Saturday, January 5, 2008

Like Watching a Ship Sink

Here is yet another account of Clinton's O'Reilly incident this morning, one that comes with this illuminating snippet:

Once the crowd was packed in (Clinton even got off the stage to seat a woman with a baby) the questions began. Clinton took 22 questions from the audience, making the event nearly two hours long.


This is all part of Clinton's New Hampshire strategy, taking as many questions as she can from the audience to show she has a depth of knowledge that allows her to deal with any problems the country may face. Traveling Press Secretary Jay Carson says the New Hampshire way is to take questions from everyone.

(emphasis added)

That may be the case, but taking questions from everyone is something that should have been happening months ago. There's no time to do that now. She let 1000 people see her take questions until she was blue in the face for two hours -- at best she converted 1000 voters, but can't attract any more. So if she was really good Hillary might be able to win maybe 15,000 -20,000 people to her cause between now and Tuesday doing things the "New Hampshire way." Maybe word of mouth and some positive media will help her get some more votes, but you really have to start asking yourself is this an efficient way to campaign?

Then again, it might be the only way to campaign in New Hampshire ...

Notice why she's taking questions until she's blue in the face: to demonstrate her experience. We've already determined that it's the "change" message that has more resonance -- at least in Iowa. Complicating things further is the second prong of Clinton's counter attack:

Clinton's campaign has also made a point of saying she will go after the youth vote more aggressively in this state after the senator took responsibility yesterday in a news conference for losing that demographic to Senator Obama in the Iowa Caucus. Clinton is riding with some young undecided voters on the way to her next event in Durham, about an hour drive. And she'll be greeting more of the same at that next stop, a bagel shop.

It will be exceedingly difficult to get younger voters in her corner in the kind of numbers that she needs meeting with them one-on-one. Chances are most of the young people who will be voting are in college and it's likely that Obama has been courting them for months -- I don't know what the absentee ballot rules in New Hampshire are, but this was certainly part of his game plan, I'm sure. That could cut into the potential pool of young voters that Clinton has to work with.

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