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Sweet blog special: Clinton, the comedian, knows from "evil and bad men." Iowa report 7.


DAVENPORT, IA.—Could it be, I think it is, presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton parked at a double entrendre.

With a grin and hoots and hollers from an audience, the former first lady, now New York Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful demonstrated comedic timing, a wry wit and the willingness to create a joke at her own expense.

Clinton on Sunday took questions at a town-hall style meeting at a fairgrounds in this city hugging the shores of the Mississippi River. This is Clinton’s first swing to Iowa in her eight-day old White House campaign.

She’s encouraging people to ask her anything. Clinton is running kind of a massive Iowa focus group, learning in these early encounters what people want to know about her, her policies, her past and what she would do as president.

A man in the crowd asked her what she had in her background that would make her a good commander-in-chief given that the world has “evil, greedy, rotten power hungry leaders” and a lot of them “happen to be men.”

For the estimated 500 people in the room, Clinton rephrased the question for those who could not hear.
“The question really is,” she said, “we face a lot of dangers in the world and in the gentlemans’ words, we face a lot of ‘evil men.’ People like Osma Bin Laden comes to mind.

And what in my background equips me to deal (she pauses a beat and get a glean in her eye) with evil and bad men.”

Next was one of those you have to be there to appreciate it moments.

The audience immediately broke out in a communal gale of hoots, holler and laughter. Clinton kind of took a dip, wearing a Cheshire cat grin.

What is the reference?

Ken Starr, the vortex of the right-wing conspiracy who got President Clinton impeached?

Or someone else.

“Not her husband, not a chance,” said Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson.

Endit, sweet


I was there, and she wasn't talking about Bill Clinton.

The laughter was there because it was a 'take your pick' kind of thought.

Has Hillary had experience in dealing with evil and bad men?

She's a female in a man's world. That was the vibe from other questions.

The 'evil and bad men' could be any male politician, administrative appointee, or the commander and chief himself.

She deals with harrassment from the GOP and conservative talk show hosts on a daily basis, most of them men.

The laughter was because depending on a person's definition of an evil or bad man, she would claim direct experience with dealing with them on a daily basis in the halls of congress, in media conferences, etc.

The laughter was also because everyone, but the media, got the joke. The Democrats got the joke and knew it was something to laugh about, not to take seriously and make up a real list of men she would consider evil or bad.

The lingo of labelling people evildoers is a label Evangelicals use and one that's used as a tool to devide. That's not what Hillary Clinton wants to do.

It's not the job of government to label people as evil or good. The government doesn't do the Lord's work. Our representatives are there to represent the people, not to try to confer with God and to bring religion into government.

As soon as the 'evil' label was brought into the discussion Hillary was put off. She's not Bush and I doubt she wants to speak using the same labels.

If she was directly asked if Saddam was 'evil' she would more than likely say yes.

Speaking in the terminology of 'evil and bad men' belongs on the pulpit, not on the political stage.

That's really why it was a joke before she even spoke to it. Myself, and the fellow Democrats in the room, were shaking our heads at the gentlemen's comment and Hillary only gave us the opportunity to laugh at him.

It was funny.

Hillary Clinton is seeking blog posts on her web site.You could help set the agenda for the next presidency.Even if she isn't the eventual winner in the primary or the election,you can be sure her opponents are paying close attention to her web site.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 28, 2007 12:19 PM.

Sweet column: In Iowa, Clinton targets female voters. White House home too long to "white men.' was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Clinton's "evil men" What was she thinking? is the next entry in this blog.

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