Hillary's Blockbuster Victory Speech

by David Kusney | January 9, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s victory speech was outstanding as much for what it wasn’t as what it was. She wasn’t surrounded by aging political leaders. Her husband didn’t tower over her. And she stopped thinking and talking about yesterday, resisting the temptation to recall Bill Clinton’s comeback (to second place) in New Hampshire in 1992.

Instead, she began with a plain-spokenly poetic phrase (and one which sounds best when spoken by a woman), “I listened to you and found my voice.” The rest of the speech embraced the best of her rivals’ appeals--Obama’s summons to civic participation and Edwards’ populism. “The insurance companies will have a seat at the table,” she declared, “but they won’t buy every chair.” She also found a fresh way to recall Bill Clinton’s linkage of opportunities and responsibilities: “We will all be asked to deliver on the promise of America.” Unlike most other speakers tonight, she concluded-- only once--on a high note: “America is worth fighting for.” And she was gracious to every candidate who has sought the Democratic nomination (except Mike Gravel).

She can afford to lose a primary or two, but not the voice she found in New Hampshire.

CORRECTION: The line about insurance companies not being able to buy the seats at the table was Obama's. Apologies for the error. 

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