Monday, April 21, 2008


I've watched the new Hillary Clinton ad, and what strikes me is not what it says about Clinton or Obama now, but what it suggests about Obama's chances in the fall.

Here's the ad:

I watch this, with its suggestion that Hillary is the Democrat who won't wilt under pressure, the boilermaker-drinking tough dame, and I think: Was it really only three months ago that she was very publicly tearing up? People had different reactions to that moment, but they fell into three categories: (1) She's really under a lot of pressure, so I don't blame her for getting emotional; (2) when the pressure hits, she can't handle it and gets emotional; (3) when the pressure hits, she fakes emotion. I don't recall anyone saying, as the Philadelphia voter I quoted Saturday said, that "that woman's got balls."

But it's a whopping three months later; now Hillary Clinton can put out an ad like this and it taps perfectly into her new image, as the tough one in the race. The watery-eyed moment is completely forgotten, apparently.

Which tells me that a lot of Obama moments that now seem indelible -- the bowling, the "bitter" remarks -- really might not be. The Republicans are hell-bent on keeping this race focused on anything but the issues -- they can't possibly win otherwise -- but some bad moments for Obama don't have to be bad for him forever. There's a lot more of this race to go, and the script is going to keep changing. Notice how much it's changed for Hillary Clinton.

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