Hillary Clinton presidential campaign developments, 2007

Hillary Clinton presidential campaign developments, 2007

Hillary Rodham Clinton began developing her first campaign for the presidency in 2007.

Early opposition from two sides

In February 2007 "The Los Angeles Times" reported that several anti-Clinton organizations, including Stop Her Now and "Stop Hillary PAC", were preparing "swiftboating" style attacks against her, with venues to include a documentary film, numerous books, and websites. [cite web| url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-hillary18feb18,0,3735952,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines |title=GOP activists circling Clinton's campaign |publisher="Los Angeles Times|date=2007-02-18] A top Rudy Giuliani donor, Richard Collins, who has also supported George W. Bush for several years, was central in establishing "Stop Her Now." [ Mike Taibbi, "Worse Than Bush: He's [Giuliani's] Cashing in on 9/11,working with Karl Rove's henchman and in cahoots with a Swift Boat-style attack on Hillary." "Rolling Stone", June 14, 2007, p. 55. ]

"CNN" reported that 320,000 users joined the facebook group "Stop Hillary Clinton: (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary)". [Linnie Rawlinson, [http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/05/01/election.facebook/ “Will the 2008 USA election be won on Facebook?”] , CNN.com, Accessed June 13, 2007.] The news blog, "The Politico" gave the membership number as 418,000 members.cite news | url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0907/5989.html | title=Anti-Hillary Facebook site tops Obama | author=Richard T. Cullen | publisher=The Politico | date=2007-09-25 | accessdate=2008-01-06] This group was the largest group for or against a presidential candidate on Facebook; "The Politico" argued that this happened because "Clinton has had a polarizing effect."

Former Bill Clinton fundraiser and ally David Geffen spoke out against Hillary Clinton in an interview with Maureen Dowd. Geffen stated that Clinton "was overproduced and overscripted." He also stated that, "I don't think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person [...] Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling." [ [http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1592614,00.html Clinton-Obama: Fasten Your Seatbelts] ] The Clinton campaign responded by stating, "While Senator Obama was denouncing slash and burn politics yesterday, his campaign's finance chair was viciously and personally attacking Senator Clinton and her husband. If Senator Obama is indeed sincere about his repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, he should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Geffen from his campaign and return his money. While Democrats should engage in a vigorous debate on the issues, there is no place in our party or our politics for the kind of personal insults made by Senator Obama's principal fundraiser." [cite press release | url=http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=1344 | title=Clinton Camp to Obama: Cut Ties & Return Cash After Top Booster's Vicious Attacks | publisher=Hillary Clinton for President | date=2007-02-21]


While speaking from the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama on March 4, 2007, as part of ceremonies honoring the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965, Clinton used a broad Southern Drawl during parts of her talk and used speech patterns common to the Southern United States. [ [http://www.wmcstations.com/Global/story.asp?S=6178779 "Detractors claim Hillary Clinton mocked southern accent"] , WMC-TV, March 5, 2007. Accessed March 5, 2007] Clinton's defenders pointed out she lived in the Southern United States for 17 years and during the time developed a southern accent. [cite news | url=http://mediamatters.org/items/200703060003 | title=Like Drudge, Tapper reported on Clinton's "curious Southern drawl," failed to mention her 17 years in Arkansas | publisher=Media Matters | date=2007-03-05 | accessdate=2008-01-05] Defenders of Clinton also pointed out that the most commonly circulated audio and video clips of her "Southern" speech focused on a segment in which she was reciting the lyrics of a James Cleveland hymn and trying to reproduce its original cadences. [Greg Sargent, [http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/horsesmouth/2007/03/yet_another_win.php "Yet Another Wingnut Sliming Of Hillary Proven To Be Bogus"] , March 5, 2007. Accessed March 6, 2007.] On April 20, 2007, while speaking her own words to the annual convention of the National Action Network, she once again temporarily adopted this accent. [cite news | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/20/america/NA-POL-US-Democrats-2008-Clinton.php | title=Hillary Clinton says Katrina aftermath was indicative of U.S. government failures | publisher=Associated Press | date=2007-04-20 | accessdate=2008-02-08] On April 27, 2007, while speaking at a Greenville, South Carolina campaign event, Clinton said that she had split her life among three parts of the country and that her sometimes-Southern accent was a virtue. She joked, "I think America is ready for a multilingual president."cite news | url=http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OP3RA80 | title=Clinton Says Her Southern Twang a Virtue | publisher=Associated Press | date=2007-04-27 | accessdate=2008-01-05]

Discussion of Iraq war (first debate)

On April 26, 2007, she appeared with seven other Democratic candidates at the first debate of the campaign, held at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina and broadcast on MSNBC. Of her initial Senate vote to approve the U.S. role in the Iraq War, she stated, "If I knew then what I know now, I would not have voted that way." She further stated, "If this president does not get us out of Iraq, when I’m president I will." [Alex Johnson, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18326264/ "Democrats seek to seize initiative on Iraq: Eight candidates wrangle over who’s the toughest on Bush policy"] , MSNBC, April 27, 2007. Accessed May 7, 2007.]


On May 4, 2007, a Louisiana State University student was arrested and held on charges of planning an attack against Clinton during a Baton Rouge appearance. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/04/clinton.threat.ap/index.html " College student charged with threatening Hillary Clinton"] , Associated Press, May 4, 2007. Accessed May 5, 2007.]

Polling trends

All opinion polls in April 2007 showed Clinton as the Democratic frontrunner, however with different margins: Obama was listed in third place nationwide with 17% and John Edwards in second place with 19% behind Clinton with 41% [ [http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/15313 Angus-Reid Democrats 2008] , angusreid, April 6, 2007. Retrieved on April 9, 2007.] according to an Angus-Reid poll, whereas Clinton was listed in first place with 34% and Obama in second place with 29%, ahead of Edwards with only 15% in a Rasmussen-Reports poll. [ [http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Political%20Tracking/Democratic%20Primaries/DemocraticPresidentialPrimary.htm RasmussenReports 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary] , rassmussenreports.com, April 9, 2007. Retrieved on April 9, 2007.] By May 2007, polls were showing the race even tighter, with Rasmussen Reports showing Obama pulling ahead of Clinton 32% to 30%. [ [http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Political%20Tracking/Democratic%20Primaries/DemocraticPresidentialPrimary.htm 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary] , Rasmussen Reports, April 30, 2007. Accessed May 1, 2007.] But on May 24, 2007, a CBS News/NY Times poll showed Clinton, with 46%, 22 points ahead of Obama, with 24%, and 32 points ahead of Edwards, with 14%. Clinton held her lead over the summer; in September a CNN poll showed her leading Obama 46% to 23%,cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/16/schneider.poll/index.html | title= Poll: As Thompson's star fades, Clinton's on the rise | publisher=CNN.com | author=Bill Schneider | date=2007-10-16 | accessdate=2007-10-17] and in October the same poll showed her commanding majority Democratic support, with 51% compared to Obama's 21% and Edwards' 15%.

On May 4, 2007, a Gallup Poll report showed that since the beginning of the year, her favorable-unfavorable ratio had declined from 58% favorable, 40% unfavorable to 45% favorable, 52% unfavorable. [The Gallup Poll, [http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=27460, "Hillary's Image"] , May 4, 2007. Accessed May 7, 2007.]

Campaign song

In June 2007, Clinton spoofed the much-talked-about closing scene of "Made in America", the series finale of "The Sopranos", with the subject being the voting for her campaign song. The parody shows her entering a diner to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", followed by Bill entering but not getting the onion rings he really wants, while daughter Chelsea is unable to parallel park her car. "Sopranos" cast member Vince Curatola also appears in the skit, mimicking "Man in Members Only" but with his signature Johnny Sack malevolent glare. The screen then goes black. [ [http://www.hillaryclinton.com/?splash=1 Clinton Spoof] Clinton Campaign video]

The campaign song selected was Céline Dion's "You and I", which garnered political criticism from Republicans for being "outsourced" to a Canadian singer; the song was written initially for use in an Air Canada commercial. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6221438.stm "Dion song captures Clinton vote"] , BBC News, June 20, 2007. Accessed June 23, 2007.]

Viral videos

Besides the "Sopranos" spoof, other popular viral videos played a role in the campaign. In March 2007, "Hillary 1984" spliced footage of Clinton into the legendary "1984" Apple Computers television commercial, ending with a plug for Barack Obama's candidacy. In June 2007 Obama was the beneficiary of the very popular "I Got a Crush on Obama" music video, as an attractive young woman suggestively sang his praises. In July 2007 singer and actress Taryn Southern wrote and performed in an answer music video, "Hott4Hill", that earned national media attention for its sexually ambiguous declaration of support for Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288974,00.html "Video Send-Up of Hillary Clinton by 'American Idol' Contestant Walks a Sexual Line"] ] In both cases, the videos were created and produced independently of the Obama and Clinton campaigns. In December 2007 satirical site 23/6 produced two videos "against" Clinton by a purported "SwiftKids for Truth" that made fun of viral videos and negative ads in general. [cite news | url=http://blog.nj.com/digitallife/2007/12/exposed_the_biggest_flipflop_i.html | title=Swift Kids For Truth and Cookies | author=J. Scott Orr | publisher=Newark Star-Ledger | date=2007-12-07 | accessdate=2007-12-10] In January 2008, the Clinton campaign disseminated a video targeting the 18-29 year old demographic in hopes of attracting voters away from Obama. [ [http://www.webcastr.com/videos/politics/01-31-hillary-clinton-the-band.html Hillary Shreds] webcastr.com. Retrieved February 18, 2008 ] According to a Newsweek blogger, Andrew Romano, the ad was created by actual young supporters instead of high-paid media consultants. [cite news |title=Ad Hawk: Hillary Shreds! |publisher=Newsweek |date=February 11, 2008 |url=http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/stumper/archive/2008/02/11/ad-hawk-hillary-shreds.aspx]

First campaign trip with Bill

In early July 2007, Bill Clinton "served served as an opening act" for Hillary during a three-day tour. It was the "first joint public campaign appearance for the couple since Hillary Clinton announced her bid for the White House in January."ohn Whitesides, [http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN0321166320070704 "Bill Clinton tries a new role -- supporting actor"] , "Reuters", July 4, 2007. Accessed July 4, 2007.]

Later debates

Following the July 12, 2007 Democratic candidates debate at an NAACP convention, a live microphone caught Clinton discussing in private with third-in-the-polls fellow candidate John Edwards how to get future debates limited to fewer candidates: "We've got to cut the number . . . They're not serious." [cite news | url=http://www.newsroomamerica.com/politics/story.php?id=382617 | title=Clinton, Edwards Heard Discussing Excluding Rivals | publisher=Newsroom America | date=2007-07-13 | accessdate=2007-11-03]

Releasing of First Lady records

In July 2007, watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the National Archives over the slow release of documents covering her career as First Lady.Peter Nicholas, [http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-clintondocs14aug14,0,1390329.story "Clinton's first-lady records locked up"] , "The Los Angeles Times", 2007-08-14. Accessed 2007-09-18.] cite news | url=http://beta.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/15/hillary.papers.ap/index.html | title= Papers from Clinton years not likely out before election | publisher=Associated Press for CNN | date=2007-08-15 | accessdate=2008-01-05] Almost 2 million pages of documents held at the Clinton Library had yet to be released from those years, with less than 1 percent having been released. [ [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120191002786436761.html?mod=opinion_main_review_and_outlooks Who Was Hillary Clinton?] The Wall Street Journal,February 2, 2008, Page A10.] Federal archivists stated that the process is slow due to the need to perform redactions due to the law, and likely would extend past the 2008 presidential election. Clinton had said at the time of the library's opening in 2004 that "everything's going to be available." [ [http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/21/lkl.01.html CNN Larry King Live] Transcript from November 21, 2004 interview with Hillary Clinton] Political consultants said that the unreleased documents might be a rich source for opposition research against Clinton.

This issue intensified with the October 30, 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University, where Hillary Clinton came under fire about it from MSNBC moderator Tim Russert and from Democratic opponents.cite news | url=http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec07/debate_10-31.html | title=Democrat Contenders for President Attack Front-runner Clinton in Debate | work=NewsHour | publisher=PBS | date=2007-10-31 | accessdate=2007-11-01] Russert displayed a document signed by President Clinton that specifically requested that certain records and communications involving her not be made public until 2012. When Russert asked Hillary Clinton whether she would lift the presidential order, Hillary Clinton responded by saying, "That's not my decision to make." A concurrent "Newsweek" investigation stated that Bill Clinton had requested the archivists hold back a large variety of documents. [cite news | url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/57351 | title=Papers? I Don't See Any Papers. | author=Michael Isikoff | publisher=Newsweek | date=2007-10-29 | accessdate=2007-10-31] A few days later, Bill Clinton vigorously defended his wife's responses, saying that Russert's question was "breathtakingly misleading"cite news | url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gsy14Oyb5bobIZ1z7kR1BJQ2LyhgD8SLRB6G0 | title=Bill Clinton Says Speed Papers Release | author=Jessica Mintz | publisher=Associated Press | date=2007-11-02 | accessdate=2007-11-03] and that "Newsweek"'s article was off the mark, [cite news | url=http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/thebigblog/archives/124945.asp | title=Clinton takes on Russert, says letter was no cover-up | author=Monica Guzman | publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer | date=2007-11-02 | accessdate=2007-11-03] saying, "She was incidental to the letter, it was done five years ago, it was a letter to speed up presidential releases, not to slow them down." Factcheck.org subsequently concluded that Russert's claim was incorrect, that Bill Clinton had released White House records earlier and in greater numbers than his two immediate predecessors, and that there was not much Hillary Clinton could do to speed up the release of records involving her. [cite web | url=http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/hillarys_high-stepping.html | title=Moderator's Misstep | work=Hillary's High-Stepping | publisher=Factcheck.org | date=2007-11-08 (updated) | accessdate=2007-11-08]
However on March 6, 2008, Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library blocked the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton. [cite web | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-03-06-clinton-library-foia_N.htm | title=Clinton-papers release blocked | work=Hillary's High-Stepping | publisher=USA Today | date=2008-03-06 | accessdate=2008-03-08]

Fears of backlash

A August 12, 2007 article described concerns that a Clinton candidacy could lead to a backlash due to fears that she might prove "polarizing." The article states, "A strategist with close ties to leaders in Congress said Democratic Senate candidates in competitive races would be strongly urged to distance themselves from Clinton." [cite news | url = http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20237246/ | title=Democrats quietly fear a backlash from Clinton | author=Ron Fournier | publisher = Associated Press | date = 2007-08-12 | accessdate = 2007-09-11] According to an online poll, "half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton." [cite news | url = http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1376 | title=Zogby Poll: Half Say They Would Never Vote for Hillary Clinton for President | publisher=John Zogby | date = 2007-08-20 ]

A October 10, 2007 article in "The Hill" made the opposite argument stating that Clinton was "not polarizing and highly electable. You didn’t misread that headline. It is contrary to all current conventional wisdom. It is also true — supported not only by recent national polling data but by most polls all year long. [cite news | url = http://pundits.thehill.com/2007/10/10/hillary-clinton-not-polarizing-and-highly-electable/ | title=Hillary Clinton: Not Polarizing and Highly Electable| publisher="The Hill" | date = 2007-10-10 ] Susan Estrich, on p.66 of her 2005 book, "The Case for Hillary Clinton" argues, "Hillary Clinton is not polarizing; her competence is accepted."

Unveiling of health care plan

On September 17, 2007, Clinton revealed her new American Health Choices Plan, an "individual mandate" universal health care plan that would require health care coverage for all individuals. Clinton explained individuals can keep their current employer-based coverage, or choose an expanded version of Medicare or federal employee health plans.cite news | url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296997,00.html | title=Sen. Hillary Clinton Unveils $110 Billion Universal Health Care Plan | publisher=Fox News | author= | date=2007-09-17| accessdate= 2007-09-18 ] cite news | url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070918/NATION/109180074/1001 | title=Hillary revisits health care | publisher=The Washington Times | author=Christina Bellantoni | date=2007-09-18| accessdate= 2007-09-18 ] The projected cost of the plan is $110 billion annually and will require all employers to cover their employees' health insurance or contribute to the costs of their employees' health insurance coverage; tax credits will be provided to companies with fewer than 25 employees to help cover costs." [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14503634 Clinton Sees Better Chances for Health Overhaul] ". NPR. 2007-09-18. Retrieved on 2007-09-18.] She proposed to pay for the plan by cutting government medical costs and by not extending the Bush tax cuts to those making over $250,000 a year.

Clinton emphasized that this was not a reprise of the failed 1993 Clinton health care plan, saying it reflected her experiences and now involved no new government bureaucracy, but Republican opponents disagreed and immediately dubbed it "Hillarycare 2.0". However, many of the health care industry groups that had opposed and funded attacks upon the 1993 plan, were now contributors to Clinton campaigns. [cite news | url=http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13876 | title=US: Once an Enemy, Health Industry Warms to Clinton | author=Raymond Hernandez, Robert Pear | publisher=The New York Times | date=2006-07-12 | accessdate=2007-10-17] Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of fellow Democratic candidate John Edwards, said it was too imitative of Edwards' plan, which had come out seven months earlier. [cite news | url= | title= Edwards' wife bashes Clinton health plan | publisher=Associated Press | author=Jim Davenport | date=2007-09-19| accessdate= 2007-09-21 ]

$5,000 for every baby

In September 2007, Clinton suggested that every newborn baby receive $5,000 upon reaching their 18th birthday.cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21033583/ | title=Clinton: $5,000 for every U.S. baby born | publisher=Associated Press for MSNBC | date=2007-09-28] Clinton said that with this money, "they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home". In October 2007, Clinton withdrew this proposal and according to "USA Today" stated that "it was just an idea and not a policy proposal". [Pickler, Nedra. " [http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-10-09-635474775_x.htm Clinton urges 401(k)s, matching funds] ". Associated Press (Published on Yahoo! News). 2007-10-09. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.]

Advertisement on care for 9/11 workers

On October 4, 2007 Clinton's campaign began airing television advertisements in Iowa and New Hampshire. The advertisement dealt with Clinton's legislative efforts to address the Ground Zero illness issues of clean-up workers at "the Pile" site of the former World Trade Center. cite news | url=http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/hillary_ground_zero_ad/2007/10/05/38492.html | title=Hillary Connects to Ground Zero in Ad | publisher=NewsMax | date=2007-10-05 | accessdate=2007-10-06] Some interpreted the ad as an implicit criticism of then-mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The ad, filmed in black-and-white, shows an earnest-looking Clinton wearing a paper mask. The voiceover says, "She stood by Ground Zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives, and kept standing 'til the administration took action." The ad referred to Clinton's Congressional effort to secure additional funding and medical care for workers who have suffered Ground Zero illnesses, such as cancer and sarcoidosis. [Geoff Earle and Maggie Haberman, " [http://www.nypost.com/seven/10052007/news/nationalnews/hillary_in_9_11_air_strike.htm Hillary in 9/11 Air Strike] ," "New York Post", October 5, 2007, p. 5.]

Debate performance in Philadelphia

During the course of the 2007 Democratic debates Clinton had established a reputation, even amongst her ideological opponents such as Rich Lowry, as a very solid debater who never made mistakes. [cite web | url=http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZTY1MGQ2ZmNlODAxMWQwMTdhY2ZjOTNmOGMxZTIxNTQ= | title=Why I'm Not in Post-Debate Focus Groups | author=Rich Lowry | publisher=National Review Online | date=2007-07-24 | accessdate=2007-11-02] cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/31/AR2007103103093.html | title=Clinton Regroups As Rivals Pounce | author=Anne E. Kornblut and Dan Balz | publisher=The Washington Post | date=2007-11-01 | accessdate=2007-11-02] However, at the October 30, 2007 MSNBC Democratic debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Clinton was the subject of two hours of near-continuous attacks from her Democratic rivals as well as pointed questioning from moderator Tim Russert.This was not unexpected, as leading up to the debate, Clinton had assumed a wide lead in many polls, rival Barack Obama had indicated that he was now going to be more aggressive in pointing out differences between himself and Clinton, and other leading rival John Edwards had too been increasing his statements against Clinton.cite news | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/debate-preview-all-eyes-on-obama/ | title=Debate Preview: All Eyes on Obama | author=Adam Nagourney | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-10-30 | accessdate=2007-11-01] Adam Nagourney of "The New York Times" called it "the most eagerly anticipated forum of this year."

In the debate, Clinton suffered her possible first major campaign setback when she engaged in what reporters for "The Washington Post" termed "a rare night of fumbles," including statements that Jake Tapper of ABC News termed "obfuscatory and less than forthright," [cite news | url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2007/10/hillary-gets-po.html | title=Hillary Gets Poor Grades at Drexel Debate | author=Jake Tapper | work=Political Punch | publisher=ABC News | date=2007-10-31 | accessdate=2007-11-02] making for what Roger Simon of The Politico called "the worst performance of her entire campaign" in which "for two hours she dodged and weaved, parsed and stonewalled." [cite news | url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1007/6634.html | title=Obama, Edwards attack; Clinton bombs debate | author=Roger Simon | publisher=The Politico | date=2007-10-31 | accessdate=2007-11-02] Clinton refused to commit to a position on Social Security, Illegal Immigration, the war in Iraq and the New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's bill to deliver driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Her response on the last issue brought the most criticism, with opponent Senator Christopher Dodd and Edwards immediately saying she had contradicted herself, an assessment echoed by Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News, who wrote that "In the course of two minutes, she gave two different answers while trying to give none at all."cite news | url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_carlson&sid=aUyd08Mpt5kE | title=Democratic Debate Proves You Can Hit a Girl | author=Margaret Carlson | publisher=Bloomberg News | date=2007-11-01 | accessdate=2007-11-02]

Following the debate, Clinton's opponents seized on the performance. "Senator Clinton offered more of the same Washington calculation, ducking and dodging that won't bring the change America needs," said Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.cite news | title = Clinton feels heat after testy debate | url = http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=071031164302.bdxvobpc&show_article=1| publisher = Agence France-Presse at Breitbart.com | date = 2007-10-31 | accessdate = 2007-10-31 ] It also led to continued speculation by Edwards as to her electability, a theme of attackers during the debate. Clinton's own supporters conceded that her performance had not been very good. [cite news | url=http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/ny-ushill015440941nov01,0,2819307.story | title=Clinton foes pounce on her support of license plan | author=Glenn Thrush | publisher=Newsday | date=2007-11-01 | accessdate=2007-11-02] The following day, however, the Clinton campaign assembled and released a short video entitled "The Politics of Pile On", which showed her debate opponents mentioning her by name over and over. [cite video | url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk16oxb4Ck4 | title=The Politics of Pile On | medium=YouTube | publisher=Hillary Clinton campaign | accessdate=2007-11-02] Furthermore, during a November 1 speech at her alma mater Wellesley College, she said that "In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys' club of presidential politics."cite news | url=http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-ushill1102,0,6959743.story | title=After gaffe, Clinton decries 'all-boys' club' | author=Glenn Thrush | publisher=Newsday | date=2007-11-01 | accessdate=2007-11-02] This, combined with comments made by some supporters, including remarks by Clinton campaign manager Mark Penn against moderator Russert, led pundits to believe she was playing the "gender card". This in turn led to another round of criticism of Clinton, who had previously stressed her toughness as being one of her strengths as a potential president; Obama pointed out that he had never complained that attacks on him were due to his being African-American. On November 2, Clinton issued a clarification, stating “I don’t think they’re picking on me because I’m a woman, I think they’re picking on me because I’m winning.”cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/us/politics/02cnd-clinton.html | title=Clinton and Obama Clash Over ‘Piling On’ Remarks | author=Elisabeth Bumiller | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-11-02 | accessdate=2007-11-02] . Meanwhile the Edwards campaign assembled and released a video of Clinton's contradictory debate remarks entitled "The Politics of Parsing", which Daily Kos termed "devastating". [cite news | url=http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/2/12255/5332 | title=The politics of parsing | author=Markos Moulitsas | publisher=Daily Kos | date=2007-11-02 | accessdate=2007-11-02] A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll in the wake of the debate and its attendant publicity found Clinton with a reduced but still substantial lead over Obama and Edwards, [cite news|url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/05/poll.presidential.08/|title=Poll: While still dominant, Clinton's support slips|publisher=CNN|date=2007-11-05|accessdate=2007-11-05] while an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll found her lead to be unaffected; [cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21676399/ | title=Clinton holds 20-point lead over rival Dems | publisher=NBC News | author=Mark Murray | date=2007-11-07 | accessdate=2007-11-11] a WNBC-TV/Marist poll found her lead slipping in first primary state New Hampshire. [cite news | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/11/america/NA-POL-US-Poll-2008-New-Hampshire.php | title=Clinton, Romney lead in New Hampshire in latest Marist poll | publisher=Associated Press | date=2007-11-11 | accessdate=2007-11-11] A week after the debate, Clinton said, "I wasn't at my best the other night. We've had a bunch of debates and I wouldn't rank that up in my very top list,"cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/06/clinton.iowa/index.html | title= Clinton on debate: 'I wasn't my best' | author=Alexander Mooney | publisher=CNN.com | date=2007-11-06 | accessdate=2007-11-07] but defended her desire to give nuanced responses to questions and reiterated that gender was not an issue in terms of being subjected to political attacks.

Prompted Queries

On 12 November 2007, the "New York Times" reported that "At two campaign events in Iowa this year, aides to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged audience members to ask her specific questions, a tactic that drew criticism from an opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination and led her yesterday to promise that it would not happen again." In response, Clinton remarked, 'It was news to me [...] and neither I nor my campaign approve of that, and it will certainly not be tolerated.'" [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/12/us/politics/12clinton.html?ex=1352523600&en=5c224a8a4d0e4daa&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss "Clinton Aides Prompted Queries at Campaign Events"] , "The New York Times", November 12, 2007.]

Las Vegas debate

At the next Democratic debate at University of Nevada, Las Vegas on November 15, Clinton rebounded to previous form, aggressively combating Obama's and Edwards' attacks.cite news | url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,311890,00.html | title=Clinton Goes After 'The Boys' In Desefrt Showdown | publisher=Associated Press for Fox News | date=2007-11-16 | accessdate=2007-11-16] Democratic strategist Garry South said, "To the degree she might have been stumbling in the last debate, she regained her footing tonight," while ABC News said, "After her roughest two weeks on the presidential campaign trail, [Clinton] showed up on a debate stage in Las Vegas ... with a new aggressive game plan and appeared to successfully get her campaign ship back on course."cite news | title=Targeting Rivals, Clinton Gets Back on Track | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3873230 | author=David Chalian | publisher=ABC News | date=2007-11-15 | accessdate=2007-11-16] Her answer to the previously troublesome question of supporting driver's licenses for illegal immigrants was now given in one word: "No."

New Hampshire campaign office hostage-taking

On November 30, 2007, a man identified as 47-year old Leeland Eisenberg [cite news | url=http://wbztv.com/topstories/local_story_334132330.html | title=Clinton Office Hostage Situation Ends Peacefully | publisher=WBZ-TV | date=2007-11-30 | accessdate=2007-11-30] , armed with road flares strapped to his chest which he claimed were a bomb, entered a Clinton presidential campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire. [cite news | url=http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/14737959/detail.html| title=Hostages Held By Armed Man At Clinton Office | publisher=WCVB-TV | date=2007-11-30 | accessdate=2007-11-30] He took hostage the six people in it, and requested to speak to Clinton, believing she could assist him in gaining psychiatric help. cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/03/clinton.office/index.html | title=Clinton hostage suspect charged with 6 felony counts | publisher=CNN | date=2007-11-30 | accessdate=2007-12-03] Two hostages were released early on, a woman and her infant. Two subsequent hostages were released by Eisenberg during the first 90 minutes of the crisis and the final two Clinton staffers managed to escape the building on their own accord after more than five hours of being held against their will. The standoff ended with Eisenberg's surrender about six hours after the incident began.cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22043358/|title=Hostages standoff ends at Clinton N.H. office|publisher=Associated Press|date=November 30, 2007|accessdate=2007-11-30]

At the time of the event, Clinton was in the Washington D.C. area, scheduled to speak at an Democratic National Committee meeting in Vienna, Virginia; she canceled her appearances at public events for the remainder of the day. [cite news |url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iyFzZ-0fXmPDB4so7Bc_ledKfdIQD8T895R01 |title=Man Takes Hostages at Clinton Office | [publisher=Associated Press |author=Beverley Wang |date=November 30, 2007 |accessdate=2007-11-30] That evening she flew to Rochester in order to meet with and comfort the hostages,cite news |url=http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2007/12/clinton_rushes_to_comfort_sieg.html |title=Clinton rushes to comfort sieged campaign workers |author=Jill Zuckman |date=2007-11-30 |publisher=Baltimore Sun |accessdate=2007-12-01] praise the law enforcement officials who handled the situation, and vow not to change her campaign style due to the incident. [cite news |url=http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5isUjR2dH6vcFiMwdZFJu6HYZ-Oeg |title=Clinton vows no let up in campaign after hostage-taking |publisher=Agence France-Presse |date=2007-12-01 |accessdate=2007-12-01]

December 2007: A tightening contest

By early December 2007 the race between her and Obama had tightened up, especially in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. [cite news | url=http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/09/506446.aspx | title=Clinton shouldn't worry just about IA | publisher=MSNBC | date=2007-12-09 | accessdate=2007-12-10] With real voting less than a month away, Obama was now ahead in some Iowa polls, and had brought in ultra-popular television host Oprah Winfrey to conduct joint campaign rallies in three states before large crowds. Partly in counter of the latter, Clinton brought into Iowa her daughter Chelsea and a very rare campaign appearance from her 88-year-old mother Dorothy Rodham.cite news | url=http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2007/12/08/2007-12-08_chelsea_clinton_and_hillarys_mom_join_th.html | title=Chelsea Clinton and Hillary's mom join the campaign in Iowa | author=Michael McAuliff | date=2007-12-09 | accessdate=2007-12-09] Veteran political observers such as Bloomberg News' Al Hunt reported that "things are tense in Hillaryland these days,"cite news | url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=anRcoLyfN0VM | title=Tension in Hillaryland Grows as Plan Goes Awry | author=Al Hunt | publisher=Bloomberg News | date=2007-12-10 | accessdate=2007-12-10] that the camps of Clinton and her husband were at odds, and that the campaign's "plan A" of being the dominating, inevitable, establishment candidate was at risk of failing.

On December 13, 2007, Bill Shaheen, co-chairman of the Clinton campaign in New Hampshire, resigned his position after saying that Obama's admission of past drug use would hurt his chances in a general election matchup: "The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use ... It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?' There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome." [cite news | url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/12/13/clinton_apologizes_to_obama_fo_1.html?hpid=topnews | title=Clinton N.H. Official Resigns After Comments on Obama | author=Alec MacGillis | date=2007-12-13 | publisher=The Washington Post | accessdate=2007-12-13] Shaheen, husband of former Governor of New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen, apologized for his comments. In addition he indicated that "they were not authorized by the campaign in any way."cite news | url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/12/13/in_tame_democratic_debate_resp.html | title=In Tame Democratic Debate, Respite From Political Wars | author=Dan Balz, Anne E. Kornblut | publisher=The Washington Post | date=2007-12-13 | accessdate=2007-12-13] The final Democratic debate before the caucuses was held the same day by the "Des Moines Register"; it was peaceful and polite among all candidates there.

The two most influential newspaper endorsements for the early states were split: Clinton gain the endorsement of "The Des Moines Register",cite news | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/mediaNews/idUSN1535686420071216?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0 | title=Clinton and McCain win big newspaper endorsements | publisher=Reuters | date=2007-12-16 | accessdate=2007-12-16] which had endorsed Edwards in 2004, while Obama gained the endorsement of the circulated-in-New Hampshire "Boston Globe". Bill Clinton assumed a more central role in his wife's campaign, trying to focus the day-to-day message on her being a "change" agent, while sometimes getting her campaign into further difficulties with his public statements. [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/us/politics/17bill.html | title=In ’08 Race, the Other Clinton Steps Up Publicly | author=Patrick Healy | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-12-17 | accessdate=2007-12-17]

By mid-month, prompted by continued high negative ratings in polls, Clinton staged an explicit "likability" drive, using testimonials from friends and constituents on the campaign trailcite news | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2007-12-16-clinton-likability_N.htm | title=New Clinton campaign out to show her likability | author=Jill Lawrence | publisher=USA Today | date=2007-12-16 | accessdate=2007-12-19] and on a new "The Hillary I Know" website. [cite web | url=http://www.thehillaryiknow.com/ | title=The Hillary I Know | publisher=Hillary Clinton for President | accessdate=2007-12-19] When the close proximity of the first contests to the holidays led to many candidates putting out Christmas videos — allowing them to keep presenting their message but in a more appropriate settingcite news | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/20/politics/main3636407.shtml | title=Politics, Now Wrapped In Holiday Cheer | author=Brian Montopoli | publisher=CBS News | date=2007-12-21 | accessdate=2007-12-26] — Clinton chose one that showed her wrapping various "gifts" she would give the country, such as "universal health care" and "bring troops home", with a bit of humor added when she momentarily could not locate "universal pre-K". It was one of the most issue-oriented of the candidate holiday videos.


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