Surprisingly, Russert told Clinton- “spoken like a true sports fan”, which was his Pinocchio moment of the night. No moment better epitomized this campaign, for better or worse, than that. Clinton spent the entire evening not being specific on Iraq, Israel, Social Security and Iran. Clinton took some heat for having voted for a Senate resolution designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, which many feel is a pre-cursor to taking action against Iran. Yesterday, she came out supporting Senator Webb’s resolution that the President must get approval from Congress before any action is taken against Iran.
As a campaign strategy, it’s not far removed from the Bush campaign of 2000- give your opponents as little to talk about and use as possible. Further, as a strategy, the other candidates are obviously trying to avoid going highly negative on Clinton. In the 2004 Iowa caucuses, both Dean and Gerhardt were hurt by the negativism between them, much to the benefit of John Kerry. And if I was running, I’m pretty sure I would not want to do anything that would tick off Hillary Clinton’s husband either. Bill Clinton’s status as THE pre-eminent star in the Democratic Party makes it much harder to attack Hillary Clinton.
The Edwards campaign may take a shot at this anyway, having stagnated in the polls. Edwards can make the case that Clinton can’t say she is for public financing, yet raise $15-$30 million a quarter. She can’t say she is for change and improving health care, and take PAC money, which is so a part of the status quo. I don’t think the Obama campaign will go negative. It looks like they are banking on the strength of grassroot support. A recent Newsweek poll had Obama ahead among likely Iowa caucuses attendees. We’ve seen firsthand in Massachusetts with the Patrick campaign how well that can work.
What will ultimately determine how far Hillary Clinton can ride this wave is the degree in which both traditional media and new media determine that she can continue to campaign in this manner. The chess match is for other campaigns to influence the buzz, and if successful, anticipate how the Clinton campaign will respond, to move to another stage. You can’t say it’s too early anymore, with Iowa just a few months away.
Cross Posted at http://democrants.bl…