(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton listen to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a rally this morning in Nashua, N.H.
By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff
NASHUA, N.H. -- The 9/11 card. The legacy card. The trial-by-fire card. Hillary Clinton just flashed them all today.
Five hours after her chartered flight from Des Moines landed in New Hampshire, Clinton gave what may be the most striking speech of her campaign so far. Reeling from her surprisingly big loss in the Iowa caucuses, she is clearly reaching for a bold new way to combat winner Barack Obama -- though it doesn't appear she has settled on a consistent argument.
Clinton usually only talks about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when she speaks of her work helping Ground Zero workers cope with medical problems.
But in an airport hangar this morning, she said: "We have people who are plotting against us right now, getting ready to repeat the atrocity of Sept 11. We know it, I see the intelligence reports."
She also said, "I donít think there has ever been a more important decision for the citizens of New Hampshire."
While Clinton has long campaigned on her and her husband's record in the White House, she sharpened the concept of the Clinton legacy.
"It's kind of interesting that it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush. I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush," she said.
She also returned to an argument she has not focused on in recent weeks, the idea that she is the most electable Democrat. She said that her previous battles with Republicans ready her for the "blazing inferno" of combat the Republicans will unleash in the general election -- an obvious reference to Obama, whom the Clinton camp says is untested and unvetted.
"Of all the people running for president, I've been most vetted, the most investigated, and my goodness," she said with a laugh, "the most innocent it turns out."
Clinton, who finished a narrow third to John Edwards in Iowa, is in a close race with Obama in New Hampshire, according to the latest polls.