Advise Hillary

“Hillary, here’s the deal.” You’re sitting down with Sen. Clinton – what would you advise her to say about her 2002 vote authorizing Bush to go to war?

She’s in crisis – in New Hampshire voters asked her this weekend to say straight up that her vote authorizing the Iraq war was a mistake, as John Edwards has said about his yes vote. Journalists, bloggers and talk–show yappers are hammering her for dancing around the issue, some comparing her response to John Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it.”

Clinton is saying “If I knew then what we know now, I would not have voted yes,” and that it’s the president who’s screwed this up. Mark Penn,
Clinton’s chief strategist, says “It’s important for all Democrats to keep the word ‘mistake’ firmly on the Republicans and on President Bush.”

Seems like people can sniff a strategy a mile off, like a hog-confinement barn. They want honest straight talk. So is Clinton being a straight shooter, saying exactly what she believes, that her vote wasn’t a mistake because the info at the time was bad? Should she stick to it and to hell with the critics? Or is she focus-grouping every syllable and proving her reputation as calculating and passionless?

Most important, what should she do and say right now, today? Throw in your two cents’ worth – what’s your advice to Senator Clinton?

Here’s today’s New York Times story about how Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are talking about the war.