Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary Pulls a Punch

Andrew Sullivan today flags a Clinton "attack ad" running in Wisconsin, but it's pretty mild stuff - a slap for refusing to debate there, followed by plug for "the only health care plan that covers every American, and the only economics plan that freezes foreclosures." Even the requisite Dark Lord picture of the opposition is virtually neutral (speaking mouth, slightly asymmetrical, vs. Hillary's smile).

This attack manque serves as a reminder that Obama seems to have succeeded in scaring off heavy duty Clinton artillery, at least for the time being. Maybe it won't last, but it's been a while now - since shortly after Jan. 21, when he went on Good Morning America to call out Bill for "mak[ing] statements that are not supported by the facts." As the nastiness ratcheted up in the debate next day and a day or two following, Obama started hitting Hillary for "do anything/say anything" politics -- using the smears as Exhibit A in his argument that Hillary embodies "the politics of the past," i.e. Rovian warfare. Then came the South Carolina backlash, and some muted penitence, and then the lovefest debate on Jan. 31 in LA.

In the smear-free zone, Obama has sharpened his 'clean' case that Hillary is scarred by the battles of the '90s and can't get much past 47% of the electorate. He's fought to a better-than-draw on Super Tuesday, and swept the board with eight straight wins since then.

Even if the fur starts to fly again, forcing that pause has done him a world of good.

1 comment:

  1. Now Obama is running a response ad: