Hillary Clinton didn’t waste any time trying to bring Barack Obama back down to earth after his convincing victory in Iowa’s caucus yesterday.
In her first New Hampshire campaign in a Nashua hangar, Clinton called on the voters to vet her opponents’ records and judge whether they are really ready to be president.
“There has been a lot static in the air and a lot of unanswered questions about all of us as candidates,” she said. “I want to know from all of you, those who are supporting me, those who are undecided and those who at this moment and time think they are supporting another candidate, what do you want to know about us.”
Her stump speech was shortened and recalibrated to address the issues and demographics where she was especially vulnerable to Obama. With more people worried about the tenuous state of the economy, she said “One of my … opponents, I don’t know where he stands on balancing the budget and the other one doesn’t think it’s a very big deal.” She also said, “We are just at the very beginning of a very tough economic year” and called the current health care system “uneconomic.”
One demographic with which Clinton is especially weak and at a disadvantage to Obama is young voters.
The Obama campaign managed to get enormous numbers of the usually unmotivated young people to the polls, and so Clinton—many of whose supporters are of walker-using age—must go after that pool. “This is especially about all the young people in New Hampshire” Clinton said. Later she added, “I’m running for president to reclaim the future.”
And for those who think she is too divisive, she echoed Obama’s refusal to see the country as a compilation of red states and blue states. “We are one country,” she said. “We need to be that again.”
After a short speech, Clinton argued it was time for voters to demand more information about their candidates. (Her aides have continually complained about what they say is a relative lack of media scrutiny on Obama.) With that she opened the floor to a question-and-answer period, which has always been her strong suit.
Clinton was introduced by her husband, who is extremely popular in New Hampshire and who wore pink shirt. “Are you ready?” said the former president. “We got in at 4:30 last night. I think my girls look good. Don’t you?”
He sought to convince New Hampshire voters that they could prove their independence by refusing to be mowed over by the momentum of the Iowa caucus winner.
“New Hampshire has given you the chance to prove that you are the first primary,” he said, appealing to “your well known and independent judgment.”