By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Fear of Obama

Seth Gitell explains that Hillary Clinton’s fear-mongering telephone ad is a direct lift from a pitch George H.W. Bush made in trying to defeat Bill Clinton in 1992. “This appeal, emotional as it is, didn’t work for Bush the Elder. Given the public mood right now, it’s not likely to work for Hillary Clinton,” Gitell writes.

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Timing is everything


And Mondale and LBJ, too!


  1. Obama-Rama

    check out Obama’s rapid response!

  2. O-FISH-L

    Pardon me, but isn’t it ridiculously oversimplified to say that:a) George H.W. Bush made this kind of pitch in an election 16 years ago, and;b) He lost (a three way race in which the independent candidate got a rarely precedented 18.9% of the vote) c) So this type of pitch didn’t work then and is unlikely to work now?—Do we have any reliable polling data from before and after Bush made his ’92 pitch, to show any correlation between the “pitch” and the way people voted? Sans that data, it seems that the conclusion reached by Gittel is spurious at best. Unless of course, success is determined by winner take all. In that case, 100% of Bill Clinton’s 1992 pitches were successful and none of Bush’s or Perot’s were. So Hillary need only copy everything that Bill and George W. have “pitched” and she’ll be all set. I’ve heard of dumbing things down but this is beyond the pale.

  3. closets

    I think it is a stretch to compare Hillary Clinton with George Bush at any level. The point of the add is consistent with Clinton’s main selling points; experience vs. charasmatic personality.

  4. Anonymous

    @closets – Agree, comparing to Shrub is rought. Let’s compare Hill to Bill.“Now one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.” — Bill Clinton, supporting John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign [from which has YouTube link]This is good advice to the voter, but bad advice to a candidate, as the average voter can fear better than s/he can think. – Bill R

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