Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Flip-flop or just flop?
Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped, despite her best efforts to play a prevent defense while enjoying frontrunner status. Will it hurt her in the polls or fundraising while she continues to race away from the pack? Probably not. Is it worse than the slips that many other candidates make? Not really.

But for a campaign that clearly prides itself on sweating the details, this is an embarrassing misstep.

Less than two weeks ago, speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus, she said she would like to give every baby born in America $5,000 to be used for education or maybe a new home one day. The critics howled. Her plan would cost $20 billion a year, and she appeared to have no idea how to pay for it. Republicans started beating the drum: Here come the "Tax and Spend Democrats."

Today, she threw out the baby and the bathwater. She's abandoned the idea, and says she never meant it as a policy plan anyway.

Still, what do you think: Was this an honest mistake, a miscalculation, or, as her opponents have suggested, an ill-conceived stab at pandering?

-- Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 5:44 PM ET
  16 Comments
Hey...they all flip flop on everything!! So Hillary saying one thing and then taking it back is nothing new!! Don't you get that by now!? All of them lie! LOL The trick is picking the one that lies the least!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 5:53 PM ET
Of course, it was pandering. It's what all political candidates do.

The Republicans have a lot of nerve attacking Hillary Clinton for this one moment, when the top three Republican candidates (Romney, Guiliani and Thompson) are all quickly running away from their more liberal political past.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 7:37 PM ET
Tom,

Sounds like Hilary was thinking out loud. A bad habit.

I'd love to get $5,000. I start a vacation savings account to be used the next campaign season. Take a get-away from politcal sound bites.

Have a good evening.
Posted By Kay Temple, TX : 7:43 PM ET
Actually, I think Hillary was quite clever. This "idea" came right after Bush vetoed the S-CHIP bill. You know the one that would provide children with health care coverage. I think Hillary was smart enough to know the Republicans would jump up and down on her idea, only proving her point, that Republicans don't care what will happen to the children in this country, especially since they will be saddled with much of the debt Bush has created with the on-going war in Iraq.

Hillary played them like a fiddle!
Posted By Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 7:49 PM ET
Tom,

Let's just accept Hillary's desire to give every child $5,000 at face value. Have you never wished or wanted to do something that you knew you could never afford to do?

I "wish" I could rid us of all inept, deceitful and greedy government, from state to country, but that isn't going to happen, is it?

If that's the worst thing you could find about Hillary, I'd say we were lucky to have her.

Never forget what we have now!

Maggie
Posted By Maggie, GVMO : 8:02 PM ET
Tom,

When Hillary first proposed the $5,000 per baby idea I thought it belonged in 360's "What Were They Thinking?" segment. I still don't know what she was thinking, but I'm glad she took it back. I'm afraid we're going to hear a lot more preposterous ideas before this election is finally over!

Barbara, Culver City, CA
Posted By Barbara in Culver City, CA : 8:05 PM ET
What do you expect? It's just par for the course Tom!
Posted By Jess, Paris, KY : 8:28 PM ET
Dear Tom,

I don't understand why there is a sharp line drawn between democrats and republicans. Hillary Clinton stood as a First Lady next to her democrat hub Bill Clinton, supporting his visions.

From the moment she showed her nervous laughs afew weeks ago, I already suspected that she was on a verge of nervous breakdown with her co-democrat candidates.

At least the republican vision shows a more structured frame well developed throughout history, while the democratic vision -the other democrats offer- is sort of chaotic and scary in my opinion.

No, she ain't flip flopping, Bro!
Posted By Anonymous : 9:06 PM ET
Maybe what she said should just be taken for what it is, a nice idea. While her numbers may be unreasonable, the idea isn't a long shot. In 2005 Britain started handing out vouchers that were worth hundreds of dollars each to parents with children born after September 1, 2002. Take it for what it is, a nice thought and something that may be do-able in a lesser amount, rather than jumping on the bash-her-for-it bandwagon.
Posted By j. meehan : 9:10 PM ET
Now Tom,

You know a woman can change her mind about anything she wants to at any time. Seriously, I think the key is she said "would like" and not "will." I believe that she did not mean it as a policy proposal. However, this shows how nowadays you can't say anything in an offhand way and expect it not to come back and haunt you. The WWII saying "loose lips sink ships" applies today. Miz Hillary better be more careful or she will have lots of 'splaining to do. So no this is not a flip flop, but a faux pax. And no, I am not necessarily a Hillary supporter, yet. I am still pondering.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 9:12 PM ET
Hilary is just trying to maintain her front-runner status. She's telling us what we want to hear, however, she doesn't have any realistic plans of action to back up her ideas. Unfortunately for her, the Republican's realize this, and hopefully, so do most Americans. If she would be true to herself and stop trying so hard to stay on top, she could win the election.
Posted By Dan : 9:33 PM ET
Take it for what it is, a nice thought. However, it may also do more harm than good. More money in the bank will just be more money to spend. Money given COULD be used towards college or a home, but how could you regulate that? Who is to say that the money given wouldn't just be spent irresponsibly in the end?
Posted By j.meehan : 9:42 PM ET
Politicians flip flop all the time - at least Hilary publicly and specifically retracted that statement so that some people think one thing and others something else. To have someone who shows the integrity to admit when something is a bad idea or wrong would sure be a welcome change from an administration that will never admit when they are wrong.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 10:19 PM ET
I think Mrs Clinton will come to see crystal clear that she will never get everyone to agree with her. I guess I'd like to know if she's willing to stick to her decisions or flip flop on the rise and fall of polls. I'm unsure of that answer right now.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 10:23 PM ET
Why didn't she say from the 200 billion George Bush plans spend in Iraq next year ??

You guys need to get civilized - we have health care for everyone in Canada and last I checked per capata debt is larger in the US.
Posted By Pete : 2:03 AM ET
It sounds like she was voicing wishful thinking that hadn't yet been fully thought out.

Personally, I'd rather my taxes went to that objective rather than spending it on invasions of other countries... $20 billion a year is chump change compared to war.
Posted By Chessie : 6:40 AM ET
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