Hillary, counted out by everyone (including your’s truly), had a hell of a good night on Tuesday, winning crucial Ohio, Texas and not-as-crucial Rhode Island.
Now, as she soldiers on, she — and we — need to understand why she won; what worked and didn’t.
She needs to figure out how to attack Obama in the upcoming states.
Here, in chronological order, are the last-week events/tactics that may have turned the tide:
1) Michele Obama’s incredibly offensive remarks about how “for the first time I am proud of my country” — repeated twice and never apologized for — set off a firestorm. She seemed like an angry woman and an ingrate who has profited from Affirmative Action.
2) The leaked photo to the Drudge Report of Obama in traditional Somali dress set off a second firestorm. But this one originally was over who leaked it. Drudge said it came from “inside the Hillary campaign.” But instead of this hurting Hillary, it helped her because it planted the seed and raised doubts over whether Obama is/was a Muslim.
3) Hillary’s Red Phone TV ad in Texas raised doubts, again, about Obama’s experience.
4) The emergence of NAFTA in last week’s MSNBC debate was huge in Ohio. This issue may cripple Obama down the road. Also in that debate, Hillary raised the issue of the media being too nice to Obama. This, too, would emerge a few days later as a crucial turning point.
5) Hillary’s self-mocking performance on "Saturday Night Live." This made her look good and softened her.
6) Sunday night’s "60 Minutes" piece on the campaign in which a member of the focus group raised the issue of whether Obama is a Muslim or not, followed by Hillary’s “not that I know of” comment. This Muslim issue has legs and resonated around Texas and could be a deal-breaker for Obama, especially coupled with Michelle’s angry anti-Americanism.
7) The media began raising the issue of the Rezko federal trial which began Monday and in which Obama may be mentioned unfavorably.
8) Monday the national news media covering Obama finally began pushing him, asking him tough, probing questions instead of playing kissy face as they have for the past year.
9) The deal-breaker for Obama? The revelation that one of his economic aides met with Canadian officials to doble-talk about NAFTA. This, coupled with his denials and then reversals, has signaled to the media that Obama is just another lying, jive-talking politician — not the demi-god they have portrayed him.
These nine reasons contain the future course of action for the Hillary campaign.
Some of these, NAFTA for sure, will work in Pennsylvania and Michigan if they re-do that primary (which the Clinton campaign will now begin to push for along with a re-do in Florida). And Obama is now under fire. Can he hold up? Is he special? Or is he just a smoother, slicker version of Jesse Jackson-combined-with-Bill-Clinton? Will Obama go negative against Hillary and thus violate one of his main campaign themes?
All of these questions remain to be answered.
This race isn’t over. More twists and turns are certain to come.
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