Hillary Clinton, meet Howard Dean

The junior senator from New York goes off on Republicans who "have no shame."

By Tim Grieve
Published June 7, 2005 1:56PM (EDT)

Howard Dean may be catching flak from some in his party for talking too tough about Republicans, but that doesn't mean that all Democrats are going soft on the opposition. Check out what Hillary Rodham Clinton had to say about the Bush administration at a fundraiser in New York yesterday:

"There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda," today's New York Times quotes Clinton as saying. "I know it's frustrating for many of you, it's frustrating for me. Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them? I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It is very hard to tell people that they are making decisions that will undermine our checks and balances and constitutional system of government who don't care. It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

Clinton didn't limit her criticism to the White House. She said that some of her Republican colleagues in Congress "honestly believe they are motivated by the truth, they are motivated by a higher calling, they are motivated by, I guess, a direct line to the heavens." And she laid into the Washington press corps for failing to challenge the White House. "It's shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today," she said. "They don't stand their ground. If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart. I mean, c'mon, toughen up, guys, it's only our Constitution and country at stake."

A spokesman for the Republican Party said that Clinton should spend more time focused on serving New York in the Senate and less time on positioning herself to run for president. But Gallup is out today with a new analysis on the latter, and its take is at least a little positive for Clinton. The long version is here. The short version: Clinton's current numbers are 55 percent favorable vs. 39 percent unfavorable, a favorable-to-unfavorable spread that's seven points better than George W. Bush's. But -- if it's a "but" -- Americans still view Clinton as a liberal rather than a moderate by a margin of 54 to 30 percent. Nine percent of those polled declared the junior senator from New York to be a "conservative," which we'll take less as a sign of a burgeoning socialist movement in America and more as an indicator of confusion about the meaning of political labels.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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