The Clintons have a steep hill to climb in New Hampshire. Like parents who know better, they have to convince voters that the guy they've fallen in love with isn't good for them.
So far, Bill Clinton is off his game. And Hillary Clinton seems incapable of getting some of the Obama love for herself. She had a chance at Saturday night's debate when asked by ABC television's Charlie Gibson about not being likeable. "That really hurts my feelings,'' she answered. Then she hammed it up, coyly batting her eyes like Scarlett O'Hara, as if to say she was just pretending to have feelings that could be hurt.
The debate was the last major opportunity for Clinton and Barack Obama to make up for their shortfalls before today's vote in the New Hampshire primary.
Obama needed to tether his lofty promises to the ground, and Clinton needed to keep her head above water and pump some joy back into her campaign. She talks about hope yet still makes a grim case that what America needs is a leader already parboiled by experience who's tough and hardened enough to handle anything the Republican hate machine can spew out.
Neither succeeded on Saturday. Obama continued to serve dessert; Clinton dished up spinach. He still lacks specificity and she still fails to inspire. He can correct his problem with position papers. Hers are more difficult to fix.
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