Democrats Raise Rhetoric for New Hampshire
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Democrats were also campaigning in New Hampshire, and that includes Senator Hillary Clinton, who called us from her campaign bus. After losing the last state, Iowa, she's slipped behind in New Hampshire surveys. But she told Renee this morning that a loss in another state will not end her campaign.
Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): I've always intended to run a national campaign, and I have prepared to do so from the very beginning. So we'll go right through the February 5th states.
INSKEEP: That's Senator Clinton on NPR's MORNING EDITION.
A couple of NPR correspondents are in New Hampshire following different candidates in the race. And we begin with NPR's David Greene, who's following the Clinton campaign.
David, did you hear anything in that interview that surprised you?
DAVID GREENE: Well, Hillary Clinton was asked, you know, if she can survive a loss in New Hampshire, and she came out and said, look, I'm running a national campaign. I'm going to be in this at least through February 5th, and sometimes we in the media make a bigger deal out of comments like than we should. But I think it is significant that she's having to basically vow to stay in this thing.
It suggests that she's not entirely confident that she's going to win here in New Hampshire. And the polls now, there's a new Gallup poll out that suggests she's behind Barack Obama by double digits. So it's not looking good, and she seems to realize that. I think that's what we heard this morning.
INSKEEP: Dramatic difference from just a few weeks ago when she was the inevitable front-runner, et cetera, et cetera.
GREENE: That's right. And her campaign, you know, just a day or two ago, was saying that there was really no bounce for Barack Obama coming out of Iowa. They sent out some e-mails saying, where's the bounce? Because they said the polls were still showing this a tight race, and no sooner did they put that e-mail out than the polls started showing that it looks like there was indeed a bounce for Barack Obama.
INSKEEP: Well, NPR's Don Gonyea is following Barack Obama's campaign as it moves about New Hampshire this week. And Don, how is Obama trying to defend himself now against Hillary Clinton's attacks, which we also heard in that interview?
DON GONYEA: Well, first off, he is being very aggressive. He is on the offensive, and he is running a very optimistic campaign. You can feel it in the tone of his language and in the kind of speeches he's giving. And he's feeding off that in the crowds that are attending. Now, specifically, he's responding to some of these attacks from Senator Clinton by allowing surrogates to do that. There's the charge that he has a lobbyist who is the co-chair of his New Hampshire campaign, which the Clinton campaign says violates one of those principle that Obama has put forth.
And there is a gentleman named Jim Demers who is a lobbyist. Now, the other thing they're responding to are the Clinton charges that with Obama, it's all words. It's all beautiful language, that he is creating a sense of false hope by focusing on that word - hope - so much. Obama is out there in speeches saying, my opponent is accusing me of offering false hope. He says, what is that? What is a candidate supposed to be talking about but hope? But did John Kennedy say we'd like to go the moon but don't get your hopes up, it's so far away? So that's how he's responding to those sorts of charges.
INSKEEP: David Greene, as you follow Hillary Clinton's campaign, how is she pushing the media to try to cover this campaign differently?
GREENE: Well, you know, Steve, when we flew here from Iowa, I was on the Clinton campaign plane - it was a sleepless night because her aides were talking all night long about the strategy that they were going to bring to New Hampshire - and they started saying things like, you know, there's a lot more to learn about Barack Obama.
And then we've seen in the last day or two a conference call with reporters, the Clinton campaign did yesterday, suggesting that the media should be asking tougher questions about Barack Obama. You know, Bill and Hillary Clinton have a legacy of feeling like they're not necessarily being treated all that fairly by the press, and I think now that we're in New Hampshire, now that the polls aren't looking all too good, we're seeing that strategy play out; try to get the press to ask tougher questions, and if the press, the media, will not ask tougher questions, at least suggest to the voting public that the media is not doing it all should when it comes to Barack Obama.
INSKEEP: Gentlemen, where does John Edwards fit into this fight? In the debate on Saturday night, he almost seemed to be tag-teaming with Obama against Hillary Clinton.
GONYEA: He seems to be kind of waiting in the background a bit, you know, watching these two who are ahead of him, looking for an opportunity. And one opportunity he seems to sense is that Senator Clinton is vulnerable. And he has had very pointed attacks at her. So perhaps the logic is he goes after her now - she's hurt in New Hampshire - and then he focuses on Senator Obama.
INSKEEP: NPR's Don Gonyea and David Greene, thank you very much.
GREENE: Pleasure, Steve.
GONYEA: Pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
INSKEEP: And we'll continue following the voting here that begins on Tuesday, the New Hampshire primary, the first primary election of the campaign season for Democrats and Republicans alike.
You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.