Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The New Hillary
--David Gergen, Former Presidential Advisor

Was the Clinton campaign listening to AC 360 last week when Joe Klein of Time Magazine memorably observed that in the Des Moines Register debate, she no longer seemed to be speaking from her diaphragm but through her nose, making her sound harsh and tense? Maybe, because we were hearing a completely different Hillary on the show last night.

As Anderson pointed out, she used the word "change" over a dozen times in a new sound bite from Iowa. But it was not just her language that changed -- her voice changed so much that she almost seemed a different person. She was soft spoken, relaxed, and very warm -- she sounded like a mother reading a bedtime story to her child.

Don't underestimate how important a voice is for a presidential candidate. Voters know that the person who is in the Oval Office will also be in their living rooms for the next four years. And they don't want to hear someone whose voice grates or annoys. Where this new campaign to soften up Hillary will work -- and whether she can keep her new voice -- remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that Bill and Hillary have decided she must reach people's hearts as well as their heads.
Posted By CNN: 1:54 PM ET
  9 Comments
Well to touch mine or many other's heads or hearts Hillary has a LONG, LONG way to go!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 2:42 PM ET
Hillary's "new" voice was definitely evident in the piece that aired on 360, but having suffered through the less-than dulcet tones of the current President over the years, even Hillary's "old" voice is an improvement.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, Vacaville, CA : 3:37 PM ET
Mr. Gergen
You are the expert, but it just seems to me that if Hillary changes her voice to garner more votes, she is not being herself. Hillary is trying to be something she is not. It seems to me that Hillary should use her natural voice regardless to what it sounds like. How is she going to remember to use a nasal sound every time she does a speech that will be televised for about eight years straight? Somethings seems so wrong with that.

We need a candidate who is comfortable in their own skin and who can deliver in changing this country for the better.

Madeliene
Posted By Anonymous Madeliene; Atlanta, Georgia : 3:46 PM ET
David - if voters went on voice along, Fred Thompson would be a shoo-in. He won my heart with these immortal words: "Call for backup - we're going back to the ticktock to get the binky."

hey, maybe he could do voiceover for 360?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:02 PM ET
David/AC360:
Do we really want a woman in her lullaby voice talking to the American people about the bombing in the Middle East?

I have been a judge at high school debates and have never found that the female debaters were less effective because they didn't use a softer, gentler feminine voice to emphasize the genocide in Darfur.

Some say Hillary Clinton's voice is like listening to someone take fingernails to a blackboard. I disagree. As a candidate she is facing very serious issues if she reaches the presidency. I could care less what her voice sounds like.

Of course as long as she doesn't sound like Ross Perot.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 4:20 PM ET
I have never witnessed or read so much pettiness, hatred, jealousy, trival, unfairness, envy, double-standardness,etc. etc. and so on regarding Senator Clinton in my entire life observing political figures and elections. Everyone is talking about Mrs. Clinton. They comment on her face, walk, talk, gestures, mother, daughter, husband, friends and even her laugh! Boy, is she getting a lot of attention from the newspersons, the average persons, the men, Republicans, Democrats, enemies etc.etc.etc......! Why all the attention on a mere woman that cannot win, people do not like, has no real experience, is cold-blooded, is ambitious, can speak good English (not like the present President) has to have her husband campaign for her (like the wives do for their husbands!!!) because she's a helpless female candidate running for President of this country! All of the limelight for that woman is whatI have heard Senator Clinton called on a national news channel by a so-called newsperson on MSNBC only a couple of days ago. What will "she" be called when "she" becomes the President?????
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 4:34 PM ET
I agree that Hiliary needs to be herself. I don't need a president with a pleasing voice. I need a person who can stand up to anyone and anything in this world (and quite honestly, I do believe she can do that best out of everyone the Democratic Party has to offer right now). Her image makeover people need to let her do her thing. Hiliary Clinton hasn't gotten where she is because she's this docile creature. She's gotten where she is because she had the guts to do and be what she needed to achieve what she has. I may not agree with her politics, but I respect the heck out of her as a woman. I think her people are missing that point; she has earned the respect of many because of her life's path.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Berwick, LA : 5:10 PM ET
Regardless of what voice she uses, she has a good command of the English language - something our current President seems to lack at times. She also has the brains and the experience to do the job. What impressed me about her change sound bite was that it felt so intimate - like she was talking to each person in the room individually. It was a nice change from the rhetoric of some of the other candidates who remind me of a tent revival preacher preaching hell and brimstone to the masses.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 9:13 PM ET
Do they have no shame! Bill and Hillary had their time in the white house and abused it. She was disrespected and deceived by Bill and Bush right in the white house. She didn't have what it took to keep bill from disrespecting her in her home as a wife but now she wants to run our country? Whats wrong with that picture?
Posted By Anonymous sugarplum : 10:47 PM ET
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