Jim Lehrer talks to Mark Shields and Paul Gigot about Hillary Clinton, her image and her impact.
JIM LEHRER: Some further night two preview words now from our regular analysis Team of Shields & Gigot, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, "Wall Street Journal" columnist Paul Gigot. Mark, here we are at night two of this convention. What is at stake for the Democrats?
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Well, it’s interesting, Jim. I think it is Hillary Rodham Clinton night to a great degree, whether it’s intended to be or not; that’s where the spotlight is falling. You have Evan Bayh, Governor of Indiana, very attractive and appealing, just interviewed by Margaret, is the keynoter, but the real story that, that lightning rod of controversy, of much criticism, uh, who has an enormous constituency in this hall, I mean, she is the favorite. There is more intensity and passion in support of her probably than there is in favor of her husband. But--
JIM LEHRER: Now, explain that.
MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think--I think it was touched upon in the, in the piece that Charlayne did where we were talking about John Breaux raised it. Women respond to a woman in public life being attacked by men. And it’s something that male candidates, male politicians, have not mastered.
There’s a sense that she’s been attacked because she is a professional woman, and they have rallied to her support, to her side, they being younger, professional women, especially those who work outside their home, who have a family, who have a child, as well as those who don’t. So I think this is a woman who was first introduced to the nation in 1992 as a character witness for her husband, then beleaguered with charges--
JIM LEHRER: The famous "60 Minutes"--
MARK SHIELDS: --of marital problems and infidelity, and she--
JIM LEHRER: --interview.
MARK SHIELDS: --was his character witness. And now what’s fascinating, this is her first prime time appearance, and Margaret, Margaret Truman once said, “It’s the second hardest job in America, being First Lady,” and I think Hillary Clinton would agree with that.
JIM LEHRER: Paul.
PAUL GIGOT, Wall Street Journal: I think she’s beloved in this fall for a little different reason, which is that she’s seen as somebody who really has core beliefs. She’s a keeper of the flame, if you will. She’s, her President, her husband, the President, is, is loved here because he’s a successful politician. He’s skillful. But there’s not a lot of firm conviction that he is really at his core necessarily one of them. With her, they believe she is. I mean, she fought hard for the health care bill. She was seen early on, even in 1992, as the liberal of the two of them, and somebody who in this delegates of liberations really liked.
Uh, but I think what you’re going to see is she’s going to try to soften that image a bit. She’s going to try to show that she’s an advocate of children, a mother, a partner of the President, not the co-President, and try to forget about the health care early problems and Whitewater and all of that, and more as a traditional First Lady, frankly.
JIM LEHRER: It’s interesting, though, isn’t it, Paul, that Andy Kohut said and all of the records, all of the history shows that, that few votes are cast because--or positively or negatively because of a First Lady, but this one--this First Lady does seem to matter. Now whether or not it’s going to matter on election day is something else.
PAUL GIGOT: In the end, she probably will matter a lot less than most people think because they do cast votes for the President, but if any First Lady is going to matter, this one might be the one.
JIM LEHRER: All right. We will see what happens later this evening.