January 4, 2008

NATURE ABHORS A TABLA RASA:

HRC team retools strategy, predicts N.H. win (Ben Smith and Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, Jan 4, 2008, Politico)

Hillary Rodham Clinton opened a five-day campaign to target what her aides call Barack Obama’s inexperience, delivering sharper attacks against the Iowa winner that are likely to become more personal and negative, according to Democrats familiar with the evolving strategy.

“Of all the people running for president, I’ve been the most vetted, the most investigated, and — my goodness — the most innocent, it turns out,” she told a cheering crowd in an airport hangar. During the new stump speech, Clinton took a series of easy policy questions from a friendly audience and answered them with jabs that were absent from her more sedate Iowa talks.

In both its format and content, the punchy speech was intended to prevent the Illinois senator from coasting on his Iowa victory, and to pull him into what her advisers hope will be a stumble amid the new scrutiny he faces as the candidates approach Tuesday’s primary here.


By running as an ink blot, Senator Obama is basically begging her to tell folks what they should see when they look at him. Now the question is how tough she is.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 4, 2008 12:16 PM
Comments

I think I'm going to be beating this horse quite a bit over the next 11 months: Republicans and conservatives underestimate Obama's chances of getting the nomination and winning the general election.

There are lots of reasons for this, but, since I'll have the chance to lay them all out at length in the coming months, I'll just focus on one here.

In the runup to the 2004 election, we told ourselves -- correctly -- that W would beat Kerry based on the "Who would you like to have a beer with" test. Obama wins that test on the Democratic side by a mile. Does anyone beat him on the Republican side? Huckabee, maybe, but Huckabee would be a disaster waiting to happen. Only McCain comes close, and that's more a "who would you like to buy a beer for."

Posted by: Ibid at January 4, 2008 3:40 PM

It was amazing (but typical) to watch Gergen et al. on TV last night, gushing over Obama's speech. It was 'gracious', I suppose, and perhaps an attempt to rise above the constant combativeness of the current politic, but in 15 or so minutes, Obama said nothing. It was one cliche strung after another.

Some pundits think Obama will dust McCain (or Rudy, or Fred, or Mitt). I am not convinced. Obama can dance, but not for 10 months. And the Democratic base is probably going to force their nominee to run against Bush, which will hurt them in the general election more than anyone in the media will admit.

Obama may win the 'beer' test in the Democratic primary, but he will struggle in the general election. The press will play it as Kennedy in 1960 all over again (especially if McCain is the nominee), but if the election is Harvard vs. the POW, or Harvard vs. the red pickup, or Harvard vs. Hizzoner, it might be completely different. Nobody wanted to have a beer with Nixon.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 5, 2008 12:32 AM

Harvard? The fact that Barry O is from Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood should mean there's plenty of real skeletons rattling around in his closet, if his opponents have the guts to expose them. Unfortunately, I expect they will try, and then give up at the first charge of "Racism!!".

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 5, 2008 2:01 AM
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