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It’s 3 a.m. It Must Be Hillary

Hillary Clinton is running a new ad in Texas arguing that the world’s too safe to trust to Barack Obama.

“It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep,” the announcer says. “But there’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing — something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.”

Jason Zengerle wonders “if McCain can just buy the first 25 seconds of it from her and then recut the ending so he can use it in the general election.”

It’s certainly a more effective ad for someone what actually does know the military. Indeed, even knowing it was a Clinton ad the whole time I was watching it, I laughed when I got to the end and saw Hillary on the phone. The idea that I would find it comforting to have Hillary Clinton answering the Hot Line at 3 a.m. was quite literally laugh-out-loud funny.

Barack Obama, however, is not amused. His campaign has issued a terse statement:

I don’t think these ads will work this time because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is, what kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone. In fact, we have had a red phone moment; it was the decision to invade Iraq.

Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer. I stood up and I said that a war in Iraq would be unwise. It cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. I said that it would distract us from the real threat that we face, and that we should take the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That’s the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation.

I will never see the threat of terrorism as a way to scare up votes, because it’s a threat that should rally the country around our common enemies. That is the judgment we need at 3:00 a.m., and that’s the judgment that I am running for as president of the United States of America.

Regardless, the title and surreal quality of the ad immediately brought to mind the Matchbox 20 song of the same title.

She say it’s cold outside and she hands me my raincoat
She’s always worried about things like that
She says it’s all gonna end and it might as well be my fault
And she only sleeps when it’s raining
And she screams and her voice is straining

[chorus]

She says baby
It’s 3 am I must be lonely
When she says baby
Well I can’t help but be scared of it all sometimes
Says the rain’s gonna wash away I believe it

She’s got a little bit of something, God it’s better than nothing
And in her color portrait world she believes that she’s got it all
She swears the moon don’t hang quite as high as it used to
And she only sleeps when it’s raining
And she screams and her voice is straining

[chorus]

She believes that life is made up of all that you’re used to
And the clock on the wall has been stuck at three for days, and days
She thinks that happiness is a mat that sits on her doorway
But outside it’s stopped raining

[chorus]

Shudder.

UPDATE (Alex Knapp): The Obama campaign has already issued a response ad:

That’s a pretty effective ad response, too, I might add, because it not only highlights one of Obama’s best election assets (he opposed the Iraq War), but it also highlights his very good work in helping to contain nuclear proliferation.

(link via Oliver Willis)

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. So what’s the new HRC campaign slogan ?

    Vote for me, or your children will die.

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  2. jabberwock says:

    As a child of the 60′s…I cringe at what life in America has become
    Our generation was going to change the world
    We did…
    In the fruitless quest for more, we raised two generations that care for no one but themselves
    I’m not sure Barrack is the answer…I know that Hillary isn’t

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  3. What I found funny was the visual of Hillary answering the phone all dressed up at 3am, as if she was literally going to be manning the phones at the WH, ready to take the call whenever necessary.

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  4. JKB says:

    “I stood up and I said that a war in Iraq would be unwise.”

    Where did Obama stand up? His kitchen? Maybe a far lefty rally?

    “That’s the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation.”

    Invading Iraq is the most important foreign policy decision for his generation? What about Reagan’s decision to take a strong stand that toppled communism? Or the decision to throw Hussein out of Kuwait? Or to recognize former Soviet satellite states as free and independent countries? Or to reunite Germany?

    Invading Iraq was an important decision but let’s not get carried away. Perhaps he meant the most challenging or the most controversial? Or the most courageous?

    In any case, I like the ad, it makes me want to vote for McCain. Seeing Hillary at the end scared the bejesus out of me

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  5. anjin-san says:

    Obama’s campaing already has a response:

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  6. anjin-san says:

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  7. anjin-san says:

    Guess I can’t past a embed a object in here, go to:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=879o1_pxO0c&eurl=http://www.dailykos.com/

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  8. legion says:

    After watching the last 8 years of Republican electoral slime, negative campaigning, and hate-and fear-mongering, two things are clear:

    - Obama and his staff have learned to respond.
    - Hillary and her team have learned to imitate.

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  9. Beldar says:

    Great post, Dr. Joyner.

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  10. Because when the world’s fate hangs in the balance in 2009, you want to make sure you only have one hand free as you grab a 20th century handset to answer that call.

    For the Childrenâ„¢.

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  11. GenerationObama says:

    “That’s the judgment I made on the most important foreign policy decision of our generation.”

    Invading Iraq is the most important foreign policy decision for his generation? What about Reagan’s decision to take a strong stand that toppled communism? Or the decision to throw Hussein out of Kuwait? Or to recognize former Soviet satellite states as free and independent countries? Or to reunite Germany?

    Those decisions were made by Reagan and Bush I. What year were they born? 1911 and 1924.

    What year was Obama born? 1961.

    He was at most 30 when those decisions were made Reagan’s old enough to be Obama’s grandfather — and Bush at least a great uncle —

    those decisions and battle’s were the previous generation’s battles –

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  12. Richard Gardner says:

    Since it is 3 AM for you, but not for me (damn East Coast BIGOTS), I’m laughing.

    As for the phones, I remember the stories about how Bill Clinton’s folks fired all the appointees in the White House upon arrival, then couldn’t figure out the switchboard for several days (rest assured, the White House Communications Office made sure the hot lines worked to SAC).

    Or as President Franklin Pierce stated, “after the White House what is there to do but drink?” In this case, it is another run for the Presidency.

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  13. BJohnson says:

    Besides the fact that the Matchbox 20 song, 3AM, is an autobiographical song written about a young boy dealing with his mother’s cancer and really h as no relevance to this campaign ad, your article is correct in pointing out that having Hilary answer the phone (as if she would be) is ridiculous if she thinks we find that comforting. I am so tired of her positioning herself as someone familiar with world leaders and the military as if a few years as a First Lady and a few years as a senator give her any sort of edge in judgement or experience. Let’s not forget that her husband had NO foreign policy experience before he journeyed from governor of Arkansas to the White House. Frankly, I’d find it a lot more comforting to have someone like Barack Obama fielding the calls in a time of global trouble. I think he garners a lot more respect around the world than Ms. Clinton, despite “all” her experience.

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  14. Warning: Global warming could make it hard to fly…

    At first, I thought it was a practical joke. A well-respected congressman, who represents the Boston area, issues a press release warning that someday airports will be underwater — as a result of global warming. That will make it tough……

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