All in the Family
12-18-2007
Last week, I wrote a post arguing that the Clinton campaign’s strategy for fending off the Barack Obama surge in New Hampshire was fundamentally misguided. My claim was that an attempt to out-wonk Obama on issues like health care was a waste of resources in a campaign environment where most voters spend little time focusing on the minutia of policy differences between candidates of the same party. I also made the case that Hillary Clinton’s focus on experience as a campaign theme had already hit its ceiling, in terms of its ability to move uncommitted voters into her camp. My conclusion was that the Clinton campaign was paying insufficient attention to the ways in which voters were increasingly making an emotional connection with Obama on personal themes like hope and change.
 
Well, somebody was listening. In just the past few days, we have witnessed a remarkable retooling of the Clinton message. The campaign has begun to show its candidate in a much more personal light, with a new emphasis on her family and friends, and with a set of personal stories to help Hillary Clinton make her own emotional connection with voters. Whether this strategy will work quickly enough to reposition Clinton for Iowa and New Hampshire remains to be seen, but one has to be impressed by the speed with which the Clinton campaign pivoted to address the most serious threat to her nomination yet.


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