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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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May 27, 2008 9:39 AM

As end nears, Clinton reverts to type

Posted by David Postman

Over the weekend there was much discussion about Hillary Clinton's comments about Robert Kennedy’s assassination. She quickly apologized and, of course, said she was quoted out of context while her campaign blamed Barack Obama for fanning the flames of the Memorial Day story.

The Kennedy comment follows her jarring bit of analysis about her appeal among white voters.

Not to get all Gail Sheehy on Clinton, but I think as her chances for the nomination go to the other side of dim, she is reverting to type. It’s not that there are sinister undertones to either comment. She’s saying the sort of thing you can hear from political consultants, campaign staffers, TV pundits or reporters.

The problem is you don’t normally hear candidates - particularly for president - talk like that. Most of Clinton’s vaunted experience has been behind the scenes. Until being elected to the Senate, her political experience was as advisor and strategist to Bill.

Maybe it’s frustration that reporters don’t see the race as she does. Or maybe it’s that voters don’t see it her way. If this were a Bill race instead of a Hillary race, I can imagine sitting with Clinton in a bar - and we now know how much she likes a shot and a beer - and listening to her analyze the race, talking about the racial breakdown of votes and maybe even saying, “Hey, it’s only May and in 1968 the race was far from over at that point.”

There are a couple of problems, whether Clinton is a candidate or a strategist. First, why would a Democrat talk about 1968? As a friend pointed out last night -- I was only 10 that year -- Richard Nixon won the presidency that November.

Also, Clinton has repeatedly mentioned that Bill was still fighting for the nomination at this point in 1992. That just doesn't seem to be the case.

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