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NH reaction; GOP strategy v. Clinton

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
A couple of other items from today...

Bill Clinton's comments that Democrats "let New Hampshire go out of turn," and that they have a Democratic Secretary of State, is causing a mini stir in the Granite State.

The New Hampshire Union Leader: "Former New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Kathy Sullivan, a state Clinton campaign co-chair, said she believed that Bill Clinton was criticizing the DNC in his remarks, not New Hampshire.

"But the former president also appeared to imply in his statement that the DNC allowed the New Hampshire primary to be held earlier than scheduled in the DNC rules because Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who set the date of the New Hampshire primary as set out by state law, is a Democrat.

"Sullivan said Bill Clinton was mistaken to suggest that Gardner's party affiliation was in any way related to New Hampshire receiving a waiver from the DNC.

"Clinton campaign spokesman Kathleen Strand said, 'Hillary and Bill Clinton have been staunch and ardent supporters' of the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. 'That's indisputable.'

"She said the former president was not criticizing New Hampshire, but instead saying that 'just as New Hampshire voters had a voice, Michigan and Florida votes should have a voice' and that 'Obama should know better than anyone in this campaign that the campaign is not over until the last vote is counted. New Hampshire made that point to him pretty clearly.'"

This article from Salon is an interesting read. It lays out what the Republican strategy would be for a Nominee Clinton:

"Though many Democrats like and respect Clinton as a role model, an effective legislator and a fighter against a relentless GOP onslaught, the image Republicans would want in voters' minds this fall if she wins the nomination is far more sinister. They'll say Clinton will do or say anything to win, and that she can't be trusted (also, she'll raise your taxes). McCain's campaign will call her a liberal and paint her support for ending the war in Iraq as a surrender to terrorists (the same strategy they'd use against Obama). Clinton's problem is that many voters already see her in a negative light; there isn't much work Republicans would have to do to put her there.

"Ironically, that might make Clinton immune to dirty tricks like the ones the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth pulled on John Kerry (or like the mud the GOP is already planning to throw about Obama's minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright). This is, after all, a candidate whose billing records as a private lawyer in Arkansas in the 1980s, the infamous lost-and-then-found Rose records, were subpoenaed, examined and even dusted for fingerprints by Republican investigators in Congress over a decade ago. When Clinton ran for reelection to her Senate seat two years ago, even the sleaziest GOP operatives basically left her alone, allowing her to cruise to victory without coming under heavy fire. But there isn't much out there voters haven't already heard about Clinton, or her husband; why bother trying to fight the battles over the White House travel office again?

More: "The other line of attack Clinton faces if she does wrest the nomination from Obama is over how she does it. Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams called it "stealing" the nomination, and he'd be happy to tell voters all about the process that put Clinton over the top. "If she wins, it's because these non-elected delegates are going to be countering what happened in primaries and caucuses around the nation," he said. "I think that would be very divisive for them." Other Republicans say polls show independents don't like the thought of superdelegates picking a nominee who trailed in the elected delegate count. "The party that created the whole open primary system and ended the deals behind closed doors and smoke-filled rooms is the one that's kind of relying on that after all," Bolger said.

But the piece ends this way: "If Clinton does pull off yet another family comeback, in a political career already dotted with them, her message to Republicans may well be (to quote a figure from a different political dynasty), 'Bring it on.'"