Monday, December 10, 2007

Rumbling, stumbling, bumbling: the Clinton Campaign falters

Albert R. Hunt of Bloomberg has today's must-read on Hillary Clinton's stumbling finish to the close of primary season.

The concerns about Clinton, 60, a New York senator, are that she is devious, calculating and, fairly or not, a divisive figure in American politics.

Understatement is one of Hunt's gifts.

Candor and authenticity were repeatedly cited. "I don't feel like I look at her and see someone who's telling me the whole truth," said Allison Lowrey, a 30-year-old human resources consultant from Philadelphia...

Actually, when I look at her, I don't see someone who's telling me any of the truth. But maybe that's just me.

Things are tense in Hillaryland these days.

Her once-commanding advantage over Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire - the two critical initial contests - is evaporating. She has gotten the worst of recent exchanges over Iran and health care.

There are political strains with her greatest asset and surrogate, Bill Clinton. The former president was quoted last month as saying he had really opposed the invasion of Iraq from the beginning. He later claimed he was misquoted.

Perhaps it depends on what the definition of 'opposed' is.

Top Clinton campaign officials were privately furious at the former president, saying he had revived the complaint that the Clintons lack credibility, unfairly tarnishing his wife in the process.

Actually, by failing to fully disclose her involvement with a range of controversies (from cattle futures, to the Rose Law firms files, Pardon-gate, or the censored Barrett and Cox Reports, she's doing a bang-up job of tarnishing herself.

...her campaign has a near-obsession with what it perceives as a hostile press. They were incensed by a story in The New York Times that reported skepticism about Hillary's contention that her proposal to overhaul health care would help a lot more people than the plan of her rival.

"Near-obsession"? As far as I can tell, Hillary's had a tempestuous relationship with the press since, say, her Arkansas days.

It's a good bet that Clinton, encouraged by her husband, is weighing a shake-up, like bringing in John Podesta, the former White House chief of staff, to direct the overall campaign. The question is whether it is too late and too awkward before those first contests, which are to be held in three and a half weeks.

It's not too late, Hillary! You can salvage your campaign with a few deft personnel moves. What's Stephanapolos doing these days, anyhow? I've got Carville's cell number. And I hear Karl Rove may be looking...

If she can't adjust and rise to this challenge, however, she may well finish third in the Iowa caucuses and lose to Obama in New Hampshire. In the past 30 years, no candidate has lost both these tests and won the nomination.

C'mon, Hillary - let's start moving those chess pieces around -- there's no time to waste! I'm here to help!!

First photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP. Other photos: Zombie.

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