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Sweet column: Clinton downplays frontrunner talk. "I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me.'' Birthday Friday: 60 is the new 40.

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) on Saturday downplayed her front-runner status and said, "I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me," when pressed about her electability.

Allies of presidential contenders Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) have been raising questions about Clinton's ability to be elected in November 2008. Other Democrats are concerned that Clinton may be seen as polarizing and hurt congressional and other down-ticket candidates if she heads the ballot.

The Obama campaign in past days has been emphasizing the possibility that Clinton's nomination was "inevitable." Thursday morning, Obama sent out a fund-raising appeal titled "Inevitable," where he said, "Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare 'Mission Accomplished' a little too soon."

Talking to reporters after a campaign event here, Clinton made the point that her mission is not accomplished. "I consider myself someone who is working as hard as I can every day to earn the support of Iowans, and that's what I'm going to keep doing," she said.

"I am well-aware that no one has voted, no one has caucused. We have a long way to go before that happens. I don't take anything for granted, and I am going to keep working as hard as I possibly can."

Clinton alluded to her lead in national polls and her success in landing some key endorsements in discussing the electability factor.

"I've opened up some real distance between me and the Republican nominees at this point in the campaign. ... I think that as this campaign goes forward, people are going to see what I stand for; what I aim to do as president is not what they often hear."

Pressed if she would drag down other Democrats if nominated, Clinton said there was no basis for the assertion, and "I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me.

"There has been a lot of accumulated attacks on me going back 15 years. And what I've done in this campaign is to get out and have people form their own opinions of me. And slowly but surely, I think, sort of reverse a lot of the unfounded feelings people had."

Clinton earned the front-runner title mainly because she has remained ahead in national and critical early voting state polls. A CNN national poll Oct. 12-14 found 46 percent for Clinton to 17 percent for Obama and 12 percent for Edwards. The Des Moines Register reports the latest Iowa Poll shows Clinton at 29 percent, Edwards at 23 percent and Obama at 22 percent, as surveys suggest Obama is on an uptick.

Clinton turns 60 on Friday. Asked if that was the new 50, she replied, "or 40."

4 Comments

The only strategy that Obama and Edwards have left is to toss stink bombs at Hillary. Since Edwards began that game several weeks ago his poll numbers have declined. Obama is being encouraged by his groupies to forsake the politics of hope and we can see Hillary stretching her lead in the early primary states. Even if Edwards or Obama edge Hillary in Iowa, where the primary turnout is about %10, this will not dull the edge of the Clinton momentum in the following 4-6 weeks. She is the far superior candidate and the White House hungry Democrats know this.


Funny she now says "oh don't call me the frontrunner" after her campaign has virtually brainwashing americans to believe she's already won.

The only reason Hillary will win the nomination is because the Clinton machine has made voters feel like their vote won't even count.

I have almost lost hope in democracy. Most americans don't want Hillary to win, but we've been told over and over that Hillary will be the next president, so why even vote/try?

"And what I've done in this campaign is to get out and have people
form their own opinions of me."; and,

It is my judgement that this era defined by the dread, the veneration and the wonder of personal distruction technology has left truth surviving on bread so long from the oven foul and water stale.

How do I influence a belief that will be stronger than a mere impression yet more frail than positive knowledge?

Any opinions?


Atta girl, kick those pansies in the ass!

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 21, 2007 8:59 AM.

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