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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

“It’s 3 a.m.,” Pennsylvania Edition

posted by on April 2 at 13:05 PM

Clearly, the Hillary Clinton campaign liked how its original “3 a.m.” ad worked last month when Texas and Ohio were voting. Now the campaign is unveiling a new “3 a.m.” ad in Pennsylvania.

However. Notice how the ad this time is about economic security, not national security. Notice, also, how it explicitly names John McCain as the “other” that Clinton is opposing. Not a word about Obama. This seems to me a tacit concession by Clinton to the reality that many Democrats simply do not want to see any more harsh tearing down of Obama, overt or covert, especially on fundamental issues such as the economy and national security.

Now, a thought experiment: What if Clinton had run an ad like this in the run-up to Texas and Ohio? What if she’d explicitly named John McCain in her famous/infamous “3 a.m.” ad on national security, thereby making it clear that she was going to try to elevate herself by tearing down McCain and not by tearing down Obama? Would it have worked? Would she have won?

I don’t know. But I do know Clinton wouldn’t have been hit with all that Democratic fury about fear-mongering and even subtle race-baiting. She might also not have been hit with the “honesty gap” that showed up in polling after Ohio and Texas.

Clinton says she’s going to fight until the end. With this ad, has she finally found a way to fight in a manner that doesn’t hurt her by being perceived as too dirty? And if she has finally found the right attack ad: Why did it take so long to hit upon this rather obvious formula?

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Correction: EACH OTHER.

many Democrats simply do not want to see any more overt or covert tearing down of Obama

Seriously Eli what the hell? All Democrats SIMPLY do not want to see any more tearing down of their prince? Get over yourself.

MAYNE I wish it were you and not Josh going.

Posted by Non | April 2, 2008 1:10 PM

wtf kind of bank forecloses a house at 3am? this ad makes no sense.

Posted by happy renter | April 2, 2008 1:16 PM

Why is she trying this when it is too damn late? BTW, latest poll shows that there is now only a 9 point spread between Obama and Hillary in Penn. It was double digits a couple of weeks ago.

The younger black man is closing in on the older white lady....

Posted by Andrew | April 2, 2008 1:20 PM

The only ones going to be panicking at 3:00 a.m. are the Asian markets in response to Wall Street.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 2, 2008 1:20 PM

The younger black man is closing in on the older white lady....

He's going to ask for Change again! Eeeeeeeek!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 2, 2008 1:24 PM

I think this strategy would have worked from the very beginning. To campaign with the assumption that you are already the nominated candidate is a pretty effective strategy and nothing new. Also adding to point to #1 the complaint is that Clinton is a "bitch" yet, of course, people in the Obama cult are the biggest "bitches" on the block. Oh wait, let me guess, saying it is a "cult" is racist? I hope the independent thinkers here can see through the orchestrated Obama dripple.

Posted by Gay Seattle | April 2, 2008 1:29 PM

Why is the phone in the White house ringing at 3am? Is Bill with Monica again?

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | April 2, 2008 1:31 PM

Maybe being up at 3 am all the time is why Hillary's so high strung.

Posted by Mike of Renton | April 2, 2008 1:41 PM

I think she changed the subject from national security and foreign policy because she wants her Bosnia lies to be forgotten. Otherwise she'd have re-run the same ad.

Anybody see the clip where Chelsea backs up her mom's phony story? TPM had it. This is the Clinton way, and we have a chance here to reject it if we want to.

Posted by elenchos | April 2, 2008 1:47 PM

I still wonder why she's fully (and tastefully, I might add) dressed at 3:00 a.m.

Is she some sort of robot that doesn't sleep?

Does she crash at 2:00 p.m.? What if something happens then?!!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 2, 2008 1:47 PM

It's 3 a.m., do you know where your tax records are?

It's 3 a.m. do you have your story straight on the trip to Bosnia?

Posted by Jeff | April 2, 2008 1:56 PM

It's 3 am.

Somewhere in the White House a phone is ringing.

It won't be picked up by US Supreme Court Justice Clinton - she's wondering where her husband is ...

It won't be picked up by Senator McCain, he's sleepwalking again, another sign of early Alzheimers ...

But it will be picked up by one of President Obama's highly skilled team of foreign policy experts.

It's 3 am. And America is safe.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 2, 2008 1:59 PM


Hey, Gay Seattle--here's one of those "bitchy" Obama "cultists" on the block who thinks, yes, this is a better strategy for Senator Clinton (if you ignore silliness of a call about bank foreclosures at... 3 am?).

I ask you, Gay Seattle--is it possible to be passionately in the Obama camp without being called cultist by people who are in the Clinton camp, passionately or otherwise?

Is it possible some "Obamatons" just might think her a weaker candidate (especially considering her unsteady campaign track record, mounting campaign debt, and inability to get or stay on message) without calling her a "bitch"? (Not all of us Obama supporters call her names.)

Or is this just more "orchestrated dripple"?

Posted by Andy Niable | April 2, 2008 2:08 PM

Who do you want answering the phone when you're under Bosnian sniper fire at 3 am?

Posted by just wondering | April 2, 2008 2:08 PM


Right. And all, that the highly skilled team member will say is... change.

It's 3 am.

Somewhere in the White House a phone is ring is being changed.

Barrack is happy.

Posted by John Mate | April 2, 2008 2:09 PM


Cute. You complain of Obama supporters' ad hominem attacks as you launch ad hominem attacks against Obama supporters.

Also, I've yet to see evidence that Clinton support is any less cultish.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 2, 2008 2:20 PM

in the long run this recycled and spit out ad will backfire on her once again. What the first ad hinted, this ad will confirm; Hilary is the old-school, cliched, business as usual candidate. This plays right into Barack's "CHANGE" vision; he is the candidate to stop the negative aspects associated with Hilary's "style". Yet therein lies the central duality of the race: the manager/broker versus the leader/visionary. As McCain is of the manager/broker type, I'd say the November voters would be more likely to vote for a Leader/Visionary especially in this year, noted to be a referendum election of the last 8 years.

Posted by mark | April 2, 2008 2:21 PM

i'm relieved the back and forth snarking between the clinton and obama campaigns has more or less stopped. i'm guessing it will probably take a week or 2 before that trickles down to the anonymous blog commenters' level. or not.

Posted by brandon | April 2, 2008 2:30 PM

what a load of crap -- "harsh tearing down of Obama" -- in an the original 3 am ad where he wasn't even mentioned by name!
Waaaaa! Really this is laughable.

The other day I listed a bunch of lies, er, fibs Obama told including the big one that even Josh said was obvious bullshitting by Obama. The response was once again fuck you )i.e., "we do not want to think, we are Obamatons, do not disturb our transcendent endorphin filled state with facts or logical arguments we will reject it out of hand by cursing you" a/k/a "you know you are but what am I?" or everything the Catholic church ever said about dissent) -- anyways....

For those readers who believe that information is good even though it does not necessarily confirm everything they already think, here's some more info. And yes you can read this and still be for Obama, duh, point is merely he's not God and yes he's a damn fine candidate and leader.

Another fib/lie Obama is telling is the lie that his dad got here on a scholarship handed out by JFK. Forgot to mention that the other day. If you wanted to you make as much of this as anyone is making of the Bosnia sniper fib. Supports the notion: he's pretty much a pol like they all are.

And on that Bosnia sniper thing?

Look at the P-I, good column by someone who was there, if you read it you conclude that yes HRC exaggerated a bit but no, not beyond what most pols do -- including Obama.

Here's some details from teh column itself:

Straight shooting from Tuzla

WASHINGTON -- As staff members who traveled with the first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to Bosnia in March 1996,. . .Clinton's assertions that she landed "under fire" and that the arrival ceremony was canceled were wrong. She said so herself last week.

[but] Her visiting U.S. troops on a peacekeeping mission in a hostile environment is now being treated as if it were a trip to the beach. are some facts that provide context:

We flew in a C-17 cargo plane from Germany to Bosnia precisely because it was capable of steep descents and ascents into and out of areas of conflict. We were issued flak jackets on the plane before landing in Tuzla and were told the tarmac ceremony might be canceled or curtailed because of sniper fire from the surrounding hillsides. The first lady and Chelsea Clinton were moved to the armored cockpit for the landing. Armored vehicles were placed around the tarmac, and Apache helicopters hovered overhead.

In a recent e-mail message to a British blogger, Ejup Ganic, who was the acting president of Bosnia during Clinton's visit, wrote: "I remember that visit quite well. Although the NATO troops were in Tuzla, we still believed that some positions on the hills were occupied by radical Serbs, so I was worried about the overall safety." The planned welcoming ceremony was shortened, he said, but it still lasted a bit longer than expected because a nongovernment group brought along a little girl to sing to the first lady.

Later, Clinton flew from Tuzla to two military outposts by helicopter, escorted by Apache gunships.

As has been reported, Clinton's trip to Bosnia included a USO component with the comedian Sinbad and the singer Sheryl Crow. The helicopters that carried them to performances at U.S. base camps zigzagged just above the trees to avoid potential ground fire, according to Carey Cavanaugh, who was then a State Department official traveling with Sinbad, and helicopters flew alongside to deal with the threat of anti-aircraft fire or snipers. Those facts explain why many of us, including the first lady, believed that the conditions on the ground were precarious. We were worried about sniper fire and were prepared to rush off the tarmac when we landed.

[the authors are HRC folks]Copyright 2008 The New York Times

How is this any different than:

--I wasn't in the pew when any of that stuff was said?

--I am a new kind of politics, yet I got into office thru a bare knuckled litigation effort that threw all my competitors off the ballot, so the voters only had one choice -- me!!

--I only took $80K from REzko, oopsie, it was really $250K, how would I as a youngish pol know it was so much?

--I really really, really WOULD HAVE resigned from that Church due to what Rev. Wright was saying -- it's just that JUST AT THE TIME I started to run for president, he retired. There was no time in the last 20 years when it ocurred to me to resign but really, folks I WOULD HAVE RESIGNED just about now, if he hadn't fortuitously retired just about now.

-My dad came here on a Kennedy ssholarship (story repeated several times in public after others showed it was not true).

Oh and if your response is again "fuck you" or "go jump off a bridge," I can only say, you are proving my point.

That being that some Obama supporters are in denial about his flaws and limitations. You can think he'll win, you can think he's the bes6t candidate for the fall, I get all that, but please.......

stop the cultish worshipping, OK?

so we can all figure out how to win with this guy int he fall?

You know that Chicago Tribune article about how Obama thru intense litigation removed all iother competitors from the ballot in his state senate race says it all. If that's the "new politics" -- god what a joke -- and now he wants to exclude MI and FL a few months before we vote in November -- god help us. Because that's a pattern and it undercuts his whole message. God help us because we're going to need it against the GOP in the Fall.


Guess not.

Posted by unPC | April 2, 2008 2:31 PM

It's 3:00 a.m., and somewhere in the White House, a phone is ringing.


Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 2, 2008 2:34 PM

I don't think this ad is nearly as effective as the previous one. Not only has it been stripped of it's insinuation - which is what made the other ad so powerful - but in all honesty it really makes no sense unless you have been following the campaign somewhat closely for a while and are familiar with the other one. And I have to imagine that the majority, or at least a sizable minority, of people in PA haven't been following it very closely, and so all of them will just be like, "Huh?"

Posted by quilsone | April 2, 2008 2:36 PM

Now I know why it's always 3 a.m. Up all fucking night trying to read all the way to the end of an unPC post.

Posted by elenchos | April 2, 2008 2:42 PM

"I'm Hilary Clinton, and this is a picture of me holding a phone."

Posted by NaFun | April 2, 2008 2:46 PM

@20 wins.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 2, 2008 2:49 PM

FYI, there really were 3am phones calls -- all around the globe -- over the Bear Stearns meltdown just two weeks back.

Doesn't mean anything to you? That's because Bea Stearns got handled ... but the larger instability still hangs over our heads.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | April 2, 2008 2:53 PM

Actually, the phone calls should have happened about the Uptick Rule quite a few months before that, @25, since that made it all much much worse ...

Posted by Stock Pickers Untied | April 2, 2008 3:20 PM

There's a funny video about Hillary & Bosnia that uses that old cartoon character Commander McBragg to spoof her exaggerations.

Posted by James R | April 2, 2008 3:49 PM

It's 3 a.m., and Hillary is still having nightmares about her landslide loss to President McCain.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | April 2, 2008 4:37 PM

Thought this might prove fruitful for the overall discussion RE Hillary and Obama:

Posted by ..... | April 2, 2008 5:27 PM

err..., let me get this right...

...Hillary is making the point that she'll be good at answering the phone...? (!!)

What kind of self-deprecating, woman-hating 50's era crap is that? She's suppose to be running for president of the nation, not of the secretarial pool!

Posted by Timrrr | April 2, 2008 8:05 PM

It's funny when people talk about Obama and Clinton supporters as if they chose at birth. I WAS a Hilliary supporter, (you can Google that) and then step by step she and her husband completely lost my trust and loyalty by behaving like a couple of bullying, lying, scheming fools for the last three months.

Yeah, Obama has charisma. That doesn't make the support he has pulled in a 'cult'.

Another thing, people on Hilliary's team (yes, I am going to continue to spell her name like that) keep insisting that because she won big Democratic states that she is the only one who can win against McCain. Um, just the opposite really makes sense - the big D states will vote for whatever D is on the ticket, it's the other states without a D majority where Obama pulled in independents that will clinch it for him. And South Carolina. And Georgia. And Mississippi.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 2, 2008 8:46 PM

It's 3:00 in the morning, and Hillary Clinton cannot sleep.

Is it national security? No.

The economy? No, not that.

Is it the ghost of Vincent Foster, again?

Dammit, some stains can never wash out.

Go to sleep, Hillary.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 2, 2008 11:18 PM

Hillary Clinton's plan to protect homes is bullshit plain and simple. Freeze rate resets for 5 years? Does she know that price depreciation is the only way to get money moving again in the housing market?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | April 3, 2008 9:16 AM

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