Keeping an eye on Clinton

KEEPING AN EYE ON CLINTON…. Though she came up just short of winning the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton remains a dominant figure in politics and someone the media follows closely.

That said, I find reports like this kind of odd.

She’s the most important political figure not on the stage Wednesday in the final presidential debate, yet Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been mentioned just once in the first three presidential and vice-presidential debates. […]

A month ago, Mrs. Clinton’s blue-collar supporters were considered the key to Mr. McCain’s path to victory, and he was making active, public efforts to court them. That has receded, with the Republican mentioning her just once, in the first debate, praising her efforts to work on nuclear power. Mr. Obama has not mentioned her, nor did his running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden. Jr., or Mr. McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

I’m not sure why this is supposed to be significant. There are plenty of key political figures; some have been mentioned during the debates, others not. So?

It seems the Washington Times report wants us to believe that Clinton supporters are still on the fence, so the candidates should be mentioning her more during the debates in order win them over. But this is kind of silly. For one thing, debate references are hardly an effective way to do campaign outreach. For another, there’s ample evidence that the vast majority of voters who supported Clinton during the Democratic primaries now support the candidate Clinton endorsed and campaigns in support of.

Eric Boehlert added, “Maybe she hasn’t been mentioned because only the press, still hunting for campaign trail drama, is still obsessing over the Clintons.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.