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'Class dismissed:' AP article cheers Clinton candidacy, calls Clinton 'regal' in face of crisis
John Byrne
Published: Saturday December 1, 2007
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An Associated Press news analysis filed Saturday gave Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) rave reviews for her handling of the hostage crisis at a New Hampshire campaign office -- concluding the piece with "class dismissed," as if the reporter perceived Clinton as an experienced teacher who needed to give the other candidates a little brushing up on SWAT techniques.

How did she look after the standoff ended? "Regal-looking," according to the AP's Glen Johnson.

"When the hostages had been released and their alleged captor arrested, a regal-looking Hillary Rodham Clinton strolled out of her Washington home, the picture of calm in the face of crisis," Johnson wrote. "The image, broadcast just as the network news began, conveyed the message a thousand town hall meetings and campaign commercials strive for namely, that the Democratic presidential contender can face disorder in a most orderly manner."

Police later arrested the man who'd held staffers hostage -- 47-year-old Leeland Eisenberg and charged him with kidnapping and reckless conduct. They said he walked into the office, demanding to speak to Clinton and complaining about inadequate access to mental care.

"I knew I was bugging a lot of these people, it felt like on a minute-by-minute basis, trying to make sure that I knew everything that was going on so I was in a position to tell the families, to tell my campaign and to be available to do anything that they asked of me," the New York senator told Johnson.

"Along with taking charge while giving the professionals free rein, Clinton offered up a third dimension to her crisis character: humanity," Johnson added. "She said she felt 'grave concern' when she first heard the news of the hostage-taking."

"It affected me not only because they were my staff members and volunteers, but as a mother, it was just a horrible sense of bewilderment, confusion, outrage, frustration, anger, everything at the same time," Clinton said.

"It was a thawing moment for a stoic figure who once snapped that she opted for professional life instead of staying home to bake cookies," he wrote. "She paid tribute to the thousands of believers who set aside their lives every four years so they can propel presidential campaigns on little more than blood, sweat and tears."

"They believe in our future. They work around the clock. They are so committed to their cause, and I just want to commend every one of them from every campaign who really makes what is a sacrifice and a commitment," Clinton remarked in the article. "A lot of them postpone school, leave their families, move across the country, and I'm so grateful for them every single day, and I'm especially just relieved to have this situation end so peacefully without anyone being injured.

Then, as if his opinion wasn't already clear, Johnson adds: "Class dismissed."