After a disappointing debate in Texas on Thursday night, and two mailing ads sent by Obama's campaign criticizing her health care plan and failure of NAFTA, Hillary Clinton has adopted a harsh tone against her rival Barack Obama.
Perhaps her top advisor's criticized her for her friendly comments towards her rival, particularly when she said: "No matter what happens in this contest, and I am honored to be here with Barack Obama."
At that moment, I truly thought she was acknowledging that she has failed to stop Obama in the primaries and she will end the attack on Obama, his experience and his campaign. For the first time, a Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton ticket seemed possible.
But it does matter and, in fact as CNN pointed out in one of its news program, "there will be blood." My prediction simply didn't come true. Hillary's campaign was hoping that her strength in face-to-face debates would reverse Obama's momentum in the Democratic presidential contest. Not only it did not help, but it might have further damaged her after her slanderous comment that Obama's plagiarized words were not "change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox," which prompted booing from the audience.
On Saturday, she lashed out at Obama: "Shame on you, Barack Obama." She also invited Obama to a duel in the next Tuesday's debate: "Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign."
It appears the current Clinton campaign strategy is to target Obama's character to win in Texas and Ohio. To do this she also compares him with President Bush. "Do you think people voting in 2000 knew what they were getting?" she said, referring to Bush's first-term bid for the presidency as a governor of Texas. "People thought they were getting a compassionate conservative. It turned out he was neither. We've been living with the consequences of those mistakes."
She accused Obama of questioning her health care plan, which no other Democrat had done before, and at the same time compared him with an unpopular Republican president, something which no other candidate has done.
Clinton's do-or-die strategy and attacks on Obama are very unlikely to succeed. She has been going downhill since the New Hampshire primaries, and the same message week after week is failing to bring her new supporter. Pressure to keep her White House hopes alive by winning the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4th has pushed her campaign to attack Obama rather than redrafting her message to bring new ideas to the race, and attempt to change the course.
The truth is that Obama and Clinton's policies are not very different for ordinary people, whom are not likely to digest the detail policy sheets of each candidate. Therefore, fighting with Obama's message of hope and change is an uphill battle for Clinton particularly since thousands of people have found their voice in Obama; Clinton's effort to discredit Obama's message will only deepen the divide and polarize the Democratic party further, and possibly help Republicans in the general elections.