Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Losing, Hillary Style

The Politico reports on the Clinton campaign's response to their latest defeats - a strategy somewhere between spin and denial.

Hillary Clinton has had a lot of experience dealing with setbacks in the last five days, losing two of her top campaign aides and eight consecutive contests to Barack Obama in their battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. But she hasn’t gotten any better at acknowledging defeats.

In speeches to supporters in Texas Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, she ignored Obama’s convincing Tuesday wins in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Only in a press conference after a Wednesday morning rally in this dusty border town did Clinton acknowledge the results of the Potomac primary. Even then, she said everything was going according to plan.

“I want to congratulate Sen. Obama on his recent victories and tell him to meet me in Texas. We’re ready,” she said, before brushing off questions about her apparent struggles by saying, “that’s what I always thought would happen. So we are very well positioned to compete in these big states and that’s what I intend to do. This is a long journey to the nomination. Some weeks one of us is up and the other is down, and then we reverse it . . . It’s a long and winding road.”

Clinton also said she wasn’t concerned that Obama on Tuesday cut into her base of Hispanics and white women, and she denied reports that her campaign is in turmoil. “From my perspective this is the exciting part of the campaign,” she said.

Still, the unprompted recognition of Obama’s success was rare for Clinton, who in her speeches neither congratulates Obama on his wins, nor acknowledges her losses, even if only to predict she’d soon turn things around in her March 4 firewall states of Texas and Ohio. And when directly confronted about defeats and stumbles, she normally makes it sound as if everything is going precisely to plan.

Undoubtedly, Hillary Clinton will go down swinging and her latest ad in Wisconsin (going negative) should be an indication of what's to come.

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