February 21, 2008

The Xerox Candidate

I'm not watching the Democratic debate, but I've followed the commentary at The Corner and at The Fix with Chris Cillizza. I hadn't anticipated putting up any commentary until after the transcript got published by CNN, but one point at The Fix made me laugh out loud. Hillary Clinton came prepared with an attack line, but apparently not a sense of irony:

Asked about his lifting of lines from Gov. Deval Patrick (Mass.), Obama sought to dismiss the charges of plagiarism as the sort of politics the American public is sick of. "The notion I had plagiarized from someone who is one of my national co-chairs who gave me the line and suggested I use it I think is silly," Obama said. "This is where we get into silly season in politics and people start getting discouraged about it."

Clinton, however, clearly believes this is a political weak spot for Obama and went after it -- hard. "If your candidacy is going to be about words, they should be your own words," said Clinton. "Lifting whole passages is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

That line, obviously prepared in advance of tonight's debate, fell flat. The crowd went silent and then a smattering of boos rang out. Obama shook his head and muttered to himself.

It's a good line, but she's the wrong messenger. Hillary has spent the last year campaigning as the re-run of the Clinton administration, claiming all of the experience from those eight years while taking none of the responsibility for its failures. If anyone is the Xerox candidate, it's Hillary.

UPDATE: Via Allahpundit at Hot Air, here's the video:

Note the bad timing here. Obama spends his time talking about changing the tone in politics and focusing on solutions, and he gets a big response from the audience. Hillary tries the zinger and pretty much validates everything Obama just got done saying.

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