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The Wonder of Booze: Clinton’s use of alcohol in efforts to improve her character May 19, 2008

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Continuing a long tradition of incorporating alcohol into politics, Sen. Hillary Clinton has been seen on at least a few occasions of tossing back drinks just like one of the guys.  While in Indiana recently for the primary that she eventually won, Clinton was spotted at Bronko’s Restaurant grabbing a beer when she accepted a shot of Crown Royal from the bartender.  Sipping the shot with fellow patrons, Clinton was attacked by Obama for demonstrating a willingness to do or say anything to be president.  A clip of the episode may be seen below:

The Indiana incident, however, was not Clinton’s first public drinking episode.  Back in 2006, there were numerous rumors that Hillary, while on a Congressional trip to Estonia, engaged in a drinking contest with Senator John McCain.  Afterwards, the two worked closely together on several bills, and were seen as the front runners in the 2008 contest.  Citing the event, Clinton staffer Terry Mcauliffe claimed that the libations gave Hillary appeal to the working class: 

Despite that the McCain-Clinton vodka contest is rumored to be pure fiction, Hillary’s efforts to be more attractive to voters raises some interesting questions…

Discussion Questions:

1.  Do you think that Clinton’s drinking was an intentionally strategic political move?

2.  How does Clinton’s drinking alter her public image?  How was she viewed before all of this, and how did her character apparently change?

3.  Assuming that Clinton was being strategic, to whom would her drinking appeal?  That is, which part of the electorate might find Hillary a stronger candidate after her boozing?

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