On Hillary’s web site, pollster Mark Penn has a column on why she can win. One part that stood out to me:
Some of the commentators look at the ratings of people who have not yet been in the crossfire, and say they might have a better chance. Recent history shows the opposite. The last two Democratic presidential candidates started out with high favorable ratings and ended up on Election Day (and today) far more polarizing and disliked nationally (see the CBS poll below). Hillary is the one potential nominee who has been fully tested, with the Republicans spending nearly $70 million in the last decade to try to defeat her. She is not just strong, but the strongest Democrat in the field. Hillary is the only one able to match or beat the Republicans after years of their partisan attacks on her.
“Not yet been in the crossfire”… I wonder which rival for the Democratic nomination Penn is referring to?
In other news, there’s been a lot of questions about the timing of this – why a Saturday?
A Saturday announcement means that the news of the exploratory committee is most likely the top story in Sunday’s newspapers, usually the most-read edition of the week. It could or should dominate the Sunday morning shows, for whatever that’s worth. It may step on Obama’s announcement from earlier in the week, even though the timing seems highly reactive.
For the second-tier candidates – the Tom Vilsacks, this Chris Dodds, the Tom Tancredos, the Jim Gilmores – announcing an exploratory committee is genuine news, since few people see it coming. For the lawmakers who have had presidential buzz surrounding them for years – the John McCains, the Rudy Giulianis, the John Edwardses, and most clearly, the Hillary Clintons – announcing the filing of papers for an exploratory committee is really more of a formality. Perhaps Team Hillary realized there was not much point in putting off the inevitable.
UPDATE: Over in the New York Post, John Podhoretz is impressed. “The simple phrase Hillary used to announce her presidential bid yesterday – “I’m in, and I’m in to win” – is the best political sound bite in years… In any case, the Obama Moment has passed. This is not to deny Obama’s formidable challenge to Hillary or the profound seriousness of his candidacy. But he’s a little like the winner of “American Idol” going up against a rock superstar who has spent decades in the spotlight.”