Hillary Clinton was positively compared to not one but two beloved Republican presidents -- Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan -- in a July 16 Hardball segment praising the former secretary of state's interview with Jon Stewart and thinking through how the former secretary of state should make her pitch to the American people in the time between now and November 2016.
Huffington Post Media Group director Howard Fineman invoked Ike first (listen to the MP3 audio here):
I think what she's got to do is figure out best how to marry her strengths, which are a certain sure-handedness and confidence in herself, and confidence in the country.
I think she's very good at expressing an almost Eisenhower era sense of confident satisfaction about the country, which is something we may well need two and a half years from now, the way things look now. But she's also got to adapt to the mission of saving the middle class, which her husband was all about, but which has deteriorated in the intervening years...
Moments later, Matthews played a clip from Clinton's July 15 interview with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central's Daily Show before insisting, "Howard, that's Ronald Reagan!"
Here's the segment from Clinton's chat with Stewart that gave Matthews tingles for Hillary as a pantsuited Democratic answer to the Gipper:
So many people in the world, especially young people, they had no memory of the United States liberating Europe and Asia, beating the Nazis, fighting the Cold War and winning. That was just ancient history. They didn't know the sacrifices that we had made and the values that motivated us to do it.
We have not been telling our story very well. We do have a great story. We are not perfect by any means, but we have a great story about human freedom, human rights, human opportunity. And let's get back to telling it to ourselves, first and foremost, and believing it about ourselves and then taking that around the world. That's what we should be standing for.