November 25, 2007


America hates Hillary Clinton and Co (Toby Harnden, 25/11/2007, Daily Telegraph)

With a year to go before the country votes for its 44th president, The Daily Telegraph embarked on its "Crossing America" project to find out. The answers that Julian Simmonds, photographer and videographer, and I got were often surprising. They provide little comfort for Mrs Clinton but not much more for any other politician. Although few people have no opinion about the 2008 candidates, the election has yet to grip the American imagination. And for most, their final decision remains a long way away.

Travelling principally by road in between hops by air, we reported as we went along, posting video, text and photographs on the Telegraph website each night. Our odyssey was enhanced by the emails and blog comments we received from Americans suggesting routes, berating us for skipping over their town or promising to show us a slice of true American life if we stopped down their way. [...]

We set out from Portland, Maine, on the north-east coast of New England on a diagonal route to the California port of San Diego in the south-west. The return leg started in the Seattle suburbs of the Pacific north-west and ended at the Atlantic on a beach in Florida, America's most south-eastern state.

In between, we stopped at places such as Wooster, an Ohio town hit by the wave of house foreclosures, Hannibal on the Missouri banks of the Mississippi and El Dorado (pronounced with a "ray" rather than a "rah" in the middle), an oil-boom town in the Kansas flatlands of Middle America.

We spoke to a megachurch minister in Washington state, new citizens in California, a cowboy doctor in Wyoming, a Kentucky country singer in Nashville and believers in UFOs in a dusty New Mexico town. Some interviews were arranged, but most discussions flowed from impromptu encounters in diners, parking lots, bars and shopping malls.

Mrs Clinton might be the frontrunner in the polls, but almost everywhere we went people questioned her candidacy. Many stated bluntly that they did not want a woman in charge. "It's a man's world," said Hugh Laflin, 62, a Kansas truck driver. "Would a Middle East sheikh talk to a lady president?"

A Vietnam veteran in Arizona and a Florida gun-shop owner were among those who made crude jokes about America "going to war every 30 days" under a female president. We never brought up Bill Clinton's sexual dalliances, but many ordinary Americans did. "She couldn't keep her own home together, so how can we trust her to manage America?" asked Micki Martinson, a housewife in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

While we found many people who hated Mrs Clinton, those who loved her were few and far between. Certainly, many said they would vote for her, but the reasons cited tended to be her status as the top Democrat, the fact that she was battle-tested against Republicans and - for some women - the fact that she would be the first female president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 25, 2007 7:48 AM

The Clintons zre goniffs. Everybody knows that.

From all the outrageous bribery, the phoney "legal fees" paid to the governor's wife, through to the disgraceful end of the Outgoing President's brother collecting "legal fees" for orchesrating Presidential pardons.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 25, 2007 2:08 PM

"Would a Middle East sheikh talk to a lady president?"

The stupidest reason for not voting for a female president.

How about keep our women burkaed? After all, you cannot trust a Middle East sheikh not go bonker when they saw our women's hair.

Posted by: ic at November 25, 2007 3:34 PM

I still say that a GOP candidate who wants to distance himself from the incumbent is smart to run on a "Two Decades of Bush-Clinton is Enough" platform. Make her into a surrogate incumbent. Well, she is running as Bill's third term, right?

Although, I must admit the image of President Hillary! making a Middle East appearance in a full Muslim body bag so as to not offend her hosts does have its appeal. And I could see her directing her female staff into the same when Bill is "in residence" as a reemptive measure.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 25, 2007 4:11 PM

Caught the opening skit of Mad TV last night which was a takeoff on a Madonna video. In the video Ms. Clinton and Obama are going at it in all sorts of ways with Ms. Clinton playing the Madonna copy. Not a good sign if NY liberals are making that much fun of the 2 Dem leading candidates.

Posted by: AWW at November 25, 2007 4:40 PM

It's interesting that ordinary americans aren't as obsessed with the next election as the political/intellectual class seem to be. This election started pretty early

Posted by: mike in europe at November 25, 2007 4:49 PM

The campaign started early because Democrats thought it would be to their advantage; we've now had more debates in the year BEFORE an election than some campaigns have had in total. I wouldn't blame anyone who has campaign fatigue now - especially considering the candidates we have.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at November 25, 2007 5:11 PM