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Clinton in Comeback Struggle in New Hampshire

The Associated Press is reporting that Hillary is having to answer some tough questions in New Hampshire this morning:

Fighting back from a devastating loss in Iowa, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to recalibrate her campaign in New Hampshire Friday by promising to answer as many voter questions as possible.

With a new urgency to her voice, the former first lady dispensed with much of her lengthy campaign stump speech and took her case directly to New Hampshire voters, whose state primary is Tuesday.

New Hampshire could make or break Clinton's candidacy. A good showing in this snowbound state may be her only chance to stem the bleeding from Thursday night's Iowa caucuses, where voters resoundingly rejected her message of experience in favor of a charismatic newcomer, Barack Obama.

At a rally in a freezing cold airport hanger, the New York senator urged supporters to cut through all the "static in the air" to learn what they could about her candidacy and that of Obama and John Edwards, who also edged her in Iowa.

"I want to know from all of you ... what do you want to know about us?" she said. "Who will be the best president based not on a leap of faith but on the kind of changes we've already produced."

Clinton began to slip in the polls after avoiding the tough questions in several debates in the last month, but her new effort at being more open may be too little too late, given Obama's stunning win yesterday.

But there were already signs that her poor showing in Iowa weighed on voters here as she took questions on her electability and how she could withstand negative information that circulated about her on the Internet.

"You find a lot of things online from people who have axes to grind and agendas to promote," she said. "Of all the people running for president, I've been the most vetted, the most investigated, and the most innocent, as it turns out," she said to cheers.

Having positioned herself as the most electable candidate in the Democratic field, Clinton struggled a bit to make that case a day after failing the campaign's first major test of electability.

"Anyone we nominate will be thrown into that blazing inferno of a general election," she said. "I've been through the fires, and it makes it far less likely they are going to be able to do to me what they intend to do to whomever we nominate."

If Hillary thinks us folks online have axes to grind and agendas to promote she will need to stand up and show America that's she's not afraid of the tough questions.

Quite simply, she may be out of time for that in New Hampshire, and if Obama takes New Hampshire he may well be unstoppable.

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Comments (5)

Steve Crickmore:

I think having all those old established advisors, with all that old established advice: don't make any mistakes, don't take any unnecessary risks, may have hurt Hillary. On Hillary's stage in Iowa last night there were such a crowd of the party's eminence grises: Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright etc. that when she gave her 'acceptance speech', their presence seem drown out her message that American wants a change. It would have gallery MORE suitable to facing the Republicans at a 'beltway meeting', but not an upstart like Obama in the center of America, who has changed the game, and with his eloquence is tapping into that growing part of America that wants a big change.

Steve Crickmore:

Hillary may hve dispensed with her stump speech but is still delivering those precictable one liners that have all the impact of a lead balloon,

By comparison Hillary was twice booed. The first time was when she said she has always and will continue to work for "change for you. The audience, particularly from Obama supporters (they were waving Obama signs) let out a noise that sounded like a thousand people collectively groaning. The second time came a few minutes later when Clinton said: "The there are two big questions for voters in New Hampshire. One is: who will be ready to lead from day one? The second," and here Clinton was forced to pause as boos from the crowd mixed with cheers from her own supporters. "Is who can we nominate who will go the distance against the Republicans?"
Lee Ward:

Hillary being booed by Obama supporters, who are 'feeling their oats' after the Iowa win, isn't surprising -- just a little disappointing.

If the tables were turned, and it was Clinton supporters booing at Obama, there would be much whining and machinations from the Obama camp.

Obama 'took the campaign negative" in Iowa, and maybe the Obamamites feel that's a good policy nationwide. I'm not so sure.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, that's not surprising that diehard Obama supporters would boo her...Was it surprising that no one in her camp could see this:

If she wants to seize the mantle of change from Obama, she will have to quickly establish herself as a candidate apart from her husband's administration. The image Thursday night of Clinton surrounded by her husband's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and her husband's favorite general, Wesley K. Clark, was all wrong, Devine (Tad Devine, the chief political strategist for Al Gore's 2000 campaign) said.

Sending Bush 41 and Clinton 42 around the world as ambassadors that America is 'open for business' again', is not exactly a bold plan..to counter Obama's theme that we need real change...What do I know I have been offering the Clinton free advice for a couple of months now to open up their campaign. They have million dollar advisers who come up with the opposite advice, I think the wrong advice that she is the 'invevitable winner' so she doesn't have to take questions from the press etc. But as you suggest, Lee it may be too late to change her tactics.

Lee Ward:

Bold plans won't solve anything, results will, and Obama is bold on talk. He will go far on his rhetoric and oratory excellence, but sooner on later he has to deliver the bacon.

If he succeeds in nailing the Democratic primary on "talk" alone, but then can't deliver the bacon in time for November election, we'll be faced with 4 years of Huckabee, Romney, McCain or Giuliani.

I'd rather have Clinton than the GOP asshat who succeeds in lying his way to the Republican nomination, and the fact that a tired electorate is reaching for Obama doesn't prove he has what it takes to be President.

Obama needs to prove that - and so far he hasn't.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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