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Everyone Knows This Senator, and for 2008, That May Be Precisely the Trouble (Hillary Alert)
NY Times ^ | 12/5/04 | RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

Posted on 12/04/2004 5:06:34 PM PST by nj26

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 - In a race for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton faces a problem that has dogged her since her days as first lady: an entrenched bloc of voters who simply do not like her.

And her experience as a senator in New York shows that despite vigorous campaigning around the state since taking office, she remains an extremely polarizing figure who is unable to sway these voters to her side.

One poll after another shows that roughly one of three New Yorkers has an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton, a statistic that has not changed since she took office in 2001.

Nationally, her standing is worse, even as her aides prepare for what is emerging as a possible bid for president in 2008. Roughly 4 of 10 Americans disapprove of her, according to a recent poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

The voters who disapprove of Mrs. Clinton are numerous and unshakable, and they have been around so long that they even have a name in political circles. Hillary haters.

Mrs. Clinton offered a revealing answer when asked recently whether Republicans might be hoping that she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, since it would give the G.O.P. a divisive figure to run against.

Mrs. Clinton - who studiously avoids answering questions about her presidential ambitions - quickly responded. "We have a president who is quite polarizing - and very successful, I might add," Mrs. Clinton said during an appearance on NBC's "Today."

Mrs. Clinton's high unfavorability ratings may help explain why a discussion has begun among her advisers over whether she should skip a Senate re-election campaign in 2006 and instead focus all her energies on a race for the White House.

The most obvious challenge that Mrs. Clinton faces in running for both jobs is a compressed political calendar that leaves her very little room to maneuver: The Iowa presidential caucuses are held just 14 months after Election Day in 2006.

If Mrs. Clinton stuck to the schedule that John Kerry followed during this presidential election cycle, she would have to give a clear indication of her desire to run for the presidency a mere month after her Senate race was over.

But that seems unlikely, some political analysts say, because the timing would be awkward.

Yet some people close to Mrs. Clinton maintain that the tight calendar should not be a problem because she is such a big celebrity, and any presidential campaign she embarks upon would instantly attract a huge amount of attention.

But other Democrats and independent political strategists say that her celebrity is a double-edged sword: While Mrs. Clinton does indeed enjoy a level of name recognition other politicians crave, she has earned a reputation that, fairly or not, makes her a polarizing figure among moderate swing voters, an important bloc nationally.

"There's work for her to do nationally," said Lee M. Miringoff, the director of the Marist institute. "Beyond her appeal to the Democratic base, there is a need for her to build bridges to reach out to moderate Republicans and independent voters if she hopes to succeed."

The so-called Hillary haters became a harsh reality of political life for Mrs. Clinton when she ran for the Senate. Republicans built much of their campaign on trying to tap anti-Clinton sentiments in New York State.

No one factor accounts for deep misgivings many voters express for Mrs. Clinton, but to some degree it stems from a view that has taken hold, fairly or not, that she is a hugely ambitious woman with a liberal agenda that was most significantly illustrated in her efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system during her husband's presidency.

Mrs. Clinton sought to counteract the damage posed by the anti-Clinton feeling by spending nearly two years traveling around the state in a calculated effort to force voters to re-examine what, if anything, is so objectionable about her.

Many Democrats and independent political strategists contend that Mrs. Clinton may have to do much the same nationally.

"To be successful nationally, she will have to defuse some of the negative feelings," Mr. Miringoff said. "One way to attempt that is to replicate what she did in with New York with her Listening Tour."

A Democratic political strategist on Capitol Hill agreed. "She may have 100 percent name recognition," the strategist said. "But it comes with a certain amount of baggage."

Even after her victory in New York, Mrs. Clinton has taken nothing for granted, continuing to travel around the state constantly, as if running a perpetual campaign.

The strategy has yielded dividends: Her popularity rating among New Yorkers reached a notable 61 percent in September, compared with 38 percent in February 2001, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll.

Mrs. Clinton's approach has been particularly effective with undecided voters. The number of people who told Quinnipiac pollsters that they had no opinion of her has been dropping - to 7 percent in September from 33 percent in February 2001.

But tellingly enough, her tireless efforts around the state have done little to assuage the misgivings of many. The number of New Yorkers expressing an unfavorable opinion of her has been about the same - roughly one in three - in the 22 polls Quinnipiac University has conducted since 2001.

But Mrs. Clinton's advisers contend that the poll findings have, in fact, been very good news for her, saying that many undecided voters became supporters once they got to know her.

"Show me a poll where she has lost ground," said one Democrat who is close to Mrs. Clinton. "You can't. They don't exist. She has been gaining supporters both in New York and nationally since she took office by virtue of her hard work."

TOPICS: Politics/Elections; US: New York
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Obviously biased, but interesting reading to see how her backers are using the NY Times to spin her for the nomination.
1 posted on 12/04/2004 5:06:35 PM PST by nj26
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To: nj26

Run, Hitlery, Run!

2 posted on 12/04/2004 5:08:22 PM PST by jimbo123
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To: nj26

The author of this article doesn't even allow for the possibility that she could run for the Senate in 2006 and be beaten by Rudy Guiliani.

3 posted on 12/04/2004 5:12:39 PM PST by RWR8189 (Its Morning in America Again!)
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To: nj26

It would take more than a years long nationwide version of the "listening tour." She would be best off staying in the Senate and giving herself a right-wing makeover. I would absolutely love to see her play the pious, family-values, security-hawk for the next four years. It would be HILarious to see just how many of her sacred cows she would tip over the side in her quest for the Brass Ring. Hmmm, SHE might be the one to harpoon Micheal Moore and lead the Dems back towards the (seeming) center.

4 posted on 12/04/2004 5:14:14 PM PST by sinanju
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To: Howlin

Yet again....the NYTimes....are we gonna have to endure this for the next 3 years?

5 posted on 12/04/2004 5:15:58 PM PST by anniegetyourgun (All taglines should be knee-length.)
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To: RWR8189

This article is garbage from a journalistic perspective, and just talking points from her campaign.

The author states the case against Hillary in the first half, and then tries to systematically disprove it point-by-point in the second half, culminating in the final quote about her improving poll numbers.

The interesting point, though, is the quote from her about being "polarizing", when she says "We have a president who is quite polarizing - and very successful, I might add." That is her angle for 2008, to counter the questions about her "electability."

6 posted on 12/04/2004 5:16:23 PM PST by nj26
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To: nj26

Gee, I can't imagine anyone disliking a paranoid anti-american who lies with every breath she takes.

7 posted on 12/04/2004 5:16:58 PM PST by freekitty
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To: jimbo123

She is a liar and criminal like her husband.

8 posted on 12/04/2004 5:17:24 PM PST by FrankRepublican (Boycott NBC & their parent company General Electric for smearing the USMC)
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To: freekitty

Also, I am sure anyone from her side reading this will, of course, twist the facts to make her look better.

9 posted on 12/04/2004 5:19:43 PM PST by freekitty
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To: nj26

The November 2004 election was the Bloody Angle of the Democrat Media. Hillary can't get any more than 45%, because no one pays any attention to the boobs on the toob any longer...

10 posted on 12/04/2004 5:19:46 PM PST by an amused spectator (Zogbyism is a disease)
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To: nj26

1 in 3 NY voters disapprove??

What the hell kind of spin is that?

That equals a 67% approval rating!

What does this even mean?

11 posted on 12/04/2004 5:25:39 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: an amused spectator

"Hillary can't get any more than 45%, because no one pays any attention to the boobs on the toob any longer..."

Her husband won with 43% in 1992.

12 posted on 12/04/2004 5:26:00 PM PST by nj26
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To: bill1952

"1 in 3 NY voters disapprove??"

I doubt that she has a 67% approval rating.

I think they are trying to nicely say this: when we conduct opinion polls, 33% of NY voters think Hillary should burn in hell, and would rather be represented by a live donkey in the Senate.

13 posted on 12/04/2004 5:27:47 PM PST by nj26
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To: freekitty
"Gee, I can't imagine anyone disliking a paranoid anti-american who lies with every breath she takes."

'Her HindA$$ Wide-Load' is dreaming of going all over the world and vacationing on our dime again - like she did when slick was in charge.

We need to do everything in our power to keep them OUT of our Whitehouse.

14 posted on 12/04/2004 5:30:08 PM PST by LADY J
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To: nj26
The NYT has started their political campaign for Hillary already?
15 posted on 12/04/2004 5:33:50 PM PST by Moorings
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To: nj26

Haha.. :)

I don't doubt that you are right.
I just don't know how they pushed the poll.

16 posted on 12/04/2004 5:49:42 PM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: nj26

>> "Her husband won with 43% in 1992." <<

Yes, but that was a three way race. With three active candidates, the vote is going to be more split.

Of course, they could pull the same deal, and pull in someone to be a 3rd party candidate. What is Buchanan doing in '08??

17 posted on 12/04/2004 5:56:40 PM PST by sd-joe
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To: All

Don't worry about this (insert explicative here). The 2004 election did not go well enough for her. She needed Bush to win, and not by too much. She did get that thanks to her husband sending his cronies to sabatoge Kerry's campaign.

But her real problem was Congress. She needed the Dems to take the Senate and pick up strength in the House. She got neither. Overall, this election was such a blow-out that the Dems, this time, will wake up and recruit a legitmate non-liberal - after all, they despertly NEED to win.

The Dems will also realize that web sites like this will not permit the media to whitewash her past and transform her into a "moderate". She's toast - but hasn't figured it out yet.

What we Americans (you know, the red half that doesn't HATE this country, like the Dems) need to do is start watching for potential candidates, and then dig up dirt. Being Democrats, at a minimum, they've all got criminal records. Let's get some files opened up.

18 posted on 12/04/2004 5:56:59 PM PST by BobL
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To: nj26
Hurrah!! This is the best news I have had all day. I may be able to go to bed tonight with that warm, comfy feeling!

My God how I despise that woman!

To think of her in a position of real power in our nation sends chills up my spine. Night all.
19 posted on 12/04/2004 5:57:57 PM PST by dk/coro
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To: sinanju

I actually heard her say the she "has always worshipped evangelically". I wonder what on earth she meant by that! I heard this on one of the talk radio programs shortly after the election.

20 posted on 12/04/2004 5:58:15 PM PST by basil (Exercise your Second Amendment--buy another gun today!)
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