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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Edwards on the Attack (and En Route to Seattle)

posted by on September 19 at 12:30 PM


Attacking Hillary Clinton: It’s not just for women anymore.

As Maureen Dowd noted on Sunday (in a column that this very day was liberated from its TimesSelect chains) the conventional wisdom has long been that male candidates take a big risk when they forcefully attack Clinton.

The poster-boy for the perils of being a man who gets in Clinton’s face, as Dowd notes, is Rick Lazio, whose somewhat aggressive antics at a 2000 Senate race debate with Clinton helped him lose that contest. Despites its fame in political circles, it’s hard to find online video of this Lazio-Clinton encounter, as some Slog readers discovered yesterday. But with the right applications you can watch it here. (Thanks, pbaitch!)

The clip shows Lazio leaving his podium during the debate and entering Clinton’s space, forcefully demanding that she sign a pledge related to campaign contributions that he was holding in his hand. The Clinton camp successfully spun Lazio’s gambit as hostile and somewhat frightening behavior, definitely ungentlemanly and possibly revealing of a man who generally behaves poorly toward women—and the spin worked. Lesson: Don’t get in Clinton’s face, especially on TV, unless you want to seriously alienate female voters.


Thus, you haven’t seen much aggressive Clinton bashing from Obama or Edwards. Just from their wives. Until now. From Dowd:

Obama and Edwards probably figured the criticism would sound less Lazio coming from their wives. But it just made them seem as though they were hiding behind their wives’ skirts.

Giuliani has recently been showing that he’s not afraid to hit a female politician, and now, so is Edwards, harshly attacking Clinton (via his senior adviser, Joe Trippi) for meeting with D.C. lobbyists.

Today’s Clinton fundraising event is a “poster child” for what is wrong with Washington and what should never happen again with a candidate running for the highest office in the land.

That’s basically what Lazio was doing: Aggressively trying to get Clinton to promise not to take certain types of campaign contributions. How risky is it for Edwards to snarl at Clinton over campaign contributions? As Ben Smith wrote yesterday:

Hillary has made a political career from pivoting off attacks from “angry men.”

This evening, Edwards arrives in Seattle for a fundraiser at the downtown Westin. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles his Clinton criticisms today.

* * *

NEW BLOG: Obsessed with the presidential race? Now you can follow all of our presidential Slogging at our new blog, Slogging Toward 2008, which comes complete with its own RSS feed, collections of our past presidential race coverage from the paper, and a handy calendar of upcoming events.

RSS icon Comments


Slog is getting 'busy'. It's hard enough for me to remember Line Out exists, and the forums might as well not I'll have to go over there? Argh!

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 19, 2007 12:42 PM

Re: Edwards' candidacy

I'm just not there yet...

Posted by Original Andrew | September 19, 2007 12:50 PM

You don't have to go over there, Mr. Poe.

You can still read all of our presidential election posts on Slog. What the new blog does is aggregate all of our presidential election posts on their own blog as well, free from competing non-political content—-for those who like that kind of thing.

Click over and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by Eli Sanders | September 19, 2007 12:52 PM

Eli, I clicked over and got blankness....

So what you're saying is Slog will still have all the political content, Slog2008 will just filter it? Or will Slog2008 have content not on Slog?

Posted by arduous | September 19, 2007 12:54 PM

Aha! I've never been good at looking into things before opening my mouth. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm young. Whatevs.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 19, 2007 12:55 PM

Never mind, never mind. I found it. I just had to scroll waaaaaaaay down for whatever reason.

Posted by arduous | September 19, 2007 12:56 PM

If you don't know what an RSS feed is, then take the time to figure it out. Having an RSS feed means never having to consciously "go over there" ever again, because that content just gets pushed to you and filtered too. Might take a little getting used to it, but once you do, you'll be happy you did.

Set a up a Bloglines account or the Google reader. Subscribe to some feeds and see how it works. It's a great way to interact with the various Stranger Blogs.

Hopefully, the Stranger will do in the main Slog for this feed what they've been doing for the Line-Out: a little summary post. That was a nice innovation imho.

Eli, sorry I didn't make more of an effort to say hello to you in Cafe Presse yesterday. You looked involved in work and my time line was also a little short.

Posted by j-lon | September 19, 2007 1:04 PM
Hillary has made a political career from pivoting off attacks from “angry men.”

Huh? I didn't follow that senate race that closely, but attacks from "angry men" didn't enter her into the senate race, win her the 2000 election, or make her enter the presidential race. She gets attacked like men, sure, like all high-profile female politicians.

Did attacks from angry men make the political careers of Nancy Pelosi, Condaleeza Rice, Barbara Boxer, or Janet Reno? Or did angry men attack them just because they are politically powerful women?

Posted by jamier | September 19, 2007 1:23 PM

Asking hard questions is very different from using your body in an intimidating fashion.

When guilty upper middle class honkies tried to project their bullshit onto me in my council race for daring to run against a black man, I said that in this case treating my opponent any differently than I would have treated anybody else is what would have been inappropriate.

If Fazio had gotten up in a man's face like that, he probably would have gotten punched. He was using Clinton's gender against her, rather than behaving fairly (irrespective) to it. Edwards doesn't need to be taken to task for questioning her just as he would any other candidate. But hey, politics isn't fair.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | September 19, 2007 2:58 PM

It's a minor thing, I know, but- can we just never cite Maureen Dowd as authoritative on any topic ever again? Seriously.

Posted by Ursula | September 19, 2007 3:42 PM

The entire 2008 campaign has been rendered pre-emptively meaningless by the vapidity of all "frontrunner" candidates, regardless of party. The 2008 POTUS campaign will make another fine and empty circus next year.

In the meantime, there are 2 wars underway (Iraq and Afghanistan), a third coming down the pipe (Iran), a domestic economy heading into recession (first net job losses in 4 years, and only once has a non-recessionary economy shed jobs), and the wages of those who aren't rich haven't grown with respect to inflation throughout the entire economic "recovery" of the last several years.

Have fun dancing on the deck with the ship of fools, if you respect this POTUS election one bit. Have fun deciding between the Mitt Romney health plan or the Mitt Romney health plan presented by Hillary.

Posted by anon | September 19, 2007 3:57 PM

here's a thought. remember when bush first ran and presented himself as much more of a centrist, a "compassionate conservative" and all that, and then after he won he threw that mask aside (to reveal cheney, the real president) with nary an apology and went full-bore right-wing radical? what if hillary does the same, but in the opposite direction? it's not impossible. i'm not promising anything, i'm just supposin'.

Posted by ellarosa | September 19, 2007 10:07 PM

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