February 29, 2008

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Chris Matthews can't help but get his Clinton hate on, even if it means some peculiarly revisionist history. He asked his "Matthews Meter" (a group of 12 regular talking heads on his show) whether Bill helped or hurt Hillary Clinton's fall from the presumptive Democratic candidate to trying to find a way to slow down the Obama momentum. Naturally, the Big Dog hurt his wife's chances, according to the talking heads. Cynthia Tucker makes a good point that we didn't get to see the gregarious, inspirational Bill Clinton of his own campaign, but the angry, protective husband, which didn't help Hillary Clinton at all. But when Matthews brings up Al Gore, who purposefully distanced himself from Clinton during his own run for the presidency as proof that Bill's Midas touch is tarnished, that's just more than a little silly.

My own take on Hillary Clinton's campaign has little to do with Bill or his input. First and foremost, the whole notion that the person who was at the top of the polls going into the primary season had the edge going out ignores history completely. John Kerry wasn't at the top of the polls, nor was Bill Clinton. They emerged after some strong wins in early states, just like Obama. And Clinton herself has not run a smart campaign, due I suspect more to her advisors like Mark Penn than her husband. On NOW on PBS, campaign strategist Joe Trippi (most recently of the Edwards campaign) contrasts the top down organization of Clinton campaign to the bottom up focus of the Obama campaign.

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