Hillary Clinton repeats herself. She’s a politician on the stump and that’s what politicians on the stump do.
But after 13 hours on the road, and after giving the same hour-long speech in five different cities across the state, even a candidate as disciplined as Hillary Clinton can get tired.
For exhausted reporters who have grown familiar enough with her speech to know at which points she says “you know,” or pauses, or shrugs, these more delirious remarks held the modest promise, at least, of being different.
In Iowa City on Tuesday night, she said, “We like a lot of hearty partiers coming out to pick the next President of the United States, that’s exactly how it should be,” she said to the New Year’s Day crowd, adding that Washington suffered from “fun deficits.”
Momentarily invigorated by the large crowd at the Sheraton, she thanked local organizer Betty O.
“Oh thank you Senator Clinton!” cried Betty from the back of the room.
“From one diva to another, Betty,” said Clinton. “I’m so happy to see you.”
When she’s fatigued, like she was in Iowa City, sentence components can fall away without warning.
Discussing health care, she said that a certain type of insurance “doesn’t amount to what they need when they are really in a tight.”
Her rhetorical restraints become looser, especially in her criticisms of Republicans, who, she said, wage “brutal, mean-spirited, dishonest campaigns.”
In an often-told anecdote about how she fought for the rights of disabled children to go to school, she shared a new detail about a boy in the neighborhood where she grew up. “We kind of made fun of him–I hate to admit it–because he was slow,” she said.
These are, of course, relatively trivial things, undetectable to anyone who doesn’t listen to her speeches for a living. The crowd, certainly, didn’t care. (“Outstanding,” said Victoria Solursh, a retired teacher. “This is a tenacious person.”)
For reporters as tired as the candidate, if nothing else, it’s something out of the ordinary.
“When you read to a baby,” Mrs. Clinton said, “you are not just reading to a baby, you are creating brain connections.”