Hillary’s Unanswered Question

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For all the clever tweets, sophisticated data, and focus group tested messages the Hillary Clinton campaign pumps out daily, they may have forgotten to ask the simple question that should be at the heart of every campaign: If voters had one sentence to explain why they support her candidacy, what would it be? After nineteen months of campaigning, I’m not sure they have an answer to that.

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Hillary Clinton and Her Inner Sixties

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Now Hillary Clinton is a public figure, and in an era of wall-to-wall PR it’s hard to argue that she’s not playing the game. But perhaps she simply backed into it. Perhaps she’s that Sixties activist at heart who preferred behind-the-scenes advocacy and the humility of action — but got drawn into politics as a result of her husband’s career. Perhaps she is a reluctant politician, not a Machiavellian schemer.

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The Center Folds

McCurryCandidates in presidential campaigns tend to spout the opposite of what they actually do later when (shudder) they are elected; however, these candidates are saying little to nothing in the campaigns. Following this logic, saying nothing at this point in the campaign might actually yield some results after the slugfest is over in November. Continue reading The Center Folds

Shoddy End to a Stellar Speech

Veteran political consultant Alex Castellanos said that former President Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention, “will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama.” And Castellanos is a Republican.

It was indeed a stellar speech – weighty, witty, passionate and, above all, persuasive. But it had a shoddy end. Continue reading Shoddy End to a Stellar Speech

Hope and Change Ahead for Obama

“Be upbeat,” said Al Gore’s likable chief of staff, Jack Quinn, to us staffers as we got up from the enormous table in Old Executive Office Building’s Ceremonial Room and headed to our offices. “If you have your private predictions, keep them to yourself.”

It was Election Day 1994. He seemed embarrassed — awkward — about saying something so obvious.

But 16 years later, I don’t think he’ll mind my sharing what I recorded in my journal back then, to answer this month’s water-cooler question: Will 2012 be like 1996? Continue reading Hope and Change Ahead for Obama