Clinton and the GOP's anti-endorsement

Is it a sign that she's right for the Democrats -- or that Republicans want to run against her?

Published October 31, 2007 12:36PM (EDT)

During Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton twice rolled out the fact that she has been the subject of a lot of attention from the Republican field. The theory, we suppose: The enemy of your enemy must be your friend.

The first chance she had to speak last night, Clinton noted that she was "the topic of great conversation and consternation" at the last GOP debate. Later, she said: "In a perverse way, I think that the Republicans and their constant obsession with me demonstrate clearly that they obviously think that I am communicating effectively about what I will do as president."

Barack Obama delivered the obvious retort: "Part of the reason that Republicans, I think, are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that's a fight they're very comfortable having. It is the fight that we've been through since the '90s." John Edwards piled on: "I mean, another perspective on why the Republicans keep talking about Sen. Clinton is -- Senator, they may actually want to run against you, and that's the reason they keep bringing you up."

A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning has Clinton trailing Rudy Giuliani by two points nationally, a five-point swing away from the former first lady since the last time Quinnipiac posed the question in August. Other recent polls have Clinton leading Giuliani among voters nationwide.

By Tim Grieve

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

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton John Edwards War Room