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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where's the beef?

In the 1984 election cycle, former Vice President Walter Mondale (the well-known and well-funded establishment candidate) faced insurgent charismatic newcomer Gary Hart. To stress that Hart's impressive-sounding ideas lacked substance, Mondale jokingly used a line from a popular Wendy's commercial: "Where's the beef?"

In her effort to stop the Barack Obama juggernaut, Hillary Clinton's campaign has borrowed this tactic from Mondale's 1984 campaign. To my ear, it's not as simple or elegant:
"That's the difference between me and my opponent. My opponent makes speeches. I offer solutions. It is one thing to get people excited. I want to empower you," the New York senator said....

"Now, over the years, you've heard plenty of promises from plenty of people in plenty of speeches. And some of those speeches were probably pretty good. But speeches don't put food on the table. Speeches don't fill up your tank, or fill your prescription, or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night," Clinton said.
I put the most incendiary sound bite in red -- look for it in Republican commercials next fall.

Based on the economic content Obama added to his stump speech today, I do not expect this charge to stick.

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