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Hmm, Hillary Clinton ducks chance to attack new GOP star Sarah Palin

September 7, 2008 |  2:04 am

A very interesting thing didn't happen Saturday.

Appearing at a labor rally and stumping for congressional candidates in New York, Sen. Hillary Clinton uttered her most popular line from the recent Democratic National Convention in Denver: Senators John McCain Republican nominee for president and Hillary Clinton Democratic loser for her party's top nomination share a close friendship"No Way. No how. No McCain." This time she added, "No Palin."

But despite some soft lobs by media with her, that's as far as the female candidate who got closer to a major party's top nomination than any other in American history would go in criticizing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the first female top-ticket member in Republican Party history.

Despite continued grumbling among her supporters about a less than diligent effort by the Barack Obama crowd to help the New York senator retire her immense campaign debts, Clinton has been living up to her promise to fundraise and campaign for the Democratic ticket all over.

She has repeated the "No way. No how" line about John McCain many times and warned against four more....

...years of a Bush-like administration.

But she's been very careful to avoid saying harsh things against her good friend from Arizona, who was among the first to welcome and show the former first lady around the old-boys club of the Senate on her arrival in 2001.

In fact, during last winter-spring's Democratic primary campaigns, Clinton lavished considerable praise on McCain for the lifetime of experience he would Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin visits American troops in Iraqbring to the White House while Obama, she said dismissively, only "has a speech he gave in 2002."

On Saturday in New York, reporters eager for a story about a fight between the two female politicians set Clinton up several times to take easy swings at the 44-year-old reform governor, who blew away the Republican National Convention crowd with her speech Wednesday night about her running mate, her own life and some mocking views of Obama.

But Clinton would not bite. Or swing. Not once.

"This election is about issues, and that’s what’s going to matter to people at the end of the day," was all that Clinton would say. This despite the obviously powerful fears that Palin has engendered among many Democrats conducting nonstop, massive behind-the-scenes efforts to smear Palin's reputation and plant negative stories in the media, with some success.

Intriguing to wonder why Clinton wouldn't say more.

Why do you think? Gender solidarity? Friendship for McCain despite their disagreements? A sign of waning enthusiasm for her own party's ticket? So much joy over the New York Giants defeat of the Washington Redskins in the NFL opener Thursday night?

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credits: Associated Press

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