Who’ll be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008? It would seem that Karl Rove has already decided that it’ll be Hillary Clinton. In his Newsweek column, he discusses how the Republican candidate — he apparently hasn’t decided who that will be, yet — can beat her:
“Say in authentic terms what you believe. The GOP nominee must highlight his core convictions to help people understand who he is and to set up a natural contrast with Clinton, both on style and substance. Don’t be afraid to say something controversial. The American people want their president to be authentic. And against a Democrat who calculates almost everything, including her accent and laugh, being seen as someone who says what he believes in a direct way will help.”
I wonder if Mitt Romney read the article. Romney already makes John Kerry, the man accused of being the new millenium’s first real flip-flopper of a presidential candidate, look like he never changed his mind a day in his life.
Clinton has gotten lots of attention the past few days, and she seems to have gotten points for her handling of a hostage crisis at her campaign headquarters in New Hampshire. She seemed calm under fire, authoritative, decisive. (Even though she likely made no decisions at all about how that particular crisis was being handled.)
Meanwhile, just as people have been forgetting that pointless squabble about why she won’t admit that her vote to authorize Bush to invade Iraq if necessary was a “mistake” (and use that specific word), Bill Clinton made a remark that will probably put him (back) in the dog house: speaking to an Iowa audience, he said that he “flatly opposed” the war in Iraq from the beginning.
Of course, back in 2003, he told a graduating class at Tougaloo College, “I supported the President when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
And in 2004, he said this in a CNN interview:
“I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over.
“[After 9/11, Bush’s first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining] chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material.
“That’s why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for.”
Is this a rewriting of history or a clarification of what Bill Clinton really felt but didn’t come right out and say because of his wife’s pending run for the White House? It makes little difference, because either way, it gives Hillary’s critics more ammunition.
And while Clinton’s critics are typing up a storm on the blogosphere, there is now word that Barack Obama has now taken the lead (albeit a slight one) in Iowa over Clinton and John Edwards. Obama is still riding the high of campaign assistance from Oprah Winfrey and the endorsement of Des Moines’ mayor, as well as a fiery speech three weeks ago in which he vowed to turn away from the partisan battles of the Clinton-Bush years.
That’s something all candidates should be promising. And exactly what the winning candidate needs to deliver.
- Take the poll: Who do you think will win the Democratic primary in Iowa?