Opinion: Hillary Clinton and a frog analogy


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Campaigning in South Dakota today, Hillary Clinton evoked an aphorism she learned in Arkansas in what Eloise Harper of ABC News reported was a reference to her White House quest: ‘You can’t tell how far a frog will jump until you punch him.’

Make of it what you will; frankly, we haven’t got a clue.

We do know this: The Times’ Louise Roug also was on the road with the Clinton campaign, and she relates that under gray and rainy skies, the candidate gamely stumped the eastern part of the sprawling state.


She greeted breakfast patrons at a diner in Madison (where Dakota State University is located), spoke to mostly older voters around midday at a convention center in Huron (host of the annual South Dakota state air) and wrapped up her trek with a stop at a barn in Watertown (hometown of Terry Redlin, tabbed the nation’s most popular artist eight years running in the 1990s by U.S. Art magazine ... no word on whether he’s endorsed in the presidential race).

On the trail -- and comments about frogs notwithstanding -- she pressed what has evolved into her main argument for Democrats to stop and think hard ...

... about settling on Barack Obama as the party’s nominee -- her contention that she will prove the more electable rival in the general election matchup with John McCain.

In Huron, while saying the presumptive Republican nominee ‘is offering the wrong ideas for America,’ she added, ‘He will be a very formidable candidate [and] that’s why we’ve got to field the stronger candidate.’

And that, she sought to make clear, would be her.

Clinton was disembarking South Dakota tonight. But her husband, the ex-president, takes up where she left off.

Bill Clinton, in typically peripatetic fashion, is scheduled to make eight appearances in the state Friday and Saturday. And he’ll be back for six more stops on Monday (the day before South Dakotans and Montanans cast ballots that wrap up the primary season).

Obama, for his part, will be spending the weekend in the state, holding town hall meetings Saturday in Rapid City and Aberdeen and headlining a rally at Mitchell on Sunday.


The latter event is a sure sign that he doesn’t hold much hope of prevailing in Puerto Rico’s Sunday primary. And the attention each campaign is lavishing of South Dakota is a sure sign that the state is seen as much more competitive than Montana, where Obama is favored.

-- Don Frederick