President Bush’s former senior adviser Karl Rove says Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary for four reasons — chief among them rival Barack Obama’s inability to “close out the argument” against Hillary.
Writing in the Washington Post, Rove lists as the first reason for Hillary’s success her campaign’s “smart decision at its start to target women Democrats, especially single woman… The focus didn’t pay off in Iowa, but it did in New Hampshire.”
Second, Hillary had two powerful “personal moments,” Rove notes. The first came in Saturday’s ABC debate, when Clinton was questioned about her perceived lack of “likeability.” Hillary said: “Well, that hurts my feelings.”
Rove writes: “You couldn’t help but smile. It reminded Democrats what they occasionally like about her.”
The other personal moment came when Hillary nearly broke down in tears during a meeting with undecided voters in New Hampshire.
Clinton’s “emotional reply was powerful and warm,” Rove observes. “It was humanizing and appealing.”
Third, the Clintons began to raise questions about Obama’s fitness for the presidency, as a first-term senator with limited experience.
Rove writes: “The fourth and biggest reason why Mrs. Clinton won is that, while Mr. Obama can draw on the deep doubts of many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton, he can’t close out the argument. Mr. Obama is an inspiring figure playing a historical role but that’s not enough to push aside the former first lady and senator from New York.”
Obama’s rhetoric, Rove concludes, “while eloquent and moving at times, has been too often light as air.”
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