Damage Control: Clinton Campaign Website Issues Updated To Include Entry On Immigration Reform
by 2008 Central, Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 09:28:49 AM EDT
[Republished from 2008Central.net]
Following Hillary Clinton's trouble Tuesday night with drivers licenses for illegal immigrants question, the Clinton campaign has been spinning all day long. If there was any doubt that the campaign is seriously worried about the impact of Clinton's answer that doubt can end now...
At some point today, the Clinton campaign website was updated to include a new entry in the issues section called "Reforming our Immigration System." Given that up until today, this list only had 10 topics on it, the rapid addition of the immigration issue can only mean one thing - damage control. I spotted this addition based on memory, but verified by comparing a cached version of website from October 27, 2007 to the current version. [As an aside, this is the kind of situation that exemplifies why I was and am so frustrated with the Edwards campaign for their intentional blocking of the archiving of their website].
The entry itself is nondescript, containing mostly vague generalities on the topic. The haste in which it was drawn up is evident from the typos and the fact that it doesn't even have an entry on the index page for her issues yet. However, the intended purpose to mitigate the damage of yesterday's confusing response is pretty clear. Some selected quoted:
"Hillary has consistently called for comprehensive immigration reform that respects our immigrant heritage and honors the rule of law."
"Hillary strongly believes we need to do more to know who is in our country by securing our borders and ensuring that employers comply with the law against hiring and exploitating [sic] undocumented workers."
"Along with these changes, Hillary believes we need to repair those broken portions of our immigration system that irrevocably damage families and force citizens and lawful immigrants to choose between their newly adopted country and living with their spouse or children."
"And Hillary understands that our immigration policies have a direct impact on American workers. She opposes a guest worker program that exploits workers and creates a supply of cheap labor that undermines the wages of U.S. workers. Hillary believes all workers deserve safe conditions and decent wages."
I recognize the need for the campaign to address this issue head on now that it has become a bit of a hot button issue. That said, one of the major critiques of Sen. Clinton's response yesterday evening was that it was vague, non-committal and confusing. I think many of the same criticisms could be said of this new addition to Sen. Clinton's website. It's one thing to get called out for behaving too much like a politician. Sure the pundits will go nuts and the voters will grumble a bit, but at the end of the day the criticism of being too political probably won't hurt a candidate THAT much. However, Sen. Clinton's response last night and now this new addition to the issues section makes her susceptible to a new criticism - incompetence. Running for president and being called "political" is one thing, but running for president and being called incompetent is something totally different. To use a line from Biden last night, "when you're in a hole - stop digging." The Clinton campaign needs to stop trying to rapidly respond to this issue, stop trying to triangulate on this issue and put together both a better response to the question and to the media.
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