By Jim Tankersley
Two moments stood out for Hillary Clinton in last night's presidential debate with rival Barack Obama, one a zinger that landed with a thud, and one a heartstring-tugger that drew a standing ovation.
Guess which one Clinton is eager to reprise this morning?
Early today, the New York senator's campaign mass e-mailed a clip of Clinton's debate-ending response to a question about the moment in her life that tested her the most. Clinton began with an apparent nod to her husband's White House infidelity - "Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life" - then continued through stories about the struggles other people share with her on the campaign trail. She concluded: "You know, the hits I've taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country."
Clinton reprised that message in interviews on morning news shows this morning, and she passed on invitations to build on her boo-drawing debate accusation that Obama, because he echoed his supporter Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in a speech, was "the candidate of change you can Xerox."
"For me," Clinton said on NBC's "Today" show, "this election really is about, you know, whether we're going to have an economy that works for everybody again -- we sure haven't the last seven years -- you know, whether we're going to stop the home foreclosure crisis before more families, like the ones I've met throughout Ohio, who are, you know, just devastated because they're losing their homes -- a woman broke down and cried in Cincinnati when I was there last week; you know, the health care challenge and crisis. I mean, this is what motivates me. This is what I care about. And I know we can do so much better. There's no reason why our country would leave so many people in such a state of pain, anxiety and insecurity. And I think it's wrong."
On ABC's "Good Morning America," Clinton said her campaign is about "what happens to the people that I see every day. You know, you come up and grab my arm and say I've got the have healthcare, I don't have it. Or, I don't, you know, know what I'm going to do because I'm losing my home to foreclosure. You know, running for office, especially nationally, gives you such an intimate look with what's going on in people's lives. And it just gets me up every morning and motivates me to try and figure out what I'm going to do to, you know, help people who are trying as hard as they can; I just get so overwhelmed by, you know, the stories that I'm told."
And then there was this exchange, at the end of the "GMA" interview, when host Diane Sawyer launched a question by noting that Clinton had completed 398 days on the campaign trail.
Clinton laughed. "Oh, why is this counting?" she said.
Sawyer responded: "I was just going to say, why is she laughing. But last night, we look up there --"
Clinton cut in. "You have to laugh to keep from crying," she said.