Hillary Clinton, Candidate of Change

A letter from the Clinton campaign just went out announcing the release of her new ad "Change,” which according to the campaign " conveys that Hillary is uniquely able to deliver the change Americans want: ending the war in Iraq, passing universal health coverage, making America energy independent."

 

The ad creates a sense of energy — and, well, change — through a barrage of jump-cuts showing Hillary at different rallies, meeting different children and veterans and seniors, wearing red, then blue, then yellow jackets. The ad slows down on a frame of Hillary nodding seriously when the voiceover says "she has the experience."

 

Her new stump speech, unveiled this weekend in New Hampshire and Iowa, was engineered to accomplish two major goals. First, Mrs. Clinton eschewed all subtlety and nuance to make the case that in a Democratic primary contest that has boiled down to a choice between change (usually identified with Barack Obama) and experience (usually identified with Clinton) she actually is a symbol of both.

Speaking at a podium flanked by blue signs that said "Experience + Change," she said "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen. And I know some people think you have to choose between change and experience. Well with me, you don’t have to choose."

 

One observation from watching her first days on the stump with her new speech. Clinton was far from comfortable at the beginning. The speech was long and dense. She often read over what seemed like natural spots for pause after stronger lines, and as a result prematurely extinguished sparks of applause. Sitting on a stool a few feet behind her, her husband looked like a nervous piano teacher whose student was struggling through a recital. Several times he also acted as a human applause sign, instructing the crowd when to clap by clapping himself.

 

She got better the more she got used to it. She dropped some religious passages, spoke in bolder language about the war, (a promise to begin to end the war became a promise to end the war) and seemed less tethered to the podium.

 

Here’s the campaign's full letter.

 

 

To: Interested Parties

From: The Clinton Campaign

RE: Change & Experience: The Ad

As summer turns to autumn, Change is in the air.

The question that voters are asking is: who can best deliver it?

With its Labor Day kickoff and now the release of a new ad, “ Change ,” in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign is making clear, as Hillary said on the stump this week, “Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen.” She has outlined how she would be the best able to get results, saying that change takes the right mix of knowing how and when to find common ground and when to stand your ground.

The new ad conveys that Hillary is uniquely able to deliver the change Americans want: ending the war in Iraq, passing universal health coverage, making America energy independent.

By touting Hillary’s experiences as a change agent, the Clinton campaign is making clear that to make change happen, you need the kind of strength and experience Hillary has accrued during her more than 35 years of advocacy (as illustrated in today’s New York Times story about Hillary’s college years).

Multiple polls are validating this point: Last month’s CNN poll revealed that despite the efforts of others to portray themselves as change agents, 40 percent think Clinton is the candidate most likely to actually bring change – a finding that places her well ahead of the other candidates. The June NBC/WSJ poll, 61% of Democrats and Democratic primary voters are very confident that Hillary would bring real change to the direction of the country. Among those for whom change is most important – working middle-class and low-income families, seniors, working women, and people without health care – Hillary is viewed as the most effective champion.

Today’s ad echoes these themes and touches on the four goals for change Hillary has been discussing on the campaign trail: Restoring America’s leadership in the world; rebuilding the middle class economy; reclaiming the future for our children; and bringing back the values of integrity, fairness and tolerance in America.

By offering voters “big goals for change” imbued with a case for why she is the candidate best able to achieve that change, Hillary is making a clear case for why she is the best choice for Democratic voters who want to make change happen in 2008.