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Wag the Blog: Readers Sound Off on Segolene and Hillary

Earlier this week The Fix asked readers whether France's just-concluded presidential election carried any lessons for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as she campaigns for the White House in 2008. French voters rejected Segolene Royal, the Socialist Party candidate, in favor of Nicolas Sarkozy.

With a big assist from politics producer Sarah Lovenheim, we've culled the best of the more than 250 responses. Thanks for being part of such a great discussion.

Look Both Ways: "Royal never attempted to move beyond [the] core constituency in her campaign, while Hillary has clearly tried to stake out some middle ground in various areas, which is why she's in trouble with the far left... Royal lost not because she's a woman, but because she was on the wrong side of a big wave of opinion in France.... Hillary's fate will likewise be determined by how well she diagnoses the mood of the electorate and how well she positions herself accordingly." -- Posted by: vajent

Know Thy Enemy: "Royal faced in Sarkozy a formidable opponent and it remains unclear who the Republican candidate will be, whether a strong conservative will challenge her or that the eventual candidate is too harmed by the tough Republican primaries.

My guess is that the French [rejected] Royal because ... they believe her opponent would make a stronger president." -- Posted by: Diederik

Every Debate Counts: "[Hillary] can't flip out during a debate like Royal did. While it was hilarious, especially if you speak French, it definitely hurt Royal's credibility." --
Posted by: Shutup Mark

Secure the Female Vote: "If I'm not mistaken, Royal did not win among female voters the way she needed to. One of the biggest barriers to success in America for female politicians is the bias they face not only among men, but among other women. Perhaps Hillary needs to do more work to shore up women in order to win." -- Posted by: Chris DeRose

Speech Matters: "[What] disappointed me most of all was Ségo's perceived lack of passion in her public speaking. This was a huge liability in the face of Nicolas Sarkozy's extraordinary oratory skills... Hillary is a much more capable and exciting candidate." -- Posted by: An American in Paris

Can't Take Inexperience With You: "Royal lost because she was perceived as inept and inexperienced, making gaffes while speaking, and supporting a policy so liberal that it couldn't even appeal to the average Frenchman! Hillary, by contrast, is experienced (former First Lady and 2-term senator), extremely calculating, and has moderated her policy to win in conservative areas (see landslide in traditionally conservative upstate NY in last year's senate campaign)." -- Posted by: dr. no

There is No Lesson: "Acting as if the French Socialist party and the American Democratic party are the same thing is not accurate. The fact that people are even bringing up the comparison between the two candidates because they are women is somewhat demeaning to both of them." -- Posted by: CBC

See also, "Comparison To Clinton Is Dismissed," by The Post's Anne E. Kornblut and Perry Bacon Jr. (May 8).

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 10, 2007; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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