THE question of whether illegal immigrants should be given driving licences might not at first sight seem to be an issue likely to affect the outcome of a US Presidential election. But last Tuesday in yet another of the TV debates between Democrat candidates, Hillary Clinton got herself into all kinds of trouble over a proposal for just such legislation in New York, and she was subjected to a battering by her fellow Democrats who saw a chance to break the image of competence and reasonableness that she has cultivated so carefully. It was not so much what she said as the way in which she said it that gave her opponents their chance. “She said two different things in two minutes” was John Edwards' reaction while Barack Obama commented that her answer might be “smart politics by Washington standards but not by what America needs right now.” It has been a running criticism of Mrs Clinton ever since she said she would stand for the presidency that she tries to square circles and be all things to all men and women, for instance over Iraq, but it has not prevented her from taking a 25 per cent national lead over Mr Obama. However, the primary elections are coming close and both men are increasingly desperate to find some way of closing the gap.


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