Clinton Camp May Rethink Gas Tax Strategy

With a big loss in North Carolina and a razor-thin victory in Indiana, the Times reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s advisers are expected to reconsider her campaign strategy for upcoming Democratic primaries — specifically, whether to continue pushing for a federal gas tax cut.

Clinton advisers also said that the candidates and her team would discuss her political message going forward and whether her signature issue over the last two weeks – a suspension of the federal gas tax this summer – was worth extending to the upcoming primary states of West Virginia and Kentucky.

While some advisers said that the message helped make Mrs. Clinton more popular with working class and financially struggling voters, some analysts said that it angered Democrats in Washington who dislike the gas tax idea, and that it was too small an issue to run on credibly. (Mr. Obama opposes the gas tax relief, calling it a gimmick.)

"In 1976 Ronald Reagan had a big principled argument to continue against Gerald Ford, built around détente and economic policy, and in ’80 Kennedy had a big principled argument about health care and economic policy," said Mr. Shrum, who worked on the Kennedy campaign. "What is her big principled argument against Obama? The gas tax holiday?"

Though polls showed Americans didn’t see the cut as a solution to high gas prices, Clinton upped the ante heading into Tuesday’s primaries by challenging Congress to take an up-or-down vote on the issue. And though some of her advisers may see it as a loser, another Times story from today indicates that the candidate, for the moment at least, might disagree. Speaking to supporters last night in Indiana:

Mrs. Clinton again promoted her plan to lift the federal gasoline tax for the summer and impose a windfall-profits tax on the oil companies.

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