Monday, January 14, 2008

NEWSWEEK: Cover: Hillary Clinton: 'I Found my own Voice.'

NEWSWEEK: Cover: Hillary Clinton: 'I Found my own Voice.'

"What I realized is that the reason I do this, why I get up every day, why I believe in our country and the importance of leadership, was not getting across the way that I wanted it to," Clinton tells Newsweek.

Editor Jon Meacham on Hillary, Race and Gender

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ --

In the January 21 issue, "'I found my own voice.'" (on newsstands Monday, January 14) Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham examines Hillary Clinton's dramatic comeback win in New Hampshire and whether the battle for the Democratic nomination is one that will be determined by the historically complicated issues of race and gender.

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To say it is late in the game for a major politician to have found one's voice is too glib, Meacham writes. Many public figures are works in progress, and they are all certainly human. Clinton's primary victory is a new chance for voters to get to know her beyond the caricatures, positive and negative, that have so long defined her. "Everyone forgets she went to law school when women were not 50 percent of each law-school class, and certainly not seen as litigators," says Maria Echaveste, a senior adviser to Clinton's campaign. "When you were breaking down walls, it wasn't enough to be equally tough. You had to build a shell to protect yourself. That's what she did."

That shell cracked a bit in New Hampshire, Meacham writes, and Clinton now believes it has to stay cracked. "What I realized is that the reason I do this, why I get up every day, why I believe in our country and the importance of leadership, was not getting across the way that I wanted it to," Clinton told Newsweek about Iowa.

She continued, "I get so focused on what I want to do as president that I get a little wonky. I get a little out there, with details, with five-point plans for this and 10-point plans for that, and I think that what I'm proposing really is both achievable and important, but it's not what gets me up, so why should it get voters excited?" she says. "But in the presidential campaign I think I sort of pocketed too much of that. I thought, well, I've been in the public eye for so long now ... I don't think that was a smart assumption for me to make, or for my campaign to make, very honestly."

This is not the year for making any assumptions. Meacham reports that many Democrats have been waiting a lifetime for a viable female presidential candidate or a viable black one -- and now they have one of each, and in the aftermath of Iowa and New Hampshire, the two camps are fighting over a great deal more than just endorsements. "I understand that," Clinton tells Meacham in an interview last Friday. "What a good problem to have. Two leading candidates for president, a woman and an African-American ... I wish it didn't have to be a choice. I think a lot of people who are torn between us feel that way," she says.

"Torn is a tough word," Meacham writes. "But it aptly captures how many Americans, and not just Democrats, already feel about 2008 ... And these are early days: we are only just beginning to grapple with the questions of race and gender that the campaign will raise again and again through November." The campaign now moving out of the largely white states of Iowa and New Hampshire to the rest of the country will soon mean that the politically engaged across America will be presented with the likelihood that a woman or an African- American will be the Democratic nominee and perhaps the president. And, as Clinton says, it's a good "problem" for America to have, he reports.

"But this is a contest," Clinton says, "and the contrasts have to be drawn and the questions have to be asked because, obviously, I wouldn't be in this race and working as hard as I am unless I thought I am uniquely qualified at this moment in our history to be the president we need starting in 2009. And I think it is informed by my deep experience over the last 35 years, my firsthand knowledge of what goes on inside a White House."

Also in the interview, Clinton discussed issues that ranged from her childhood in suburban Park Ridge, Ill., to John Wesley, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King Jr. and, of course, Barack Obama. When asked if Senator Obama is right enough or experienced enough to be vice president, Clinton tells Meacham, "Well, I'm going to stay focused on where I am right now. I'm an admirer of his; I campaigned for him; I raised money for him... I am a very big admirer of his, and I think the sky is the limit for him -- in the future. [Laughs.]"

Also in the cover package:
-- Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe and Chicago
Correspondent Karen Springen report on the reality of Barack Obama's
central claim as a candidate -- that he is a change agent, a lifelong
reformer who will heal Washington by bringing together feuding
politicians of both parties -- examining his voting record in the U.S.
Senate and in the Illinois Senate.

-- Senior Editor and Columnist Daniel Gross reports that America's
faltering economy may be the deciding factor in the 2008 election.
-- Investigative Correspondents Michael Isikoff, Mark Hosenball and
Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas report that 2008 promises to be a banner
year for gutter politics, and technology serves as a force multiplier
for crude partisan passion. A Newsweek investigation suggests that
political hit jobs are already rampant and likely to get worse.
-- White House Correspondent Holly Bailey talks with John McCain on the
campaign trail, two days after his New Hampshire primary win, about how
he found his footing, the war in Iraq -- and his lucky nickel.

-- Senior Editor and Columnist Jonathan Alter profiles the chief
strategists for the Clinton and Obama campaigns. "Hillary's man Penn is
a pollster by profession and the quintessential Beltway guy. Obama's
'Axe,' is a hardheaded reformer," Alter writes. "Penn's weapon is his
brain; Axelrod's is his gut."

-- Senior Political Correspondent Howard Fineman writes that, "Rudy
Giuliani sees Florida as his Cape Canaveral: the launching pad for his
better-later-than-never campaign ... Of the three groups that compose
the modern GOP ... Rudy has yet to find a home in one."

(Read entire cover package at - Letting Hillary Be Hillary Cover Story by Jon Meacham - Meacham Interviews Hillary Clinton

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