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Analyst: Indiana the tie-breaker

Former White House adviser Paul Begala speaks at O’Bannon Institute Friday

By Bob Zaltsberg 331-4364 |
April 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton needs to win the Indiana primary to have a realistic shot at winning the presidency, a political analyst who was one of President Bill Clinton’s closest White House advisers said Friday.

Paul Begala, speaking at the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service at Ivy Tech Community College, said the state is pivotal for both candidates.

“Sen. Obama had it right when he said this state is the tie-breaker,” he said.

Asked if Clinton has to win, Begala said: “Yes, she does. She’s behind.” If Obama wins Indiana, his lead could be very difficult to overtake, Begala said.

Begala appears as a Democratic strategist on CNN’s “The Situation Room” and previously was co-host of “Crossfire,” a political debate program. He and James Carville’s consulting firm helped get Bill Clinton elected in 1992, and he served as a counselor in the Clinton administration.

He suggested different strategies for Clinton and Obama as they continue their fight for the nomination.

“Humanize Hillary, don’t demonize Barack,” is what he would tell Clinton, who he called a friend of 17 years.

Obama “is so inspirational, so spectacular,” but he needs to be less academic and simplify his message.

“Put the jam on the lower shelf where the little folk can reach it,” he said, noting his rural Texas roots.

His advice for Republican candidate John McCain?

“I would run from Bush like the devil runs from holy water,” he said.