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Targeting Clinton
Representatives of Hillary Clinton
W
hat happened
Representatives of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said they were thrilled at the way leading Republican candidates focused attacks on her during the GOP’s latest debate. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News pointed out that Clinton was ahead of all Republican hopefuls in several recent polls—eliciting a charge from Mitt Romney that she “has never run anything.” Rudy Giuliani said the U.S. couldn’t afford Clinton’s ideas, and Mike Huckabee said she would raise taxes to pay for them. “"We can understand why they're all so angry," Clinton spokesman Blake Zeff said. "As Chris Wallace made clear, Hillary is beating each of them."

What the commentators said
“If making a devil of Hillary Clinton is all that passes for a Republican platform,” said Derrick Z. Jackson in The Boston Globe (free registration), the GOP is in real trouble. Don’t the Republicans read the newspapers? “Day by day, poll by poll,” it’s becoming clear that “just saying no to Hillary is not a winning strategy.”

It is if you’re trying to win the Republican nomination, said Tom Bevan in the RealClearPolitics blog at Time.com. Hillary Clinton provokes a “visceral reaction” from Republican voters everywhere, and the ability to tap into the “anger and fear she arouses” is “clearly the force that is sustaining the strength of Rudy Giuliani's candidacy. Many Republicans see Clinton as “a mean and utterly ruthless warrior in Hillary Clinton," and they see Rudy as "a warrior of their own.”

Hillary also “gives the Republican Party its best chance at being the party of change,” said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. It is “incandescently clear” that voters want change, “and, up to now, change meant little more than Democratic victory and no more President Bush.” And general election audicences will see a vote for Clinton as a vote for the same old Clintonian nonsense of “Whitewater, travelgate, illegal fundraising, bimbo eruptions and impeachment.”

Clinton nostalgia will actually serve Hillary quite well, said Froma Harrop in The Seattle Times. Conservative men like the way she stood by her man, and working stiffs surely haven’t forgotten that, unlike under Bush, their incomes “rose alongside that of the boss” during the Clinton years.

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