Feb 15, 2007

HillaryCare, take 2

Because it worked to well the first time around: Clinton sets health care as key issue.
Mrs. Clinton's strategy to emphasize health care so early in her campaign serves two chief purposes, analysts say. It highlights her experience on the issue, and it shifts the focus away from Iraq and the hard questions Mrs. Clinton has faced about her 2002 vote authorizing the war.

From a policy standpoint, many voters outside New York remember Mrs. Clinton most for her unsuccessful bid to overhaul the nation's health care system as first lady during her husband's administration. The debacle drew stinging criticism to Mrs. Clinton and, many say, helped contribute to the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Yet as senator, Mrs. Clinton has sought to confront the defeat head on, and often with a sense of humor, saying repeatedly that she has learned from her past mistakes and is now better prepared to try again.

The benefit of bringing her past out early and proactively could serve Mrs. Clinton well later in the campaign, a Democratic consultant who is the interim dean of Boston University's College of Communication, Tobe Berkovitz, said. "If you can turn a weakness into a strength, that is a huge strategic success," he said.

That's a pretty big weakness

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