Clinton On Palin's Selection: "It's A Great Accomplishment"

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Anyone wanting a Hillary vs. Sarah smackdown might be in for a letdown. First, Sarah Palin launched her Republican vice presidential campaign with praise for the strides Hillary Rodham Clinton made in her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Monday, Clinton spoke in kind.

"It is a great accomplishment," Clinton said of Palin's selection as the GOP's first female running mate. Clinton told a rally of 500 that the election will be decided on issues, not the historical significance of the candidates, and Democrat Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden bring more to the table than the Republican ticket.

"Women as well as men make their decisions after they weigh the evidence," Clinton said. "As Americans go into that voting booth, what they have to ask themselves is not so much who am I for, as who is for me? And I don't think it's an even close question that we have the ticket that is going to do the best job in restoring the American promise."

About the most she'd say about Palin is that she and Republican presidential candidate John McCain "are not the change that we need."

Former Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson is dismissing any notion the Obama campaign would dispatch Clinton to take on Palin, as much as he thinks some people would revel in seeing the two strong women butt heads.

"Don't hold your breath," he wrote in his New Republic blog. "Clinton-Palin might drive ratings and sell magazines, but it wouldn't be good for the Democratic Party, or the cause of women's rights. Some might enjoy the spectacle, but don't expect Hillary Clinton to play along."

Clinton said: "I didn't run because I was a woman but I was very conscious of the fact that my campaign meant a lot to so many, and I appreciate that. But this election is about the two parties, and the two presidential nominees, where they stand, what they would do, what our country needs right now."

And she said the Democratic ticket is the one that "will fight to revitalize the economy and create jobs and make college affordable and enable hardworking Americans to be able to afford both a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk."

It was Clinton's second campaign swing through Florida since she conceded the Democratic primary to Obama. She told supporters it will be a critical state in November, and one that has been harder hit than most by unemployment and home foreclosures.

She later addressed nearly 1,600 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which endorsed her last year. Clinton asked them to help Obama now.

So far polls have found few signs that women who backed Clinton in the primary would cross over to vote Republican in large numbers. Even so, Palin has been the talk of the presidential campaign for a week and the Obama campaign has seemed unsure what to do about her.

Now commenting from the sidelines, Wolfson said each day the Democrats focus on Palin is a day they are not driving home the message that McCain just represents four more years of President Bush.

He warned against giving in to "an obsession in our popular culture with the 'cat fight,' an offensive term that describes the spectacle of two well-known women fighting with one another."

At least one Clinton supporter tried instigating that fight during a Tampa rally later Monday, interrupting her speech with a shout of "Tell us about Palin!"

Clinton didn't take the bait.

"You know what? I don't think that's what this election is about. This election is about the differences between us and the Republican Party," she said to cheers from the crowd of more than 1,000. "Anybody who believes that the Republicans, whoever they are, can fix the mess they created probably believes that the iceberg could have saved the Titanic."

At a news conference afterward, she took a slight jab at Republicans for not putting a woman on the ticket sooner.

"The Democrats did it in 1984," she said, referring to Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale's running mate. "It took a while, but the Republicans got around to doing it this year. And I think that's a great milestone for us as a nation, but that's not the determinant as to who should be our president."

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  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 11, 2008 at 07:10 AM
    I agree with Dee in that over the past two years, we have seen the decline of the economy. I did the math. Energy has gone up due to pandering by the DNC controlled house and congress. Pelosi wants to save the planet, remember? The war, despite the actions of both houses, is now showing great leaps in peace. Troops are now shifting to Afganistan. If you don't understand the politics of war research it. Al Quaeda is now nearly dead in Iraq. So, with all the terrible, decline of the US, who really is the problem? The house and senate. That is where you need real "change". Liberals get a grip and do some research on facts instead of party rhetoric. The Sheep goes bbaaaahhhhhhh.
  • by Red State Location: Washington Co. on Sep 10, 2008 at 06:45 AM
    I have to agree with those who say that women who would have voted for Hillary based on ideology will not vote for Palin. However, I think there are a number of women who just want to vote for a woman. Yes, they'd prefer a liberal woman, but at least it's a woman and they can always hope to do better next time, right? I think what Palin has done is excite a part of the Republican base, which includes a lot of middle-aged, white women, to get involved in this election. Until she came along, they really didn't have a horse in this race. Now they see someone speaking with integrity about things they can relate to on a daily basis. Someone who understands the damands of raising a family and a keeping a job, understands small businesses because she's run them, understands cities and small towns because she's governed them both. She's plain spoken and hard working and not afraid to stand up for what is right, like most Americans, and they connect with her because of that.
  • by VBush Location: MHCY on Sep 10, 2008 at 04:51 AM
    Anonymous, you should watch some real news and not make statements based on John Stewart's cute little editing jobs designed to entertain you.
  • by POW's WIFE on Sep 9, 2008 at 02:03 PM
    Dee, The Democrats have been in control of congress for about two years before that the Republicans were in charge of congress. Dee Bush has been the Whitehouse for eight years. Go look it up for your self, I am sick of hearing about McBush being a POW thousands of men have been POW's he needs to get over it, we are.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 9, 2008 at 12:33 PM
    Dee, I know McCain fought and almost died for this country, but so have MANY. It also sounds like McCain/Palin are saying anything to get votes. What kind of CHANGE is McCain talking about? His address at the RNC was almost exactly Bush's address. They tell it like it is alright, just like Bush. The Republicans have run this country in the ground, they are not going to dig us out.
  • by Dee Location: WayCo on Sep 9, 2008 at 10:12 AM
    The mess that the Republicans made with the blessings of a majority controlled Democratic congress!!!!! This is SOOOOO a "historically significant" presidential campaign. EVERY candidate has voted on issues that were not beneficial to ALL Americans. But let's remember that we are talking about politicians... they will say ANYTHING to get the vote. We just have to smart enough to see through the bull and see the big picture. Obama talks about CHANGE all the time, but what kind of change? Any specifics would be good. He dances around questions with liberal retoric and side stepping and doesn't get down to the heart of the issue. It's gonna be a change alright! And not for the better. At least McCain & Palin tell it like it is. If you want to put your trust in someone who has only "organized community functions" and never had any real responsibilities, then vote for Obama. If you want someone who has fought & almost died for your freedoms, then vote for McCain.
  • by TRUCKER Location: NC on Sep 9, 2008 at 08:43 AM
    To Anonymous, amen lady I agree with you 1000%
  • by Anonymous on Sep 9, 2008 at 07:09 AM
    :) I hope you are right. Polls are saying middle aged white women are turning to McCain/Palin. I'd like to think we are smarter than that. It seems like everyone just jumped on board as soon as he picked her, not looking at who she is or what she stands for. Just that she's a woman. Well I just want to say I'm a middle aged white woman and I'm voting Obama. I don't trust McCain or Palin at all.
  • by : ) on Sep 9, 2008 at 05:18 AM
    Hillary Clinton will have most of her votes voted for Obama.
  • by @@@ on Sep 9, 2008 at 05:12 AM
    I never said a thing to you VBush or Cactus.
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