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Loop Quote of the Week: Hillary Clinton as Lurleen Wallace

(Saul Loeb/AFP)

Karl Rove’s comment this week about Hillary Clinton’s health (which some could argue was the quote of the week, if only for the attention it received) spurred a debate over what is and isn’t fair game in politics. Age? Sex? Health?

If all of those personal factors are in play, the next question is whether the Clintons dive into the muck or rise above it. When our Washington Post colleague Phil Rucker broached that with Stuart Stevens, GOP consultant and Mitt Romney’s top strategist in 2012, the Loop got its Quote of the Week winner.

If Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, Stevens said she risks repeating her 2008 failings: Starting off above the fray and then getting into a bitter, personal battle.

“I think the parallels of 2008 are pretty apt here,” Stevens said. “What started out as being a coronation ended up in an extraordinarily negative, tough race.”

And then this:

“She started out as Queen Elizabeth and ended up like Lurleen Wallace, [former Alabama governor] George Wallace’s wife,” he said.

Lurleen Wallace succeeded her husband as governor (already see where this comparison is going?). Her campaign slogan was “Two Governors, One Cause,” which sounds familiar to Bill Clinton’s 1992 promise of “two for the price of one.”

But Stevens’s larger point seems to be more a dig at Bill Clinton, according to The Washington Post story where the quote appeared. George Wallace was a noted racist, and Clinton, one might recall, made comments about Barack Obama in 2008 that some interpreted as being racially untoward.

So in case there’s any confusion, Stevens did not mean his comparison as a compliment.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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