January 7, 2008


Little New Hampshire Could Hold Big Significance for Both Parties (Dan Balz, 1/07/08, Washington Post)

The Republican race appears more competitive on primary eve, but the Democratic contest holds the greater significance, if only because of what it may say about the future of the couple that gave the party consecutive White House terms for the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency.

Top Clinton campaign officials and alarmed allies are braced for a defeat on Tuesday. Five days is not enough, they have argued, to slow and reverse the momentum Obama has developed in Iowa. What they are looking to do is hold down his margin in New Hampshire and then try to restart the race on Wednesday, hoping to stay alive until Feb. 5, when many of the biggest states in the nation will hold primaries.

"Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on," Clinton told CBS's Harry Smith on Monday morning. "And we're going to keep going until the end of the process on February 5th. But I've always felt that this is going to be a very tough, hard-fought election, and I'm ready for that."

But like Penn's Saturday memo, that may be more wish than reality. By Wednesday, it may be too late. By then, Obama's campaign may have inflicted enough damage on the woman-who-was-once-inevitable that no amount of readjusting, recalibrating and rearranging will give her the wherewithal to overcome two big losses in the first contests of the 2008 nomination battle.

The New York Post headline on Monday morning read "Panic." Asked by Smith, "Is your campaign in panic?," Clinton replied, "Well I'm not."

People close to the New York senator said she has been clear-eyed about the challenge since arriving here early Friday -- and determined to turn things around. But her team is far less confident. Loyalists describe a campaign that failed to provide Clinton with a new core message or focus after Iowa.

She spent Friday in one mode: reiterating in slightly sharper language her Iowa message that the key issue is who is ready to be president. By Saturday she began to toughen that message. By Sunday she was making even stronger arguments against Obama and by Monday morning she was in all-out contrast mode.

If she can't take down a featherweight like Obama--as George W. Bush took out the, at least, middleweight McCain in '00--then why should she be president?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2008 11:27 PM

I can understand the desire of some to see a woman as our President. It would "feel" significant. But, in the end, the quick and pretty demise of Hilary has really provided confidence in our country. She is just too gross a human being to be the first. Hilary, Margaret Thatcher you 'aint.

Posted by: neil at January 8, 2008 6:50 AM

Okay, I've had it. "Begging the question" means to reason circularly. The phrase you want is "raises the question."

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at January 8, 2008 9:15 AM

No, it doesn't. It did. But English is (appropriately) demotic, unlike French, for instance.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2008 4:28 PM