Clinton Challenged by Obama and Richardson

While Hillary Clinton remains a strong front runner, her nomination does not appear to be a sure thing. The Evans-Novak Pollitical Report writes that Obama seems to have Clinton right where he wants her:

Obama-Clinton: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) seems to have Sen. Hillary Clinton right where he wants her. Her campaign is constantly reacting to what he does.

  1. This includes her recent appearance in Selma, Ala., in which she reinvented her own past. Clinton, speaking at Selma’s First Baptist Church on the 42nd anniversary of the “bloody Sunday” freedom march there, declared: “As a young girl [age 16], I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. King speak in Chicago. The year was 1963. My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night to hear [King]. … And he called on us, he challenged us that evening to stay awake during the great revolution that the civil rights pioneers were waging on behalf of a more perfect union.”
  2. That all sounds great, except that the young Hillary went on the following year to become a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Clinton’s commencement address, made at Wellesley as a student, did not mention civil rights. She and her handlers are so afraid of Obama that they were implying the existence long ago of a teenager in Chicago’s suburbs who never really existed.
  3. Clinton’s speech in Nashua, N.H., was a clumsy attempt to return the focus to herself as the “barrier-breaking” candidate instead of Obama. It was not exactly the comparison of herself to JFK that it was called in some headlines, but it was definitely a ham-fisted attempt to assert that she was an underdog seeking to overcome a major cultural barrier. The comparison she made, however, only highlights the fact that Obama’s inauguration would break really huge barriers, whereas hers would be what everyone has been expecting anyway — four more years of Clinton.
  4. Obama gave some rare praise to President Bush at a dinner hosted by the National Council of La Raza. Obama praised President Bush for having his heart “in the right place” on immigration reform. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also addressed attendees. In a minor incident, two guests had their cars stolen during the event at the National Building Museum — the valets were held up at gunpoint.

Bill Richardson is also of concern to Clinton:

Although emissaries of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) are still preaching the inevitability of her nomination, Democrats in general do not want the process closed or the field limited. There is new interest in New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. As a Westerner and a Mexican-American, Richardson is seen as strong in the newly decisive swing states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and his own New Mexico. His hope is the new Nevada caucuses, which are scheduled between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

They also believe Edwards has been slipping as this has been turning more into a Clinton vs. Obama race, but Ann Coulter’s slur has helped Edwards among Democrats:

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) had been slipping as the Obama-Hillary contest became a two-way race, but he received help at CPAC when columnist Ann Coulter used the term “faggot” during a reference to Edwards. So hated is Coulter on the left that it was probably the best publicity he’d received in months. His campaign was soliciting donations over the event almost immediately after it occurred, sending e-mails to supporters that included a video clip of Coulter’s insulting him.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    cadmium says:

    I think that Richardson is basically running to be VP on the Clinton ticket.

  2. 2
    David N says:

    We liberals here in Kansas — yes ,
    there are actually some of us here
    in the Land Of Oz do not buy into
    this ” Hillary is inevitable ” plot
    laid out by her and her campaign.

    Yes, Bill Richardson WOULD be an
    excellent VP. however the fact is
    that he should could and hopefully
    will be our eventual nominee for
    President.

    On issues as diverse as Cilil
    Rights , Civil Liberties , our
    Health Care , nature and the
    economy not one other candidate
    stands as tall and firm for ALL
    of us as Bill Richardson does.

    Just my 3 cents worht here.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    No, Hillary is not ineveitable. (The only things that are inevitable are death and taxes, and the Republicans seem to be trying to bring about more of the former in the hopes of somehow eliminating the latter.)

    Clinton has a strong lead, but there’s a lot of time to go. Richardson has a considerable uphill battle, but stranger things have happened.

  4. 4
    David N says:

    I thought perhaps this editorial
    might be of interest to some of
    your readers.

    “” Neither Clinton, nor Obama?
    3/7/2007 8:27:03 AM
    DAVID BROOKS
    So there I was, sitting in my office, quietly contemplating suicide. I was watching a cattle call of Democratic presidential candidates on C-Span. In their five-minute speeches, they were laying it on thick with poll-tested, consultant-driven cliches of the Our Children Are Our Future variety. The thought of having to spend the next two years listening to this drivel set me wondering if it was literally possible to be bored to death.

    Then Bill Richardson walked onstage. He was dressed differently — in slacks and a sports jacket. He told jokes that didn’t seem repeated for the 5,000th time. He seemed recognizably human, unlike some of his over-polished peers. He gave the best presentation, by far.

    Then a heretical question entered my head: What if Richardson does this well at forums for the next 10 months? Is it possible to imagine him as a leading candidate for the nomination?

    When you think that way, it becomes absurdly easy to picture him rising toward the top. He is, after all, the most experienced person running for president. He served in Congress for 14 years. He was the energy secretary (energy’s kind of vital).

    He’s a successful two-term governor who was re-elected with 69 percent of the vote in New Mexico, a red state. Moreover, he’s a governor with foreign policy experience. He was U.N. ambassador. He worked in the State Department. He’s made a second career of negotiating on special assignments with dictators like Saddam, Castro and Kim Jong Il. He negotiated a truce in Sudan.

    Most of all, he’s not a senator. Since 1961, 40 sitting senators have run for president and their record is 0-40. A senator may win this year, but you’d be foolish to assume it.

    When it comes to policy positions, he’s perfectly positioned — not by accident — to carry liberals and independents. As governor, he’s covered the normal Democratic bases: He raised teacher pay, he expanded children’s health insurance, he began programs to stall global warming, he built a light rail line.

    But he also cut New Mexico’s top income tax rate from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent. He handed out tax credits to stimulate economic growth. (He’s the only Democrat completely invulnerable on the tax cut issue.) He supports free trade, with reservations. And he not only balanced the budget — he also ran a surplus.

    On cultural issues, Richardson has the distinct advantage of not setting off any culture war vibes. He was in college in the late 1960s, but he was listening to the Beach Boys, not Janis Joplin. He was playing baseball in the Cape Cod League, not going to Woodstock. He idolized Hubert Humphrey, not Eugene McCarthy.

    Richardson is actually something of a throwback pol — a Richard Daley or Fiorello La Guardia who doesn’t treat politics as a moral crusade. That might appeal this year.

    On the nuts and bolts of the campaign, he has some advantages as well. He won’t have the $150 million war chests that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will have. On the other hand, he won’t have the gigantic apparatuses that fundraising on that scale requires. While those campaigns may be bloated, over-managed and remote, Richardson has the potential to be small and nimble.

    Furthermore, he could generate waves of free media the way that John McCain did in 2000. He’s a reporters’ favorite — candid, accessible and fun to be around. “I’m a real person, not canned. I don’t have a whole bunch of advisers. I’m a little overweight, though I’m trying to dress better,” he told me last week. So far, rumors of personal peccadilloes are unfounded.

    Finally, there is the matter of his personal style. He’s baggy-faced, sloppy (we like our leaders well groomed), shamelessly ambitious and inelegant. On the other hand, once a century or so the Democratic Party actually nominates somebody the average person would like to have a beer with. Bill Richardson is that kind of guy.

    He is garrulous, amusing, touchy-feely (to a fault), a little rough-edged and comfortably mass-market. He’s Budweiser, not microbrew. It doesn’t hurt that he’s Hispanic and Western.

    In short, when you try to think forward to next winter, you see that this campaign will at some point leave the “American Idol”/”Celebrity Deathmatch” phase. The Clinton-Obama psychodrama may cease to fascinate while the sheer intensity of coverage will create a topsy-turvy series of revolutions.

    I wouldn’t bet a paycheck on Richardson. But I wouldn’t count him out. At the moment, he’s the candidate most likely to rise.

    David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times. “”

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