There were several points in tonight’s debate in which Hillary Clinton seemed — rhetorically, at least — to be getting near the end of her game campaign-wise. Undoubtedly running out of steam — her campaign initially figured on securing the nomination after February 5 — she had very little going her way tonight. For every time she slammed Bush policies, she used them to back up her own, not to mention her complicity in shaping many failed Bush policies (Obama joined the Senate in January 2005, well after Congress allowed BushCo to open up the trap doors to Quagmire-ville).
I thought she was gonna cry again toward the end as she waxed sentimental in a way reminiscent of her pre-New Hampshire speech. But it was a strong closing in that she sounded warm and almost likeable even as she shifts her speech from saying “I will” to “I would …. as president.”
But in my opinion Clinton shot herself in the foot with the poorly-timed and horribly-received “change you can Xerox” line. CNN and AP immediately seized on this line, with AP calling it an accusation of “political plagiarism.”
In a typical two-faced HRC maneuver, however, she followed the Xerox line by arguing “If you look at the YouTube of these videos, it does raise questions.” (No really, look at the YouTube below….) I actually admired the iconoclastic paradigm presented by Clinton’s careless phrasing and felt a bit of jealousy (of Obama’s gift for rally gab) in her tone.
It’s not officially over until after Texas and Ohio in a couple weeks at the very least. But is she subconsciously conceding the race? Is it, for all intents and purposes, over?
Debate screenshots via Dave Winer‘s flickr.