Marc Ambinder laid out the Clinton game-plan yesterday morning, apparently based on an internal campaign conference call. Some of the ideas are more promising than others (Claim that Clinton never had a shot in Iowa because of the state's historical bias against women?), but there's something to number six, "Run against the idea of John McCain as the Republican nominee."

Of course, I'm not sure focusing Democratic voters on a McCain match-up unambiguously favors Hillary--Obama would really highlight McCain's age, among other things (though McCain would arguably highlight Obama's youth), and Democratic voters may prefer a sharper Iraq contrast with McCain than Hillary can provide. But I can see a plausible gravitas/national-security argument here. Let's see if Hillary unveils it at tonight's debate.

Update: Commenter jmpurph79 raises the following point:

I don't know that Hillary would even get 40% of the popular vote in a general election match-up with McCain. That's basically the worst possible scenario, as far as I'm concerned.  All of the states that SHOULD be in play for a Democrat this year- Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Iowa, etc.- don't they all go to McCain over Hillary?

As I say, Obama may well be a better general-election candidate against McCain. But here in New Hampshire--which is the only place in the world the Clintons care about right now, and where McCain's old war-hero persona is beloved--I think Hillary can argue that Democrats need someone more seasoned--someone with more battle scars of her own (albeit metaphorical ones)--to take him on. Obviously it might not work. But I don't think they're crazy for trying it.

--Noam Scheiber