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Hillary Clinton vs. Hillary Clinton

Earlier this month, former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officially declared her candidacy for President.

Her announcement wasn’t held at a big rally, or staged at a press conference, but instead it was made in the midst of a twitter video about everyday Americans. Then, no sooner had the video gone viral, Mrs. Clinton embarked on a road trip to Iowa, where she could press the flesh with those everyday Americans.

The announcement strategy was designed to show that Hillary is as comfortable with hi-tech as she is with high fives. It is in sharp contrast to the way she ran her 2008 campaign, when she was criticized for being too aloof and unable to relate everyday Americans. It remains to be seen whether the strategy will pay off, but that, of course, depends upon how sincere Mrs. Clinton is about living up to the new image that has been created for her. Perhaps it is not her fault, but she has never been a touchy feely person, not like her husband who is a master at it. True, Bill’s touching and feeling got a bit out of hand at times, but that’s another story. At any rate, Hillary’s attempt at softening her persona may finally help her regain possession of the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After all, her much anticipated candidacy has already discouraged other serious Democratic contenders from even exploring a Primary challenge. Meanwhile, Republicans Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio have declared, but Jeb Bush is still the presumptive favorite, so long as he can survive the right-wing controlled GOP primaries. If there is a Bush/ Clinton contest next November, then America will further elevate one of two political dynasties, either Bush 3.0, or Clinton 2.0.

In large part, however, Hillary’s quest to be Commander-in-Chief is not so much about her potential Republican opponents, but whether she can sell voters on her transformation and her contradictory record. Here then, are three reasons why Mrs. Clinton’s toughest Presidential opponent may just be the person staring back at her in the mirror.

DOVE VS. HAWK

Hillary was elected to the United States Senate, thanks in part to strong support from anti-war liberals who believed that she shared their views. But in October of 2002, Clinton voted to give George W. Bush authorization to invade Iraq. Later, during her 2008 run for the White House, Hillary’s supporters gave her a pass on Iraq because she had cast her vote based on false information provided to her about the presence of WMDs.

Nevertheless, Senator Barack Obama positioned himself as the peace candidate and edged out Hillary for the nomination. Ironically, once he was elected, Mr. Obama morphed into a major hawk, ordering the invasion of seven different countries in his first six years in office, and his Secretary of State supported him at every turn. The Democratic base must now decide which Hillary to believe when it comes to use of the military.

OSAMA BIN LADEN VS. BENGHAZI

Speaking of the military, Hillary had no problem supporting Obama’s use of Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden. That’s because Osama bin Laden was the number one terrorist in the world and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. For whatever reason, though, she was not as quick to deploy troops to rescue the diplomatic compound at Benghazi, which was attacked by Islamic extremists. Hillary’s base might not blame her for Benghazi, but Republicans do, so she’ll have to better define and explain herself to moderates and independents if she wants to win next Fall.

TRANSPARENCY

Hillary’s credibility has been in question with the voting public ever since Whitewater. Later, her sincerity was questioned when she stayed married to a serial cheater, presumably just so she could remain near the seat of power and perks. Last year her believability was an issue when she said that she and Bill were broke when they left office. And just last month, her commitment to transparency took a hit when it was revealed that she sent most of her emails on a private account while serving as Secretary of State. Taken separately, these issues wouldn’t be a problem for Mrs. Clinton, but taken together, they could hurt her in the general election.

If Hillary can decide which Hillary she is, and convince voters to buy into it, then she will become our Nation’s first female President. If not, then she will have denied herself and her gender a shot at breaking an important glass ceiling. We everyday Americans are waiting to see which way it goes. !

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).

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