Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The exchange went something like this:
Question: "What experience does Clinton have in dealing with bad places, where leaders were greedy, rotten and power hungry?"
The questioner apparently didn't have a microphone, so Hillary summarised the question:
"What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"
And then she paused, and there was much laughter.
After her appearance the questions started coming from the media...was she referring to her husband? Was she subtly suggesting he was one of those men?
Of course not - but they were the questions, and that is what the media have been running with ever since. Just a little bit unfair on both Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Lets get this straight - Hillary will be using Bill at every opportunity to campaign with her over the next 12 months, and yet she would refer to him, even subtly as being evil? No, it just doesn't make sense.
Clinton responded "I thought I was funny you know? You guys keep telling me, "Lighten up. Be funny." You know? I get a little funny and now I'm being psychoanalyzed!"
If she would be referring to any bad men, one could think of a couple of names - Kenneth Star and/or Newt Gingrich.
Former Clinton aides like James Carville have been doing the rounds to support Clinton, given this has now been blown out of proportion.
But this is a timely lesson for all candidates - even the slightest slip, ill considered phrase, wrong intonation, or even a pause after repeating a question, can disrupt the most prepared campaign plan.
Monday, January 29, 2007
This morning Clinton addressed the annual board meeting of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, in an effort to attract their support for her campaign.
Clinton concluded her tour of Iowa yesterday, where she spoke in Davenport. Over 500 people greeted her at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, followed by another gathering at the Davenport Central High School.
As opposed to Saturday, where it was reported that she was dogged by many questions on the Iraq issue, and her previous stance on it, Clinton came out firing on Sunday. Clever strategy.
Clinton called on President Bush to extricate America from Iraq before the end of his Presidency. She said that it was Bush's decision to go to war with an ill conceived plan, and she resents the fact that he is saying that the next President will also have to deal with the problem of Iraq.
She repeated her statement that she would not have voted in favour of the Iraq war in 2002, if she had known all the facts. But she again stopped short of saying that her vote was a mistake.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
And she will be following up that trip with another a month later on March 10, to speak at the State Democrats 100 Club dinner.
Polls in New Hampshire have Clinton slightly trailing Barack Obama, with John Edwards in 3rd place.
This visit will mark the start of many more local appearances before the first vote, just under 12 months away.
With banners declaring "Let the Conversation Begin" and "Hillary Clinton for President", one might be mistaken in
Clinton will be attempting to continue the theme of conversing with people, on a type of "one on one" basis. So expect more of these town hall style gatherings, with large crowds.
However, Clinton yesterday spent some of her time yesterday defending her stance on the Iraq war, a decision she now acknowledges might have been different with the benefit of hindsight. Clinton said that she is now advocating for a cap of troops in Iraq, but will not authorize the cutting off of funds for the troops already there.
Last night, Clinton was in Cedar Rapids at a house party for 150 people, and continues her tour of Iowa today.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
This is Clinton's first visit to Iowa in over 3 years, but expect the visit to boost her ratings as she meets and greets locals during a busy schedule. Clinton supporters have noted that Clinton is best when she is on the ground, meeting people face to face - not unlike her husband.
John Edwards has consistently led recent polls in Iowa and has visited the state no fewer than 17 times in the last 2 years. In addition, Clinton's main rival nationally, Barack Obama has been there a number of times, and of course local Tom Vilsack is a former Governor.
Clinton will have her work cut out for her, but this wont be her last trip to Iowa.
And yesterday she announced that she has appointed the former chief of staff to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, JoDee Winterhof.
Winterhoff said that she was joining the Clinton campaign because she "...has the experience and vision to lead this country from the moment she steps into office."
Friday, January 26, 2007
In addition, the webcasts that Clinton ran for 3 nights this week had over 25,000 questions submitted. We wish her luck in being able to respond to all of them!
In a campaign that will increasingly be dominated by online media, Clinton is making great use of the Internet thus far.
However, the Internet strategy is only one piece of the jigsaw. Connecting with those who wont connect with her website is going to be a lot harder.
In a telephone survey conducted between Jan 22 and 23 of just over 1000 registered Democrat voters, Clinton was the preferred candidate by 40% of respondents.
Obama was on 21% with former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards on 11%, and former Vice President and 2000 nominee Al Gore on 9%.
According to the poll, Clinton was also the best placed to beat the lead Republican candidate, John McCain - as preferred President, she was tied with him 47-47. McCain beats other Democrat candidates by at least 7 points.
However, while 51% of respondents have a positive view of Clinton, 41% have a negative one. While the overall poll is extremely favorable, this last figure might cause some concern for the Clinton camp.
So expect the "polarizing" argument to be quite prominent in the media in the coming weeks.
$2100 is the maximum that any one person can donate to a candidate during a primary campaign.
Taylor said that she supports Clinton because she is "...very savvy and a smart leader with years of experience in government, diplomacy and politics."
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Apparently Clinton has received tens of thousands of questions in the last few days. Unfortunately, Clinton could only answer so many of them, so you can have a look at the transcripts of the video chats here. Or, you can download the video of all the chats this week from here.
The questions are moderated, and Clinton is well polished in her answers. Are we being cynical to suggest that she has a sneak peek at the questions before she responds?
In the managed world of modern day politics, someone is no doubt choosing the right questions that are asked out of the thousands sent.
Regardless, Clinton does look good, and doesn't stumble. She pitches her message very well.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Clinton is asking people to draw their own conclusions on her as a person, and those that have met her, such as in New York have warmed to her. She also encouraged people to tune in to her video chats on her website every evening this week at 7pm (ET).
Pressed on the Iraq issue, Clinton would not admit that she made a mistake, and made a thinly veiled attack on John Edwards, saying that she is not backwards looking and is in the middle of trying to find a solution in Congress, not on the sidelines.
This issue is unlikley to go away - Edwards who has said that he made a mistake on the Iraq war, will push Clinton all the way to admit that she was wrong.
Clinton said that her husband former President Clinton would be a tremendous asset for her on the campaign trail, he has vast experience and is involved in numerous activities throughout the world.
On the State of the Union this evening, Clinton said that she was looking forward to hearing it, but was not hopeful of movements on things like health care. She said that everywhere she goes, she hears a great discouragement about the President's leadership.
Hillary Clinton's reaction to the State of the Union on ABC
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Hillary Clinton - 41%
Barack Obama - 17%
John Edwards - 11%
Al Gore - 10%
John Kerry - 8%
Joe Biden - 3%
Bill Richardson - 1%
Dennis Kucinich - 1%
There is a 4% margin of error for a poll of this size.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Surveying Democrats and Democrat leaning Independents, Clinton leads Obama 41-17. Obama is unchanged since last months survey, even with his announcement this week.
This poll will no doubt give Clinton's fortunes a good boost, the day after announcing her bid for the Democratic Nomination.
Full results to follow.
In a widely anticipated move, and just days after Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton has announced that she is running for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States.
Surprisingly, the announcement was made on a Saturday, the quietest news day of the week. In a move that may well be criticized for being a reaction to the Obama announcement, this is an interesting strategy for Clinton.
Clinton has just returned from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, working on her foreign policy credentials.
Clinton, 59, made the announcement via her website, in a video address. She said that after 6 years, it was "time to renew the promise of America".
With over $14 million in the bank, Clinton already has a massive head start on other declared candidates. In addition to which, she leads most of the polls of all possible Democrat candidates.
Clinton talked about starting a conversation with America, and says that there needs to be an end to the war in Iraq in the "right way". She also says that there needs to be quality affordable health care for all and emphasised her long record of fighting for Americans.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Obama formed an exploratory committee, and wont report back until February 10 as to whether he is in for the long haul.
Clinton however is the front runner, she leads in most of the polls, and she has over $14 million in the bank, money left from her Senate run in November.
Because Obama has been given rock star status from the media, Clinton has been handed some real competition for her anticipated attempt to move back to Washington. His possible candidacy has taken some of the shine off her front runner status.
But Clinton has a great team behind her, and she has her husband. Plus, she will be able to raise more than all of the other candidates.
Will she attempt to limit the amount of coverage Obama has been getting by declaring her hand? We think so. So keep an eye out for the big announcement, it's coming soon.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
But as the race hots up, and with an Obama announcement imminent, we would certainly be expecting something big very soon.
Clinton has spent the last few days touring Iraq and Afghanistan, looking closely at how the US is fighting the war on terror.
As a Senator from New York, Clinton is, and has been the favorite for the Democratic Nomination for some time.
Clinton has a massive fundraising power - for her almost unloseable Senate campaign in November, she raised over $50million. Apparently she has about $14 million of that left in the bank.
While some commentators have said that $100 million is needed for a candidate to be credible, others are saying that the nominee might need to raise in the order of $500 million. There are only a handful in the Democratic camp that could raise that - Clinton is one.
Then she has the added presence of Bill, probably the most popular figure on the campaign trail just a few months ago. Not only does he have a presence which would be unparalleled in any national campaign, he holds good sway with much of the Democratic grass roots.
Clinton's candidacy will face the same types of questions from the media over the coming months that Obama will face. Just as his candidacy in some ways will be viewed as whether America is ready for an African American President, the media will ask if America is ready for a female President.
Putting those issues aside, (and they should be) the best question that has to be asked is, can Hillary Clinton win an election?
Yes, she is popular. Yes she has fundraising capacity. Yes, she will have the strong support of her husband. And yes, she will have one of the best teams behind her.
But Clinton is a polarizing figure. And one that the Democrats, eager as they are to take back the White House, may not take a chance on.
And if the 2008 Presidential election is all about Iraq, which is entirely possible, Clinton may have some questions to answer about her previous and current positions. While others like Obama who has always been against the war, and Edwards who supported but now admits his mistake, Clinton was a supporter, and has yet to come out strongly to say that she was wrong.
After such a strong result for the Democrats in the mid terms, based primarily on the Iraq issue, these questions will be applied equally in the Democratic primary as they will in the Presidential election.
Time will tell on this one - there is almost 12 months to go before the first primaries. And we have yet to see all the candidates in the race. Al Gore is still equivocal, and John Kerry is yet to make up his mind. And when Obama announces, it is going to be a rock star event.
At the very least, expect the announcement from Hillary Clinton soon, and hold on to your hats for one of the most exciting primaries in our history. 2007 will be quite a year.