The New York Times to Hillary: Don’t Stop Believin’

By Staff
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Posted 2/25/2008
Updated 2/26/2008

On Friday, I peeked beneath the sheets of the New York Times‘ love affair with Hillary Clinton. This weekend, the gray lady took it up a notch.

Let’s compare the Sunday headlines:

A1: “Somber Clinton Soldiers On as the Horizon Darkens” [illustrated by gigantic presidentially stoic image of Clinton soldiering on]

Inside, on the jump: “On Center Stage, a Candidate Letting His Confidence Show” [illustrated by said candidate smiling while leaving the stage at a press conference]

Reporter Michael Powell diagnoses the sinister truth behind Obama’s smile:

A touch of cockiness is discernable in his manner now; he is like a gambler convinced his every dice roll will come up double sixes.

Then, like a jilted reporter, Powell goes on to call Obama an “elusive starlet” and–no kidding–“a tease” when it comes to spending quality time with the press.

Meanwhile, reporter Patrick Healy warns readers/voters that the Clinton campaign has got the blues. Some staffers have even taken to turning off their Blackberrys after 9 p.m. and hitting the bottle (Why, oh why, weren’t they getting sauced before? $1,200 on donuts, but no booze? Talk about campaign strategy problems.)

Despite it all, Healy reassures, Hillary’s hanging in there:

Mrs. Clinton has, though, increasingly sought to keep her fate in perspective. In her debate in Texas on Thursday with Mr. Obama, she delivered what some viewers saw as a valedictory–but what she said was a simple expression from the heart–when she spoke warmly about the race and her rival.

“I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored,” she said. “And you know, whatever happens, we’re going to be fine.”

Though the campaign has since changed its tune, the piece signs off with some loving lines from Clinton’s recently fired campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle:

“Hillary is incredibly tough–she grew up with two brothers and a strong father in the Midwest, so she knows a challenge… She has gone through so much, where someone like me would hide under the covers. But she gets up. She works. She tries.”

She attacks.

Hannah Lobel

UPDATE: Though I’d say Healy’s story read like a rallying warning to Hillary supporters, her people disagree. And, according to the Huffington Post, they’re peeved that the paper won’t print a letter of objection from supporters–what editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal rightly calls a “press release.”

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