Clinton's Latest NH Ad Is Rashomonic

The names of Hillary Clinton's Republican rivals are featured prominently in her latest television ad in New Hampshire, a throwback to the halcyon days of the late 1990s, when the glue that kept the Democratic Party together was the "Republican Attack Machine" (R.A.M) -- or the "Vast, Right Wing Conspiracy" that wanted to destroy the Clinton presidency.

There is something in this ad for everyone. To the Clinton campaign, raising the specter of the R.A.M. reminds Democrats of who Hillary Clinton is -- a Democrat who fights for Democrats -- and rebuts claims that she cannot be trusted to stick by Democrats when the going gets rough and tough. It also unsubtly points out that the Republicans are attacking Clinton now because they think she's going to win the nomination.

For Obama's campaign, it's a reminder of the Clinton that Democrats don't like -- the pre-Senate Clinton, the partisan Clinton, the Clinton who sold out Democrats (through her husband) at critical points in the 1990s.

For Clinton's rivals, the ad is a juicy opportunity for them to step up their attacks against Clinton. The Romney campaign, in particular, is just thrilled that Romney's picture is shown in the first few seconds. Says spokesman Kevin Madden: "Governor Romney also has a record of, and reputation for, actually getting things done. Senator Clinton has a reputation for one thing: partisanship. Extreme partisanship."