By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff Writer
There may be a few pundits out there who believe that Hillary Clinton clearly won Tuesday’s debate, is headed toward victory in Ohio and Texas and has a really strong shot at the nomination. But I haven’t found them.
The media consensus (which, as we all know, is never wrong) is that Hillary fell short in Cleveland, doesn’t have much hope of winning both primaries, and since her own husband said that’s what she needs to do, this is her last gasp.
Maybe it’s me, but do you detect a certain glee in parts of the media world? A sense that, finally, we can be done with the Clintons? Especially now that she’s throwing the “Saturday Night Live” skit in our faces?
Maybe this is just what happens when campaigns are on the verge of losing. Frustration boils over and relations with reporters turn testy. But in the case of Hillary, possibly the most psychoanalyzed presidential candidate of all time, the process is on steroids.
There seems to me to be a whiff of sexism in the recent pieces about what might be called Hillary’s mood swings–that she was friendly to Barack Obama, then denounced him, then mocked him. Hey, it’s a campaign. Things happen. You react to each news cycle.
I did have a reaction to seeing Hillary in a sweatshirt on her plane the other day, teasing the assembled reporters. It was the first time I’d seen her in anything other than a pantsuit (except for that long-ago paparazzi shot of her and Bill dancing in bathing suits), but more important, she seemed funny and relaxed in a way she rarely is in public. And I thought, she might have done better if we’d seen more of this person and less of the one who keeps droning on about health-care mandates.
If Obama is indeed on the cusp of beating Clinton, it is a remarkable achievement, given where he started and who she is and what she represents. But in the process of reporting that story, we shouldn’t be asking whether he’s comfortable and needs another pillow.
“All in all,” says Huffington Post’s Marc Cooper, “it was a rather ignominious, belittling way to almost certainly close out the Clinton Era . . .
“Thirty-five years of selfless public service, if we are to believe her campaign rhetoric, deserved more than this tin-pan finale. Clinton, in her best moments, is certainly capable of something more than a torrent of peevish, petty, picayune, and intellectually dishonest bickering and parsing.
“Instead, Senator Clinton chose to remind us why she is losing the nomination that she was once so very sure would inevitably be hers. The smell of a loser permeated the entire low-energy event as Clinton tried to pick apart this or that phrase uttered one time or another by her rival.”