As reported earlier this week, Clinton plans to go negative to slow her rival's momentum, and now it's becoming clear how that will be done. First, she and her surrogates will pressure Obama to join her in a debate before Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin. Clinton and her strategists believe she can pressure Obama into making a big mistake or, at a minimum, can show that he doesn't have the command of policy details that she has and hasn't fleshed out his rhetoric--especially when it comes to boosting the economy to assist working families.
"Why is he afraid of debating Senator Clinton?" asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson yesterday in a conference call with reporters. In fact, Clinton wants to debate Obama every few days over the next few weeks, but he says that's too often. He prefers to campaign according to his own schedule, Obama aides say.
The Clinton campaign also has come up with a new, more sharper-edged slogan, as described by chief strategist Mark Penn: "She is in the solutions business," he said, while Obama is "in the promises business." Penn also said, "We will be drawing a clear contrast"--in advertising, in speeches, and in the hoped-for debates. Clinton has fallen behind Obama in delegates and is hoping to recover in the Wisconsin primary, and later in Ohio and Texas on March 4.
By Kenneth T. Walsh