This was the first time that I had seen Bill and Hillary at a rally together. He didn’t speak this evening, unlike at her pre-caucus rally in Iowa, but he was a distracting presence. You do find yourself constantly looking to him to see how he is reacting to things that she says. When he took a couple of steps across the stage to pour himself a glass of water, you could see people’s eyes following him across the room. This problem is compounded by the fact that he is an inveterate fidgeter. Bill really should take lessons from Chelsea on how to play the part of the supportive relative.
Hillary’s delivered her retooled stump speech which pits her against George W. Bush slamming no child left behind, cowboy diplomacy and the like; presumably its aim is to strengthen her partisan appeal ahead of the closed primaries—ones where independents can’t vote—that are coming up. The speech is long, must be about 45 minutes, and goes through her signature achievements. The problem is that these measures are generally quite small-bore, even if worthy, and aren’t likely to sway any one to her side. They are also far from inspiring.
The Clinton campaign have not yet come up with a response to the rise of Obama and talk of a campaign shake up will grow if she loses here. Already, CNN are reporting that James Carville will come on board if Mark Penn is dismissed. Hillary is thought to be loathe to get rid any of her staff but if she loses by double digits then someone might need to take one for the team.