Boys against girl?

The Clinton campaign accuses the men of piling on.

By Tim Grieve
November 1, 2007 4:34PM (UTC)
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Is it just us -- and if it is, we're confident that Joan Walsh and our friends at Broadsheet will say so -- or is there something a little disappointing in the way the Clinton campaign is explaining away what happened at this week's Democratic presidential debate?

To wit: The boys ganged up on the girl.


Clinton has said before that while she's proud that her candidacy might result in the country's electing its first female president, "I'm not running because I'm a woman. I'm running because I think I'm the best qualified."

But in spinning away her unsteady performance at Tuesday night's debate, a Clinton advisor tells the Washington Post: "Ultimately, it was six guys against her, and she came off as one strong woman."

It wasn't just an offhand comment: On Clinton's Web site, her campaign -- once again complaining that John Edwards and Barack Obama have abandoned the "politics of hope" -- says that Clinton emerged from Tuesday night's "pile-on" as "one strong woman."


Clinton strategist Mark Penn predicted last month that as many as 24 percent of Republican women nationwide might "defect" from their party to cast their votes for Clinton, and Clinton herself has worked hard to woo female voters in her own party. So maybe the post-debate spin is just another entirely appropriate step in that process.

But imagine for a moment that it was Barack Obama who stumbled in the face of criticism and pointed questions Tuesday night. Would his campaign dare to declare that it was "ultimately five whites and a Hispanic against him, and he came off as one strong black man"? And how would America be feeling about him today if it did?

Tim Grieve

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

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