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The risk in going negative
Hillary Clinton's decision to attack rival Barack Obama shows she's "desperate," said Michael Goodwin in the New York Daily News. Even some of her aides think pushing her "ready-to-be-president message and her softer side" is a less ri
W
hat happened
Hillary Clinton shifted from outrage to sarcasm over the weekend as she blasted Barack Obama for criticizing her health-care plan and her support for NAFTA, and accused him of misleading the public by suggesting the nation’s problems can be easily solved. (New York Daily News) Clinton has shifted from one tactic to another—accusing him of plagiarism, disparaging his large crowds, calling him dishonest, and mocking his focus on unity—in an attempt to save her campaign and end Obama’s streak of 11 wins in Democratic primaries and caucuses. (Los Angeles Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
Clinton is clearly getting “desperate,” said Michael Goodwin in the New York Daily News. “Internal campaign feuds are becoming public, she is running low on cash and the message changes as often as Hillary's pantsuits.” But her decision to “aim low” has been her biggest mistake—it makes her look “petty” and “un-presidential.”

Some of Clinton’s advisers agree that going negative is a bad idea, said John F. Harris and Mike Allen in Politico. Some inside her camp think it’s smarter to push her “ready-to-be-president message and her softer side” to regain momentum. “If Hillary Clinton attempts to disembowel Obama and fails, there might be a backlash that could reduce her stature in the Senate and Bill Clinton’s reputation as an elder statesman.”

The Democrats are doomed to fight a “bloody battle stretching to the party's Denver national convention” unless Clinton gives up, said Robert Novak in the Chicago Sun-Times. Her loss in the Wisconsin primary left her with no real chance at winning enough delegates to secure the nomination, and if she wins even narrow victories in the March 4 contests in Ohio and Texas she’ll surely stay in the race. “The prospect impels many Democratic insiders to pray for clear Obama victories March 4 that they hope will make it unnecessary for anybody to beg Hillary Clinton to end her failed campaign.”

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