Monday, November 12, 2007
The MSM likes to build someone up only to tear them down. They spent the last year telling the American people that Hillary Clinton was the "inevitable" Downie nominee, and, more than likely, she would be the next President. Don't even bother looking at her opponents, they told us. She is a winner; she can do no wrong.
But a really bad debate in which her veneer came off, mixed with additional lapses and the new story that her staffers planted questions in crowds is leading to the new story: Is Hillary Clinton's campaign in free fall? Can she recover? Is she doomed?
No, she is not doomed. Free fall, maybe; but doomed, no.
Hillary Clinton suddenly vulnerable as bruises start to show
DES MOINES - Where did Hillary Clinton's mojo go?
That's what her campaign has to be asking after a rough two weeks. And more importantly, they have to be wondering how to recapture that fading aura of an unstoppable juggernaut.
Top Clinton strategist Mark Penn doesn't own up to his candidate suffering a dip, but he admits it's been tougher of late.
"The opponents went negative, and that created a new dynamic and a different set of headlines," Penn said.
The new dynamic emerged at the debate in Philadelphia two weeks ago, but didn't just spring from sharp criticism by her opponents. Clinton stumbled by offering fuzzy answers to some questions and refusing to take a stance on Gov. Spitzer's license plan for illegal immigrants.
Then Camp Clinton's damage control backfired as she was pounded for suggesting the "boys" ganged up on her. And Bill Clinton brought more scorn when he said the attempt to get an answer out of his wife on licenses verged on John Kerry Swift Boat territory.
Now Penn and company plan to stick to the high road, talking about Clinton's strength, experience and vision for America, fund-raising at a torrid rate and deploying Bill Clinton more.
They're also launching counterattacks, calling her opponents mudslingers.
"I think it's sinking in to the electorate that people who had pledges to not attack Democrats were abandoning those pledges," Penn said.
Clinton remains way ahead in national polls, though some have shown a slip and a survey in early voting New Hampshire out yesterday showed a tightening race there.
The focus for staving off any Clinton collapse, though, starts in Iowa, where the candidates wooed party faithful at the state Democrats' biggest event of the year over the weekend.
Iowa Democrats said they didn't feel Clinton is headed down yet, but many thought the bruises were starting to show over her immigration nonposition and a new flareup over revelations that Hillaryland planted questions in two "conversations" with voters.
"I've turned a little more negative on her because of the immigration issue," said Terry Edwards, a trucker from Waukee, Iowa. "She flip-flops on that. I'd like to know where she stands."
"She's vulnerable, definitely," said Paul Willis of Thornton, Iowa, who said Clinton has what it takes to win, but could also implode. "As people get to know the other candidates, they're saying, 'Maybe there is a second choice.'"
Some Democrats saw damage from the attacks but liked Clinton more.
"I think it is hurting her, although for me, it's made me feel a little better toward her," said Roy McCoy, of Riverside, Iowa. "I don't like bullying."
Yep, it is bullying. Poor, wittle Hillary.
But to see the media now thinking that Hillary is in deep dog shit is great. It will make her easier pickings for the Republicans once she gets the nomination.