Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clinton Aides Split on How to Take On Obama

An article on the front page of today's NYT on the struggles of the Clinton campaign on how to attack Obama:
When Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton meets Senator Barack Obama at a one-on-one debate in Austin on Thursday night, one of her final opportunities to change the course of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, she will again face the challenge that has repeatedly stymied her: how to discredit her popular opponent without hurting herself.
Even now, after a string of defeats, her advisers are divided over how to proceed as they head toward what could be her last stands, in Ohio and Texas on March 4.

Some — led by Mark Penn, her chief strategist — have been pushing Mrs. Clinton to draw sharper and deeper contrasts with Mr. Obama, arguing that she has no other option, campaign officials said.

Others, particularly Mandy Grunwald, her media adviser, have pushed for a less aggressive approach, arguing that attacks would not help Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in an environment in which she is increasingly appearing to struggle, aides said.

This latest division within the campaign reflects intense frustration among Mrs. Clinton’s advisers as they look for ways to turn around their campaign against Mr. Obama, an opponent whose appeal and skills as a candidate caught them by surprise. So far, her own positive message has been outshone by his, and every line of attack on him has fallen short, fizzled or backfired.

Clinton Aides Split on How to Take On Obama


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