Clinton Calls Next President ‘He’

Hillary Clinton made a wee gaffe campaigning in West Virginia yesterday, which London Telegraph correspondent Alex Spillius is taking as a sign she’s about to drop out.

Speaking to voters in the Appalachian state, she said: “All the kitchen table issues that everybody talks to me about are ones that the next president can actually do something about, if he actually cares about it.” Realising her faux pas, she added: “More likely if she cares about it!”

Obviously, not much here. It’s rather natural to refer to presidents as “he,” given each of the 42 inhabitants of the office has in fact been a man. For that matter, Hillary’s old enough to have been trained in grammar in the days when “he” was considered gender neutral when referring to hypotheticals.

The rest of Spillius’ argument is more persuasive:

Her financial problems, if nothing else, may force her to bow out after ending on a high note in West Virginia, where she is expected to beat Senator Barack Obama by a landslide in Tuesday’s primary contest.

[…]

Though Mrs Clinton continues to make her case as the best next president of the US, she has noticeably softened her tone on Mr Obama in the past few days, after weeks of direct attacks on his readiness for the White House. She also much less regularly peppers her speeches with the phrase “When I am president…” – another sign that her inner conviction is fading.

We shall see. I’m still not convinced that she’ll bow out gracefully.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Gracefully is in the eye of the beholder. In my view bowing out gracefully means “before the Pennsylvania primary”, or, in other words, the Good Ship Gracefully has already sailed. To others it may well mean before the convention and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

    However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if she took her case to the courts and the Clinton campaign continued after the Democratic Convention had already anointed Barack Obama as the candidate.

  2. georgia says:

    She was probably referring to Bill. It is known that victims frequently continue adoration for the perpetrating abusive spouse.She proves more each day that they carry far too much baggage & penchant for deceit to be anywhere near the White House again.

  3. Michael says:

    For that matter, Hillary’s old enough to have been trained in grammar in the days when “he” was considered gender neutral when referring to hypotheticals.

    When did that stop being taught?

  4. Michael says:

    Her financial problems, if nothing else, may force her to bow out after ending on a high note in West Virginia, where she is expected to beat Senator Barack Obama by a landslide in Tuesday’s primary contest.

    If that’s the case, I’d expect her to be spending far less in WV, so as to minimize the amount of debt she has when she drops out. Does anybody know what she’s been spending there so far?

  5. yetanotherjohn says:

    Just wait until she goes on to the 57th state primary.

  6. Pug says:

    If that’s the case, I’d expect her to be spending far less in WV

    I think West Virginia is not an expensive state to campaign in as it has small media markets. Neither, for that matter, are Kentucky (though Cincinnati is probably a little pricey) and Oregon.

    I think she goes on through the last primary. It’s only two more weeks or so. After that, she probably suspends her campaign. There is also the matter of the rules committee meeting on May 31st that will consider Michigan and Florida.

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    I wonder if there are financial issues that would encourage her to stay in the contest. Is anyone conversant enough with federal election law to comment on Sen. Clinton’s fundraising? Is it possible that she’ll go less in debt if she stays ’til the bitter end than if she quits now?