Clinton urges New Hampshire voters to vet and question candidates
With a new urgency to her voice, the former first lady dispensed with much of her lengthy campaign stump speech and took her case directly to New Hampshire voters, whose state primary is Tuesday.
New Hampshire could make or break Clinton’s candidacy. A good showing in this snowbound state may be her only chance to stem the bleeding from Thursday night’s Iowa caucuses, where voters resoundingly rejected her message of experience in favor of a charismatic newcomer, Barack Obama.
At a rally in a freezing cold airport hanger, the New York senator urged supporters to cut through all the “static in the air” to learn what they could about her candidacy and that of Obama and John Edwards, who also edged her in Iowa.
“I want to know from all of you ... what do you want to know about us?” she said. “Who will be the best president based not on a leap of faith but on the kind of changes we’ve already produced.”
But there were already signs that her poor showing in Iowa weighed on voters here as she took questions on her electability and how she could withstand negative information that circulated about her on the Internet.
“You find a lot of things online from people who have axes to grind and agendas to promote,” she said. “Of all the people running for president, I’ve been the most vetted, the most investigated, and the most innocent, as it turns out,” she said to cheers.
Having positioned herself as the most electable candidate in the Democratic field, Clinton struggled a bit to make that case a day after failing the campaign’s first major test of electability.
“Anyone we nominate will be thrown into that blazing inferno of a general election,” she said. “I’ve been through the fires, and it makes it far less likely they are going to be able to do to me what they intend to do to whomever we nominate.”
Clinton was traveling through the state with her husband and their daughter in lavishly painted campaign bus bearing her latest campaign slogan: “Big Challenges, Real Solutions – Time to Pick a President.”