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April 12th, 2008
11:01 PM ET

Carl Bernstein's View: A Hillary Clinton presidency

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Editor's Note:  Carl Bernstein is a CNN analyst and author of A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  He is also the author, with Bob Woodward, of All the President's Men and The Final Days, and, with Marco Politi, of His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time.  Here, he writes a commentary on the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. For an opposing viewpoint from former Clinton lawyer Lanny J. Davis, click here.

 

What will a Hillary Clinton presidency look like?

The answer by now seems obvious: It will look like her presidential campaign, which in turn looks increasingly like the first Clinton presidency.

Which is to say, high-minded ideals, lowered execution, half truths, outright lies (and imaginary flights), take-no prisoners politics, some very good policy ideas, a presidential spouse given to wallowing in anger and self-pity, and a succession of aides and surrogates pushed under the bus when things don’t go right. Which is to say, often.

And endless psychodrama: the essential Clintonian experience that mesmerizes the press, confuses the citizenry, confounds members of both parties in Congress (not to mention the Clintons themselves, at times) and pretty much keeps the rest of the world constantly amused and fixated.

Such a picture of Clinton Redux is, by definition, speculation. But it is speculation based on the best evidence at hand: the demonstrable and familiar record of Hillary and Bill Clinton coupled together in Permanent Campaign-mode for a generation, waging a continuous fight on the national political stage since 1992, an unceasing campaign for the White House, for redemption, for their ideas (sometimes) and for themselves (almost always), especially in 2008.

The basic dynamics of the campaign, except for the Clintons’ vast new-found personal wealth and its challenges, have been near-constant since they arrived in Washington: through Whitewater, health care, the battle of the budget, the culture wars, the tax returns released only under duress, the travel office, Monica, impeachment, the pardons and through Hillary Clinton’s often repugnant presidential campaign.

In many ways, the characteristic tone, secrecy, and resilience of the Clinton political march have been determined more by Hillary Clinton than by her husband, reflecting her deepest attributes and attitudes, fermented in recognition of the antipathy held against both of them, and often, the foul tactics of their enemies. As an aide put it (quoted in my book, A Woman In Charge: the Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton):

“She doesn’t look at her life as a series of crises but rather a series of
battles. I think of her viewing herself in more heroic terms, an epic
character like in The Iliad, fighting battle after battle. Yes, she succumbs
to victimization sometimes, in that when the truth becomes
too painful, when she is faced with the repercussions of her own
mistakes or flaws, she falls into victimhood. But that’s a last resort
and when she does allow the wallowing it’s only in the warm glow
of martyrdom—as a laudable victim—a martyr in the tradition of
Joan of Arc, a martyr in the religious sense. She would much
rather play the woman warrior—whether it’s against the bimbos,
the press, the other party, the other candidate, the right-wing.
She’s happiest when she’s fighting, when she has identified the
enemy and goes into attack mode. . . . That’s what she thrives on
more than anything—the battle.”

The latest transmutation of leadership in the campaign of Hillary Clinton for president –- Mark Penn’s departure or non-departure, be it window dressing or window cleaning –- is perhaps the best index we have of the more absurd aspects of her candidacy and evidence of its increasing bankruptcy.

The Clinton folks asserted to donors and reporters alike that this second “shake-up” in eight weeks at the very top of the campaign apparat represents some kind of great electoral moment, an opportunity for Hillary to state her case “more positively,” as if the negative approach had been forced on her; the beginning of yet another “turnaround” as if Penn, rather than Hillary (and Bill), has been the big problem. As if Penn were not an appendage of his two patrons, as if he were some kind of independent contractor twisting the candidate’s arm to do what comes unnaturally to her. The willingness of so much of the press, sensitized to the Clintons’ off-center complaints about one-sided coverage, to buy into this line is stunning.

In fact, the demotion of Penn –- like the departure of Hillary’s acolyte Patty Solis Doyle as campaign manager –- is a confession that, for all her claims of “experience” and leadership abilities, Hillary Clinton has now presided over two disastrous national enterprises, the most important professional undertakings of her adult life, both of which she began with ample wind at her back: the healthcare reform of her husband’s presidency, and now her own campaign for the White House. These two failures -– and the demonizing of her opponents in both instances –- may be the best indication of the kind of President she would be, especially when confronted (inevitably) by unanticipated difficulty and/or entrenched opposition to her ideas and programs.

It is exactly under such circumstances that she usually resorts to the worst excesses that mark her in full warrior-mode - and all its scorched-earth, truth-be-damned manifestations. Bosnia, anyone? Smearing the women involved (or even thought to be involved) sexually with her husband. Responding to Barack Obama with the same mindset, disdain, and arsenal as she did Karl Rove and Lee Atwater, as if Obama’s politics and methodologies were as mendacious and vicious as theirs–and her own. Tax information kept secret (in 1992 to hide her profits from trading in cattle futures; in 2008 to shield the identities of Bill’s foreign clients.) A campaign that openly boasts of throwing “the kitchen sink” at her opponent.

What you see is what you get: Hillary’s cynical view of the larger interests of the Democratic Party, exhibited in her 3 a. m. red telephone ad. And her simultaneous, incongruous suggestion that Barack Obama –- notwithstanding his supposed lack of national security qualifications to be commander-in-chief -– would make a good vice president on her ticket.

And, yes, a sense of entitlement that veritably shouts, “Look, because I believe in good things, and because of all I’ve been through, I deserve to win this.”

And yet, there is no denying that, compared to the Bush years, the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency, in which she was an elemental force (and generalissimo in the often successful fight against the forces of “the vast right-wing conspiracy”) are prodigious, marked by peace and prosperity, whatever the price of the Clintons’ methodologies and personal failings.

In projecting what a Hillary Clinton presidency would look like, there is the conundrum of her senatorial tenure and what had appeared to be a surcease in her Pavlovian resort to trench warfare: a period in which -– until the day drew near for her to announce her presidential candidacy –- she seemed (to her oldest friends, certainly) happier and more at ease, and straightforward in her public dealings, and less guarded, than at any point in her life since she followed Bill Clinton to Arkansas.

Hillary Clinton’s unique star power, her performance as a senator and fundraiser on behalf of her party are what gave legitimacy to the idea that she might be a credible presidential candidate: all premised on her changed demeanor in the Senate years, compared to her embattled tenure as first lady. As a steward of her state’s interest, and a patient student of senatorial compromise and collegiality, she was widely commended by former skeptics in Congress and the press.

True, her most revealing moment as a senator of national consequence was the vote she cast to authorize George W. Bush to go to war, which she’s been trying to explain since with dubious credibility. (“If I knew now what I knew then,” etc.) Twenty-one of her fellow Democratic senators had no doubts about what Bush intended, and voted against the authorization.

The second most revealing moment was her endorsement of legislation to make flag-burning illegal, the kind of pandering she once attacked right-wing Republicans of practicing. Meanwhile, she and her husband have regularly misrepresented their own postures and statements in the run-up to the war, as well as Obama’s record, with Bill Clinton claiming to have been against the war from the start, and Hillary saying she has consistently been more adamant in her opposition than Obama -– except for the matter of his single “speech” against the war before it started.

The assumption of many senatorial colleagues, former Clinton aides, and reporters (including this one) was that her presidential campaign would be much different from the one she and Bill Clinton waged through the White House years.

In A Woman in Charge, I wrote about her ability to evolve, observable especially in the years before she met Bill Clinton and in the Senate: to learn from her mistakes. Events have proven me wrong on that count.

The 2008 Clinton campaign, in fact, has been an exercise in devolution, back to the angry, demonizing, accusatory Hillary Clinton of the worst days of the Clinton presidency, flailing, and furtive, and disingenuous; and, as in the White House years, putting forth programs and ideas worthy of respect and deserving of the kind of substantive debate she claims she wants her race against Barrack Obama to be based upon.

Bill, meanwhile, has taken up Hillary’s old role as defender and apologist, with disinformation and misinformation, but (far less effectively than she defended him). Also with near-apoplectic tirades that have left their friends worried and wondering.

In the process of their search-and-destroy mission against Barack Obama, the Clintons have pursued a strategy that at times seems deliberately aimed at undermining Obama’s credibility if he becomes John McCain’s opponent — heresy in the view of an increasing number of the Clintons’ former suppporters and aides, a suprising number of whom now back Obama.

The choice ahead -– in Pennsylvania, and the remaining primary states, and for the super delegates, and perhaps even the arbiters of a deadlocked convention -– is clear enough at this point, at least in terms of what the 2008 Clinton campaign is about: the Clintons - plural. Theirs is a campaign for Restoration to the White House, not simply the election of Hillary Clinton. Theirs is, has always been, a joint enterprise, a see-saw routine in which the psyches and actions of each balances the board according to the personal dynamics of the moment.

A long-time associate of the Clintons, with whom Hillary has consulted in their quest to return to the White House, said early in her campaign: “She has a very plausible case for president. She had an eight-year super-graduate course in the presidency, a progressive platform…” He paused, and added: “[But] I’m not sure I want the circus back in town.”

That is what the Hillary for President campaign has become: the whole Clinton three-ring circus, with little evidence that moving back to the White House will alter that most basic fact.

– Carl Bernstein


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. debbie

    i have been amazed as how she has sold her soul for the presidency and will even sell out the democratic party if necessary to make it to the presidency. It is a pity that the american women have been represented by her as the first presidential nominee. We in american have many women that would be worthy of the position and would have the common sense and dignity of such a high position in government. Just the way she has ran her campaign against Obama, can tell you exactly what Carl Bernstein is saying. She has not shown any respect for Obama from the beginning. I think Obama is just fed up with her demeaning disposition. She would approach him in the debates as a mother talking to her misinformed child. Obama has really surprised her and Bill. He has ran a tremendous campaign and being black and getting to where he is at this point is the most incredible accomplishment of any politician in the last 50 years in america. So I must say that this man deserves every vote from this country that desperately needs a new image. Hillary give it up, it will be a lot better for your soul.

    April 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  2. Wayne Morrison

    I am no longer a fan of Hilary Clinton, but I feel your comments are too extreme. I find myself questioning the objectivity of such comments and the article ends up having less of an impact on me than it could have.
    You may have the facts right, but the way you present them makes me wonder if you have a grudge.

    April 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  3. Rita

    Carl, your arguments are right on target. Bill and Hillary will not get to the White House. AsaDemocrat, I do not want them at the White. Voters are sick of their manipulations Even if she wins Pennsylvania, OBAMA will win the nomination. Enough is enough

    April 15, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  4. Linda

    I thank you so much for your commentary, finally someone had the guts to tell it like it truly is. If this woman gets in the WhiteHouse, Heaven help us all.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  5. Lynda

    Bravo Mr. Bernstein!! This is a well written article.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  6. Steve in Atlanta

    A question for all of you who are complaining that Carl is stating his opinion, is bias, etc. If he had written a piece that glorified Hillary would you be complaining about him expressing his opinion or his obvious bias? I thought not. Hillary is the perfect candidate for you.

    Nuff said.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Judy Bishop

    I will still SUPPORT Senator Clinton. I have already voted for her once and hope to do so again.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  8. Deana

    Mr Bernstein,
    The vast majority of people who know the Clintons well would Agree with you 100%, If they can speak the Truth!

    April 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  9. Marc in PDX

    She ain't pretty...she's my sister... or something like that... I guess...

    April 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Jonathan

    I don't understand clinton supporters. It's as if they're blinded and don't want to see the truth. Not only is she a sore loser, but she plays dirty politics, and who wants that for our next president? Our country is hurting enough as it is, we need obama to change the way politics are done, and put this country back on the road it's suppose to be. If she can't even lose graciously, how can she lead us? Every other word coming out of Hilary's mouth is to criticize obama, why can't she just focus on the country instead of obama? Superdelegates need to put this to an end and support Barack Obama.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  11. Craig, Seattle, WA

    It is completely laughable how so many people have this notion of Obama as untouchable or as though he's come to us on the grace of God... GIVE ME A BREAK. It's a political campaign and both sides will fudge the truth. Obama does NOT walk on water.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  12. Eric

    I used to support Hillary but her negative and misleading campaign has turned me off and now my full support goes for Obama. She is unconvincing (Iraq and NAFTA say it all) and as another reader mentioned below, she looks so phony, with her (now) "all-smiles and warm" image. I know I'm not the only one who has made the switch for the same reasons. I'd love to see a woman as our president in my lifetime but please not this one.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  13. Art

    Bernstein needs to go back into the shadows of the infamous underground parking lot, slink behind a pillar and stay there.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Juanita

    THANK YOU!!!! The truth has finally been spoken. The Clinton waged this Name calling,racial divide and lie based campaign.
    Sen. Obama is of mixed race. His being part black is not the advantage being part WHITE would be. Let's end this old divide and conqueor mentality. Let's be AMERICAN. GOD BLESS

    April 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  15. Jess

    Thank you for an interesting op-ed. While I have been supporting Senator Obama from the start of this race, I have always had a great deal of respect for both Clintons. As this race has progressed I have found my respect has turned to dismay and disgust.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  16. Mark

    sorry, Carl's put his finger on it exactly. She's smart, she means well, but she thinks she deserves it and no one should get in her way. How dare they!! Mary, take back that feminist anger. What he says is true, and why you are so defensive

    April 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  17. Robin in Virginia

    According to your logic, Mr. Bernstein, once Hillary wins the White House she will again regain the popularity and esteem of her colleagues as she did after her Senate win.
    Like many writers, you are selective in your assessments of a person in order to create an interesting character. Nice try.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  18. Anthony

    It is strange that this Bernstein fellow put words together to bad mouth Hillary Clinton. He is right but only because that is his opinion and nothing more. It is nothing but an opinion. That is not Hillary and he really doesn't know her at all. Hillary will be alright in any event no matter what happens. Hillary has accomplished much and no one can take that away no matter what opinions are express good or bad about her. You see, the Constitution allows people like bernstein to speak truths or lies because it is his right to speak truths or lies. He comes across as someone who thinks his biomass does not stink. We know otherwise.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  19. Lennie

    It truly amazes me that some people get so angry and stick their heads in the sand when the objective truth is spoken about someone they like, instead of taking the time to analyze what is being said. Most of this article is born out by the truth as we have witnessed by such as the "sniper fire" and further lied about by Bill, a guy I still think was a good President and who I voted for twice.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  20. deb ablin

    I thought Carl Bernstien was precise and to the point regading his evaluation of Hillary Clinton.She has used every trick in the book mostly to her disadvantage.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  21. Andrew

    Speaking as a male who has yearned for a good female president for many years, I am sympathetic to the women who feel injured by this writing. Obviously it is men who are responsible for our crises of leadership in America. But it is also obvious that Hillary Clinton is not the right woman and this is not her time, for reasons that Carl Bernstein stated so eloquently, and for others that would be merely opinion.

    Hillary lacks "authenticity" which is Obama's major asset. Obama is the most capable candidate in the history of our nation, to affect a "healing" which more than anything else is what we truly need. Unfortunately, Hillary takes too much money from "special interests" and is therefore not able to be a "people's candidate." Americans ARE bitter, angry and pissed off at being pissed on for too long. Out with the old and in with the new.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  22. Rod

    Like me, Carl Bernstein was a Hillary fan. He wrote a book about her when he, like me, was taken by the idea of her becoming our first female pres! He has echoed every reason I have moved on. His commentary is well-founded, and excellent.

    April 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  23. PLJ

    You got it exactly right, without any untrue name calling, or anything that would have anyone to reject or denounce.

    This Is ALL Hillary Straight up, and I can appreciate the straight talk/ the Truth, finally from someone where Hillary/The Clintons are concerned.

    Thank You!, Mr. Bernstein....

    April 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  24. chris N

    You people are working really, really hard at this, aren't you? If you're willing to think about facts (i.e., if you're not a media hack), Bill Clinton's presidency was the most successful in a long time. The federal spending deficit was reduced, international respect for the U.S. improved, and a lot of other boring details.

    But let's deny all that now, so we can be socially acceptable, right? Who cares about history anyway, when speeches and character assassination are so much fun?

    April 15, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  25. keith

    When Bill Clinton was president we had jobs.the economy was in great shape.
    Obama is nothing but talk he can't fix America!!!!!!!!!!!

    CLINTON OR MCCAIN 2008..............................

    April 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  26. Steven Moores, Canada

    Mr.Bernstein, thank you for the summary of the Clintons that we all
    know too well. I live in Canada and have been following the United States presidential race far closer then any Canadian election. The Clintons forcing this "bitter" issue is just another dirty boxing trick that you use when your backed into a corner. Saying Obama is an "elite" truely bothers me, because lets not forget that the clintons have even bigger pockets then Obama(not in the grassroots campaign hes setting records in , but in the Clintons personal bank account itself)being Canadian some might feel my input is not noteworthy, but lets be honest here.....I would like the next leader of the free world to be a powerful symbol of strength and unity, truth and honor. not one who believes the good people that greet them at an airport with flowers are snipers. P.S. its three oclock in the morning....call Hillary see if you dont get an answering machine.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  27. Angela

    I would like to respond to the person who enjoyed the peace and prosperity of the 90s under the Clintons. I am glad you did. Please remember, however, that she voted to send our troops to die for the wrong reasons, and now she tells us she is the only one she can bring them home.

    If you think the media picks on Hillary, take a look at the character assassination she has done on Obama. She lied about his NAFTA while she was for it; she distorted his record on abortion in NH, and she is using his "bitter" comments out of context. Which part of the Clinton's way of the White House was steal and sell your jobs to China are her supporters missing? People in PA were interviewed and they used the word "angry" at the loss of jobs. Senator Obama used a stronger term–and what he said is true. How would she know what poor people feel? She and her 109 millions?

    I am very sorry, but as a woman, I am insulted that she represents me. I will vote my conscience in November and my vote will not be for Hillary or McCain.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  28. Anne S.

    It's always interesting to me (NOT!) when someone writes as
    though they are right inside someone else's head and knows
    exactly who, what, when, where and why a person does what
    they do.

    Hillary....ignore these opinions. We supporters stand behind you and
    wish you all the best!

    April 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  29. Interesting...

    Very interesting that all the Hillary supporters that are criticizing Bernstein's commentary are not refuting any of his assertions. I guess they learned well from the Clinton's and are applying their bait and switch spin. That is exactly the political tactic Bernstein states that the Clintons employ. Wake up Clintonites and think about the future of America for a change, not the anointing of a dynasty.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  30. Tom

    Perfect! People need to hear this. I would add that my impression is Hillary is only in it for the book and movie deals sure to come. After all if we re-structure the trade deals in favor of America, Bill won't have any income.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  31. Zack

    Thanks Carls for this excellent piece of journalism.

    Hillary's presidency will be a series of brutal fights that will leave the nation more bruised, divided and confused. It will be a non-stop media circus where people turn to see who is Hillary's wrestle mania show.

    For the life-time chance to have a president with the courage to speak his mind, to have a vision and to trust that we as a nation can do better, we need to look to President Barack Obama.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  32. BevAnn

    I have no problems with this HRC hate diatribe – I already know all the bad stuff. But ok, where's the piece on Obama now? Oh, that's right – nobody knows squat about him! And people wonder why witness don't come forward on crimes that remain unsolved. Turn a blind eye everyone. Sure, why don't ya?! It is so much easier to do that.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  33. David D

    The responses to Bernstein's blog are as revealing as the blog itself. Some posters report that they are becoming turned off to Clinton. And other posters are merely intensifying their negative portrayals of Obama rather than reflect on what Bernstein had written.

    These are two of the problems that Bernstein was writing about. In my book, that makes the column's message about the dark side of the Clinton campaign remarkably insightful, no matter how unpleasant that message might be.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:34 pm |
  34. Brad K

    Wow!

    The most devastating and most insightful portion of this is the passage where Bernstein points out that notwithstanding her claims to be "ready on Day One," Hillary Clinton has in fact bungled the two most important management jobs she's ever undertaken: health care reform early in Bill's administration, and her own presidential campaign. That's not anti-Hillary spin, that's just good, hard-nosed, objective reporting from one of the best in the business. This ought to be required reading for every Democratic superdelegate.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  35. Lisa, N.Y.

    This article is refreshing in the sense that there are many people out there that is not falling for Hillary and Bills tactics and smear campaign.

    She has done nothing for us here in N.Y. but make a lot of promises to get elected and held true to none. And the worst part about it is that each time she is caught in a lie she blames it on others. The false promises in NY couldn't be kept she said because of the Republican party. And now each time she is caught in a obvious lie she blames it on the media piling on or tries to say something like "...well Obama also said blah, blah, blah..."

    I am just getting so sick of Hillary its ridiculous. I must admit I was kind of hesitant on Obama for a while because I fell into the Hillary propaganda. I regret my earlier vote for her, and I now fully support Obama because his views and open understanding on how we as Americans truly think is refreshing.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  36. ptaylor

    Thank you Mr. Bernstein. One of the best articles I have read to explain the conundrum of the Clintons. I am a registered Republican but I am in the process of changing my party affiliation to Independent. I have voted over the years for whoever I felt was the best candidate, Republican or Democrat. I look forward to the time when I can vote for a woman for President, but it will not be in 2008, even if by chance Senator Clinton is the nominee of her party.
    I remember very well the Clinton presidency and don't want a repeat of the evasions, embellishments and lies that were apparent. I remember Whitewater, and the pardons on the way out the door. No way will I vote for that team again; I'm totally disillusioned with them.
    I have no doubt about John McCain's patriotism, but have serious doubts about his temper. I've had enough of our President making comments that offend other governments, by choice or by chance, and which reflect on all of us.
    I am a white woman over 65 and look forward to voting for Barack Obama in November.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  37. Boosh

    1) How does the writer answer the fact that Hillary Clinton was elected to the US Senate ON HER OWN – TWICE? Hello, she didn't win all the small towns, farmers, yada, yada, She won NYC and other inner city votes. She's a carpet bagger. She's waltz's into NYS and is instantly elected Senator? She won on her name alone. Believe it!
    2) How does the writer answer the fact that Hillary Clinton sponsored or co-sponsored so many pieces of legislation – some of which requiring her to sit down across the table with arch rivals and philosophical enemies? What ever will get her, and anyone else, elected! She'll blame someone else later.
    3) Right, but gas was $1.15 a gallon. The price of gas has NOTHING to do with the Presidency! When are you people going to learn? The price of gas is because the dollar sucks and we Americans continue to by Hummers, SUV's and drive 20 mph over the speed limit! It's proven that we are the most wasteful country on this earth.
    4) The first President Clinton really cared about working people. I'm sorry, getting a little ahead of yourself here. There's only been ONE President Clinton. And he's suppose to care about people. All the presidents have cared about people. It's just that some of them want to HELP you achieve your goals and dreams while other just want you to believe the Government is there to just give things to you without any effort on your part.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  38. Gregg - Blue Springs, MO.

    Read all of the blogs..........count them...........read them again..........almost all (at least 80
    5 or more) are against Hillary and agree with Mr. Berstein......
    Now, I agree that President Bush has not been perfect, and has not done everything correct, yet , he did not lie to the American People while under oath, nor did he tear at the moral fiber of this country by having sex with a woman in the White House, and we are considering letting he and his wife back in? NO WAY!!!!
    Neither Obama, nor Hillary have told the truth and continue to yell and argue amonst the two of them and the Democratic party.......We MUST elect the only person that is a true hero, who has stood up for what was wrong in DC, even if it meant it was against his own party, and has both Republican and Democrat respect. That is McCain!! Are we going to listen to both parties sit and argue for 4 to 8 more years???? Come on people, elect the one that can bring them together....who is more middle of the road (which most of us are) who can lead like no other in this race.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  39. nick

    everything carl has said couldn't be more dead on. what's funny is hillary supporters still think she has a shot at winning, you're all as delusional as she is

    April 15, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  40. Nicole

    Thank you Mr Bernstein!
    What a breath of fresh air, or truthful air, if you will.
    I'm not sure how the Clinton supporters-simply just don't "get it" yet!
    The "Clintons" are running for office, not Hillary alone. This is their chance to thumb their collective noses at the right wing conspriracy that has plagued them since Bill was in office.
    I actually voted for Bill, but it is long time for our country to move on. Hillary cannot promise or deliver anything more that the other candidates, except one thing-more political drama! We don't need it!

    Sen. Obama is our only chance to turn our politics around, focus on the real national 'meat & potatoes' issues, and change the global view of our country. Don't be fooled by the silly rhetoric you hear about 'bitterness' and other words. This is just to distract the voters next week. Hillary, McCain, and the media had nothing interesting to talk about going into the PA elections next week. This just gave them a bandwagon to jump on and stir up their supporters-but it is another pathetic ploy.
    Go Obama '08

    April 15, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  41. Nancy, Bethlehem, PA

    Thank you, Mr. Bernstein! Your analysis of the Clintons is right on the money. Early in the campaign, I wasn't really paying attention to the debates. There were too many candidates to really get a good flavor for any one of them. I assumed that I'd have to pick the lesser of two evils, as in the last 2 elections. I thought I'd have to force myself to vote for Hillary Clinton because I couldn't vote for a Republican again.
    As I tuned in to the election news, I found myself delightfully surprised by Barack Obama. His message of change and hope inspired me. He lifted my spirits. The more I listened to Hillary's lies and negativism, the more I disliked her. It has reached the point where she nauseates me with her condescending attitude and nodding head. She's like one of those dogs you see in the back of people's cars. Yes, the economy was doing well during President Clinton's presidency, but we have all forgotten all the baggage that came with the 2 of them. It's like having a baby. After time passes, you forget the pains of labor and delivery. You very quickly reminded me of the agony of the Clinton years. It was like a brick thrown at my head. Thank you!
    Obama 2008

    April 15, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  42. Sheila

    Mr. Bernstein,

    You have no evidence to support the fact that Hillary's campaign would be the same as her presidency. Past behavior is an important predictor of future behavior, but definitely not the crystal ball that you make it out to be (as any psychologist would tell you). You are trying to practise psychology without a license! This is obviously no unbiased journalism either, but acts like an effort to settle a score! At least try to be a bit more humble in your guesses! Anderson Cooper, watch who you have cover for you.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  43. JB

    For years I have had respect and admiration for Hillary. I voted for her in my states primary caucus. However, as this campaign has gone on I have lost respect, angered my her negativity, astounded that when caught in a lie she blew it off and expects voters to do the same.
    I now see what others have seen for years and until now I defended a media witch hunt. She obviously cares more about her own power than the country or the Democratic party. I would not vote for her for anything now. At the same time, I have gained respect for Obama and would love to see a Obama/Edwards or Obama Richardson ticket. Regarding Obama's "bitter" comment, I am a middle aged, caucasion woman working in the nation's heartland who has left the Republician Party BECAUSE I AM BITTER with an administration that has done more damage to our country in 8 years than we can likely undo in a century. Yes Hillary I am bitter and as a Christian I do cling to my faith, It is Hillary who I no longer feel is in touch. I am not offended by Obama's comment. I think he feels the pulse of Americans who are sick of the ecomony and don't want McBush to have us in Iraq "for 100 more years".

    April 15, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  44. melody

    Excellent !

    As the mother of an 18 year old daughter who will vote in her first ever election, I wish that she could vote for a female candidate for president.

    It saddens me to watch the way that Hillary Clinton has chose to run her campaign, and maybe it seems like this campaign has gone on too long, much like the Clinton White House years, but whenever I hear her speak, I cringe. So does my daughter.

    I DO NOT want the circus back in town either. And while some people look at the Clinton years as a time when much was accomplished, I look at those years as a time when

    1. Much more SHOULD have been accomplished if there had been less focus on covering up for lies told to the American people.

    2. As a parent, I had to explain the actions of a President to my children, explain the newspaper, explain the blue dress, unravel the mysteries of it all at the same time as keeping them from becoming cynical and disgusted like many adults.

    No More Please, No more circus.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  45. Lisa

    The person who wrote Americans have the shortest memories on the planet couldn't be more right. Carl is a baffoon and just trying to sell more books. Anyone who is so one sided should be a CNN guest, not a CNN contributor. I love CNN but in the last month it has become so anti-Hillary especially Jack and has obviously decided to participate in the Clinton bashing. As journalists, why don't you all take notes from Wolf B., report the news and keep your opinions to yourself. Express them when you get to the voting booth. Hillary would make a much better president than Obama could ever hope to be. You know what tells me that? I'm still waiting for people in America including Carl and Jack C. to tell the American people how he will change and improve things in America. I'm so tired of hearing " I've nerver been so inspired by anyone". Yeh, that'll put food on the table and make other countries trust you again. You haven't gotten for a while America, try doing what is best for your country instead of who you like to most.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  46. BonnieInTexas

    I used to have a lot of respect for Carl Bernstein when he was breaking the Watergate story.

    Now I have to wonder how much truth there was in what he wrote back in the 70s because he is obviously off his game now with his sanctimonious and rabid battle against Senator Clinton. Looks like he needs another 15 minutes of fame.

    Maybe a wordsmith can only be impressed by a wordsmith.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  47. Nas from PA

    I agree. I think Hillary has lost sight of everything except to win and at any cost. Never mind her antics hurt the party she claims she wants to boost. She is unorganized, shows mixed messages and has campaigners that she claims are at odds with her views but retains their services anyway. What?!? She touts her years as the first lady as part of her 35 years of experience-but only the good things. She forgats about NAFTA, whitewater and the questionable pardons. I agree that the Bill Clintons years may have been good in many ways but she is not Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton is not the Bill Clinton of his presidentcy.

    I vote next week and it won't be for Billary!

    April 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  48. RJ

    For years I held up a fight against so many conservatives who claimed there was a real bias in the media.

    I was an Obama supporter when this campaign started. The scrutiny by the media on all candidates except Mr. Obama has left me flabbergasted.

    I'm really embarrassed to say that Fox news may actually be "Fair and Balanced" (or at least more so than the main stream media outlet). Shame on you CNN. And shame on me for coming to your defense for so long.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  49. Jon

    Tragically, Hillary Clinton's campaign has unfolded like a very badly done piece of origami. Very bad. Very bad.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  50. JT

    Bush ran a well executed campaign, but does that mean he ran the country well? You know the answer to that.
    Every presidential candidate has flaws, every leader in this world has flaws. Just pick the one that you think is the most capable to lead. Of the three, Hillary Clinton is the most capable. Second is McCain. I would never pick an inexperienced smooth talker to lead our country, never! I dare the media, especially CNN to treat Obama the same as they treat Clinton. The day they do that is the the day Obama's mask will start to crack.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
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