Extracto en español: The Washington Pos y The Wall Street Journal destacan la manera en que Clinton está endureciendo la retórica contra la inexperiencia de Obama con la esperanza de recuperar terreno antes de los cruciales comicios de Texas y Ohio. Sin embargo, el Journal hace notar que Clinton ya había intentado ese recurso antes de su derrota en Wisconsin, así que… The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal‘s world-wide newsbox lead with a look at how Sen. Hillary Clinton is getting tougher on her rival for the presidential nomination. After 10 losses to Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton is criticizing him more harshly for his lack of experience in hopes that it can stop his momentum before the crucial contests in Texas and Ohio. The WSJ also mentions that an independent group plans to spend millions on an ad campaign to help push Clinton’s message that she is more qualified to deal with the country’s economic problems.
Criticizing Obama for his lack of experience and for being a candidate who talks a good game but can’t deliver the goods is hardly a new strategy for Clinton. The Post says Clinton’s huge defeat in Wisconsin this week after intensely criticizing Obama showed voters weren’t really swayed by her arguments, but she’s betting that a more intense effort will give her better results in Texas and Ohio. A key test will play out tonight when the contenders will debate in Texas, an event that everyone says will be critically important for Clinton.
And while she has gotten a bit tougher, some of Clinton’s advisers are arguing she should get even more aggressive. The NYT and LAT front looks at the continuing deep divisions among Clinton’s advisers about how to go forward. Some, including Mark Penn, her chief strategist, are arguing that she has no choice but to carry out what the NYT characterizes as a “scorched-earth approach.” Others are arguing that she should show a warmer side. These divisions are hardly new and were present even before the Iowa contest, notes the LAT. Penn won the early argument that she should run based on her experience and as a strong candidate who would be ready for the presidency “from Day One,” a view many disagreed with inside the campaign. The LAT article makes it clear that Penn will get much of the blame if the former first lady loses the battle. Penn is not good at “recognizing the human aspects of a candidate or a campaign–the soul of it,” a “person knowledgeable about the campaign” said.
And now for the story everyone will be talking about today. The NYT fronts a piece that claims that during the 2000 presidential race, several of Sen. John McCain’s advisers became so concerned his relationship with a younger lobbyist “had become romantic” that they warned him it could destroy his career. A former top strategist for McCain says (on the record) he even met with the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, to privately urge her to stay away from his boss. The Times says two “former associates” said McCain “acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance.” The story itself is rather odd because it begins with the explosive revelation that McCain might have had an affair, but it then tries to blend it in with a look back at the Keating Five scandal and other instances where McCain stepped away from his persona as a lawmaker who fights against special interests, which could have been interesting by itself as a mere memory-jogger. The NYT then waits until near the end of the story to go back to the relationship with the lobbyist. Overall, the paper presents surprisingly little evidence that there actually was inappropriate behavior beyond the concerns of some staffers, which makes one wonder what was left out of a piece that was undoubtedly heavily vetted by lawyers. Of course, McCain and Iseman both deny there was any kind of romantic involvement, and yesterday his campaign issued a statement calling the story “a hit-and-run smear campaign.”
More of this will surely be coming out in the next few days, but a key question remains: Why did the NYT decide to publish this today when Drudge had warned the story was coming back in December? The New Republic revealed yesterday that its media reporter has been working on a piece about the infighting at the NYT regarding the story, and McCain’s camp says it was the reason why the story was published now.
The WP fronts a brief follow-up to the Times story but doesn’t mention a romantic involvement, preferring to say that the senator’s aides were concerned about his “continued ties to a lobbyist” who had business before the committee he chaired. The concerns grew so deep that at one point Iseman was banned from McCain’s office. Three telecom lobbyists told the WP that Iseman frequently bragged about her connections to McCain.