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Obama slogan targeted Clinton's character

President Obama's famous “Change We Can Believe In” slogan was explicitly designed to draw a personality contrast with his then-rival Hillary Clinton. The slogan and all other campaign messaging was "intended to frame the argument along the character fault line, and this is where we can and must win this fight," the Obama campaign concluded in a 2007 memo obtained by the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.

“[S]he’s driven by political calculation not conviction, regularly backing away and shifting positions. ... She embodies trench warfare vs. Republicans, and is consumed with beating them rather than unifying the country and building consensus to get things done. She prides herself on working the system, not changing it." Obama would be positioned as "the only authentic ‘remedy’ to what ails Washington and stands in the way of progress," the memo argues.

Obama will have a hard time running on change again as an incumbent, but character will again an issue if either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney becomes the GOP nominee. The Obama campaign has already tried to bracket Mitt Romney as untrustworthy and 'weird.' And Gingrich's marital lapses and congressional reprimand will give the Obama campaign plenty of ammunition.



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