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Prize: A Day With Bill Clinton or a Night at American Idol Finale

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is making another effort to solicit contributions to pay off her campaign debt. This time, contributing will give you a chance at one of three prizes:

  • A day with Bill Clinton in New York
  • Attending the American Idol Finale
  • A tour of D.C. including some time with James Carville and Paul Begala

I'm not sure number 3 qualifies as a prize, but the first two are pretty good.

Personally, I think a better prize would be attending the American Idol finale with Hillary. That would be something to talk about (of course, I've already spent an afternoon with Bill Clinton in New York, so easy for me to say.)

Go on over to HillaryClinton.com, give Hillary a few bucks and make your choice.

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Hillary in Indonesia Explains Why She Took SOS Job

During her tour of Indonesia yesterday, Hillary Clinton told the Indonesians why she accepted the Secretary of State's job:

It was not anything I had any reason to expect or had even thought about,” Mrs. Clinton said of President Obama’s offer to her to be the nation’s chief diplomat. “I had to make a hard decision.”

Mrs. Clinton said she put aside the disappointment of the election to take Mr. Obama’s job offer because, she said, “We have so many of the same views of what we should do in the world.”

Asked who her favorite musical groups are, she quickly answered the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I know another of her favorite groups is Jon Bon Jovi. I'm sure it was a great trip, and had I known in advance where she was headed, I would have sent her a message asking her to make one more stop on her trip.[More...]

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Hillary Gets Warm Welcome at State Department

Hillary Clinton went to her new office today and met with State Department employees. She received a warm welcome.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a rousing welcome this morning when she arrived at Foggy Bottom for the first time, as cheering foreign service and civil service employee packed every inch of the C Street lobby, including the balcony overlooking the flags of foreign nations.

TPM's video here shows the throngs who assembled to greet her. President Obama and VP Biden will visit there this afternoon. [More...]

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Happy Birthday Hillary

Sen. Hillary Clinton turned 61 today. She spent the day in Chicago.

She attended a fundraiser brunch for Sen. Barack Obama and an AIPAC conference and then visited with friends.

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Hillary Explains the Financial Crisis, Blame is on Bush

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Dinner With Hillary, $5 bucks

Sen. Hillary Clinton is having a contest. For a $5.00 contribution to help her retire her campaign debt, you will be entered. The winner gets dinner with Hillary.

If you are a Democrat or were a Hillary supporter during the primaries, I hope you'll help her out.

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Hillary Plays Flight Attendant to Traveling Press

If you thought Hillary Clinton doesn't have a sense of humor or takes herself too seriously, think again. Taking the role of flight attendant on "Hil Force One" from Las Vegas to Reno, she told the press corps on board:

"My name is Hillary and I am so pleased to have most of you on board," she said. "FAA regulations prohibit the use of any cell phones, Blackberries or wireless devices that may be used to transmit a negative story about me.

"In a few minutes, I am going to switch off the 'Fasten Your Seat Belt' sign. However, I've learned lately that things can get awfully bumpy when you least expect it — so you might want to keep those seat belts fastened.

"And in the event of an unexpected drop in poll numbers, this plane will be diverted to New Hampshire.

More...

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Hillary Clinton's Economic Plan

By chance, I happened to watch two different network evening news programs Thursday night. Each had big stories about how we are facing a recession in early 2008.

I also caught the Republican debate in South Carolina. Every candidate was asked about it. They were all in denial.

Who's doing something about it? Hillary Clinton, who will announce an emergency spending plan today in California. The New York Times writes:

The Clinton package is to include $30 billion for an “emergency housing crisis fund” for states to help low-income families unable to make mortgage payments and in danger of losing their houses. Last year she proposed $5 billion for such a fund.

In addition, Mrs. Clinton’s package would channel $25 billion to help low-income families pay heating bills this winter, a tenfold increase of the existing federal program. Her proposal would also include $10 billion to extend unemployment insurance for people unable to find jobs.

For more details, see the Times article or this AP article.

Hillary is the first presidential candidate to come up with the plan. As the Times notes, others likely will follow suit.

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Hillary Shows Emotion Responding to New Hampshire Voter

Update: Think Progress lays out the hypocrisy of media treatment.

Update: Ezra Klein has Obama's and Edward's responses. Go read.

Hillary Clinton showed emotion today when responding to a New Hampshire voter at a campaign stop. The video is here.

She took an unexpected question from a woman in the audience. "My question is very personal, how do you do it?" asked Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "How do you, how do you keep upbeat and so wonderful?"

"It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know I have [had] so many opportunities from this country [I] just don't want to see us fall backwards," she said. Then, her voice breaking and tears in her eyes, she said, "You know, this is very personal for me. It's not just political it's not just public. I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it."

She added:

"Some people think elections are a game, lot's of who's up or who's down, [but] it's about our country , it's about our kids' futures, and it's really about all of us together," she said.

Did she cry? Not that it should matter, but no, she didn't. She showed emotion. Will the media now blast her as weak instead of shrill?

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Hillary in Cedar Rapids: Video Clips

While we're waiting for the caucuses to start in a few hours, here's some short video clips I took yesterday of Hillary Clinton in Cedar Rapids. The first is about her successful bill to get medical insurance for the National Guard.

This next one is about caregivers and medical insurance.

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My Conversation With Hillary Clinton's Mother

I just rode up the elevator at my hotel with Dorothy Rodham, Hillary Clinton's mother. I didn't recognize her. It was around 10:30 pm. I was waiting for the elevator to go up to my room with my laptop in one hand and a glass of brandy in the other. She walked up with a young woman holding her arm -- they were bundled up and had just come in from outside.

I wondered if she might be Helen Thomas, but aside from the age similarity, they looked nothing alike. Since I didn't recognize her, I stopped paying attention. Then she and her companion made a comment to each other about how cold it was outside. Being polite, I chimed in. Here's the conversation that followed:

Me: It is cold. A glass of brandy really helps (I lift my glass to them.)

Dorothy Rodham: (Laughs, then says): You look so familiar. Are you on MTV?

Me: (Very perplexed, partly because I wish I looked young enough to be on MTV but more because I can't imagine this elderly woman watches MTV): I'm Jeralyn Merritt. I'm a legal analyst but not on MTV.

Mrs. Rodham: That must be why I know you. You look so Irish.
Me: Oh...only I'm not Irish.
Mrs. Rodham: Well, those eyes, they're so green. You look so Irish.

The elevator arrives, we get in. [More...]

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Concord Monitor Endorses Hillary Clinton

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. After outlining what she will do in the beginning of her presidential term, it says:

Hillary Clinton's unique combination of smarts, experience and toughness makes her the best choice to win the November election and truly get things done. Before embarking on an agenda of her or his own, the next American president will be forced to undo the damage of the Bush years: ending the war in Iraq, restoring habeas corpus rights, ending the use of torture, healing New Orleans, restoring America's moral authority around the world..... The next president must also take the lead on a serious effort to slow global warming, a rational policy on illegal immigration and a plan to provide health care to all Americans.

Clinton knows what she wants to accomplish. She knows how Washington works. She has forged alliances with unlikely political partners, and she has waged partisan fights on matters of principle. Her years as first lady and as a U.S. senator have put her at the center of key policy and political battles for a decade and a half. She is prepared for the job.

The paper says Obama does inspire, but he's not the best choice. [More...]

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On Hillary's White House Experience

Update: The Quad City Times in Iowa endorses Hillary Clinton.

We tested her, too, in our editorial board interview, looking for evidence of the partisan rancor that is destroying our country. We found none. Instead, we found a proven, passionate, intelligent leader with a breadth of legislative and executive experience that is the best of a good bunch. For Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, we support Hillary Clinton.

****

Sally Bedell Smith, author of a book on Hillary Clinton, has an article in Newsweek today, Hillary's Hidden Hand. It examines her years in the White House in an effort to determine her experience and preparedness to take the reins as President.

Conclusion: She is experienced. First, on an advisory level:

Hillary Clinton was no spectator at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In campaign speeches, she often talks about what "we" thought and achieved—an acknowledgment that she and her husband have operated jointly for decades. And indeed she was uniquely immersed in the policies and politics of Bill Clinton's administration. Hillary was the first presidential spouse to have an office in the West Wing rather than the traditional First Lady's domain of the East Wing. She had no official position or specified duties, yet she was so involved in decision making that the president's staff called her "the Supreme Court" because they knew she was the last person he consulted before making up his mind.

Her advocacy for women appointees: [More...]

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Geraldine Ferraro's Campaign Chief Says Hillary Will Prevail

John Sasso has a pretty impressive resume -- he was John Kerry's general election manager at the Democratic National Committee in 2004, manager of Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign in 1988 and the manager of Geraldine Ferraro's campaign.

True, they all lost, but that doesn't make his thoughts irrelevant. Writing in the Boston Globe Saturday, he says Hillary Clinton will prevail and win not just the Democratic nomination, but the Presidency.

Sasso says she's already cleared the bar, particularly that of attacks by Republicans:

If Obama is the Democratic nominee, a man less intimately understood and less defined, Republicans will rush to manufacture their own brutal definition. Can Obama withstand that kind of barrage? Does he have the personal makeup to be as relentless as his opponents? Do past political positions leave him vulnerable? Because the risks are sky-high, these questions need to be reasonably raised and answered beforehand.

Clinton is well past negative redefinition. Unlike John Kerry's 2004 campaign in which veterans opposed to Kerry's candidacy challenged his war record, it will be difficult to ram a Swift Boat into her candidacy. If there is a convict in her political past, as with Willie Horton during the Dukakis 1988 campaign, he will already have been exhumed. Besides, the Clintons are veteran enough to mount a withering counterfire of their own.

Sasso calls her a "thoroughbred" of candidates and the most electable. [More...]

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Des Moines Register Endorses Hillary Clinton

Calling her the "most prepared to lead," the Des Moines Register tonight endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for President. A video from the Editorial board explaining their endorsement is here. "Every stage of her life has prepared her for the Presidency." The editors say while Obama inspired their imagination, Hillary inspired their confidence.

From working for children’s rights as a young lawyer, to meeting with leaders around the world as first lady, to emerging as an effective legislator in her service as a senator, every stage of her life has prepared her for the presidency.

That readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president.

....Determination to succeed and learning from her mistakes have been hallmarks of Clinton’s life....In the Senate, she has earned a reputation as a workhorse who does not seek the limelight.

Tested by rough politics and personal trials, she’s demonstrated strength, resolve and resilience.....Indeed, Obama, her chief rival, inspired our imaginations. But it was Clinton who inspired our confidence. Each time we met, she impressed us with her knowledge and her competence.

Congratulations, Hillary.

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