'Dull' v. 'Compelling' at NH Gym

Leading Dems strike very different tones
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 3:08 PM CST

(Newser) – The two leading Democratic lights took the same New Hampshire stage on successive days this weekend but were “worlds apart,” says Politico's Roger Simon in a campaign snapshot taken at one of the tensest moments in recent party history. Speaking at Nashua High School Saturday, Barack Obama was “compelling, almost mesmerizing” in half an hour of issue-free sermon, while Hillary Clinton was “almost mind-numbing” in a 1.5-hour Q&A on policy specifics Sunday.

Clinton's message is “Dull is a sign of competence,” and her handlers answer Obama’s single-syllable campaign slogan—“Hope”—with one word of their own: “Ready.” “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose,” Clinton said, quoting Mario Cuomo. But “Can you win on dull?” Simon asks. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank also comments on Clinton’s dismal Nashua reception after watching her empty the room.