THE BLOG

Clinton Tops McCain

12/19/2006 03:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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Why is anyone surprised about this development? Look at the picture one more time. It's one of the many Bush-McCain shots that may have gotten St. John back into the conservative fold, but it was an additional insult to people who actually believed in the "straight talk express."

But how will the corporate hack pack handle it? This isn't encouraging.

Better yet, how will Democrats handle it?

Many people are so convinced Senator Clinton can't win that they balk at any movement she makes. Never mind that women are now 51% of the American public. Never mind that her religiosity is real and she can speak to it with the best of them. But will women come out to vote for Hillary? Will others? Her latest movement on her Iraq war stance will surely help.

However, she has never gone as far as some of her potential rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination -- who also voted for the war -- and called her vote a mistake or declared that she would have cast her vote differently with all the facts presently available to her -- until now.

This morning on NBC's "Today" show, Sen. Clinton was asked about her 2002 vote and offered a slightly evolved answer. "Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote," she said in her usual refrain before adding, "and I certainly wouldn't have voted that way."

When the time comes, if she chooses someone like Wesley Clark as a veep her numbers will only increase, though she's already made headway on the pack.

The poll, taken earlier this month, shows Clinton besting McCain 50 to 43 percent among 1,000 registered voters nationwide. It also showed her in a dead heat with McCain among independents, a group that has proven stubbornly resistant to her centrist message.

Clinton leads Giuliani -- her onetime Senate nemesis -- by a 48 to 47 margin, a technical tie that falls within the poll's 4 percent margin of error.

Marshall said exactly what I was about to write.

Long ago, McCain's maverick status infuriated conservative Republicans, but thrilled independents. Now there is no maverick, so it's hard to see how he'll do anything but be greeted with a big yawn. His insistence on escalation isn't helping his image either. I still hear from self labeled moderates about McCain and some are still impressed. However, that number has dwindled considerably.

McCain's brand isn't what it used to be. The other problem for me is something many are afraid to discuss: age. He'll be in his seventies if he were to be elected, and we're not talking a normal, healthy 70 either. McCain's age is an issue and he knows it. That's why he's got the my mother just turned 90 line ready for the press. Ah yes, the press. It's certain they want him as the Republican nominee. He is a formidable man, but not half the person he was during his independence. When he opts out of the finance structure to raise unlimited funds the rest of he credibility will collapse.

Again, I have no preference right now for 2008, except an inclination to want Gore to run, as well as a serious lean towards Edwards because of his middle class platform on economics and union strength. But people need to quit ignoring Hillary Clinton, who's building a serious foundation along the way to announcing her candidacy. There's another issue, regardless of her CENTRIST tendencies, and I'm not talking about the Big Dog's power, or even the fact that Senator Clinton lacks in the speaking department. It's the reality that the first woman president is an EVENT many people will want to honor and work hard to support. The moment she does make the announcement all the oxygen will be sucked out of the room.

If anyone else wants in they'd better do it soon.

- Taylor Marsh LIVE! can be heard from 6-7 pm eastern - 3-4 p.m pacific, Mon.-Thurs, with podcasts available.