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Fatimah Ali | Hillary on the ropes

THE UNEXPECTED win of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee in Iowa has Hillary Clinton scrambling to recover in New Hampshire. She claims she's still standing tall in the leadership position, but her eyes show fear. As expected, she's taking the low road and spent her weekend blasting front-runner Obama, not touting her own accomplishments.

THE UNEXPECTED win of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee in Iowa has Hillary Clinton scrambling to recover in New Hampshire. She claims she's still standing tall in the leadership position, but her eyes show fear. As expected, she's taking the low road and spent her weekend blasting front-runner Obama, not touting her own accomplishments.

Now that the gloves are off and Hillary is swinging wildly like a fighter who's taken one punch too many, she and her Bill need to learn a few things about hand-to-hand combat. Even streetfighters know about protocol. People who fight dirty should never let their guard down because that often-fatal jab will come when they least expect it. Sen. Clinton needs to learn that if someone sneaks one in from behind, their opponent probably has a left hook stored up for just the right moment.

As to her claim that she has what it takes to go the distance, I say phooey. You can't have it both ways. You can't point to experience from your years as first lady when your one most important mission of reforming the nation's problem-plagued health-care system was a complete flop.

You can't have a husband by your side who's been captured by cameras hob-nobbing with both Bushes and then claim to distance yourself from a Republican agenda. You can't waffle so blatantly on issues like driver's licenses for immigrants, then turn around and blast your main opponent for being inconsistent.

It's been a long time since Clinton took off her hair band and defended herself against her stupid anti-stay-at-home-moms cookie-baking statement in the early '90s.

Advisers quickly made her change her stride, but ever since, I've never trusted her.

Hillary's smug arrogance makes her an easy target for critics. She carries herself like she's already been anointed the next president. Since she clings so dearly to her years in the White House, I wonder about a lot of things that happened while she was there.

For instance, I want the truth about the afternoon her close friend Vince Foster allegedly took his life in the park. And about the Whitewater scandal, because I never believed the White House spin. What really happened in the plane crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown while contracts were being negotiated for war-torn Afghanistan?

Or how about that telephoto shot taken through a hotel window in Africa of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky fiasco? He was wearing a dashiki, puffing on a cigar and beating an African drum, appearing not to have a care in the world while he visited the mother continent and refused to apologize for slavery!

You probably wonder why I'm bringing up the lurid conspiracy theories of years past, but I really don't trust the Clintons. Beneath the obvious face-lifts and wardrobe makeovers, I just can't help feeling something sinister.

Americans, especially poor ones, should never forget that while former President Clinton was tooting his sax and happily glad-handing black pols, it was under his administration that the White House allowed welfare to be dismantled, a crippling blow to the poor.

I BELIEVE Sen. Obama when he says he's ready to make sweeping changes and help the working class.

But hanging on to Bill Clinton's coattails while claiming to want change is a dangerous strategy for Hillary. We should never forget how Bill slunk out of office in disgrace - and we don't need any more disasters in the White House.

So, while Hillary tries in vain to recover from her failed trip to Iowa, the smart money says that Barack Obama has every tool that he needs to win the White House. But only if Americans are brave enough to denounce racism and elect a black man as president.

The smug Hillary supporters who think she'll recover in New Hampshire and take the fast track to the Democratic nomination had better not blink.

It's no longer going to be an easy ride. *

Fatimah Ali is a regular contributor. E-mail her at fameworksmedia@yahoo.com.

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