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Wag the Blog: What Should Hillary Do?

From her stumble over drivers' licenses in the Philadelphia debate to the controversy over a planted question at an Iowa town hall, it's been a rough few weeks for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Clinton's best chance to change that narrative comes Thursday night when the Democratic field gathers for -- another -- debate, this one sponsored by CNN and held in Las Vegas.

To date, Clinton herself has avoided directly responding to attacks by her rivals, choosing instead to laugh off the criticism -- literally -- and attempt to refocus things on President Bush and Republicans. Of late, however, Clinton has given some signal that her strategy may be changing. In the Philadelphia debate and then again in her speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines over the weekend, Clinton said: "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to back it up."

For today's Wag the Blog, we want to know whether you think Clinton will aggressively push back against Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Thursday night. And, if you believe she will, what should she say to best draw a contrast between herself and Obama/Edwards.

Let's keep personal taunts etc. out of the mix here. Wag the Blog is designed to foster intelligent discussion among members of The Fix community; in that vein, we'll pluck the most thoughtful comments out and feature them in a post of their own later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 13, 2007; 3:55 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Next: A Crucial 50 Days for the Democratic Candidates

Comments

Alright.
Crazy idea, Haven't seen anyone else post about it so here goes.

For the past couple weeks/months the media buzz was all "inevitability". Clinton's poll numbers where through the roof nationally and in basically every early state known to man errrr woman? Pun intended. The story line was "Clinton and her folks are the most competent, skilled, and crafty political team known to (wo)man".
BUT this whole "inevitability thing was beginning to be a problem. Obama started raising money off of NOT raising money - wtf? People were beginning to be put off my the both assumed air of inevitability and the fact itself.
SO. (my idead) TeamWonderClinton says "hmmm lets nuke the inevitability thing". CRAZY risky idea mind you. So they pick a messy topic that Americans have no messy opinions about "secure border, then reform immmigration. the. end" Zero in on Spitzer's doomed plan. BINGO. Clinton ON PURPOSE gives an unncannily evasive remark "well yeah kinda, idk, maybe, ok, but only if". Obama and Edwards --> go for the bait like MAD! and the Media hops on the bandwagon like its going to heaven.
Political fallout is acheived: IMMEDIATELY we begin seeing headlines like "Clinton no longer inevitable" "Was Clinton ever inevitable?" "Is inevitability even a WORD?"
TeamWonderClinton lets the story simmer for 2 weeks, maybe even adding the "planted question story" to add a little authenticity to the "calcualting candidate" storyline. (All the while doing just that). Then time for Act II: Return of Jaffar (I mean Clinton). Vegas Debate. She goes from "uhhh maybe idk blah blah" to "NO." BAM. Obama and Edwards (what were they born yesterday?) go for the bait. Gee whiz the media goes after them. And all the sudden Clinton is once again the sainted nominee to be, sans "inevitable, holier than thou" baggage.
BINGO: problem solved, advance to go, collect nomincation. do not go to jail.

I do think it sounds a LITTLE over the top, and IMMENSELY RISKY (what if any part of the plan failed, or one of the story lines "mechanical, calcualting, woman" took off too well. But gosh-golly, I wouldn't put such a stunt past TeamWonderClinton for a second.

If Clinton didn't laugh like Ursula the Sea Witch (from The Little Mermaid), and otherwise resemble her in more ways than one (those poor unfortunate souls... America) I might be blown out of my nerdy politcal mind.

But she is kinda like ursula the sea witch, so I'm frigthened lol.

Posted by: addisondj | November 21, 2007 2:46 AM | Report abuse

I do not see how any thinking person can honestly support Hillary for President. This is in response to her past history of doing, saying, lying about anything to gain an advantage over any opponent. I see no evidence in her recent conduct in the debate sessions or in her refusal to allow her personal records to be used as evidence-in her claims to be so well qualified. Her character is certainly subject to a great deal of criticism and leaves much room for doubt as to her real competance.

Posted by: wayne-ashley1 | November 15, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Clinton can, will, and should push back aggressively, by showing that she has more understanding of international affairs and the big picture than either of her two top rivals.

She should do it by addressing not her opponents, whose hot air is easily dismissed, but President Bush, who is making all the decisions these days, for better or worse. She can propose a bold stroke that will solve many problems at once.

She can start with some empathy for President W and her Republican Senate colleagues. Lately, W has been getting a lot of flack abroad about the fact that the U.S. won't talk to Iran.

Senate Republicans are getting increasingly rebellious, in part because they feel W hasn't done anything for them lately. They're flustered about the whole ethics investigation of Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, the Idaho Republican named last month to the Idaho Hall of Fame, who has thus far failed to overturn his conviction for soliciting a vice cop for homosexual sex in a public restroom.

Craig won't quit the Senate until the ethics committee clears him. The ethics committee would dearly love to do so, but that path is blocked by the fact that he pleaded guilty.

Washington is all in a tizzy about this. It seems that the music of John Philip Sousa, "The March King," a DC native who wrote most of his famous marching tunes at his home right on Capitol Hill, has been banned from DC's Muzak system. City officials are concerned that, with so many Senators using DC restrooms, some of Sousa's music could cause "inappropriate foot-tapping."

Even the Republican base is not too happy with President W. They don't care so much about Larry Craig, but this word of a possible war with Iran has them concerned. And they worry about reports that Iran may be getting nukes by dealing with neighboring Pakistan, where W's buddy Musharaff was caught selling nuclear tech to Libya just three years ago. The base doesn't like it when America makes a guy like Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look good. They want to see an American spokesman put his foot down.

So Bush, in one swell foop code-named Operation Farsi Sissy, can put all these troubles behind him. He needs to appoint Larry Craig Ambassador to Iran.

This will silence America's foreign critics, who can't say anything politically insensitive about an American under fire for allegedly being gay.

It gets rid of Larry Craig, because the Senate will vote 100 to 0 to confirm him for fear of offending gays;

This unanimous vote of approval also gives Larry Craig his vindication;

It ends the ugly ethics committee investigation, because the ethics committee has no jurisdiction over anyone who's not a sitting Senator;

It pleases W's base by offending Ahmadinejad, who famously told his audience at Columbia University last month that there are no homosexuals in Iran;

It allows the music of John Philip Sousa to once again reverberate through D.C., pleasing flag-wavers;

And last but not least, it gives America a strong spokesman in the Middle East, who can be counted on to put his foot down -- again and again and again.

Posted by: ShekhAl-Egg | November 15, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is the frontrunner and should not go into the debate in attack mode. But when she is (inevitably) attacked in the upcoming debate, she should look for one or two judicious openings to return fire. This will emphasize her reputation for toughness.

She also needs to give more specific answers. I understand why she avoids doing so, but her evasiveness is becoming so encompassing that it is costing her. She doesn't need to be 100% clear on every question, but she needs to do it enough so voters can see some clear positions on issues.

Posted by: Lloth8 | November 14, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The way I see it, is clear for me: Hillary has to stop being "nice" to her rivals (demos or rep) and start attacking. Gore didn't do it with Bush. That was a mistake, but that's a different story. Hillary must clarify her positions and take the risk and go after the "attackers". If not, I guess a lot of people will be disappointed. And judging for what I hear in my town, I see a lot of people FOR Hillary. But that could cool off. Although she is a TOUGH lady, she is not being that tough where she should be NOW.

Posted by: mbush | November 14, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll
http://www.votenic.com
Results Posted Every Tuesday Evening.

Posted by: votenic | November 14, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, all Hillary has to do to Obama is ask him if he voted on the things he is fussing about. A full 1/3 of the time, he doesn't even bother to vote. Want to see?
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/members/o000167/votes/missed/

Posted by: mbolack | November 14, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Hillary should channel Ronald Reagan - "There you go again!" and Queen Elizabeth I -- "I see and keep silent."

Posted by: femalenick | November 14, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Her strategy (unfortunately) is working quite well, and I see no compelling reason to change it. Obama's straitjacketed himself into his sunny,squishy version of politics and is fading quickly. And Edwards doesn't have the kind of widely perceived authenticity that would make his attacks on Clinton's triangulation effective. Brush aside the attacks and take potshots at the administration until concrete evidence of a decline shows up.

Posted by: steimelkb | November 14, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary should:
1) Smile a lot
2) Bemoan the debate format that doesn't let her explain her nuanced positions
3) Continue to attack Bush and the Republican challengers
4) Continue to exude confidence and invincibility

Hillary should not:
1) laugh/cackle
2) attack her Democratic challengers

Any change in strategy will only highlight that she has been wounded and will only increase the number of vultures circling overhead. She is stuck on her course and must see it through. As much as I'd like to say otherwise, she's still got a reasonable chance of pulling it (the nomination) off.

Posted by: rich5 | November 14, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Forget attacking back.
Hillary Clinton needs to reassure the American public, 72-80% who DO NOT WANT illegal aliens to be given citizenship, driver's licenses, our jobs, free medical care, etc. ad nauseum. Right now Sen.Clinton is one of the Congress who thinks her constituency is foreign nationals. She needs to straight that out quick.

Posted by: zaney | November 14, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Hillary needs to continue her attempts at appearing "Presidential" with an explanation about why her Primary opponents continue to "join with the Republicans" in attacks on her. It's because they're losing to her -- and they know it. She doesn't need to attack Edwards or Obama. Edwards will soon figure out that he's only helping Obama by attacking Hillary. The instant he figures that out, he'll start unloading Obama's dirty laundry in front of America. Obama will have no choice but to shoot back. The result? Edwards and Obama will self-destruct. The key for Hillary is staying above that fray. Don't under-estimate her. It's not her first time on the playground.

Posted by: mike | November 14, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I think Hillary has Edwards and Obama right where she wants them. They are holding everyone else back and Edwards is self-destructing with his negative campaign. Obama seems to have backed up and gotten more focused on the race and not Hillary. Smart move. It is helping him get a little too close to Hillary for comfort.

I think that Hillary is tired and needs to step back and get control of the situation again. It is also time for Bill to step back. She must be more direct in her debate. Preface her answer with: "Look - I'm not going to give you a yes or no answer. America deserves a more thoughtful response than that." Then go on with her usual response.

The most important thing that Hillary can do, however, is get a bill passed. She has that one for funding and repairing bridges. Action speaks louder than words.

And go on network TV again - the Sunday morning talk shows, an evening talk show like Katie Couric - stuff that everyone watches. Maybe even get interviewed by Maria Bartoromo to discuss the economy and get completely away from the gossip style drivel being reported.

Posted by: bermansylvia | November 14, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Not sure what she should do, but I know what she shouldnt do. In 2002, Romney ran against female Democrat Shannon O'Brien in the race for governor and beat her by 5 pts, in spite of all the polls saying she would win, or it was neck and neck.

The republican governor at the time was unpopular and the state was heavily democratic, but O'brien ran against the previous governor (instead of against romney). She was part of the establishment and the democrats controlled both state houses, and Romney ran as an outsider.

To every attack from Romney, Obrien responded in a way to show how tough as nails she was, and repeatedly stressed her gender.

I would say if romney and clinton get their nominations, I would not be surprised to see romney win it all, unless clinton learns from obrien's mistakes.

Regarding her challengers, she needs to go after them directly. Attack Edwards directly - an inexperienced guy whose sole goal is power. Isnt this effectively his third campaign for president (if you count the private campaigning in 2000 to be gore's running mate). He is cold and calculating and will do and say whatever he can to get elected - in other words, use him as a warm up against Romney in the general.

Posted by: djasjd33 | November 14, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Hillary simply needs to come more prepared. She seemed caught off gaurd by questions she should have been expecting. She also needs to show that she can think on the spot and not be so scripted - she is fueling criticism when she can't seem to think on her feet.

Hillary will still likely win, and will be fine. However, she better turn it around quick as because although I don't think this will cost her the primary, if she can't regroup quickly from criticism from her fellow Democrats, may God help her against the Republicans come next spring.

Posted by: samuelmcdonald | November 14, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hillary should channel her inner Margaret Thatcher-Eleanor Roosevelt-Joan of Arc personas. Like her, they were loved and loathed by their contemporaries, and they each represent strength, certitude and courage under fire.

Posted by: rdklingus | November 14, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton needs to explain why she believes she is better qualified for the office of the presidency than her main opponents. That has not been made clear and it's not clear that it will be made clear. So far she has rested on her name recognition. Voters can't be compelled to vote for her simply for the fact that she is female, is married to a former president, and is intertwined with the Washington establishment. It's not clear she has any significant executive experience or qualities that would make her a good executive. Unfortunately, a vote for her looks like a vote for Bill Clinton. She says she will "fight in the corner" of average Americans. Why should we believe that? For the past 20 years she has been far from the position of average Americans and much closer to the world of insider politics.

Posted by: ttj1 | November 14, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

This is how Hillary should respond to Edwards and Obama.
Edwards: Every time you rail against me it seems to be because you believe that I don't support/believe/profess your exact positions. Isn't this exactly what President Bush has done to the Democrats for the last eight years? If you really want a "change" then you should start embracing positions that do not fit perfectly with your own.
Obama: How does it feel to always be the monday morning quarterback? You constantly deride me with your speech in Illinois against the war. Real leaders make decisions based on the information avilable. You did not see one iota of intelligence. Making a speech based on no information is just as irresponsible and reckless as President Bush's ridiculous press conferences telling us "we're winning the war." Second, don't criticize me for a vote on Iran that you did not bother to show up for the tough decisions. Leaders show up. Where were you?

Posted by: kristilj | November 14, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I would not attack John Edwards; he's falling into the single digits and the more traction he tries to create with the liberals, the more desparate he seems. The more desparate he seems, the less likely voters will honor his desparation with their vote.

Barack is like a present that comes in an attractive package but when you shake the box, you're not sure if there's anything inside.

If Obama goes after her in his non-offensive, offhand, sideways manner, Hillary might want to consider responding from the high road by saying to Obama that she is proud that he's a member of the Democratic Party and she understands his stated intent to run a positive, issues-oriented campaign. From there, she might explore a theme like this: "What we Democrats stand for is a New Way for America, not the current situation in which a Republican adminstration has eroded our international prestige, has us bogged down in the sands of Iraq, overspent the national budget for years and has our national discourse focused on what's wrong with Americans, and would-be Americans, instead of what's right about them. Our New Way for America seeks to reintroduce some very old-fashioned American optimism. We can meet the challenges of the 21st Century because we're Americans, and meeting challenges is the bedrock of this nation.


If I were Hillary I would continue to use the GOP Attack Machine as proof that they are afraid to run against her...Something to the effect that "I'm proud that the right wing attack machine sees fit to go after me. They know they have reason to worry because I haven't, and I won't, wither under their assault. I've been fighting to improve the lives of the American people all of my life, and I intend to continue to open doors of opportunity for disadvantaged children, middle class families and women all across this country."

Posted by: Politicalpuck | November 14, 2007 3:15 AM | Report abuse

Hilary's attacks on Bush go over well now, while the primry audience is Democratic voters, but it will not carry well next fall. If she is the nominee, she'll be the main issue, if not then Bush will be, but rather weaker as a target than now.

Posted by: balataf | November 14, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Hilary's attacks on Bush go over well now, while the primry audience is Democratic voters, but it will not carry well next fall. If she is the nominee, she'll be the main issue, if not then Bush will be, but rather weaker as a target than now.

Posted by: balataf | November 14, 2007 1:29 AM | Report abuse

I could very well be wrong, but i believe Hillary will take a direct shot (or two) at Edwards. She will continue to take only implied/blunt swipes at Obama, much like what was seen at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Edwards has become a much more viable target (a result of going overboard negative + recent sharp populist left shift). Her campaign knows she suffered some backlash from the perception that they may or may not have played the gender/victim card. Clinton taking some not-so-subtle jabs at Edwards will create a post-debate storyline about her standing up to the "boys" (they will all be lumped in with Edwards). She needs to reclaim the "tough" mantle if she wants to hold on to her lead. Importantly, i don't think there would be any backlash for Clinton from this b/c, though Edwards has A Lot of support in Iowa, the media has been more or less going with the story that he has become increasingly negative (which he has of course). In other words, "the guy's been asking for it." Of course, if Edwards stands his ground (perhaps even with a devastating zinger), then i think Obama is the real winner.

Posted by: hoga0008 | November 14, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Clinton will win the the nomination. Two new Iowa and NH polls just came out. Even in her toughest weeks and Obama and Edwards best weeks she still lead them both by 2% in Iowa and 15% in NH. The good news is both Iowans and NH voters believe she has the best chance to win back White House.
In Iowa it is 47 vs. 17 vs.20
In NH is 68 vs. 14 vs. 8

Here are two polls:

http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_111307.pdf
http://www.strategicvision.biz/political/iowa_poll_111407.htm

Posted by: kjlover46 | November 14, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate that (most of) the comments have been substantive. I agree with many that Hillary should stick with what has been her winning formula. She should stay disciplined and deliberate, concentrate on Bush and the Republicans, and not go on the attack. She is still far ahead of the rest of the field; she just needs to continue to show why she deserves to be ahead. But she should also respond forcefully to direct criticism. Part of her pitch is that she can handle anything the Republicans throw at her. I think she should underscore that by "handling" what fellow Democrats throw at her, albeit with care.

Posted by: stephenbeck | November 14, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

HRC looks like someone unwilling to take a position on the spelling of her own name, lest that offend some interest group.

Edwards/Obama or VV, is the ticket for the next 16 years. Can you imagine HRC's veep being sucessful? Would Edwards/Obama accept the VP slot,if offered? I doubt it.

Posted by: spikemilligan | November 13, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Historically, the Clintons are known to be viscious against their opponents. Hillary has a fine line to walk - if she doesnt respond to criticism and laugh it off, she may help to reinforce some of the criticism, allowing the attacks to stick. Or she could attack them back, admitting that she's scared that defeat is possible. Either way she will lose the argument, even if she's nominated (and, that could help the GOP). But, then the real question is which strategy will cause her to lose less support?

If she were to attack Obama (or Edwards), I would say the experience issue is all she's got. But even that would invite more attacks about her record ('02 Iraq vote, '07 Iran vote, 1st lady papers). Plus, I think Obama's theme of "judgement" is the perfect counter.

Hillary should really be prepared for this next debate (she will), but fighting back's too risky. She should try to not screw up again, be clear with answers, and paint her rivals as desperate. That's her best chance.

Posted by: xjspzx | November 13, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Another thought.

Do others agree that it is a concern that Hillary will bring Republican voters out in force at the General election to vote AGAINST her rather than FOR their own candidate?

If it is a pro-abortion candidate like Guiliani, then I don't see the base loving it too much.

And if it is a mormon... the Christians will stay at home.

UNLESS they are running against Hillary, and then I think the Republicans will come out in numbers.

Surely this is a BIG and OBVIOUS issue that Primary voters are aware of?

Am I crazy, or do others see this as a serious problem if Clinton gets the nomination?

Posted by: Boutan | November 13, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's Plan A has been to play it straight, and build on this sense of "inevitability".

Her advisors are now in with a challenge... do they still hope Plan A works? Or do they switch to Plan B in anticipation of everyone liking a come-from-behind underdog?

But what will Plan B be? Attack Obama or Edwards? Seems unlikely. It would bring Obama right up to her tier, and as others have pointed out - Edwards would embarrass her.

I actually don't think she has a Plan B. If this inevitability thing unravels, she has too much pride to scrap it out. She will keep playing it steady and hope the other campaigns can't catch her.

My tip: Obama and Edwards keep chipping away, she has a few more bad weeks, and when the polls in NH and Iowa start to show Obama ahead and Edwards catching, just watch the media get onboard the bandwagon.

It will be an Obama/Edwards ticket. Take it to the bank.

Posted by: Boutan | November 13, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

If I were one of Hillary's advisors, I'd suggest the following:

1. Don't panic -- a drastic change of course or hint of campaign disarray (in a hitherto-nearly-flawless campaign) would give the "Obama Rising" narrative a life of its own.

2. Keep an "above the fray" focus on electability and how well she polls against Rudy (the mirror image of how Rudy has been deflecting criticism by mentioning his electability compared to Hillary)

3. Send Bill on vacation. His recorded comments in defense of Hillary overshadow her. Plus, nightly sound bites of a defensive-sounding Bill give us all bad flashbacks to the worst of Bill's time in office.

4. Introduce a counter-narrative conceding that Obama's big speech Saturday night was indeed his moment in the sun but that it's too little, too late. Generously compliment Obama without sounding disingenuous. Foster rumors you'd love for him to be your running mate.

Just my 2 cents...
H.M.G.

Posted by: heartlandmoderategal | November 13, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Most pundits are overestimating Hillary's recent gaffes. While they are trouble for her campaign, her rivals have yet to show that they can step up their efforts and make HRc feel some real pain.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | November 13, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

This is a great question! I suspect she will come back hard against her attackers, and it will serve her well, setting the theme for the final weeks of the primary:

"I want to talk about the issues that are important to everyday Americans, but if you insist on attacking me, I have the toughness and the smarts to take you on -- head on."

In the debate, it will look something like a quiet, confident Clinton taking her time to give reasoned answers. As the debate progresses and the attacks continue, she gets fired up, finding just the right moment to look impassioned. Not defensive, just very committed to her vision of America.

Posted by: rahsf | November 13, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick about hearing all the negatives concerning the Clintons-Please she is the best one qualified. What do you all want Borak Husien Obama-Who may be the first Muslim President? I don't know nor Am I sure about this, just heard, however do we want to risk this??? No I don't think so. Besides the man seems nice, however he is still not qualified and we can not afford all his drawbacks..Not now
So Please Lets get a Grip and get Hillary in the White House. At least we know we will be safe..I like the way I felt when Bill was President, I do not feel safe now and I will certainly not feel safe w/anyone else..Vote for Hillary and lets Move on into a more positive USA! Yes Vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton-Go Hillary

Posted by: norailiadis | November 13, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

*lazy, so-called reportage*'

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know - what should Hillary do about McCain essentially calling her a b**ch?

Oh, wait... that's not what you're talking about. In fact, I haven't even seen that on the Post site at all.

Carry on with the Hillary-bashing then.

Posted by: dbjackso1 | November 13, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The basis for this blog entry - that Clinton's comments about drivers licenses for illegals have harmed her polling numbers - is cr*p. Obama's ads - now up in NH - are much more likely to be the root cause.

*contemptuous, dismissive gesture*

Posted by: judgeccrater | November 13, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons why Clinton is not engaging is to stay "above the fray", however, she is very much in the fray and Obama-Edwards are teaming to hurt her every time. Edwards attacks her explicitly and Obama follows it up softly; thus, re-enforcing their points successfully.

Clinton should:

(1) Not many any gaffes by contradicting herself
(2) On Iran, make a blank statement that "I will not apologize for taking a tough stance against terrorists"
(3) On Social Security, make it clear that the GOP wants to make it seem like a crisis and she will not re-enforce their viewpoint
(4) On being unelectable, cite the endorsements from the Governors of Ohio, Arkansas, Michigan and Senators from Indiana, Arkansas, Michigan
(5) On Library Records, make it clear that she is not under control and defer all questions to the person whom the library is dedicate to, Bill. Then, turn the tables and rhetorically point towards Obama for releasing his own records from Illinois State Senate and "practice what one preaches"
(6) On trade deals, make it clear that it should be "fair and smart" deal and cite her opposition to South Korean and Colombian deals while endorsing the Peru deal
(7) On illegal driver license issues, make it clear that she will not embrace the issue as President, but until then, individual states might take such steps, but with some reservation

FINALLY: Don't let Edwards reach negative, if he does, say this "It is remarkable that my Democratic friends are now running against the party as they are abandoning their own standards and stooping low by personal attacks" and cite that they help Rudy and Mitt in their daily attacks against Democrats.

Posted by: AmericanforPeace | November 13, 2007 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has to be careful. If she comes out too aggressive pundits will say that she is flailing around. I'd leave Obama alone. I think he is too popular personally to risk taking on. People may not plan on voting for him, but they like him and will not want to see him attacked.

Edwards on the other hand... I think Hillary could use the passive/aggresive approach with. She could say,

"I realize it has been a long time since John held elected office, so it is understandable that he's forgotten that the president does not have the authority to strip congress of their benefits. While John has been busy overseeing the building of his new home, I've been working for the last seven years on a plan to help more Americans get off the rolls of the uninsured."

Posted by: boldbooks | November 13, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

' That may be how we elected GWB, as well.'

Mos def, Mark.

But when you say this..

'HRC may not be able to afford attacking the other Ds. One word about campaign financing, for instance, could bring accusations of leasing the Lincoln Bedroom back on the table. Through the prism of a failed GWB Administration the nineties look sentimentally wonderful. But there is a gold mine of sleaze available, and no good reason to avoid mining it if the occasion arises. The Rs will certainly do it.'

I wasn't suggesting she attack campaign financing -- none of them can afford to --I was just bemoaning the state of US politics in general, that canididates have to get in bed with sleazy characters to get anywhere -- it's the price of admission.

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

felicia said:

"She is clearly the most intelligent and best prepared candidate of both parties..."

Felicia, in her own Party she faces off with two Constitutional Law Professors, one of whom is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee; and a Governor who was an Ambassador and a Secretary of Energy who was four times nominated for the Nobel.

Among the Rs there is a former Naval officer who in the Senate has cosponsored
more successful legislation than any Senator in recent memory; a hugely successful international businessman; and a former Governor who successfully negotiated progress in his state with the opposition Party firmly in control of his state's legislature.

Your hyperbolic statement cause me to grieve for the state of the Republic. It is as if you have not noticed what is happening about you. That may be how we elected GWB, as well.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 13, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

patrick.bradish--"I disagree on all three. Regarding the Clinton papers, this is simply unprecedented in Presidential politics, and is a talking point manufactured by the RNC."

I see it as a semi-valid issue (same goes for Obama or Edwards' paperwork, of course.) She claims--wholly without proof--that she has some special experience from her time as the first lady.

Viewing it as a valid issue may be more a reflection of my deep disappointment at the lack of challenge by the media to Clinton's "experience."

patrick.bradish--"Regarding driver's licenses, everyone should try to remember that this is a state, not a federal issue, so Hillary's opinion has no bearing. In the debate, Clinton said that she understood the problem of unlicensed drivers and understood why Spitzer chose to go this route without endorsing it. Once again, media spin doctors have tried to manufacture a problem with this. Any surprises here?"

I actually agree to a point here, her first answer was perfectly fine! Later, she clearly indicated that she did NOT think it was the correct approach--only to say that she does in fact support it the very next day. THAT is why it is a problem.

patrick.bradish--"On Kyl-Lieberman, Hillary has become co-sponsor of the Webb Amendment requiring Congressional approval before an attack."

Basically what she is saying is that she should not have voted for the legislation after all. Bad judgement.

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Hillary doesn't need to attack nor, do I believe, will she. Edwards and Obama manage to shoot themselves in the foot very nicely all on their own: Obama with his empty and pretty phrases, Edwards with his barely suppressed frustration at losing this nomination.

All Hillary has to do is be herself and give the most intelligent, nuanced answers she knows how to, just as she has been doing all along. She is clearly the most intelligent and best prepared candidate of both parties and she will not only be our next president, but will probably go on to become one of our greatest.

Go, Hillary!!!!

Felicia

Posted by: feliciaczin | November 13, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Fix, I am a democrat who never drinks the koolaid and therefore is definitely not a Hillary fan. i refuse to vote for under any circumstance, if nominated. My first thought of what she should do is go back to the senate.
However, what she wants is for the moderator to not push her and try to get her to answer on anything so she does not have to go off her talking points. She is going to want to remain aloof from the rest and pretend to be presidential.
If the guys do manage to push her off her pedestal, I imagine she will bite back but, this could be problem in itself.
She has fooled enough democrats into believing her extreem makeover image as this pleasant and tough yet, presidential looking is real. slips of the tightly controlled mask would open her up to the fact she is very much the same person as always and very much a clinton.
How she attacks would be her biggest problem. going off talking points and sound bites that so dazzle the washington press corps, could hurt her.
She should just answer the questions but, we all know that clintons do not do that. Triangulation and evasion is the Clinton way.

Posted by: vwcat | November 13, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The best bet for Hilary is to continue on her strategy of inevitability. That is only her best option for winning Democratic nomination in the primaries. To fully grasp Hilary Clinton's quandary, one has to understand that the edge she has in the national poll is due in part to name recognition coupled with the unproven perception that she has the experience and strength to fight against Republican attack machine during the general election. If she were to engage Senator Obama in direct confrontation, the myth about her strength and experience would dissipate in one fell swoop. Senators Biden and Dodd learned their lesson not to attack Senator Obama for lack of foreign policy experience as he responded in kind that they were signatories that led to the greatest foreign policy disaster of our time. Senator Edward learned his own lesson when he attacked Senator Obama for not leading in the senate on how to end the war in Iraqi; Senator Obama reminded him that he was 4-year late on the issues of war.

Senator Hilary Clinton's greatest obstacle is John Edwards who is going to attack her, provoked or unprovoked. John Edwards has nothing to lose in terms of elective political future and this is his last chance to throw Hail Mary pass. If others, except Obama, were to attack Edwards in defense of Hilary Clinton, the general interpretation would be that they are competing for VP or Cabinet Secretary posts in her administration. Hilary has lots of baggage in her backyard that she dared not to bring to the public consciousness. We must not forget that Hilary Clinton was the first "First Lady" that was subpoenaed to appear in grand jury; she was the First Lady to fire career civil servants and court had to rescind the order and have them reinstated; it was the failed "healthcare" fiasco that led to Democrats losing control of the House for over 50-years; it was the accusation against her husband on bimbo eruptions that led to her declare the accusers as "Right-Wing" conspiracy but finally her husband accepted having affairs with Monica Lewinski; what about her Rose Firm billings that suddenly materialized in her quarters after the expiration of status of limitations. Senator Hilary Clinton is so vulnerable to go into direct attacks during the Democratic primaries. Senator Obama is baiting her to open the door and she better leave that door closed or else she is going to miserably bleed to political death.

Posted by: jckckc | November 13, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Still in Westchester, I thank everyone for their comments - the drive has been great fun for my wife and me, and so have the family visits.

HRC may not be able to afford attacking the other Ds. One word about campaign financing, for instance, could bring accusations of leasing the Lincoln Bedroom back on the table. Through the prism of a failed GWB Administration the nineties look sentimentally wonderful. But there is a gold mine of sleaze available, and no good reason to avoid mining it if the occasion arises. The Rs will certainly do it.

HRC will probably not risk lobbing the stones some of you have suggested, but because her current dance has her in the lead, she will probably just continue to two step.

*thrust and parry*

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 13, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's 'problem' is that everything she says and does is so closely scrutinized by the media -- waiting for her to make a mistake. Stuff that other candidates get by with routinely are magnified by the press into a huge deal.

She's a former president's wife, she's the first serious female presidential candidate, she's going to get far more attention for any perceived 'stumbles' than any other candidate. What can she do? Try to rise above it.

And as I have said, I'm no fan of hers, or frankly, with the exception of Obama, any other candidate of either party. With our current campaign structure, they have all had to take too much dirty money to get where they are.

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike said:

"I would suggest that she point to her record, but since being First Lady hardly counts, and since she's keeping the records sealed up, that's going to be a tough one.

I would also suggest that she point to her convictions, but since she has no core principals (see 2 positions in 2 minutes) apart from relentless pursuit of power, that's going to be a tough one too."

I really enjoy these posts Right Wing posts. For the past 7 years, the repugs have thoroughly screwed up the Constitution, Iraq, Afghanistan, the military, the government, our vets, the Judiciary, Katrina, .... It's been the reverse Midas touch. Whatever Bush touches turns to s***.

All the while, his feeble 25% loyalist fringe have gloated over the unbelievable success that their Dear Leader has had. While the rest of the country cringes and recoils.

Well November 08 is payback time. The immoral minority and lunatic fringe will be waking up to a whole new ball game with Hillary as President and Commander in Chief, and the Dems in solid control of both houses. Yea, part of my joy will be from the thought of just how p***** off, the right wing fringe will be.

Mike, keep up the RNC talking points. If you are still in the service, a year from now, you'll be referring to your Commander-in-chief. How's that stick in your craw?

Posted by: patrick.bradish | November 13, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that Hillary can't afford to rest on her strong national polling, because the polling is just too close in states where her opponents have been spending money (Iowa is basically a three-way tie). A bad showing in the first couple of primaries could easily swing the "front-runner" status to Obama, just the way it did for Bill and Kerry when no one thought they were in contention.

But part of her problem is that people view her as disingenuous and nasty, so if she comes out attacking with scripted lines, like the one about change, she'll confirm, as George Will put it, fears that "she has a computer chip where there should be a soul."

Given that, she has to do something. An "ask me any question" press conference might pull it off, if she's perfect. If she tries to evade a question and cracks again, that could be very bad, but, if it works, it will definitely stop the bleeding, and might ease the fears of some voters who feel they can't trust her.

Posted by: archild | November 13, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

It's obviously very tempting for Hillary to beat the tar of Edwards and Obama for either flip-flopping or hypocrasy (vis-a-vis politics of hope). However, what she really needs to do is get back on message.

Since th last debate, Hillary's campaign has had to endure an endless stream of process stories - bad debate, appropriateness of the gender card, 'Swift Boat', and plant-gate. She had built up momentum because people were responding to her message of change in policy from Bush and the experience to get things done. Joe or Susie Dem don't care about the tone of our debate, they want economic security, an end to the war, and to win.

Hillary needs to find a way to get the press to get off the 'she's floundering' storyline. She needs them back on to the fact that she still has the best shot of winning the nomination and her opponents are flailing trying to catch up. Basically, she needs a good performance on Thursday.

Posted by: zmeunier | November 13, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, depending on the day, I am an Obama or Dodd supporter, but expect Hillary to win the nomination, and I will fully embrace that. The Democrats must win in 08 or the country will continue its dismal slide.

Hillary should keep on message. She rarely mentions the other candidates and instead discusses her positions. It is highly likely that she will do the same again. She's disciplined. There is no need yet to stray from the script. She's still in the lead and her campaign has been very effective in getting her message out.

A few comments on some comments.

"President Bush is not running in '08, and it's about time Hillary stops trying to run against him."

President Bush is the gift that will keep on giving, for years. Hillary most certainly should keep running against him, as should every Democrat everywhere, even those running for state offices. It's a very valuable campaign tool. The Democrats ran successfully ran against Hoover all throughout the 30s and 40s. In Broder's memorable words, "they came in and trashed the place." He just had the wrong administration.

"We have seen she is not invincible, and instead of blaming other people for asking tough questions, she should give frank, focused, and honest answers."

Hillary Clinton can't do much on the hostile questioning issue, but democrats sure can. They need to turn the heat up on the media. In the last debate, Russert and Williams ably showed that they are right wing hacks that only choose to ask "tough" questions to Democrats. Write to MSNBC and let them know that their behavior just plain stinks. These morons lob softball questions to Republicans, and then claim that they ask "tough" questions to everyone. That's total B.S.

It was not just the questions to Hillary that were the issue in the last debate, it was the loaded "Hillary" questions to every other candidate in a blatantly partisan hack attempt to derail her. This has only happened once before, when these same morons ganged up on Al Gore, trying to annoint Bill Bradley. But these hacks were blazing even new ground in the last debate. And regarding the slime questions directly to Hillary, Russert was WRONG on both the Clinton library papers AND Clinton's positions on Social Security.

"Hillary needs to answer questions about the availability of documents in her husband's presidential library--either by explaining when they will become accessible or by articulating clearly why they will remain sealed. She needs to make clear whether she supports drivers licenses for non-citizens. She needs to explain why she voted in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran."

I disagree on all three. Regarding the Clinton papers, this is simply unprecedented in Presidential politics, and is a talking point manufactured by the RNC. This was not required in 2000 for either Bush, who had worked in the Bush 1 administration, nor for Gore. In 1988, no one required that Reagan papers regarding Bush 1 be made available for public viewing. W. himself has sealed up all his papers in advance, and his destroyed much of his email record. And Factcheck.org has cleared up this whole issue in Clinton's favor. The issue is there is not enough staff to go through all the papers available. They have got lots of work, other than this, and there are tens of thousands of documents to be vetted for personal information, propriety, etc. Documents are just not processed wholesale, but on a document-by-document basis, as they should be.

Regarding driver's licenses, everyone should try to remember that this is a state, not a federal issue, so Hillary's opinion has no bearing. In the debate, Clinton said that she understood the problem of unlicensed drivers and understood why Spitzer chose to go this route without endorsing it. Once again, media spin doctors have tried to manufacture a problem with this. Any surprises here?

On Kyl-Lieberman, Hillary has become co-sponsor of the Webb Amendment requiring Congressional approval before an attack. By voting for Kyl-Lieberman, she is "arming" herself for the inevitable sliming she will receive in the general election over whether she has the gonads that the repugs do needed to keep our country safe from the terrrrists.

Posted by: patrick.bradish | November 13, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will push back, but only in the face of a direct comment, not in a fire first situation. BUT, I think you're missing the real supposition, what issue will Hillary bring forth in a "fire first" that will let her make a definitive stand on something. I think this is what her team views as her biggest weakness, her inability to triangulate as facilely as Bill did. She appears to be trying to become an automaton and follow some paint by numbers formulae, but she misses and it comes off as vascillating and, unfortunately, then seems to be prevaricating. I think she will make forceful statement about mildly opined views, stronger than "I'm against teen alcoholism in all it's ugly forms" (re: The Simpson's Bush) to less than "I'm gonna get us out of Iraq on Jan 21, baby!". So I think that if there are attacks, they will be oblique, so as to manoeuvre her into taking positions on issues that segments of the voters have strong opinions on.

Posted by: j.n.white | November 13, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I think the truth is, Hillary is still in an extremely good position and is unlikely to not get the nomination. The fact that a couple mistakes this week are drawing such harsh conclusions from media types speaks to how "flawless" her campaign has been thus far.

I don't have to remind anyone how much I don't like this woman. But her errors this week are not going to stop her from getting nominated, period.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 13, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will win hands down. The Republicans don't want to run against her, that's why they are saying they want to run against her. They hope Obama beats her in the primary because they know they can't beat her in the general election. Democrats, remember that, and do not play into Karl Rove's hands.

Posted by: tuttlegroup | November 13, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

You people are funny! Points to roo_P and bsimon!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 13, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

What Should Hillary Do?
Why change what is working? Last I saw, she was still clearly the frontrunner, leading in the polls. It has not been her strategy of attempting to stay above the fray that let her down, it has been a failure in execution. She needs to get back on her game and she will be fine. She may be a little more pointed in her remarks but Edwards and Obama will be the attack dogs.

Posted by: dave | November 13, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Here are a few ways Hillary should smack the 2 of them.
Edwards:
Although Obama is the greater political threat, she needs to focus Edwards because he has been the nastiest and press is pick up on it and repeating it. In essence, he has called here a lair and dishonest. Also, his attacks allows Obama to pile on in a respectable way.
He is phony and fake and will do any they thing to be prez, in 2004 he was strongly against universal healthcare but now is more creditable cause Hillary take money from lobbyists?
Every time he throws in Iran and Iraq in examples of Hillary's double talk call him out and have him explain their differences. There nearly the same on these issues.
When he states that he is more electability in the general election point that Hillary leads in the polls, he did not re-run for his NC senate seat cause he would have lost, and that he was embracement as a vp candidate especially in the debate against Cheney.
Edwards loves to point out that his middle class begins and charity makes up for hedge fund involvement (foreclosing on Americans and offshore corp) and all other of his sins. Point that Hillary and others dems are from the middle class and that his charity is only a front of his prez ambitions
When he calls Hillary republican light and dishonest then call him out on taking cash from Rupert m. for his book.
Obama:
On Iraq, his position is near the same as Hillary. See 11/11 nbc meet the press.
On Iran, his position is near the same as Hillary but he did not have the courage to even vote. See 11/11 nbc meet the press. There is a pattern of Obama missing tough votes going back to his time in the IL state senate.
On the Clinton archives, point out per FactCheck.org and WP 11/13 editorial that she is on the up-and-up and not secretive and point out that he has issues with his records (per Chicago tribute) and his See 11/11 nbc meet the press does not hold water.
In general Hillary, she needs to step-in each time an opponent attacks her and don't let the moderator bully her like russert did, i.e. russert orchestrated round-robin opponent attacks versus allowing her to respond to each attacker one after another. She need force the moderator to follow debate rules.

Posted by: spowell71 | November 13, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

*touche*

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

legan00 writes
"I actually think that liberals should act as tough as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney do. Otherwise, we lose."

I'm more inclined to agree with Sen Obama, who said that Dems have to do better than acting like George Bush Republicans. The tough guy act has created a lot more problems for us than it has solved. If you were to argue for a Teddy Roosevelt toughness - i.e. speak softly & carry a big stick - I'd be more inclined to agree.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will only "sharpen her attacks" in kind against Obama or Edwards if someone coaching her decides to get desperate about Iowa, where her lead in the polls is tenuous. I doubt it will happen. It's better for her to let the others overreach and hurt themselves.

More likely, she'll let a few firm positions on policy slip out. She'll be vague and triangulating at first, but if a stem cell or torture question lingers for a couple minutes, Hillary will make sure the topic ends with her views clear. No repeat of the lengthy wavering about driver's licenses for illegals.

She wants to be pegged down on policy as little as possible, and attack others as little as possible because she doesn't want to hurt her chances in the general. The male Dems, however, are much more worried about reaching the general than succeeding in it, and will attack away.

Posted by: angrydoug1 | November 13, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

¡irrefutable strawman¡

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
I actually think that liberals should act as tough as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney do. Otherwise, we lose.

Posted by: legan00 | November 13, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

She needs to rise above it. Now, there are several ways of doing that. One is to _try_ to rise above it by not answering the attacks. That'll at best make her seem arrogant. She should not only answer the attacks but use her reply to attack back on the same topic, when possible. She should never attack without it being a direct rebuttal, though. But once she's replying to an attack, take the gloves off.

The way to rise above it is to make the debate about something else. Basically, she needs to say something in the debate that's _new_ - could be as easy as a slogan-type phrase that'll sit with people after the debate, or a developed policy that'll make headlines. She needs to regain that aura of inevitability, of the natural nominee.

Posted by: th | November 13, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The post's question is a bit like asking which of the fighters in a rigged match will take a dive first. There isn't that big of a difference between Hillary and her rivals, and CNN isn't going to ask any real questions that would make it clear to everyone the huge gaps in all their policies. If CNN dug into the DLs for IAs issue they could greatly reduce the chances that all of the candidates (except perhaps Dodd or Biden) have of becoming president. They won't do that, and instead will ask a process-related question about it if they bother asking about it at all.

Compare this question for Hillary with the ones she's asked at the debate:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_l4Lawj14A

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 13, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

*Unnecessary jab about spelling*

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

wbrazils--"And then Obama needs to explain why, if that vote was so crucial for American foreign policy, he chose not to leave the campaign trail long enough to cast a vote on Kyl-Lieberman."

This tired old horse has been beaten many-a time. Reid told Obama that no further votes on the issue would be had, Obama left town and Reid scheduled the vote.

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

There is no need for Sen Cliton sink to her rivals' level. No matter how media says, she is in a very good position. Her national lead is still about 2 to 1 to Obama, especially people give her high marks on her competence and trust her more than others to handle complex issues. She only needs answer questions calmly and clearly. A good debate performance is all she needs and she is a good debater. As for Obama and Edwards, in the near future they will start attack each other, actually Obama already did.

Posted by: kjlover46 | November 13, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

¡sarcastic non-sequiter¡

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

legan00 writes
"I like angry candidates. They're tougher. I'm angry that less candidates are angry. I hate talk about hope and change. I want a liberal George Bush."


Dude, you lost me somewhere in there. WTF is a liberal George Bush??

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

*riposte*

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

roo_P writes
"*Gratuitous insult*"

¡Witty Rebuttal¡

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

*Gratuitous insult*

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's best bet is to follow her "new strategy" of purporting to have the most experience and using attack lines to that effect. So far the media have given her a free ride on that claim although its merits are somewhat dubious and it is likely that this will continue to be the case to her favour.

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

-I agree with Blarg, but to anyone who reads Chris' blog, it ought to be clear that Chris is pulling for Hillary Clinton. I still like the blog, but he's a centrist, and centrists are so afraid of Republicans that they're convinced Hillary is the only one capable of beating a Rudy Guiliani, or John McCain candidacy.(Don't count out McCain, I think he's coming back.) That's why they push for her. There's talk, however, which suggests that Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove and all the Republicans were egging the Hillary Clinton candidacy on because they thought they could beat her, and it is actually John Edwards whom they fear. You may be the judge of that. This author, mind you, is inclined to find some validity in that suggestion. My own sentiments tend to reflect those of Dennis Kucinich, but I understand he cannot win. (I found it disconcerting that the media recently marginalized his candidacy because he claimed to have seen an U.F.O. All the candidates believe in one Christian God, and that, the media finds endearing.) I'm beginning to think that Edwards might have some fire. Barack Obama is picking up heat. I am still not in love w/ Obama, but he's mildly impressing me now. I sort of hope that Edwards turns it on. I like angry candidates. They're tougher. I'm angry that less candidates are angry. I hate talk about hope and change. I want a liberal George Bush. It would work, but Edwards is the only one ballsy enough to try it.

-In order to address the WagtheBlog more sufficiently, I think that Hillary should say Barack Obama's statements are loaded and inauthentic. The fact that Barack Obama opposed the Iraq War from the Illinois State Senate, while thoughtful, hardly helps now. I'm a liberal, I knew not to invade, too. But seriously, her plan and his plan forward are not dissimilar. So really, Obama's "foresight" claim is just well-worn territory at this point.
-Hillary would be ill-advised to take on Edwards directly. He'd embarass her. She knows that. Hilary will try to outshine Obama, and help that counts enough. She will be more elusive with Edwards. I honestly hope she takes Edwards on, because I love seeing rich people argue and dance for me on my television. If i'm going to vote for either of them, I want to see a show first. If she does take on Edwards,I believe he will defeat her.


Eugene V. Debs 2008

Posted by: legan00 | November 13, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Once Obama beats Clinton in the Primary there is no Republican attack that he will not be able to beat.

Posted by: sjxylib | November 13, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Craigh has the correct idea... don't address the attack, but point out how Obama doesn't do what he 'speechifies' about,or worse does do what he accuses others of...
he talks againts the war, but repeatedly votes for funding.
he bought his house from the 'lobby'

point out that obama is a 'going along with' type of politician... he's never passed legislation in the senate (ignore his 2 short years, let obama explain it away by pointing out his own lack of experience)

Clinton needs to point out that Obama HAS NOT BEEN VETTED, that gop will shred him like lettuce. And that the Gop wants obama as the nominee, since they will attack his naive and simple understanding of issues

oh, and ignore edwards.. he'll take votes away from obama.... though a comment like 'are you running for Barak's VP?' could slash hard at edwards.

Posted by: newagent99 | November 13, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Craigh has the correct idea... don't address the attack, but point out how Obama doesn't do what he 'speechifies' about,or worse does do what he accuses others of...
he talks againts the war, but repeatedly votes for funding.
he bought his house from the 'lobby'

point out that obama is a 'going along with' type of politician... he's never passed legislation in the senate (ignore his 2 short years, let obama explain it away by pointing out his own lack of experience)

Clinton needs to point out that Obama HAS NOT BEEN VETTED, that gop will shred him like lettuce. And that the Gop wants obama as the nominee, since they will attack his naive and simple understanding of issues

oh, and ignore edwards.. he'll take votes away from obama.... though a comment like 'are you running for Barak's VP?' could slash hard at edwards.

Posted by: newagent99 | November 13, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike - Clinton has no convictions....only indictments, investigations for wrong doing, etc. :)

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 13, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

*Deprecating statement about Chris*

*Rebuttal to USMC_Mike*

*Personal taunt to anyone nearby*

*Obscure pun*

Posted by: roo_P | November 13, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest that she point to her record, but since being First Lady hardly counts, and since she's keeping the records sealed up, that's going to be a tough one.

I would also suggest that she point to her convictions, but since she has no core principals (see 2 positions in 2 minutes) apart from relentless pursuit of power, that's going to be a tough one too.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 13, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse


Hillary needs to answer questions about the availability of documents in her husband's presidential library--either by explaining when they will become accessible or by articulating clearly why they will remain sealed. She needs to make clear whether she supports drivers licenses for non-citizens. She needs to explain why she voted in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran.

She doesn't need to "attack." She doesn't need to "fight back." She needs to clearly and concisely answer some questions.

And then Obama needs to explain why, if that vote was so crucial for American foreign policy, he chose not to leave the campaign trail long enough to cast a vote on Kyl-Lieberman.

And Edwards needs to explain why, if he concedes he isn't "pure" on accepting donations from lobbyists, Americans should trust him to clean up the Washington culture he deplores.

Every candidate should be asked tough questions every day. Each candidate should be expected to answer those questions simply and clearly. Debate moderators should stop aiming to "draw blood" and to create an entertaining horserace by targeting the frontrunner. They should focus on putting every candidate on the spot.

And the voters should decide, based on the candidates' answers, whom they trust enough to elect president. It's not a boxing match. It's a vitally important national election.

Posted by: wbrazils | November 13, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

briantucker_2 has a good point. If Clinton comes out swinging, she risks falling back into the perceived role of strident harridan that she worked so hard to escape these past few months. Additionally, attacking Obama and Edwards will do little to alleviate their criticism of her, that she refuses to answer questions directly and seeks to leave room to maneuver in every statement.

The best way to answer the critics and not appear calculating is to answer questions clearly and take a well-defined stance on the issues. Whether she can stop triangulating and start taking a stand is what I'll be watching for in this debate.

Posted by: xangelx67 | November 13, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse


Hillary could abandon her high road strategy and note that Obama:

•Has staged/orchestrated recent campaign events (see today's Chicago Sun Times),

•Is not willing to release (or can't locate) his records as an Illinois state legislator,•Told the NY Times in 2004 that he was not sure how he would have voted on the Iraq War resolution,

•Purchased his home for 33% below its market value thanks to his cozy relationship with an associate who has since been indicted

That's called tit-for-tat but considering her still considerable lead, she may not need to sink to the level of her increasingly desperate opponents.

Posted by: craighennin | November 13, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

briantucker_2 - I don't think Clinton will go after Edwards. He's much much brighter than her and a far better debater. Her handlers have to understand that Edwards is just looking for the chance of her going on the attack. Once "off script" he would make her look foolish and tear her apart. I think Obama, nice man that he is, will be the object of her attacks. I also think he will be completely out of his league in trying to handle Clinton. Look for Edwards to come to Obama's defense.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 13, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I do belive Hillary will strike hard at Obama becasue he is her biggest threat to the nomination and he really cleaned her clock Saturday without ever invoking her name. How she will attach him will be interesting because their are some risks involved. She can try to hit him on his expeience again, but what experience does she have, As guess she wants to count being 1st lady, then she better have release her WH records so we can judge her performance. When she got caught planting questions (really no big deal, campaigns have been doing it for a long time)she should just fessed up, took the hit and moved on. Instead she did what she usually does, lie. Does anyone really believe picking that young lady out of the crowd was just a fluke on her part. William Safire called her a congenital liar. How right he was.

Posted by: vbhoomes | November 13, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Is anyone else tired of talking about Hillary Clinton? There are plenty of other candidates in the race; post about them for a change."

Perhaps a clever poster could use the HRC topic to comment on multiple candidates. briantucker_2, for example, did a fine job of analyzing the situation.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Clinton "attacking down" will likely create as many problems as it solves. I think Obama and Edwards did the calculus on this, understanding the one who'd be painted into a corner by heightened aggression on their part would be Clinton.

If she does go on the attack I imagine it will be against Edwards and not Obama. Hitting Edwards will seem justified in light of his hyperbole of late. Hitting Obama, on the other hand, would make the case all the pundits and analysts have been making the past few weeks: he's knocked her off her game. It's an interesting dilemma, and I think the ultimate winner here is Obama.

Posted by: briantucker_2 | November 13, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, I agree. But, the answer will still be the same. Read the European press and what they have to say about the state of our union. In particular, read the English on-line version of Der Spiegel on corporate influence and corruption on candidates from both parties:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,510248,00.html

and, on the looping utter collapse of the U.E. economy:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,517060,00.html

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 13, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

blarg: CC is clearly hot for Hillary.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 13, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

There's a typo in the post title.

Is anyone else tired of talking about Hillary Clinton? There are plenty of other candidates in the race; post about them for a change.

Posted by: Blarg | November 13, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton could effectively neutralize the criticism she's received lately by showing some leadership and taking a clearly staked out position on various issues. Having said that, I expect her to continue to attack her critics - primarily Edwards & Obama - a move that is likely to backfire & further damager her own campaign.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

President Bush is not running in '08, and it's about time Hillary stops trying to run against him. We have seen she is not invincible, and instead of blaming other people for asking tough questions, she should give frank, focused, and honest answers.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 13, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

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