Feature

Hillary Clinton

Has she really changed?

Suddenly, Hillary Clinton 'œhas the look of a winner,” said The New York Observer in an editorial. As a first-term senator from New York, the former first lady has achieved approval ratings so high that no Republican'”including Rudolph Giuliani'”wants to run against her. Campaign funds are pouring in, and a presidential run in 2008 is almost certain. Republicans from John McCain to Newt Gingrich are singing her praises, while GOP fundraising letters make the need to 'œStop Hillary' sound more urgent than the War on Terror. 'œThis is one of the most impressive acts of public transformation in memory.” When Hillary Clinton left the White House, she was widely viewed as an overbearing, ultraliberal ideologue'”'œa political hot potato.” Now she's positioned herself as a can-do senator with a gift for compromise, and a 'œserious contender' to become the U.S.'s first woman president.

That's not really a compliment, said Peter Beinart in The Washington Post. In fact, by constantly repeating the canard that Clinton has strategically 'œmoved to the center,” the media is playing into Republican hands. Already, the GOP is attacking Hillary as a 'œflip-flopper” and secret leftist who will say anything to become president. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the same strategy Republicans used against John Kerry, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton. In reality, the 'œnew” Hillary isn't new at all, said Anna Quindlen in Newsweek. She's always been a smart, hardworking, privately religious woman with thoughtful, 'œmoderate' positions on abortion, families, and foreign policy. During her White House years, right-wingers cynically sought to demonize her as a scheming, radical feminist. Now that Clinton is on her own, 'œpeople are finally seeing past the stereotypes and fabrications.”

Joe Klein

Time

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