The Clinton Counter Attack

“Hillary is pumped up,” her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said on an internal conference call late last night. “She’s ready to fight. We’re ready to fight.”

Channeling Howard Dean, perhaps intentionally, Solis Doyle said: “We’re going to fight in New York, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, California. This is just the beginning.”

Clinton's plane(s) -- two of them -- she does not not travel with her press corps -- landed here in New Hampshire at about 4 a.m.

Here is Clinton's game plan:

1. Swarm the state with surrogates; she has a deeper network in New Hampshire than any other state.

2. Two rallies a day; lots of retail events; lots of television interviews.

3. Find some way to go negative against Obama. Some Clinton advisers and aides say that the campaign have a storehouse of opposition research -- old and new -- that they'll use against Obama. In Iowa, being directly associated with negative attacks is seen as uncouth and un-Midwestern; in New Hampshire, rude remarks as as welcome as questions and answers.

4. Claim that Clinton never had a shot in Iowa because of the state's historical bias against women (it's only one of two to never have elected a woman as governor or member of Congress); that Edwards had cornered the Democratic vote and that Obama ran against the Democratic party and cornered the Democratic leading independents; that for a New Yorker to receive 25 percent of the vote or her is impressive (although.. I distinctly remember an HRC mailing calling her a Midwesterner).

By the way: Since 1972, four of nine Democratic nominees have finished second or worse in Iowa; but those four all finished first or second in New Hampshire; the calendar was much more drawn out in those cycles.

5. Point to Clinton's strength in New York, California and Florida; point out that Obama is bad in debates and that in contests that don't rely on retail politicking, she has an edge.

6. Run against the idea of John McCain as the Republican nominee; in other words, who's better to face McCain: Clinton or Obama?

7. Women, women, women. Playing the gender card again.

8. Have really, really good debate performances.

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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