Follow by Email

Monday, January 28, 2008

After Obama Victory, Clinton’s Camp Seeks Gentler Role for Ex-President

By PATRICK HEALY

Democrats inside and outside the Clinton campaign on Sunday debated and in some cases bemoaned the degree to which former President Bill Clinton’s criticism of Senator Barack Obama last week had inflicted lasting damage on his wife’s presidential candidacy.

“I think his harsh style hurt Senator Clinton — it polarized the campaign and polarized the electorate, and it also made it harder for Senator Clinton’s positive message to break through,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist and pollster who is not affiliated with any of the candidates.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign team, seeking to readjust after her lopsided defeat in South Carolina and amid a sense among many Democrats that Mr. Clinton had injected himself clumsily into the race, will try to shift the former president back into the sunnier, supportive-spouse role that he played before Mrs. Clinton’s loss in the Iowa caucuses, Clinton advisers said.

But Democrats said it was not clear whether the effects of Mr. Clinton’s high profile could be brushed away by having him modulate his campaign style. They said Mr. Clinton had upset some of the central themes of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, including her appeal to women and her assertions that her time in the White House during the 1990s amounted to vital experience rather than a link to a presidency defined as much by scandal and partisan divisions as by its successes on fronts like the economy.

Continue Reading

No comments: