The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Iowa Democrats can’t name a single accomplishment of Hillary Clinton’s as secretary of state. Does it matter?

Democratic voters like the fact Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. It's a good line on her resume and something that sets her apart from other candidates -- Democrat and Republican. But when voters are asked specific things she did as secretary of state, they don't actually know anything.

"What did she accomplish that you consider significant as secretary of state?" Bloomberg's Mark Halperin asked a focus group of Iowa Democrats.

The responses:

"I really can't name anything off the top of my head."

"Give me a minute. Give me two minutes."

"Umm ... no."

"I honestly can't say I followed along everything that was going on."

Ouch. If you asked Iowa Republicans the same question, you'd likely get answered like B E N G H A Z I or her reset with Russia, but with Democrats, you get blank stares. Carly Fiorina, who's argued that while Clinton "has held many titles, she hasn't accomplished very much," is probably feeling vindicated right about now.

But is this actually a bad sign for Clinton?

Not really. While it contributes to the Republican argument that her job experience is more hollow than it seems on paper and makes for good ad fodder,  Clinton's experience, generally, is still a plus for many voters. As one focus group attendee said later in the discussion, "I mean, it's either going to be that or Scott Walker ... she's not perfect, but she's been in the eye a long time."

And, not being able to name specific things politicians have done isn't that unusual for the average voters.  Quick, name something that John Kerry has done as Secretary of State. Right. Think Iowa Republicans could do much better naming significant things Jeb Bush did as governor or Marco Rubio has done in the Senate?

So, yes, while the stumped Democrats' response might be short-term vindication for Republicans, it not necessarily that damaging for Clinton.