NEW YORK — "We all need to stand up and demand new leadership that will once again put our country back on the right track," Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY, said this morning in Buffalo, at the state Democratic convention where she accepted her party’s re-nomination for Senate.
But take a gander at some of these excerpts — I believe this is a 2008 presidential campaign speech even more so than the one Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, gave at Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, back on May 13.
F’rinstance: "I believe that we need a fundamentally new direction, and we need to work toward solutions that help us meet our 21st-century challenges of expanding our economy, defending our security and preserving our values," she said.
Yes, there were mentions of local party apparatchiks…of localities like Syracuse, Albany and Rochester….but thematically it’s all been laid out for Iowa and New Hampshire come Winter 2008.
Two themes in one graph alone: Competence and the "Better Days" of her hubbie’s era:
"Stand with me to restore FEMA to its position of respect and results, so that no community in America ever has to go through what our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast have suffered," she said. "It was a disgrace. There is no explanation for it other than that this administration destroyed FEMA as it was operating during the Clinton administration, stuffed it with cronies and turned their backs and basically left people to fend for themselves." (Last I checked, Katrina hadn’t hit Long Island.)
I quote extensively here because I was struck at how much of a national speech this seemed.
"Stand with me against the wrong-headed, short-sighted foreign policies of this administration," she said, though she does not sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Let’s start building alliances instead of alienation around the world. Let’s win back the respect that the people of the world should have for our country."
She is, however, on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And she’s tried to walk a line on Iraq, supporting the decision to go to war but criticizing the way the war has been waged.
Here’s that message — pro-troops….."Stand with our troops, who’ve been doing the difficult and dangerous job of standing up for us. And remember those who have sacrificed everything for our country. They deserve our deepest respect and gratitude. But remember, it’s not enough just to put a sticker on the back of our car saying, ‘Support our troops.’ Let’s make sure they have the body armor and the armored vehicles and the other equipment and materials and training that they deserve to have if they’re sent into harm’s way."
And more — which is pro-withdrawal from Iraq (some day)……. "Stand with me as we put pressure on both the administration and the new Iraqi government to get behind a real plan for the Iraqis to assume a growing responsibility for their own security and safety so that we can begin to bring our troops home."
Then finally she brings it home:
"I will be there fighting every step of the way. I need you by my side. And when the election comes around this November, after all the hard work, we will once again know that the American journey can continue. We can achieve great things together. We can stand up for the Empire State. We can reclaim our country. We can assume our standing in the world. And we can send a message far and wide: America is back. Thank you and God bless you."
(Cue Bill Clinton bounding onto the stage. We are thankfully spared Fleetwood Mac.)
They hardly need to change a word for the 2008 campaign.
More later…my producer Drew Millhon, senior producer Stu Schutzman, and I are working on a spot about this for World News Tonight….