Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Did Clinton Do too Well in her Speech Last Night in Denver?

John Dickerson at Slate provides a little context for Hillary Clinton’s speech in Denver last night:

“Tuesday night, the Democrats celebrated Ted Kennedy. He was in Clinton's shoes in 1980, after his hard-fought battle with Jimmy Carter. When he gave his convention speech, he mentioned Jimmy Carter once, congratulating him only in passing. Ronald Reagan never mentioned Gerald Ford in 1976. Hillary Clinton named Barack Obama more than a dozen times. Kennedy's famous speech declared that the dream will never die. Clinton's pitch was that the dream cannot live without electing Barack Obama.

“Everything seemed to be at stake for Clinton. She said the issues she'd fought for all her life would wither if Obama was not elected. She linked Obama to continuing her husband's legacy. ‘We did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we'll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats.’ She told the story of her gender's emancipation and the fight against slavery and then rolled the entire history of progress behind the Obama candidacy. Before that history of progress could continue, ‘before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama.”’

Most pundits gave Hillary high marks for last night’s speech, but buried in Dickerson’s response to her words is an odd question:

“Rank-and-file Democrats could hardly have asked for more. Which may actually create a slight problem for Barack Obama. Did Clinton do too well?”

Dickerson concludes:

“…The reaction I got from the Clinton supporters who don't like Obama is that her speech was the best proof yet that she should be president—or at least be No. 2 on the ticket.

“We'll know in a few weeks whether the 18 million who helped Clinton put cracks in the highest glass ceiling are interested in helping someone else—namely, Barack Obama—finally break through.”

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