Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Whatever Happens, Don't Write off Hillary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Whatever Happens, Don't Write off Hillary

Article excerpt


READING about the 2008 US presidential election campaign in the Britishpress, I sometimes think I'm living on a different planet. I was staggered tosee one British newspaper editor last week pronounce Hillary Clintoncurrently leading Democratic rival Senator Barack Obama in national polls by anaverage of 21.6 pointsto be "as busted a flush as you can hope for", while Obama was "easily the mostexciting candidate in American politics for years".

The truth is that the Iowa caucus, and the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday,are by no means necessarily decisive. There is no earthly reason why thesestates, only the 30th and 41st most populous in the country respectively,should assume such importance every four years.

Bill Clinton lost the early primaries, but went on to become the fabled"comeback kid" on Super Tuesday.

Even Ronald Reagan lost Iowa before going on to win the presidency. We won'tknow for sure who the two candidates will be until Florida goes to the polls on29 January and is then followed by 22 more on "Super Tuesday" the followingweek.

But as long ago as 2005 I went on record predicting that Hillary Clinton wouldbe the Democratic candidate and I still stick firmly by that prediction, thoughpolitics in the US is so volatile I wouldn't put much money on it: she has thebacking of the all-powerful Clintonista machine, has raised by far the mostfunds, and has the name.

True, Obama has been making inroads into Clinton's campaignbut unless he now continues to pick up what George Bush Sr liked to call "thebig mo", he is the one who is still a busted flush.

If you amalgamate five of the leading polls, Obama is now ahead only in Iowabut the predictions there are so close that it is a statistical three-way deadheat with John Edwards.

Hillary still leads by 5. …

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