Competence and experience, say her supporters. As secretary of state, she flew nearly a million miles and visited 112 countries. If a foreign crisis occurs on her watch, there is a good chance she will already have been there, read the briefing book and had tea with the local power brokers. No other candidate of either party can boast as much.She also understands Washington, DC, as well as anyone. For eight years she was a close adviser to a president (her husband) who balanced the budget and secured bipartisan agreements to reform welfare and open up trade in North America. Afterwards, as a senator, Mrs Clinton made a habit of listening to, and working with, senators on both sides of the aisle, leading some Republicans publicly to regret having disliked her in the past. A President Hillary Clinton could be better at hammering out deals with lawmakers (of both parties) than President Obama has been. She would almost certainly try harder.But to what end? For someone who has been on the national stage for a quarter-century, her beliefs are strangely hard to pin down. On foreign policy, she says she is neither a realist nor an idealist but an “idealistic realist”. In a recent memoir, she celebrates “the American model of free markets for free people”. Yet to a left-wing crowd, she says: “Don’t let anybody tell you, that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” (An aide later said she meant tax breaks for corporations.) Some candidates’ views can be inferred from the advisers they retain, but Mrs Clinton has hundreds, including luminaries from every Democratic faction. Charles Schumer, her former Senate colleague from New York, called her “the most opaque person you’ll ever meet in your life”.
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