In advance of tonight’s debate, Clinton strategist Mark Penn has released a memo. It begins:
What is the most important card in this race?
The leadership card. That is the card that we see in poll after poll that analyzes why people are voting for Hillary Clinton.
And so while opponents are strategizing and re-launching their campaigns with aggressive personal attacks on Sen. Clinton, one truth remains – running for president is not a qualification for president.
The voters are looking for someone who has the strength and experience to lead, and little has changed in the last few weeks outside of the massive media coverage of the attacks.
One of the most absurd aspects of the Clinton campaign is the repeated claim that she is an experienced leader even though she has very limited experience–just over one term in the Senate–and has never led anything whatsoever. So far, she’s been able to get away with this in the primary (as the polls Penn points to in the rest of the memo show) because her major opponents have little experience, but she will be incredibly vulnerable on this point in the general election. Virtually all of the candidates on the Republican side with a reasonable chance of winning have more experience or leadership background. When asked in the last debate to respond to Rudy Giuliani’s stinging rebuke of her lack of experience, Clinton was elusive, and pivoted to Bush-bashing. That will not be enough during a general election campaign that could last nine months.
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