic recession and ciaos. Do you want a community organizer that can hire good people to navigate this?

The president we elect have to decide between differing consultants. He or she has to make a decision that the future of our nation and our children depends on. We need a president who will make the correct choices and keep this country prosperous and free and great as it always been. Please don't make us choose between an inexperienced community organizer and an opponent who supports the wrong war.

Lets take our country back and keep it the way it has always been, Great, Prosperous, Free, Strong and the beacon for freedom and democracy. I recommend you support Hillary Clinton now to lead the United States of America.

Thank You

Posted by: toraad | February 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I donated over $500 to this campaign because I worry about my children's future. Please discuss this if possible.
"Community Organizer for President"

He was a community organizer in an inner city Chicago. Then he wrote a book. Then he ran unopposed for the local state senate. Then he ran unopposed for a vacant Illinois state senate. And now he wants to be the president of the United States of America

The country is drifting from its historic path to an uncharted territory. Eight more years of experimentations and ill-conceived judgments even with good intentions could find our beloved United States unrecognizable and hard to correct. He said that he can not manage the nation but will hire good people.

In these times of the whole world is competing for our economy, jobs and livelihood it is very critical to methodically evaluate your choices and have the vision for future consequences. You must have the sound judgment and experience or we will find our selves in the richest third world country. With experience and competence come good judgment not just contents. But he will hire good people around him he said.

In the last few weeks the United States Navy had a close encounters with Russians fighter jets and Iranian navy boats in the Strait of Hormuz. One can restart the cold war with a nuclear nation and the other could stop the flow of most of the world's petroleum that could send the world into an economic recession and ciaos. Do you want a community organizer that can hire good people to navigate this?

The president we elect have to decide between differing consultants. He or she has to make a decision that the future of our nation and our children depends on. We need a president who will make the correct choices and keep this country prosperous and free and great as it always been. Please don't make us choose between an inexperienced community organizer and an opponent who supports the wrong war.

Lets take our country back and keep it the way it has always been, Great, Prosperous, Free, Strong and the beacon for freedom and democracy. I recommend you support Hillary Clinton now to lead the United States of America.

Thank You

Posted by: toraad | February 14, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is both a PC and a Mac. Shie is a computer who her handlers tell her how to oprerate. The campaign has change, but her program has not.

Posted by: kgills7 | February 14, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

hdimig -

When did Obama "admit" to not liking policy work in a debate? I've never heard him say that. And his speech on economic policy today suggests otherwise.

Posted by: alterego1 | February 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"We have heard this all before.
Let me see If i get this right.
Clinton "White" as she calls it.
Obama "Black" as she calls it.
Clinton a person that is serious about work.
Obama just a child who not only wishes for things he can never have and should stop expecting the American people to expect better."

Now this is what I mean here. You cannot criticize Obama at all without someone calling you predjudice or questioning your motives. That will wear thin in a hurry. Obama admits in a debate he does not like details or lots of policy (ie; work) and Hillary gets clubbed on the head for using that against him. Hipocrisy, double-standards, media man crushes. Oh boy!

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

One comment I've heard far too often is that Barack Obama deserves to be president. Please, someone explain to me why he deserves it because I just don't see it. Is it because Oprah loves him? Is is because his Senate record is that extensive and amazing? I guess I'm just not part of the Obama love fest. He certainly seems likeable, but that's about it. To run a country, give me a break.

Posted by: kkarageorge | February 14, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

>>But in contest after contest, from the state legislative level to the presidential level, this type of advertising gets results.

Except for Fred Thompson... and Mitt Romney.

Posted by: halloitsmark | February 14, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Clinton "debates" ad was well-executed, but a poorly conceived line of attack.

The Obama response ad hits the Clinton Team where it hurts -- deflating the charges as patently false.

There is no good rebuttal for the Clinton Team in Wisconsin.

Onward to states that "really matter".

Posted by: JPRS | February 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Clinton already has the highest negatives (and hard one) of the 3 candidates. Going negative will increase this; indeps. already break for McCain, and she's risking losing more of the dem. party IF she were to eke out/clutch/grab the nomination. Esp. if she would "win" it with superdelegates over pledged delegates, or for breaking her word in FL or MI - the damage to the party in Nov and LONG after that will be profound. We know she's smart - now we'll see if she cares about anything than herself... I personally have no longer any such illusions - I'll never forget her laughing and clapping when Bob Johnson was "doing his thing"... And I'll never forget she voted for a WAR without reading the 95-page classified NIE (no staffer had access to) - I bet she did read the polls that day......

Posted by: cafam | February 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Just what she needs to alientate the female vote. Attack Billary!

Posted by: kwakuazar | February 14, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

We have heard this all before.
Let me see If i get this right.
Clinton "White" as she calls it.
Obama "Black" as she calls it.
Clinton a person that is serious about work.
Obama just a child who not only wishes for things he can never have and should stop expecting the American people to expect better.

I am sorry, but OBAMA has Clinton pinned to the mat. He has out thought Hillary Clinton. She was so sure about herself she slept on the American people. So who is dreaming now?
Americans do not wan't Hillary Clinton. Does that count for anything?

It's not that she has not don some good work, but she has also left people hanging.
Bill Clinton also left people hanging because instead of admitting he cheated on his wife, he decided it was better to lie to everyone and wast tax payer dollars on a thing that could have been settled with honesty.

Sorry Clinton's but the worst thing about politics is it's not about you. It's about the American people and we don't have time to repeat the same old thing over and over.

Electing Hillary Clinton will bring little to no change. It will also hurt the Democratic party. So who is more important?
Are the American people more important than the Clintons?
Is the Democratic party more important than the Clintons?

We will find out!

Posted by: vicbennettnet | February 14, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

A dog's gotta bark and an artist has to paint... and a Clinton has to go negative, all the while insisting he/she is the victim. The Clintons may not have invented the politics of personal destruction, but they sure elevated it to an art form. Turn it on Hillary! You're Bill without the communication skills or charisma!

Posted by: foutsc | February 14, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton: Old thinking, old politics, old news.

Any attempt at the aforementioned "hip" ads would only underscore this, but would offer must-see irony.

Posted by: Goombay | February 14, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary goes negative on Obama it will be the coup-de-grace...the absolute end of her campaign. But with that bumbling idiot, Mark Penn around I suppose it's possible.

For a preview of Hillary going negative, you only have to look back a few short weeks to her husband's "So what, Blacks always win South Carolina" remark. That went well, huh?

Posted by: chasmack99 | February 14, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

going negative again? that's why she's in the predicament she's in now due to earlier tactics she and bill appears americans are tiring of these negative mean spirited tactics.i've noticed in the past couple of days hillary and mccain has been critical of mr.obama's speeches refering to them as having no substance.what mr.mccain & ms.clinton don't get is that in these bad economic times and times of war mr.obama's speeches gives people something to feel good about,it's a rallying point,people have"hope." mr.obama represents a freshness in which this country is rallying around. the swift boat tactics the republicans have utilized in the past elections will fall on deaf ears come this fall. people need hope and inspiration and these are the messages that are appealing and something the american people can rally around.people are tired of devisive politics.people are tired of white vs black,republican vs democrat,christians vs non-christicans,rich vs poor.we need a government that can bring about change and be effective.we as americans as we go to the polls we need to look at our politicans on both the state and national level to see if they are fit to return to office. changes are needed not only in the presidency but the senate,house of representatives,govenors and your state houses as well as your courthouses.

Posted by: ronaldtennillegeorgia1 | February 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Hillaryland Schizophrenia is her downfall:

For the first 9 months of the campaign Hillary was doing everything possible to lower her negatives in the PR world. That was the right tactic. But it wasn't followed through. Because of a series of missteps from November to January which included planting questions, snubbing the press and the local people she undercut her charm offensive.

That charm offensive won NH. Then she returned to being the fundamentally flawed, insecure candidate she had been from the start. Essentially she could not get out of her own way.

Posted by: yiannis | February 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

No Hillary can't go negative and partly becasue the press has been so easy on Obama they make him look untouchable to the Democrats- The Repbulicans won't be as nice to him.

But Hillary can begin to do ads that examine the differences on health care and challenge Obama on his "present" votes and on his lack of a record by comparing his to hers.

Also her ad regarding debates is not a negative ad. It is a factual ad.

The Washington Post Co had a great cartoon today by Lisa- two women on a couch- on with a heart shaped box of chocolates from Obama- the second woman says- but the box is empty- the one with the box says - but it gives me hope-

Posted by: peterdc | February 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Only then will she stop embarrassing her supporters"

Indeed, they embarrass themselves enough as it is...just look at poor lylepink.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I would think Hillary would be happy that Obama has not agreed to the debate, that way she doesn't have to step foot in that state. Oh and she should definately go negative. Run lots of smear campaigns just so if Obama actually does win then when McCain tries it he can just look like Hillary. Ann Coulter would love it.

Posted by: somua2 | February 14, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

to Hdimig re:
Rock Star events with adoring fans

(with dissenting opinions and real questions)

Emphasis on character instead of issues
(PuhLeeeze, I don't drink...anymore)

Tons o' spin
(Pretty Puhleeeze! even McCain's 'Fired Up)

Moral outrage when questioned or attacked
(If the Democrat party wins the mid-term elections, the terrorists will share the victory and America loses)

This is better than skeet shooting! Keep 'em coming and I'll keep shooting them down. (insert derisive term here)

Posted by: cassk1 | February 14, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"According to Donald, Lincoln was also fortunately unburdened by convention"

Obama is like: Lincoln, JFK, MLK, Ghandi, and Mother Theresa. Phew! 4 years of that will be excruciating.

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse


I had missed your comment. Thanks.

Posted by: _Colin | February 14, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"Why is someone who knows what to do on 'Day 1' having so much trouble figuring out what to do right now?"


Posted by: Stonecreek | February 14, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

She cannot benefit from going negative. Remember the last time she went negative, right before South Carolina (mostly through surrogates - Bill and that other dude I don't feel like looking it up right now) and WOW what a delicious backlash. She needs to decide on a platform (it's about time) and then highlight contrasts in policy from Obama (real ones, not made-up ones). Only then will she stop embarrassing her supporters.

Posted by: schencks84 | February 14, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Great to see that you've stopped trying to spread lies and slander against Obama and are now concentrating on meaningful argument. Doesn't it feel better?

I agree that we should be looking at ideas, but I still think that doesn't help Hillary. The problem is that either Democratic nominee will: provide better health care; reform the economy; repeal the Bush tax cuts; and shift our Iraq policy. Moreover, whatever proposals they are floating now will not resemble the final product if their elected.

If I'm right about the end goals being the same for either Democratic candidate, then we need to focus on (1) who can win in November and (2) who can best accomplish the mutually shared Democratic legislative goals. All the polls I've seen and McCain's adherence to Bush's war policy suggest to me that Barack is a better candidate to beat McCain. Moreover, look at the very real contrast he presents against McCain - he didn't vote for the Iraq war; he is young; he knows more about economics. Also, he lacks Clinton's baggage. For better or worse, people have made up their minds about Hillary, and she will have stiff opposition for whatever legislation she proposes. With Barack, at least we have a chance to get a few good bills signed before the GOP starts to really dig in their heels.

Posted by: alterego1 | February 14, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The Media will portray anything Hillary does in a negative way, just as they have been doing all along. I have said many times, I have never saw anything that can even come close to the Anti-Hillary bias shown by The Media from the start of the 2008 campaign. I have tried to think of everything I know about politics and simply cannot understand why or how all this hatred exists.

Posted by: lylepink | February 14, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a Mac and Clinton is a Commodore 64.

She has to win 60% of every remaining primary to catch Obama. Game's over, be nice or be hated.

Posted by: coumaris | February 14, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: druid73 | February 14, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Romney is doing nothing but building his case for 2012. Mittens stands for nothing but Mittens.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 14, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Clinton can't afford to go negative.

1. its plays into Obama's theme of breaking politics as usual.

2. Obama would turn around his theme of hope and use this as Hillary's theme of negativity

3. Hillary would look like a shrill and desperate person.

4. the Democratic establishment wil put huge amounts of pressure on her to NOT go negative. They can't afford to have Obama damaged coming out of the primary in the event that he wins.

No, Hillary needs to stay as far from negative as possible. For all the up to date talk on endorsements, polls and such though, you should visit my blog at

Posted by: skywrnchsr509 | February 14, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Spec, Yes, Romney will be joining fellow former-competitor Giuliani in endorsing John McCain for president this afternoon.

Too bad nobody on the left is able to secure that most-coveted endorsement from the Goracle. Even Edwards is not throwing his nod toward either one.

Looks like the Dems are in quite a bit of disarray, what with MI and FL voters being disenfranchised and the spectre of having to use the Supers to overcome a stalemate. the Ds are the stale idea party after all, it is fitting.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 14, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

WHAT! GO NEGATIVE AGAINST HIS HOLINESS OBAMA?? By definition that would make you a racist! No, let's just keep giggling like 14 year olds and sighing at his speeches. After 8 years of Bush, we obviously don't care about substance.

Posted by: familynet | February 14, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

colin, as I wrote on the previous thread, I am flabbergasted.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 14, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Why is someone who knows what to do on "Day 1" having so much trouble figuring out what to do right now?

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | February 14, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Go negative now, what has she been doing? Oh well I guess her husband doing it is not her. It's coming and Barack will be prepared for it with the line "there they go again." She just doesn't get it. While everyone wants a return to the peace and prosperity of the 90's, we also want to do it without scandal and together a whole country, democrats, republicans, and independents. Barack appeals to what it the best in us, which it that we have more in common than apart. The Clinton's will never understand that!

Posted by: nstudymine | February 14, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Willard Mittens Romney, he's going to endorse McCain.

"I was against McCain before I was for him."

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 14, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I want to second the observation made earlier by "jameswhanger" that "The problem with this strategy is, Hillary is more similar to the PC guy and Obama to the Mac guy. It may unintentionally highlight this."

Nonetheless, she has to go negative in some way. She needs to drag Obama down into the muck and make voters view him as akin to her. Then her "experience" pitch might resonate a bit better.

That said, she's in the position of the basketball team that has been trying to play the clock out but has lost the lead midway through the fourth quarter. Teams in that situation often get beat.

Posted by: bdfroms | February 14, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

JacksonLanders writes:
"Go negative. Attack, attack, attack. When the other guy is the front runner late in the race, this means that most people have decided that they are ok with him winning. He becomes the default and you are only going to cut into him by convincing voters that there is something wrong with him."

I agree. It is possible to go negative in a positive way, though. If she incorporates humor and uses Obama's own soundbites she could come up with a great ad.

Look at the "Tale of Two Mitts" ad by the McCain campaign (available on Youtube). It was an extremely effective ad becasue it was light and funny, but used Romney contradicting himself over and over. IMO, it was the best ad so far of the campaign season.

If team Hillary can come up with some old clips of Obama, and use them to show any waffling or uncertainty in answering questions or any thing that shows his wife as the loose cannon she is, and do it in a funny way, that would be the most effective.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 14, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hillary should calmly focus on the issues.

Her policy plans are infinitely better than Obama's.

She should encourage everyone to read the policy proposals on both web sites, especially the health care proposals, and make up their own minds.

If people take time to examine the issues they'll vote for Hillary.

She doesn't need to go negative.

Her ideas are the most positive thing the country has seen in years.

Posted by: svreader | February 14, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

NHillary should go honest.

The last time we saw the real Hillary was when she made the remark about tea and cookies in 1992. After that, she created an alter-ego because she was afraid to ruin Bill's chances.

If and only if she drops this persona she created 16 years ago will she ever have a chance at becoming President.

She is at heart an intense feminist and should embrace it...Americans prize honesty above all else. This warm and fuzzy Hillary is all bull.

Be real or lose it.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Capt. Denny Keast - thank you.

It is just ashame that Pres. Bush can't treat the rest of the American people as well as he treats those who protect him & his family.

Posted by: rhinohide | February 14, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

No, there's no salvation; for better or worse, Ms. Clinton's campaign is over, and the sooner she gracefully bows out the better.

Posted by: snowyphile | February 14, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I generally concur with your commentary about negative advertising. This campaign has, however, proven an anomaly in many ways. One has been the impact of 'going negative.' Mitt Romney and Bill Clinton have been the most high profile examples of negative attacks. Both have backfired and not seemed to substantially impact the target of the attack. Huckabee won Iowa. McCain won New Hampshire. Obama won South Carolina.

Maybe the dynamics of negative advertising have changed, at least for a time.

Posted by: aug10morris | February 14, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This wouldn't be considered negative would it?

Seems more like the truth...considering the evidence.

A group of citizens walk into Senator Barack's office.
They say: We believe the Excelon Nuclear plant is leaking tritium into our drinking water.
Barack says: How dare they! Let's have a meeting. I am going to write a bill that supports mandatory reporting of leaks at the lowest of levels.
Citizens say: YEAH!
Barack says: Here's my bill Excelon.
Excelon says: Excuse me Senator, could we speak to you for a moment in private?
Barack says: I am a uniter, of course you can.
Barack says: Hey, I just got myself two new fundraisers and 214 new donors from Excelon. Thank you citizens for introducing me.

Posted by: darlamc | February 14, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary Clinton plans to use Bill again as the vessel for her negative attacks (remember the racial coding?), she should think again.

Bill's frequently angry outbursts, seemingly symbolic of his wife's campaign gone awry, seem eerily like the scene from the old movie "King Kong"(1933), where the beast holds a terrified Fay Wray aloft while he roars "Love Me! Love Me!"

Actually the metaphor appears to address several levels of the Clintonian reality, no?

Wonder how they are spending their Valentine's Day.

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 14, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

There's not even a sentence or thought in this blog post raising the question of whether negative attacks are an appropriate strategy to win the presidency. There's nothing that considers the consequences of what happens when a candidate for president appeals to the public's fears or dislikes about another candidate, and whether that is good for the country. In recent years we've seen how the country suffers when a president wins only by attacking other candidates, instead of making an argument on the candidate's own merit. This is a political blog, but one sentence or thought about what is in the national interest could have been useful. It's important to look at the context of how politics fits into the bigger picture.

Posted by: johnc_80 | February 14, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mark & Jim -- If you happen to read this, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on McCain's decision to vote AGAINST the Feinstein amendment that would prohibit waterboarding. I know you are both big fans of Senator McCain, but this strikes me as exactly the kind of pandering that he's engaged in over the last several years which, for me at least, really undermines his so-called "straight talk" reputation. And, obviously, this is not a trivial issue at all.

I've long thought that a GE matchup between Obama and McCain would be great for the country. With some of McCain's recent conversions, and his disingenuous twising of Mitt Romney's record leading up to Florida, I'm starting to think that he may run the GE campaign that the advisers he hired away from GWB want him to run. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm not.

Posted by: _Colin | February 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

some newbie moron wrote: "Ridiculously irrelevant and vapid. Contribute something intelligent or don't contribute at all."

You freaking idiot, have you read some of the posts on here? Lighten up or find a board for humorless drones like yourself.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 14, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Odds are that it won't work but I suppose that she ought to do it anyway. There are no really good choices for Clinton at this point. She's losing and has zero momentum. Any course of action carries a high risk of failure.

She's the underdog now. And without a movement behind you, there is a very short list of classic underdog tactics that someone in her position has to reach for.

1. Demand lots of debates. It's free media and there's always a chance that your opponent will stumble or otherwise create a new opening for you, live and on camera.

2. Go negative. Attack, attack, attack. When the other guy is the front runner late in the race, this means that most people have decided that they are ok with him winning. He becomes the default and you are only going to cut into him by convincing voters that there is something wrong with him.

3. Pitch big ideas. Have some timely, major idea that can be a policy centerpiece which distinguishes you from the opponent. Never, ever shut up about it.

Those are the fundamental tactics of a potentially successful underdog campaign. If Clinton's campaign strategists have faced up to the fact that they are truly losing, then we will see the campaign employ all 3 of these major tactics in the next 3 weeks.

Posted by: JacksonLanders | February 14, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Barack and company should not be bullied into debates that they do not need. She is desperate for attention after ignoring the smaller states because they did not have enough delagates to be important to her. Barack, do not change your game play now, it is not broke so please do not let her bully you into trying to fix it.

Posted by: lvdragonlady | February 14, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

miraclestudies | February 14, 2008 01:15 PM

Great comment, incomplete spelling.


Posted by: rfpiktor | February 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

It's sad but I think that the Clinton campaign is going to resort to negative ads that will turn off the electorate so that there will be lower turn out. A lower turn out favors Hillary, because she has connections with the party and labor union turn out the vote machines.

HRC would like to taint Obama, so that even if Obama prone voters don't like her and will not vote for her, they will, hopefully stay home and not vote at all. The ads will try to place doubt in the minds of potential Obama voters and/or turn them off to the whole election process.

Posted by: maddymappo | February 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Burn the village, Hillary. It's the only way to save it.

Posted by: Brian15 | February 14, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's questioning of the relevance of Hillary Clinton's type of "experience" in confronting the new challenges the United States faces remains supremely relevant and receives validation from an interesting case in American history.

It also points to why Obama's outsider status might actually be just what is needed to successfully restore the U.S. to international political creditworthiness.

Lincoln biographer David Herbert Donald showed how what might have been perceived as the Great Emancipator's serious shortcomings as a war president and commander in chief actually turned out to be some of his greatest assets.

Remember, Lincoln came to the presidency having only meager experience--much less than Sen. Obama's--in public office, let alone experience in the Executive Branch.(Lincoln's experience in the military was limited to little more than two months service during the Black Hawk War.)

According to Donald, Lincoln was also fortunately unburdened by convention, precedent, and standard operating procedures in facing war's challenge.(The parallels with Obama kind of leap from the page, no?)

However, Lincoln was also a quick study who grew into greatness through trial and error in pursuing the most significant of his goals.

Lincoln also knew democracy's ancient lessons. When Cicero finished speaking, the people said, "My, how well he spoke." But when Demosthenes finished speaking the people said, "Let us march!"

"Public sentiment is everything," Lincoln noted. "With it, nothing can fail, against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions. He makes possible the enforcement of these, else impossible."

Martin Edwin Andersen
Churchton, Maryland

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 14, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

First, abutterbutt, don't post in all-caps. Nobody reads those comments anyway.

Second, bobbywc, not having any scheduled stops in south Texas yet is not writing off Texas. The next primary on the schedule is Wisconsin, and the campaign probably does not have events planned much beyond the day or two after next Tuesday at this point. Campaigns in the height of primary season avoid scheduling too far in advance because plans necessarily change. Were you to look at Clinton's schedule, you won't find many events scheduled more than a week ahead of time either. Even if they were, the campaign would not want to release this information.

Clinton is the one who is shockingly writing off states at the moment, and I imagine that Obama will be in Ohio and Texas, including south Texas, in force starting Tuesday. On the other hand, why Clinton is avoiding Wisconsin is beyond me. It's as if she wants to rack up another embarrassing loss at this point.

Posted by: blert | February 14, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Let her go negative, it will just be another sign of her desperation and will hurt her more then it helps. Bring it on!!

Posted by: lvdragonlady | February 14, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"On the ads in particular, or on Windows vs. Macs in general? I use Windows; I'll admit it. And I'm sure a bearded hippie like yourself uses a Mac. "

Bearded hippies use Linux, which is what I run on an ancient PC that doesn't have the horsepower to run any recent version of Windows. I'm too cheap to buy new these days. I did get my wife a mini Mac. I can see your point on the ads, though I don't think they're quite as meanspirited as you seem to.

Posted by: bsimon | February 14, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

abutterbutt, your criticism of the lame job the media does explaining the issues, a criticism I share, would be enhanced by learning about lower case letters.

Though an Obama supporter, I do think he mesmerizes some parts of the media. But that raises the question: given that fact, why would we want to run someone that the media LOVES (see how much more effective capitalization can be when you limit it to one word rather than your entire rant?) to hate? I have no doubt, if Clinton "wins" the nomination, the media will go into overdrive to take her down. It ain't fair, but it seems to be reality. For once we have a candidate the media tip toes around and can't figure out how to destroy. I say we run with him.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | February 14, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The problem with this strategy is, Hillary is more similar to the PC guy and Obama to the Mac guy. It may unintentionally highlight this.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

McCain and Clinton like to call Obama light on details. You cite her Wisconsin ad as detailing how she would fix the economy and the health care system in one ad. I live in Wisconsin and I have not seen any 72+ hour ads detailing how she would fix the economy AND health care. Could you detail that size of a fix in even 72 hours? I can give you an overview of how to replace your car's alternator in 30 seconds, but details on how to fix the economy AND health care? None of them have details, they all have broad platitudes they like to call details.

I think you answered your own question on why HRC going negative wouldn't help. But you forgot to mention the two reasons she's behind right now 1) she did not build an organization in every state months ago and Obama did and 2) after she regained momentum in NH she went negative with a southern strategy. She could have put out the message, we'll try in SC but we'll lose, taken a discounted lump and secured a 5-10 pt victory in all or most of the Feb 5 primary states. Instead she went neo-dixiecrat, infuriated many democrats and let Obama tie her on Feb 5. They tried negative once and it blew up. But she did do a favor for Republicans, she showed them what could happen if they go negative incorrectly.

On the other hand, what does she have to lose? Ohio is not a sure thing and she could easily win Texas the same way she won Nevada.

Posted by: caribis | February 14, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Spectator2 wrote:

I just thought of something:

Barack Obama and Tim Meadows: separated at birth?


Ridiculously irrelevant and vapid. Contribute something intelligent or don't contribute at all.

Posted by: brickerd | February 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, the only person that that I heard Hillary go negative about last night during her appearance at St. Mary's University in San Antonio was President George W. Bush, her comment working the crowd into a frenzy.

She did point out last night the policy differences between her and Obama--one smart operator, that Hillary.

Posted by: laloomis | February 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The majority of American voters tend to vote for political candidates for two basic reasons: they like the candidate personally, or to a lessor degree, admire them philosophically. Clinton and Obama share the same political philosophy, but differ in personality and style. For better or worse, the "likeability" factor seems to carry more weight.

If Clinton goes negative, her "likeability" factor will go down. It doesn't make any sense to possibly alienate any undecided voters at this stage of the campaign. As was the case in South Carolina, when Bill Clinton was seen as going negative, and in the debate where both Obama and Clinton went after each other, the public was turned off.

Democrats are tired of feeling bad about their politicians and their government. They are looking for a leader to offer hope for a better tomorrow. They seem to have found one.

Besides, the Mac vs. PC ad analogy doesn't fit here because Obama is the Mac.

Posted by: compuart | February 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"They joke that comparing Laura Bush with Hillary Clinton is like comparing 'Mother Teresa' with the 'Wicked Witch of the North."

I'm not really up on Wizard of Oz trivia (not that there's anything wrong with that), but wasn't the witch of the North a good witch?

Posted by: youcrew | February 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Where is Obama today by the way? Anyone else think he's meeting with Edwards?

Posted by: CH1234 | February 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Should Hillary go negative?

well i would have to agree with everyone in here,considering she already went negative on her. to go any futher, and go back to the slash and burn politics could just doom her even if she does win the nominatinon.

besides i thought the rule was that the first person who goes negative loses?

Posted by: jaymills1124 | February 14, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

One Mr. Srivastava, has wild and woolly Machiavellian plans for triumph:

39. February 13th, 3:26 pm

"Hillary, in order to win her "firewall states", namely Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, has to do the following:

1. She has to forget political correctness and start attacking Obama vigorously, albeit, without using the race card. She has over-learned her lesson from the South Carolina primary. Why can't she talk like McCain? Refer to the following:

"To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope," McCain said. "It is a platitude."

2. Use Bill Clinton and other surrogates to serve as attack dogs and let Obama act defensive! You will be surprised how fast he forgets his message of hope and starts defending himself ineffectually, embarrassingly and stammeringly.

3. Crush Obama in the 02/21/08 CNN debate! Obama is a great orator , but not a very good debater!

4. Have negative ads against Obama. Everybody hates negative ads, but time and again, they have proved to be effective!

5. Point out as many times as possible that Obama's campaign is a bubble of rhetoric that needs to be punctured with the pin of reality! He is an "emperor with no clothes on!" and somebody has to point that out!" -- Posted by Pradeep Srivastava

My humble reply to his audacity of wishful thinking:

Sen. Obama, as we speak, is on a whole new level.

Mrs. Clinton has already tried your little scheme in S.C. but maybe now that you are all fired up and ready you can lead the path and make it work, AGAIN!

Go tell Mrs. Rodham Clinton your reactive little plan.-- Posted by piktor

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 14, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh please please please Ms. Clinton go negative... go on the attack and let that mud fly! That way you will be quickly bounced and Obama will get the nomination he deserves... and give the democrats a chance at winning in November!

Posted by: rikkirat | February 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza: "The ad then goes on to detail Clinton's plan to fix the economy and the health care system."

I'd hardly call the one-liners about health care and foreclosures "details". C'mon.....

Posted by: jdnug | February 14, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: abutterbutt | February 14, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Fair question, Chris, but incomplete.

The real quandry for Hillary Clinton is that in going negative she will also come across as more AUTHENTIC.

Which will actually end up highlighting her own biggest negative, i.e., that the public arena "nice Hillary" is just so clearly INauthentic.

It's a classic Catch-22.

Posted by: miraclestudies | February 14, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

As a woman, I don't support Hillary precisely because I feel she is the wrong woman to represent me. She has already gone negative many times with Obama and so I see her as ruthless. If she goes negative with her ads that will only compound this attitude in myself. How do I support a ruthless woman? I can't. That is not the type of role model I want for my daughter. Be ruthless. Be Lady Macbeth. Win at all costs. That just doesn't sit well with me. And plenty of women feel this way. We want the right woman, not the wrong one.

Posted by: goldie2 | February 14, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Only a foaming wingnut would attack Laura, she's about as non-conterversial person as you can get.

As much as I don't like McCain, I have to recognise reality that he will be our next President. Why, because I have no doubt, that hook or crook, the Clintons will rob this nomination from Obama.

Posted by: vbhoomes | February 14, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"Will it work?" !!!

The question really is: why do you want it to work?!? The sooner this country is done with Hillary, the sooner it can begin to heal itself from her brand of bloodsucking polarization politics!

Posted by: cedricguss | February 14, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I just thought of something:

Barack Obama and Tim Meadows: separated at birth?

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 14, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I certainly agree that Senator Clinton shouldn't go negative in the personal and vituperative way the Obama supporters on this list go after her.
However, I think ads that calmly lay out the differences between their positions and approaches and suggest that her's might be better for the country could be appropriate and effective.
Finally, I hope Senator Clinton's margins in Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas reflect the number of PC users in this country and that Senator Obama's reflect the number of Mac users. :-)

Posted by: pjd56 | February 14, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest, the real impediment to Hillary going negative is that she has accumulated several lifetimes of scandals and may still be going strong. (When are we going to see her tax returns? Donors to the Clinton presidential library? Her records as First Lady?) Obama is a master at delivering a put down in a sort of apologetic "sorry to bring this up but I have to" kind of way. If Hillary goes negative expect to hear a lot more about her tax returns. That is an issue that Obama can HAMMER her on because she really has no principled defense since she's already said she'll release them after the primary. What sense does that make?

Posted by: CH1234 | February 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

To reinforce my argument, this from the horse's mouth:

Mr. Plouffe said by his count, Mr. Obama had won 14 states by a margin of over 20 percentage points or more; Mrs. Clinton has won two states by that margin.

Another Democratic insider,Mr. Wilhelm, does not fancy the Billary fast sinking jalopy:

"He has out-worked her, out-organized her and out-raised her," Mr. Wilhelm said. "I know organizational excellence when I see it, and the Obama campaign, win or lose, will serve as a model" of execution of strategy, message discipline, application of new technology and small-donor fund raising. -David Wilhelm

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 14, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but I think Hillary is done, no matter what she does. She is playing the game the old way. She sounds like ever other Democrat that has run for the last 30 years (my memory). Obama does not. She is constitutionally unable to reshape her message given her age and her life experience. What is interesting is that even the old time Democrats are abandoning her for Obama. My parents, in their 70's, have already voted for Obama by absentee ballot. I am taking my son, aged 12, tomorrow to see Obama at UW Oshkosh. I decided that no matter how much I would love to see a woman as President, I can't take any more of the cynical approach to politics as usual. If she goes negative, it will simply underscore that. And since she cannot re-invent herself as a person and a politican at this late date, she is done. Who would have thought Wisconsin would ever be relevant in picking the candidate? It has never happened before.

Posted by: melody | February 14, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Ejeanbob1, take your lying, '90's era, Clinton paranoia back under your bridge. I'm an Obama supporter, but this image of Hillary Clinton as a cold hearted, bossy you-know-what has more to do with your inability to adapt to a world in which men are not god-like beings lording it over women. Frankly her ALLEGED brusqueness with her security detail is the least of my worries. And the Bushes, those friends of the workingman (!), stay home for the holidays, huh? That's funny, because Shrub spends a lot of time in Crawford, including every holiday I can remember, so I call BS on that.

And don't EVEN start in on Al Gore. Let's see: veteran, Senator, Vice-President, Nobel Laureate, Statesman. When you move out of your parents' basement, let me know.

I'm looking for Obama to beat Clinton for the right reasons, and I don't want any help from you, slime peddler.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | February 14, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"We've had 8 years of a president elected primarily on the basis of his character and our country is in ruins."

Get ready for 4 more years because that is what Obama is running on. Look at the parallels with GWB:

Rock Star events with adoring fans

Emphasis on character instead of issues

Tons o' spin

Moral outrage when questioned or attacked

The difference is the spin is coming from a smiling semi-hippy looking dude instead of a creep like Karl Rove.

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree. Hillary's only shot now is to go hard negative against McCain. Make him respond to her. Keep her in the news as being attacked by him. This may or may not work. But it won't leave a bad taste in the mouth of most democrats the way the going negative against O'bama would.

Posted by: justdamian | February 14, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

'I don't know about the rest of you, but I would send my cat to Pakistan and Israel and Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to negotiate on my behalf before I'd send Laura Bush.'

I don't think Laura is allowed to leave the house. She never seems to.

Posted by: drindl | February 14, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

hdimig, you have distorted the sordid tale of events. There was no spin on the MLK/LBJ comment made by Hillary; she said in on national television and dug her own hole. Bill Clinton ranted with puce-colored face at Darmouth about the "biggest fairy tale I ever heard of in my life." Hillary did work for Wal-Mart, that fine employer whose sense of corporate responsibility is only matched by its greed and avarice. Hillary was a loyal foot soldier for the brass on the board. So where is the inaccuracies? Where?

Posted by: meldupree | February 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Clinton may not need to go negative - Obama either out of incredible incompetence or contempt wrote off South Texas today. The Brownsville Herald is reporting Obama's campaign has no clear dates set aside for visiting South Texas - but he will - eventually.

When this hit the Herald my phone began to ring with Obama supporters claiming disbelief. Even George W. Bush understood he who controls South Texas controls Texas, which is why Republicans campaign here nearly 24/7 and which is why they control the state.

If Obama loses history will record that loss as occuring on February 14, 2008 when he wrote off South Texas. People are mad and feel betrayed.

How very very sad.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | February 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Please pass this on. It is important for Americans to have a true inside understanding of their President... and also the woman who is currently a candidate for president."

I do not give two figs for what a nice lady Hillary Clinton is or is not, and I don't care how she and her husband treat each other, as it is neither any of my business nor the business of the American electorate. It is NOT important to me whether or not my president is a nice guy or gal, and it is NOT important to me to have an "inside understanding" of the character of the president. We've had 8 years of a president elected primarily on the basis of his character and our country is in ruins.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I would send my cat to Pakistan and Israel and Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to negotiate on my behalf before I'd send Laura Bush.

Posted by: VegetablesPlease | February 14, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think Hillary is doing a terrible job of drawing contrasts between herself and Obama -- she is struggling to explain the whole "change requires experience" concept, but it's an important point.

I also don't understand why she is avoiding the biggest distinction of all between her and Obama -- she is a WOMAN. Once the media-created momentum around Obama has subsided (which it will after the convention when the media becomes bored of this particular storyline), at the end of the day, he is still a man, and he will approach governing this country like a man. A woman would bring a completely different perspective, especially compared to the overgrown frat boy that's been running the country for the last eight years.

For some reason, though, Hillary is not highlighting this fact, and by avoiding it, she lets other people define what this means (just look at some of the negative posts before mine). I know there are people who will refuse to vote for a woman (any woman), but there are a lot of people who WOULD vote for one, precisely because they know what a change she would bring.

(By the way -- I'm a man...)

Posted by: jcostantino | February 14, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Mac is clearly *not* going to be ready on Day One.

Mac may be flashy, but we word process in prose, not in poetry.

Besides, have you seen Mac's desk? It's a mess...

Posted by: rpy1 | February 14, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: On the ads in particular, or on Windows vs. Macs in general? I use Windows; I'll admit it. And I'm sure a bearded hippie like yourself uses a Mac. (As does my fiancee and several friends, one of whom used to work for Apple.) But I don't dislike the ads because they criticize a product I use; I dislike them on their own merits. Mac is a smarmy jerk who picks on the friendly, nerdy PC. I don't see how that makes anyone want to buy a Mac.

Posted by: Blarg | February 14, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Should Hillary Clinton go negative? No. Hillary Clinton should go home. The Democratic Party and the country will both be better off.

Posted by: Bob22003 | February 14, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Here's why anything and everything won't work for Hillary: she is toast, damaged goods, yesterday's news.

Now, numbers are against her. She would need 20-plus percentage point wins in all next races to beat Obama in the delegate count.

Can't happen, won't happen. She's toast.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, it is obvious you don't have a Mac; I have used Windows for twenty plus years before buying a Mac. I love my Mac and will never, ever, go back. Just like will never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton. A woman president? Yes, when she is the rigth one. Hillary isn't right for the country. Senator Clinton will make a fine Senate majority Leader.

Posted by: meldupree | February 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

One other question for the Hillary-philes: What exactly IS her experience? After botching the health care issue, what was next? I can only think she means her ceremonial duties at White House receptions...hardly proof for being "ready from day one."

Posted by: al_jal | February 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"The facts speak for themselves: Hillary has disparaged and belittled Senator Obama from the beginning, her 'attack dog' hubby dismissed him as 'fairy tale'"

How many times can this be re-iterated: for every smear you list here there are at least a couple by Obama: "Senator Punjab", "Nevada Republicans register as Democrats to vote against Hillary", The MLK/LBJ negative spin, The Walmart board snipe, I you can go on and on. People are not real objective when it comes to Obama are they?

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse


I have a PC - and I think those ads work. Every time Mac says something negative, my gut reaction is "me, too." I'll do the research before I buy, but the Mac/PC ads have at least prompted me to ask my Mac user friends if they're happy - and I never really considered a Mac before.

Having said that, the problem is that I think Clinton in the "hip" Mac role is a stretch. Wonder what Barack uses?

Posted by: -pamela | February 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The problem for Hillary is she's the PC and Obama is the Mac.

Posted by: kelly | February 14, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

this may be the first election in a couple of generations where attack ads won't work well. So far they havent been able to slime either Obama or McCain, although not for lack of trying. The attempts at both failed miserably in South Carolina. McCains only real skeleton is Lincoln Savings and Loan from the early 80's, Obama doesnt seem to have many. Could be an interesting race presuming Hillary loses.

Posted by: chet_brewer | February 14, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Should Hillary go negative? Hillary has already, though her lapdog Governor Rendell, who believes white people would not vote for a black candidate (despite Obama's wins in places like Idaho, Maine, and Nebraska, which according to the latest census, have a negligible minority population). Hillary has gone negative when she sacked Solis Doyle (after parading Solis Doyle around to appease the Latino(a) population and solidify their support). We already talked about her Wisconsin ads. But as my late grandmother said, "Help yourself." Hillary, go negative so America can really see who you are unvarnished. Go right ahead!

Posted by: meldupree | February 14, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

As a UW Madison graduate living in California, it was uplifting to see that great speech by Obama at the Kohl Center. Hillary Clinton's petty negative debate ad provides nothing to help understand why she is better able to solve Americans problems. Obama has agreed to a debate on February 21 so he is obviously not ducking debates.
Negative campaigning is what she describes as the "fun part" of the electoral process. Maybe that is why she as gone to from presumptive nominee to playing catch up. Am I the only one that sees hypocrisy in criticizing Obama for not debating while choosing to not run a full scale campaign in Wisconsin? Shame on her.

Posted by: scarr1 | February 14, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

To be more correct, shouldn't this be titled 'SHOULD HILLARY GO MORE NEGATIVE?'

The facts speak for themselves: Hillary has disparaged and belittled Senator Obama from the beginning, her 'attack dog' hubby dismissed him as 'fairy tale', she pooh-poohed every one of his resounding victories, and even now is scheming to see how to lay claim to the MI & FL delegates (states where all other candidates abided by party rules and she did not) in a desperate attempt to win at any cost. The problem is, the more she does this, going more and more negative, the less relevant her campaign and candidacy becomes to an America that is eager to change from 'politics as usual'. That is what Barack Obama represents. And, that is why he will will handsomely in the rest of the primaries and earn the democratic nomination by the mandate of the electorate and go on to become the next president of our nation. America needs this change.

Posted by: sairam1 | February 14, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal. Obama needs to be attacked and attacked hard. Not by Hillary, though, but by someone, be it a surrogate or an early assault by Right Wing Smear Boat types. It is the only thing that worries me about his nomination. He is fresh meat for the Rabid Right and their hands off him right now speaks volumes to me for what they plan on doing. Hillary, for all her faults and all her negatives has been dragged through the coals for over 16 years. They got nothin' left on her. Negative campaigning won't work and they will be forced to debate the issues. And we all know they lose on the issues.

I had a chance to sit down with Sen Obama a couple years ago:
I found him to be a real genuine individual, not some stuffy Senator or uppity type. Since Richardson left the race I have no dog in this fight, and will support with all my vigor the eventual nominee. I just hope whomever that is can withstand the onslaught of the Smear Boaters. Hillary's a known, and will be pretty Teflon to their attempts, with Sen Obama, it is an unknown, and we saw what they did to a war hero like Kerry.


Posted by: anokaflash | February 14, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, you are SO on the wrong side of the PC v Mac thing.

Posted by: bsimon | February 14, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

How could she be any more negative than she already is: a shrill and bitter harpy whose most genuine moments have been shedding crocodile tears? The only room for negativity is the "inexperience" issue, but it just makes her own experience seem like cynicism. Plus, her own "experience" is really a series of bad judgment and public relations fiascoes. Wal-Mart, Travelgate, Health Care, cookies, throwing friends under the bus, the list goes on.

Posted by: bondjedi | February 14, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Billary has to go negative as soon as possible, as what are the positive's she possibly be campaigning on?

Posted by: nonneocon | February 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

She and her husband have tried that already and that when things started going south for them. Very risky.

Posted by: zbob99 | February 14, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The Mac vs. PC ads are an excellent example. They feature the hip, fun Mac, and the boring, lame PC. They're supposed to make you like the Mac. But, for me at least, they don't work. PC gets all the funny lines, and is played by the hilarious John Hodgeman. Mac just insults PC with false claims about Windows, and is played by the obnoxious Justin Long. Those ads make me smile, but they don't make me want to buy a Mac. They'd be brilliant if they weren't trying to promote Apple.

The analogy to Hillary's attack ads is obvious. She can try to attack Obama with traditional negative ads, but it's only going to hurt her. He's rubber and she's glue.

Posted by: Blarg | February 14, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

CC, come on, stop suspending your disbelief with Billary. They have been running an extremely negative campaign already. Race-baiting, "fairy tale", calling him Reagan-loving, and patronizing him are negative campaigning. Maybe a true contrast ad would work, but there's not a whole lot to contrast. Give it up - people don't like Billary, so there's no reason to force her on us.

Posted by: freedom41 | February 14, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hillary shouldn't go negative. What Hillary SHOULD do is to go home (whichever state that is this year) and take Bill with her. I'm tired of this cold, calculating carpet-bagger and even more tired of the potential for more scandal with Billary loose in Washington. And I'm a registered Democrat!!

Posted by: al_jal | February 14, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, Chris? "How about the "slum lord" reference to Tony Rezko?" That was made in the South Carolina debates in response to Obama pointing out her position on the Wal-Mart board? Why is that used as proof that Hillary Clinton has a willingness to go negative?

Posted by: ghokee | February 14, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton going negative would only reaffirm Obama's charge that she wants to continue the toxic politics-as-usual style of governing that has destroyed Washington over the past 20 years."

At the same time Obama has been able to demonize Hillary as a status quo candidate who will do anything to get elected and has no new ideas. Obama has been given a free pass while his campaign generates spin and sly negativity like a Whirlpool. I can only theorize as to why this is the case. Race?, Oprah?, media love fest?, I just don't really know. I for one would love to see someone throw a haymaker at the guy.

Posted by: hdimig | February 14, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Did negative campaigning work for Hillary in South Carolina?

Posted by: jcrozier1 | February 14, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I can back up at least part of Capt. Denny Keast's story about Hillary not being liked by the Secret Service. This Tuesday, I was at WJLA dropping off some digital videocassettes for an unnamed correspondent and also picking up a DVC from the same. In front of the building (1100 Wilson Bldv), there were some Hillary supporters and furter down were five secret service agents. After I left, I yelled "Hillary sucks" to the supporters. As I walked by the agents, all who which heard my comments, they all had smiles on their faces. I'm glad I could get them to smile, because they didn't look happy to be there before that.

Posted by: bryan2369 | February 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign has already tried the negative route through various surrogates and has gotten burned every time. It forced her to lock Bill in the bathroom with a gag in his mouth.

Besides, what's she going to use for an issue?

Lack of experience? Nobody cares.
Lack of substance and specifics? Her voter base doesn't understand or want specifics.
Unwillingness to debate? What, after non-stop debates for months, who cares?
Iraq? Oops, that's a loser for Hillary.
Health Care? The younger voters don't care, and the older voters remember that it was Hillary who destroyed the single-payer movement for a generation.
The economy? This might be a good one for her. She can explain how a public servant amasses $5 Million to lend her campaign.
So what's left? Call him a Muslim? Or maybe start a rumor that he has fathered two black children?

Posted by: Stonecreek | February 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ejeanbob1, please don't spam here. This is where adults converse.

I hope Hillary goes negative because it will play directly into Obama's "change" message.

How can Hillary promise any kind of change in the way politics are conducted if the first thing she turns to when things get rough is negative advertising?

Posted by: thecrisis | February 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's claim to be a 'doer' rings hollow, given the lack of any kind of record of accomplishment. Voters seem to be catching on to this false advertising. Not unlike Giuliani, it seems that as voters get to know Clinton and Obama better, Clinton's numbers fall & Obama's numbers rise. I suppose her goal could be to suppress the Obama turnout, but thus far that strategy does not appear to be working. I suspect it won't. Her real challenge is to demonstrate an ability to lead. I don't know if an ad campaign thrown together in a couple days can accomplish such a feat - particularly given her lack of a record of such leadership*.

* I don't count the healthcare thing in the 90s, because it wasn't successful.

Posted by: bsimon | February 14, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

'It is important for Americans to have a true inside understanding of their President'

I'm afraid that most of us already do.

Posted by: drindl | February 14, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think the electorate is getting too savy for the pathetic negative ads to work. I live in Maryland where Albert Wynn tried every mud slinging cheap shot he could think of and he didn't just lose- he was pulverized! I received about 8 negative robo-calls from Wynn talking about Edwards' financial troubles. I hopped on the internet and quickly found that she got behind on her mortgage and loans due to hospital bills and all her bills were paid in full when she got better. Instead of making me think Edwards was irresponsible, it made me think Wynn was a jerk. With the internet information stream it is too easy to find the real story behind the nasty charges.

Posted by: cminmd | February 14, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary goes negative, she'd better hire the "Mac and PC" ad team - fast. The Wisconsin ad has a whiny, sour grapes tone, sort of "Barack won't come out and play with me." That's what stuck in my mind - and it didn't leave me feeling amused or postive about her.

Posted by: -pamela | February 14, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

For those who don't know... Capt. Denny Keast flies for UAL and flew many SAM's (Special Air Mission's) for the White House.


I flew four Presidential support missions in the C-141 out of Dover AFB, DE.. Two for President Johnson and two for President Nixon. Johnson was a first class jerk and on the two occasions I flew for him, if the Secret Service and t heir Liaison in the Pentagon hadn't intervened, we would have had to stay on the airplane for hours while he (Johnson) was off somewhere. Nixon never required that and the four (4) stops we made with him he was cordial to the Secret Service and to me and my crew.

We had a neighbor when I lived in DC who was part of the Secret Service presidential detail for many years. His stories of Kennedy and Johnson were the same as those I heard from the guys who flew the presidents' plane.

Yes, Kennedy did have Marilyn Monroe flown in for secret 'dates,' and LBJ was a typical Texas 'good ole boy' womanizer. Nixon, Bush 41, and Carter never cheated on their wives. Clinton cheated, but couldn't match Kennedy or LBJ in style or variety.

The information below is accurate: The elder Bush and current President Bush make it a point t thank and take care of the air crews who fly them around. When the president flies, there are several planes that also go, one carries the armored limo another the security detail, plus usually a press aircraft.

Both Bushes made it a point to stay home on holidays, so the Air Force and security people could have a day with their families.

Hillary Clinton was arrogant and orally abusive to her security detail. She forbade her daughter, Chelsea, from exchanging pleasantries with them. Sometimes Chelsea, miffed at her mother's obvious conceit and mean spiritedness, ignored her demands and exchanged pleasantries regardless, but never in her mother's presence. Chelsea really was a nice, kindhearted, and lovely young lady. The consensus of opinion was that Chelsea loved her Mom but did not like her. Hillary Clinton was continuously rude and abrasive to those who were charged to protect her life. Her security detail dutifully did their job, as professionals should, but they all loathed her and wanted to be on a different detail.

Hillary Clinton was despised by the Secret Service as a whole. former President Bill Clinton was much more amiable than his wife. Often the Secret Service would cringe at the verbal attacks Hillary would use against her husband. They were embarrassed for his sake by the manner and frequency in which she verbally insulted him, sometimes in the presence of the Secret Service, and sometimes behind closed doors. Even behind closed doors Hillary Clinton would scream and holler so loudly that everyone could hear what she was saying. Many felt sorry for President Clinton and most wondered why he tolerated it instead of just divorcing his 'attack dog' wife. It was crystal clear that the Clintons neither liked nor respected each other and this was true long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Theirs was genuinely a 'marriage of convenience.'

Chelsea was much closer to her father than her mother, even after the Lewinsky scandal, which hurt her gravely. Bill Clinton did in fact have charisma, and occasionally would smile at or shake hands with his security detail. Still, he always displayed an obvious air of superiority towards them.

His security detail uniformly believed him to be disingenuous, false, and that he did nothing without a motive that in some way would enhance his image and political career. He was polite, but not kind. They did not particularly like him and nobody trusted him.

Al Gore was the male version of Hillary Clinton. They were friendlier toward each other than either of them were towards former President Clinton. They were not intimate, so please don't read that in. They were very close in a political way. Tipper Gore was generally nice and pleasant. She initially liked Hillary but soon after the election she had her 'pegged' and no longer liked her or associated with her except for events that were politically obligatory.

Al Gore was far more left wing than Bill Clinton. Al Gore resented Bill Clinton and thought he was too 'cent rist.' He despised all Republicans. His hatred was bitter and this was long before he announced for the Presidency. This hatred was something that he and Hillary had in common. They often said as much, even in the presence of their security detail. Neither of them trusted Bill Clinton and, the Secret Service opined, neither of them even liked him. Bill Clinton did have some good qualities, whereas Al Gore and Hillary had none, in the view of their security details.

Al Gore, like Hillary, was very rude and arrogant toward his security detail. He was extremely unappreciative and would not hesitate to scold them in the presence of their peers for minor details over which they had no control. Al Gore also looked down on them, as they finally observed and learned with certainty on one occasion. Al got angry at his offspring and pointed at his security detail and said, 'Do you want to grow up and be like them?' Word of this insult by the former V ice-President quickly spread and he became as disliked by the Secret Service as Hillary. Most of them prayed Al Gore would not be elected President, and they really did have private celebrations in a few of their homes after President Bush won. This was not necessarily to celebrate President Bush's election, but to celebrate Al Gore's defeat.

Everyone in the Secret Service wants to be on First Lady Laura Bush's detail. Without exception, they concede that she is perhaps the nicest and most kind person they have ever had the privilege of serving. Where Hillary patently refused to allow her picture to be taken with her security detail, Laura Bush doesn't even have to be asked, she offers. She doesn't just shake their hand and say, 'Thank you.' Very often, she will give members of her detail a kind- hearted hug to express her appreciation. There is nothing false about her. This is her genuine nature. Her security detail considers her to be a 'breath of fresh air.' They joke that comparing Laura Bush with Hillary Clinton is like comparing 'Mother Teresa' with the 'Wicked Witch of the North.'

Likewise, the Secret Service considers President Bush to be a gem of a man to work for. He always treats them with genuine respect and he always trusts and listens to their expert advice. They really like the Crawford, Texas detail. Every time the president goes to Crawford he has a Bar-B- for his security detail and he helps serve their meals. He sits with them, eats with them, and talks with them. He knows each of them by their first name, and calls them by their first name as a show of affection. He always asks about their family, the names of which he always remembers. They believe that he is deeply and genuinely appreciative of their service. They could not like, love, or respect anyone more than President Bush. Most of them did not know they would feel this way, until they had an opportunity to work for hi m and learn that his manner was genuine and consistent. It has never changed since he began his Presidency. He always treats them with the utmost respect, kindness, and compassion.

Please pass this on. It is important for Americans to have a true inside understanding of their President... and also the woman who is currently a candidate for president.

Capt. Denny Keast

Posted by: Ejeanbob1 | February 14, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

She should go negative BUT AGAINST McCAIN. Show people who he really is. Going negative against OBama would be the worst possible idea.

Posted by: drindl | February 14, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse


This way America will see the TRUE hillary - The backroom plotting lawyer, indignant that voters think they know better, slapping down those americans who have put partisanship aside and demand bipartisan results from government.


Posted by: onestring | February 14, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Clinton should go negative, but not against Obama - her target now should be John McCain. Her argument all along has been on experience fighting Republicans, and that is an aspect of her style that many Democrats are drawn to. Now that the GOP has a clear nominee, it would make sense to start showing off that experience while she still has the ear of the electorate. This would insulate her against any rebound effect that might result from an Obama attack, strengthen her position for November if she does win the nomination, and put her primary case into practice.

Posted by: pamackie | February 14, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

For all the flak that attack ads get, polls and surveys indicate that they work. If nothing else it places doubt in the minds of supporters of the attackee. They may not vote for the attacker, but if they stay home on election day that's good enough.

However, it remains to be seen what effect attacking would have against an opponent whose central theme is breaking away from politics as usual. Especially when the attacker is seen as the embodiment of Politics As Usual. But as Chris said, there are few options left for Clinton to try and save her campaign

Posted by: riff_raff17 | February 14, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's Wisconsin spot is about as disingenuous as they come. Her campaign arranged this kangaroo debate with ex-Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos as moderator. She set up the debate to give herself every advantage, knowing that Obama wouldn't want to touch it with a ten-foot pole. Now, of course, she attacks him for not accepting the debate. Make an offer so bad that the other side will inevitably reject it, and then castigate them when they do--it's dirty politics, just the way Clinton likes it.

What is even more absurd about Clinton's complaint here is that Obama has been criss-crossing Wisconsin for the last several days, doing all kinds of events and meeting people in all parts of the state. Meanwhile, Clinton is in...Texas. If she really cared about the people of Wisconsin hearing candidates views and really wanted to answer their questions, she'd be in the state right now.

Instead, Clinton has been sending only her proxies, and she will swoop in for the last three days.

I suppose that going negative is Clinton's only option given the real desperation in her campaign, and this debate stunt is probably one of the more innocuous ways of going negative, but I doubt it will ultimately win over any Wisconsin votes. Given that Clinton herself hasn't even set foot in the state yet, Obama certainly has an easy reply to this message.

Posted by: blert | February 14, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure going negative will help Hillary now. She'll be criticised for being shrill and desperate and it may backfire. If the latest polls are to be believed, she's close to Obama in Wisconsin and leading in Ohio which may mitigate going negative. (Then again, polls are showing Obama doing better than Hillary against McCain in a number of states).

Posted by: rickjginter | February 14, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"Will it work?"

No, and if she goes truly negative she will play right into Senator Obama's message and shoot herself in the foot.

Posted by: AndyR3 | February 14, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Clinton going negative would only reaffirm Obama's charge that she wants to continue the toxic politics-as-usual style of governing that has destroyed Washington over the past 20 years. That said, I assume she'll go negative, and it will backfire...stunningly.

Posted by: thecrisis | February 14, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is running scared and I do not think she thought this would happen to her. I wish her luck. I live in Nevada which does not have the tax and spend attitude of legislators in the Northeast. The gambling revenue does not hurt either. Any reason why people are relocating to the Silver State.

Posted by: rmoonin | February 14, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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