Imagine it's October of 2007 you're sitting in a soundproof conference room with Patti Solis Doyle, Mandy Grunwald, Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson. They've told you that they think Barack Obama will be a big threat to Hillary Clinton. They've asked you to develop a strategy to defeat him. What's that strategy?
Your best answers included:
Could Clinton have gotten Chelsea to do campaign stops in Iowa and emphasize youth issues (student loans, national service), and won Iowa, then rolled? Seems plausible.
Plan B is to bank the wins in CA and AZ on early votes, and then stop campaigning there in person. Spend more time in competitive territory: CO, CT, AL, maybe even GA. If she had picked up another 50 delegates there, she could have made the case the she would cruise to the nomination.
In addition, if it's still a contested nomination after South Carolina, Clinton should have started running negative ads about Obama's health care plan not covering everybody. Obama could kick up dust, but it's pretty clear it doesn't cover everyone.
Since you've invented a time machine here I suggest setting the dial for 2000 and have Hillary run for the Senate in Illinois, her home state, instead of New York. Senator Clinton (D-Il) means no Senator Obama (D-Il).
4. Speak at Dodd's first filibuster over FISA in support of the filibuster.
5. Dont vote for Kyl-Lieberman. Its a nothing bill with no teeth or impact, but it looks bad. As soon as I heard she voted for it, I knew it was huge mistake.
6. Dont hire Patti Solis Doyle. Hire James Carville. Dont hire Mark Penn. Hire Paul Begala. Get Mandy Grunwald on TV as your principle spokesperson.
Steal Obama's message early, it will become yours.
It should be noted that electability was never Hillary's strongsuit (and it became much more of an Achilles heel with the McCain nomination), but casting the economy rather than the general election as the principle variable as to whether change can take hold would have forced Obama to spend more time arguing "I am going to do what you guys did," rather than "I am going to accomplish all you failed to accomplish."
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