Tags: hillary | GOP

Hillary Becomes Lightning Rod for GOP Hopefuls

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2007 01:18 PM

They may disagree on issues, but the one thing front-running Republican presidential hopefuls agree on is that Democrat Hillary Clinton is the main target of their campaign rhetoric.

Even before Clinton unveiled her new healthcare plan on Monday, Mitt Romney went on the attack at a New York press conference, harkening back to the Clinton administration’s failed 1993 attempt to overhaul the healthcare system: “HillaryCare continues to be bad medicine. Fundamentally, I think she takes her inspiration from European bureaucracies.”

A recent fundraising letter from the Rudi Giuliani campaign stated: "Higher taxes, socialized medicine, liberal judges writing laws from the bench, a state of denial about the terrorists' war on us … It's enough to give us nightmares."

Giuliani also took out a full-page ad in the New York Times that criticized Clinton for not condemning an antiwar ad by the liberal organization MoveOn.org that criticized Gen. David Petraeus.

John McCain has attacked Clinton for voting to approve the war in Iraq, then recently proposing to revoke the authorization.

"Political expedience cannot undo a vote cast on a matter of conscience," he said.

And when Fred Thompson announced his candidacy earlier this month, he recalled the anguish among Republicans when Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992, saying: "Now, you don't want to have to come back from another Clinton victory."

In an indication of how potent anti-Clinton rhetoric can be in GOP primaries, 78 percent of Republicans gave Clinton negative ratings in a recent Gallup poll, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"She's always had very high negatives among Republicans, and she's a galvanizing figure to conservatives," Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, told the Times.

"If you want to get Democrats going, say 'George Bush.' If you want to get Republicans going, say 'the Clintons.'"

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