June 4, 2008

From the Front Pages: Hillary Clinton's Historic Campaign

The May 11, 2008, Rapid City Journal called it "the vote of a lifetime." An accompanying photo showed an ailing 88-year-old Florence Steen marking an absentee ballot for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"To a woman born seven months before her gender won the right to vote in August 1920, seeing Clinton's name on a presidential ballot and marking her vote nearby was a dream realized," a longtime South Dakota reporter described Steen's vote.

But little more three weeks before the South Dakota primary, Steen died. Her vote was nullified.

The Rapid City Journal, which shared with readers the once-in-a-lifetime vote, was one among many front pages that have recorded the story of Clinton's roller-coaster campaign for the Democratic nomination for president.

The campaign began in January 2007, when Clinton announced, "I'm in." A year later, the New York senator became the first woman to win a presidential primary.

From January 3 to June 3, primaries and caucuses have brought mastery and missteps, endorsements and defections, delights and disappointments. In the end, the losses outnumbered the wins for Clinton.

Five months of front-page coverage chronicled her history-making campaign:

Jan. 4: Clinton wasn't pictured on Page One of The Des Moines Register, which endorsed her candidacy, after finishing third in the Iowa caucuses.

Jan. 9: While answering a question at a campaign stop in New Hampshire Jan. 7, Clinton showed an emotional side. A win in the state's primary meant a stunning comeback after the Iowa loss. The Daily News of New York asked: "Who's Cryin' Now?"

Jan 21: Clinton's candidacy led The Denver Post to examine "the gender issue." It found women in Colorado liked the idea of a female candidate but had varying opinions of Clinton.

Feb. 7: At a time when the delegate race was about even, The Washington Post reported that Clinton lent her campaign $5 million. Despite being a mighty fundraiser, Clinton trailed Barack Obama.

Feb. 23: After Obama wins 10 contests in a row, Clinton was in "The Fight of Her Life," the San Antonio Express-News said. Clinton wasn't the only one who missed Obama's grassroots strategy in caucus states. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jack Nelson, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, later said that by not reporting on Obama's organization, the press missed a significant story.

March 5: Victories in the critical states of Ohio and Texas "revive Clinton campaign," The Plain Dealer of Cleveland announced.

April 1: "Sen. Clinton's No. 1 Fan Visits," said The Oregonian in Portland, a newspaper that covered appearances by Bill Clinton and examined the former president's role. Earlier in the campaign, The Boston Globe wrote about Chelsea Clinton's role as "one of her mother's most important champions."

April 23: The Patriot-News of Harrisburg called it a "Slam Dunk" when Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary with 55 percent of the vote.

May 8: After a win in Indiana and a loss in North Carolina, the Chicago Tribune added up four full months of campaigning and reported on "Clinton's Math Problem" in pledged delegates. The New York Post was less delicate, declaring "Over the Hill," as some leading Democrats threw their support to Obama.

May 12: When Clinton announced her candidacy in 2007, USA Today reported that she led "all likely Democratic presidential candidates in national opinion polls." But 130 days after the Iowa caucus, The Des Moines Register said in an analysis: "Clinton Drops from Unbeatable to All But Beaten."

May 22: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale summarized the sentiments of Clinton's fans as she returned to the state to campaign: "We're Not Quitting Clinton."

May 25: After a gaffe about the assassination of Robert Kennedy, Clinton wrote to the Daily News of New York to "set the record straight." She explained why she continued to run: "The need for real leadership has never been greater."

June 3: With Obama poised to claim victory on the last day of the primaries, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, in a story headlined "Reflection Time," quoted prominent Democratic women about a campaign that has provided "a role model for generations of American women."

June 8: Clinton suspended her campaign in an appearance at Washington's National Building Museum. The Washington Post captured the emotion of it all: "A Thank-You for 18 Million Cracks in the Glass Ceiling."

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