Carol Platt Liebau: Hillary Plays the Victim Card (Again)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hillary Plays the Victim Card (Again)

At 7:30 pacific time, Hillary Clinton appeared for an interview on the Fox News Channel with Chris Wallace. She was well prepared, and did a fine job with all the questions that she expected. Then, Wallace obviously asked her something for which she hadn't prepared. Her answer was illuminating:

Wallace: There's an incident last night at the SOTU address that's getting a little attention whn you came into the hall . . . you reached out, Sen Kennedy and Sen obama were standing side by side Senator Kennedy shook your hand, Sen obama says he was looking away to talk to somebody else. Some people are saying that he snubbed you. Do you feel that you were snubbed last night?

Clinton [in a slightly martyred tone]: Well, Chris, I reached out my hand in friendship and unity, and my hand is still reaching out and I look forward to shaking his hand when I see him at the debate in California.

What was remarkable was the contrast between Clinton's performance in the questions she knew were coming, and her complete political tone-deafness when she's forced to think on her feet and go off script.

How much smarter would it have been for her to say something like,"Oh Chris, I think the world of Senator Obama, and I'm sure he didn't see me. I'll look forward to shaking his hand in California."

Instead, she couldn't resist taking the cheap and easy shot that she thought the question permitted. The problem -- as it often is when Hillary has to trust her first instinct -- is that her behavior diminishes her, rather than her target.


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