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Old 03-04-2005, 09:36 AM   #1
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The President, and Mr. Clinton -- it just might happen.

February 27, 2005
The Sunday Times, London

New York warms to Hillary... next it could be America


Something quite unusual is happening to Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s becoming popular.

In New York state, where she is the junior senator, her approval ratings are in the stratosphere. When she became senator, many sceptical New Yorkers — they’re not pushovers — were partly persuaded by the Republican campaign against her.

She was a carpetbagger; she was using New York as a springboard to get back to the White House (this time in her own right); she was a hyper- liberal who campaigned in the more conservative sections of upstate New York purely for cynical purposes. Yes, Hillary won election, but the reservations were there. In late 2002 a third of New Yorkers had an unfavourable view of her.

Last week that number had fallen to a fifth in a New York Times poll. Other polls, by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, have also recorded a sharp drop in disapproval ratings over the past year.

More tellingly, her approval number is now 69% — an 11-point jump since 2002. That makes her even more popular than New York’s other senator, Charles Schumer, who just won re-election with 71%.

Washington has also noticed. Talk to Democrats in the capital city and you’ll find an astonishing consensus that the Democratic nomination in 2008 is now Hillary’s to lose.

How on earth did this come about? The answer is, I think, that Senator Clinton has finally escaped one of the critical drags on her national reputation. What many people disliked about her was what they perceived as her unreconstructed liberal politics and her use of her marriage to gain and wield political power.

But in 2005 Senator Clinton has recast herself in the public mind as a centrist and she has won election in her own right. That changes everything. Or perhaps more accurately it changes a lot.

Take two recent Hillary gambits. The first was a remarkable speech to pro-choice activists in New York. Clinton is a strong supporter of the constitutional right to a legal abortion and has in the past used these occasions to rally a key constituency.

This time she drew gasps from the crowd. She insisted that opponents of abortion were sincere in their religious faith and deserved a more respectful hearing from pro-choicers. She also declared that abortion itself was always an unfortunate event — and that the Democrats needed to commit themselves more firmly to reducing its prevalence.

The gist: “We can all recognise that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women. The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.”

So she reclaims the rhetoric of values that Republicans have so cannily deployed these past few years; she strives to occupy a middle ground on a very polarised subject; and she calls the pro-life bluff on access to contraception.

The anti-abortion forces are dominated by evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics. The last thing they want to get into is a debate on how contraception can be a check against unnecessary abortions — because they will split into Catholic and Protestant camps. And that’s exactly what Hillary has pushed them gently into. Advantage Clinton.

Then there’s the war. Senator Clinton voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She made the usual and fair criticisms of the Bush administration’s conduct of the Iraq war but she never backed away from it. She was certainly more obviously pro-war than John Kerry.

A week ago she toured Iraq, visiting soldiers, checking in with politicians, and doing all of the above with Senator John McCain, a Republican and a genuine Vietnam war hero.

Sure enough, on the Sunday morning political shows, she was broadcast next to McCain, speaking of “cautious optimism” about Iraq’s fitful progress towards self-government. McCain was even asked whether he thought Clinton would make a good president. He said yes.

McCain has also noticed Clinton’s membership of the Senate armed services committee. She is adopting the guise of an “Iron Lady” to undermine visceral hostility to her on the right.

That hostility still doubtless exists. Larry Sabato, a well- respected political analyst, sent out an e-mail last week trying to debunk the Hillary boomlet. He wrote: “Despite her attempts to moderate, Senator Clinton is firmly fixed in the public’s mind as a northeastern liberal from a deep blue state — rather reminiscent of another recent nominee from Massachusetts.”

He thinks the memory of the 1990s, the scandals and the possibility of her husband returning to the White House as a co-president will effectively derail any of Hillary’s attempts to remake herself.

David Geffen, the big Democratic fundraiser and Hollywood bigwig, has also pooh-poohed Hillary’s chances. Although her ratings in New York are sky-high, nationally four in 10 still have unfavourable views of her.

Count me a sceptic of the view that Hillary is irreparably damaged. Time heals. Americans have increasingly fond memories of the 1990s. If Clinton can convince them she takes national security seriously she can overcome the dark side of the legacy.

She has also been talking up her faith, which is genuine. Asked recently by a reporter whether she was running for president, she replied: “I have more than I can say grace over right now.”

As Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, has observed, that’s not the same thing as saying she has too much on her plate.

The other obvious factor is the opposition. Republicans are ebullient right now. But who are the potential candidates in 2008? None appeals. The popular ones — McCain, Rudolph Giuliani — are far too socially moderate to get past what is in effect the veto of the religious right in the primaries. Arnold Schwarzenegger is barred by the constitution.

If Hillary gets to run against a grey, grim apostle of religious conservatism — a Bill Frist or a Sam Brownback — she stands a real chance. What she has shown these past couple of years is that she is, above all else, shrewd.

And what the Republicans have shown is that they can overreach. That’s the formula that helped Hillary’s husband keep the presidency in 1996. It could help her win it for herself in 2008.
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:38 AM   #2
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god help us


i'm still trying to figure out what good she has exactly done for the state of new york. everything she does is to further her political career. i don't think she's ever done a thing for the state just because it was the right thing to do.

she's not even the best senator in the state, yet people want her to run for president. i'm moving to jersey.
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:40 AM   #3
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god help us


i'm still trying to figure out what good she has exactly done for the state of new york. everything she does is to further her political career. i don't think she's ever done a thing for the state just because it was the right thing to do.

why do 70% of your fellow New Yorkers disagree with you?

(and by new yorkers, i mean all those who live upstate as well)
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:10 AM   #4
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why do 70% of your fellow New Yorkers disagree with you?

(and by new yorkers, i mean all those who live upstate as well)
19,000,000 people live in New York State as a whole.

8,000,000 people live in New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island)
2,500,000 people, including myself, live on Long Island (Nassau & Suffolk counties).
950,000 people live in Westchester County.

that's roughly 11.5 million people out of a grand total of 19 million. that's 61% of the state's population. this section of the state, with the exception of parts of nassau county and staten island, leans BIG TIME to the democrats.

this is the breakdown by county from the past election... i've highlighted NYC, Long Island and Westchester, just in case you're not from the area.



ya see... upstate new yorkers don't like hill hill. but if 80% of the hugely democratic area i've highlighted all giver her a + rating, then ya really don't need much else from the rest of new york state now do ya?



always take state approval ratings in new york with a grain of salt.
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:16 AM   #5
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thank you, i'm from CT and quite familiar with new york and it's demographics.

the fact remains: 70% of the state likes her.

i don't see what the point of that was unless it was to ignore the fact that she's terribly popular in New York, and getting more so all the time, and even though the majority of the state's population is in the area's you highlighted (and these are constituents as worthy of representation as those in the north), her popularity is nearly 10% higher than just that population. she's clearly made significant inroads with people in the north.

again -- why does everyone disagree with your assessment of HRC? and where does your assessment of her come from? is she any more of a carpetbagger than McCain?
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
i'm still trying to figure out what good she has exactly done for the state of new york. everything she does is to further her political career. i don't think she's ever done a thing for the state just because it was the right thing to do.
We could ask this question of most of our elected officials. What do they do in Washington, D.C. anyway, besides pander and fundraise? Lobbyists and interest groups write all the bills anyway.

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Old 03-04-2005, 01:36 PM   #7
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Besides which, popularity in New York doesn't translate into popularity in the rest of the country. She might be able to win primaries in New York and Massachusetts but forget about Super Tuesday, those would be for a less controversial politician to lose.
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:41 PM   #8
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forget about Super Tuesday, those would be for a less controversial politician to lose.

you have already conceded?
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Old 03-14-2005, 07:36 AM   #9
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There was an article about how she is moving more to the center politically. If she wants to run fine but sit it out until 2012 then Nyers will know she didn't just use as a stepping stone.

Just because you can run doesn't mean you should (this goes for the current guy in office)
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Old 03-14-2005, 10:04 AM   #10
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you have already conceded?
I'm not running for dogcatcher.
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:42 AM   #11
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At this point in time, I cannot see Hillary running for president and I definitely cannot see her actually getting the Dem nomination. (Of course, a lot can happen politically in a couple of years.) I can see her perhaps getting the VP nod. But, Hillary is just too much of a divisive character. People either love her or loathe her. (However, Hillary definitely has been working on changing her image and has been moving to the middle.) I definitely cannot see Hillary winning a presidential election (even with her greatest asset -- Bill Clinton). Plus, with the DNC being headed by Dean and moving to the left, will the Dem party back a moderate candidate?
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:49 AM   #12
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:24 PM   #13
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Well, I didn't vote for her as my senator, so it's doubtful I'd vote for her as my president.

And what Headache said is right, in terms of statistics.

Upstate (where I'm from) is generally conservative/Republican (suburbs, esp.--however, the city here leans liberal) whereas downstate is the opposite.
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Old 03-16-2005, 10:18 AM   #14
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March 16, 2005
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Who Gets It? Hillary
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

f the Democratic Party wants to figure out how to win national elections again, it has an unexpected guide: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Senator Clinton, much more than most in her party, understands how the national Democratic Party needs to rebrand itself. She gets it - perhaps that's what 17 years in socially conservative Arkansas does to you.

The first lesson Mrs. Clinton is demonstrating is the need to talk much more openly about God and prayer. That resonates in a country where a Pew poll found that 60 percent of Americans pray at least once a day.

"I've always been a praying person," Mrs. Clinton declared recently. Of course, this approach works in her case only because her religious faith is longstanding. It didn't work for Howard Dean when he described the Book of Job as his favorite book in the New Testament. With a candidate like him, you'd worry that more talk about religion would lead to comments about how much he treasures the Twelfth Commandment.

Democrats are usually more comfortable talking about sex than God. But that doesn't work in a country where 70 percent say that "presidents should have strong religious beliefs."

Then there's abortion. Mrs. Clinton took a hugely important step in January when she sought common ground and described abortion as a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."

The Democratic Party commits seppuku in the heartland by coming across as indifferent to people's doubts about abortions or even as pro-abortion. A Times poll in January found that 61 percent of Americans favor tighter restrictions on abortion, or even a ban, while only 36 percent agree with the Democratic Party position backing current abortion law.

That doesn't mean that there's no middle ground on abortion. In fact, most of America is standing, conflicted, on middle ground. Many people are deeply uncomfortable with abortions, but they also don't want women or doctors going to prison, and they don't want teenage girls dying because of coat-hanger abortions.

What has been lethal for Democrats has not been their pro-choice position as such, but the perception that they don't even share public qualms about abortion. Mrs. Clinton has helped turn the debate around by emerging as both pro-choice and anti-abortion.

That is potentially a winning position for Democrats. Abortions fell steadily under Bill Clinton, who espoused that position, and have increased significantly during President Bush's presidency. (One theory is that economic difficulties have left more pregnant women feeling that they cannot afford a baby.)

Mrs. Clinton is also hard to dismiss as a screechy obstructionist because she's gone out of her way to be collegial in the Senate and to work with Republicans from Trent Lott to Sam Brownback. Senator John Kerry never seemed much liked by his colleagues, while other senators seem to like Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps it's that, according to New York magazine, she surprises other senators by popping up during meetings and asking: Anybody want a coffee?

The makeover is working with New York State voters. Mrs. Clinton has an approval rating in the state of 69 percent, according to a Times poll published last month, and her negative ratings have tumbled to 21 percent. That puts her approval rating even higher than that of New York's popular senior senator, Charles Schumer.

Still, I doubt that Mrs. Clinton can be elected president. I use my hometown, the farming community of Yamhill, Ore., as my touchstone for the heartland, and I have a hard time imagining that she could do well there. Ambitious, high-achieving women are still a turnoff in many areas, particularly if they're liberal and feminist. And that's not just in America: Margaret Thatcher would never have been elected prime minister if she'd been in the Labor Party.

In small towns like Yamhill, any candidate from New York carries a lot of baggage, and Mrs. Clinton more than most. Moreover, television magnifies her emotional reserve and turns her into a frost queen. Mrs. Clinton's negative ratings nationally were still around 40 percent at last count, and Hillary-hating thrives.

So Mrs. Clinton may not be able to get there from here, and in any case it's way too early to speculate meaningfully about 2008. But it's just the right time for Democrats to be fretting about how to reconnect to the heartland, and they can't find a better model for how to do that than Mrs. Clinton.
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Old 03-24-2005, 06:17 AM   #15
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Survey from Business Week magazine-maybe there are some men who read that who are partial to Ms Jolie, understandably

I saw her on CSpan at the National Press Club speaking about her work, she was impressive. But President, I dunno..

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