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Clinton makes 'change' message work for her

It was subtle. But in a debate format that prevented the candidates from skirmishing directly with each other, Hillary Clinton managed to tersely offer herself as the Democrat best able to effect change -- and scoff at the competing credentials of her two main rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

With the race in Iowa too close to call -- and with Clinton recognizing that the messages of change from Edwards and Obama have resonated among the state's Democrats -- her campaign increasingly has sought to tout her credentials on that front (de-emphasizing the experience angle). And the candidate herself focused on a "change" message in the debate where she was allowed to make an abbreviated campaign statement.

Insisting that "everyone" she's met in Iowa wants change, she said: "Well, everybody on this stage has an idea about how to get change. Some believe you get change by demanding it. Some believe you get it by hoping for it. I believe you get it by working hard for change. That's what I've done my entire life. That's what I will do as president."

The reference to those "demanding" change clearly was to Edwards, who among the party's frontrunners has been the most assertive in attacking the powers that be (a position he hewed to during the forum).

The reference to those "hoping" for change, even more obviously, was to Obama, who from the start has run under the banner of "the politics of hope."

Clinton's ability to reposition herself in the "change" debate -- and make the case that she would work the hardest in shaking up the status quo -- should be one of the most crucial dynamics to watch in the waning days of the Iowa campaign.

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (12)

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That was a very prudent and effective answer HRC gave on change. Thats why she will do well.

I think its interesting that you failed to mentioned what happened when Senator Clinton Stepped out of line and cut into Senator Obama's answer and was given a sharp answer.

wow, don. no mention of hillary getting zinged by barack after she tried to cackle her way into dissing him on the question posed to him about all the former bill clinton adminstration folk working as his advisors? c'mon, man! it was the highlight of an otherwise uninteresting debate. i guess it got skipped 'cause your girl didn't come out looking good in the exchange ...

Re: Clinton, go here:

Obama clearly presented insightful answers in a spontaneous, well reasoned and very presidential manner. After watching this debate you know you can trust him to lead this country wisely, and work toward bringing people together to get things done. Edwards used all the right hot-button words to get people to react emotionally, but was a bit too repetitive, lawyer-like, and adversarial, promising conflict, not solutions as president. Hillary just fell flat with her feeble attempts to jab, and pander to women with waist line problems. Others all seemed worthy of being candidates for president. A low key, but informative debate.

Obama has been working for change for 25 years.

Hillary has been lifting ideas from Obama's campaign for

Best line of the debate came when Obama responded to Hillary's cackle.

See video

With due respect to Hillary Clinton, it is hard to see how another Clinton presidency would represent real change.

I made up my mind..... Going with Obama in 08! He has that RFK thought process and makes Hillary look like the bench warmer she is.

He takes a punch and keeps standing, She has thrown everything at him and it all slides off, proves she is dirty and can't be trusted in my book.
And where was she when Bill was fooling around? I mean a good woman would have taken care of her man. She surely wasn't in a cabinet meeting, because she had no cabinet. She has less experience than Kucinich.

Obama 08! Go Big O!


Whitewater, Cattle Futuregate, Travelgate, Gennifer Flowersgate, Filegate, Vince Fostergate, Whitewater Billing Recordsgate, Paula Jonesgate, Federal Building Campaign Phone Callgate, Lincoln Bedroomgate, Donations from Convicted Drug and Weapons Dealersgate, Buddhist Templegate, Lippogate, Chinagate, Lewinsky Affair, Perjury and Jobs for Lewinskygate, Willeygate, Web Hubbel Prison Phone Callgate, Selling Military Technology to the Chinesegate, Wag the Doggate, Juanita Broaddrickgate, Vandalgate, Lootergate, Pardongate.

Israel for military protection, China for military secrets, and Mexico for amnesty desperately need the Neo-Lib Hillary-Puppet to be president; but for what do the American People need the Neo-Lib Puppet?

1. For experience documentation, Google: “boycott liberalism Clinton Legacy”; and, “Danneymeyer deaths linked to President Clinton”
2. For more recent experience, Google: “Hsu Hillary”
3. For the documented role of foreign lobbies, Google: “Mearsheimer Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”
4. For Neo-Lib history, Google: Stricherz. “Why the Democrats are Blue”
5. For the World’s View of Hillary’s special qualifications to be president of the American People and a World Leader, Google: “Who Would the World Elect”

Very low-key debate. I agree with the LA Times writer in that I think Clinton brought up the "change" issue in a very effective manner.

Isn't it funny how Obama who professes to want to make so much change from the 90's has hired so many of the Clinton top advisors to advise him. How ironic of him to also say incase you didn't hear him, " that he would also ask for Hillary's advice".Why would a candidate who says he is ready to take on change and the presidency feel that he would ever have to ask the former First Lady for any type of advice.I feel that this statement that he made today during the debate just goes to show how inexperienced he really is. I'm sorry, but with that statement said and the fact that todays debate "exposed" the fact that for all he has said against Hillary and the 90's
he has choosen to go with the same top people that were the advisors in the ninety's. In my opion this is being two faced. Saying one thing to get the votes, while hiding the fact he is taking advice from the same top advisorss behind the scenes of the Clinton 90's administration. I was an undecided but after finding all this out today, Hilary is getting my vote. Why go for a copycat when I can go for the original and I'll bet she won't have to go to Obama for any advice. Thank you Iowa debate for pointing out the fact of the Obama advisors I did not know this and it sure helped me to make up my mind. Wake up America how much more don't we know about Obama. We all really liked him, but the old saying is " if something looks too good to be true, it usually isn't.

No Thank You Mama - I'm for Obama !

Barak Obama for President of the United States of America.


You're kidding, right?

Every president, every presidential candidate, regardless of what, or how long their experience has been, surrounds themselves with advisers from previous administrations. Not only would it be irresponsible and reckless (to the health of the country) - it would make it impossible to so much as participate in a debate, let alone govern the country.

Do you really think that even the greatest mind to ever walk the earth could possibly master all the issues (domestic OR international), let alone have the time, over an entire lifetime, to develop policies concerning those issues?

Do you think anyone could possibly understand the infinite range of possibilities that even the president of a small country would need to be prepared for? Would you trust someone who didn't seek expert advice? Would you prefer another president, such as Bush, who doesn’t believe there is anything to be learned from history?

Sweetie, the Bush administration is the only one we’ve had SINCE the 90's, and was largely put in power by people who didn’t bother to look at anything, such as his actual record, or political views. They just “thought he was a likeable guy.” So, who would you prefer to advise Senator Obama, if not those who were part of the Clinton administrations (1992-2000)?

Please make an attempt to base your voting decision on something, anything, that is factual, relevant, and that you are capable of forming an actual opinion on, Okay? You really make me worry about the future of this country.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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