Year in review: Hillary Clinton

This post is the sixth in a series looking back at the ups and downs of 2007. (Earlier posts cover Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and John Edwards.)

Less than one week after Barack Obama entered the presidential race via web video, Hillary Clinton also announced her candidacy online. "I'm in," she said in a video, sitting in what appeared to be a living room. "And I'm in to win." Clinton's statement ended months, some would say years, of speculation, and set off a fundraising contest between the New York and Illinois senators.

In New Hampshire, Clinton quickly scooped up much of the state Democratic Party staff and began building an organization filled with veteran organizers. Among her big early hires was Karen Hicks, who served as Howard Dean's New Hampshire campaign director in 2004. Nick Clemons, the Democratic Party's former executive director, became Clinton's state director.

More than other candidates, Clinton had a ready team of supporters in New Hampshire. Her husband had spent considerable time campaigning here in the run-up to his own presidential election, and once in the White House, he maintained many of his New Hampshire ties. Bill Clinton has campaigned here on his wife's behalf numerous times, frequently referring to his warm feelings for the state.

Although Obama caused a mild frenzy in late 2006 when he visited New Hampshire to deliver a speech, Clinton consistently topped early opinion polls here, enjoying double-digit leads over her nearest competitors for months. In recent weeks, however, the New Hampshire race has turned into a toss-up.

Much of Clinton's message has centered on her "strength" and "experience," as she tried to contrast herself with Obama and former North Carolina senator John Edwards. More recently, her stump speech has included an obvious dig at Edwards ("some people believe that you can get change by demanding it") and Obama ("some people believe you can get change by hoping for it"). The conclusion of the line: "I believe you get change by working hard."

Clinton's state campaign came under the microscope last month, after Bill Shaheen, the campaign's national and state co-chairman, said that Obama's admissions of past drug use would open him up to Republican attacks. Shaheen later resigned.

The Monitor's coverage of Clinton's interviews with the editorial board can be found here and here. Audio clips from the first session are here.

- Sarah Liebowitz
(Caricature by Mike Marland)