For the second time in two days, Hillary Clinton delivered a big speech, and the cable news channels decided they had better things to cover. Tuesday night, it was a speech by rival Barack Obama; Wednesday morning, depending on the channel and the moment, it was the latest shuttle landing or even the Spice Girls. But no matter -- Clinton still used the opportunity of an address at Hunter College in New York to reassure supporters that she will press on, and offered a glimpse at the line that will be coming out of her campaign in the immediate future.
And Clinton had new ammunition for her speech -- Chris Matthews' grilling of an Obama supporter about Obama's legislative accomplishments. "My good friend Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones from Ohio represented me on one of the TV programs in the last day or two. Some of you may have seen her. And she was on against someone representing my opponent. And for the first time, actually, the host asked the representative, my opponent, to name one accomplishment," Clinton said, then continued:
That is all we're asking for. We're asking to compare our records. We're asking to compare our years of service. We're asking to compare our ideas, our solutions.
Because it's not just about my opponent and myself. This election is about you. It's about what you can expect, what your dreams will be, what your futures hold.
Right now, too many people are struggling, working the day shift and the night shift, trying to get by without health insurance, just one paycheck away from actually losing their homes.
They cannot afford four more years of a president who just doesn't see or hear them.
They need a president ready on day one to be the commander in chief of the United States military.
They need a president ready to manage our economy and ready to beat the Republicans in November.
I will be that candidate, and I will be that president.
This is the choice we face. One of us is ready to be commander in chief in a dangerous world.
The Clinton campaign is evidently proud of this moment -- it's already sending out video of it (the clip is below). Other than that, though there was some new language in her speech, Clinton is sticking mainly to themes her campaign has been pushing for a while now. In its formulation, Clinton will be ready to be president from the moment of her inauguration, but Obama will not; Obama is about words, but Clinton is about work and action; Obama is scared to debate.
"It is time to get real, to get real about how we actually win this election and get real about the challenges facing America. It's time that we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions," Clinton said. "Americans have a choice to make in this election, and that choice matters. It's about picking a president who relies not just on words, but on work, on hard work, to get America back to work, to get America working again for all of our people. We need to make a choice between speeches and solutions ...
"We won't achieve unity or fulfill our dreams by running away from honest discussion and debate. You cannot achieve the kind of changes we want by voting present on controversial issues or by meeting behind closed doors with corporate interests to water down legislation or by caving in when the pressure mounts. The American people deserve better than that."
Clinton also made one claim that seems demonstrably untrue. She said, "One of us has a plan to address the growing foreclosure crisis, the other doesn't." Obama has presented a plan, though. It's not the first time a Democratic candidate in this cycle has incorrectly accused his or her opponents of not having a plan on an issue; Delaware Sen. Joe Biden made the same assertion about Iraq. In both cases, the candidates appeared to confuse what they saw as a bad plan with a lack of one.