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No Turning Back?


Sen. Clinton makes a point Tuesday at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo)

It took less than 24 hours after Monday night's CNN/YouTube debate for things to get personal between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the question now is whether there will be any turning back.

Both camps profess to believe that they emerged stronger from Day Two of the argument, which began with the question of whether, as president, they would be willing to meet with the leaders of rogue or hostile nations. Obama said yes; Clinton said not so fast.

Clinton's campaign believes the exchange reinforced her greatest strength -- experience -- and drew attention to what they regard as his greatest weakness -- inexperience. Obama advisers see the argument as a metaphor for the larger rationale for his campaign, which is that he is capable of bringing real change to Washington and she is not.

Thanks to the Quad City Times newspaper, which scored interviews Tuesday with the two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination, there is a clearer picture of how Clinton and Obama see one another when it comes to critical issues of foreign policy and national security.

She believes his approach to diplomacy is "irresponsible and frankly naive." He believes her vote for the resolution authorizing war was "irresponsible and naive" and her approach to foreign policy smacks of the mistake-laden record of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

What was remarkable about the argument was that it occurred at all. The normally cautious Clinton decided, for reasons that only she can explain, to escalate the situation by making it personal. Obama, perhaps out of a concern that Clinton's camp had decided to ramp up the controversy, decided he needed to answer in kind.

As a result, what might have been an argument carried out by campaign emails and surrogates instead became a direct engagement between Clinton and Obama -- something that each had seemed to be avoiding until yesterday.

Their willingness to do so six months before the first contests of the nominating season reinforced perceptions that both see the race as a two-person contest, with John Edwards potentially capable of affecting the race with a victory in Iowa. Neither is obviously willing to let pass any opportunity to pounce on perceived mistakes or to answer back when challenged.

That has been the pattern throughout the year. It was a pattern set in February when the campaigns clashed over Hollywood mogul David Geffen's comments critical of Clinton and her husband. It was true after the first debate in April, when they exchanged barbs over how to respond to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It was even more the case Monday night and Tuesday.

By this morning, both sides seemed ready to step back at least temporarily but that may prove difficult. Both will be pressed along the campaign trail to answer more questions about the episode and their differences, and if Tuesday is any guide, one or the other may be willing at any moment to reengage.

As Bill Burton, Obama's spokesman, said this morning, "It's an important difference. I don't see that we're going to shy away from talking about it."

Neither, it appears is Clinton.

--Dan Balz

By Post Editor  |  July 25, 2007; 12:39 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Barack Obama , Dan Balz's Take , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Comments

politicallogic
Hillary is divisive my friend and the United States consists of more than New York. Want specifics on her polarizing effect? Read the other posters here. The name Clinton simply has too much baggage.

There is more at stake here than having the "first woman president" or whatever it is that draws you to a person totally unquallified for the job. We need someone who unites and gets our government back on track and NOT a district-shopping baracuda with the painfully transparent desire to advance her own career at whatever cost - who also coincidentally is named "Clinton".

Oh yes, sorry but I have never read an MSM or MSN article in my entire life, so I am not part of your conspiracy theory, just a concerned citizen who thinks that everyone who voted for the Iraq war needs to be fired and probably tried for treason. If I was smart enough to see it was a stupid idea before the invasion (no WMD, not ties to Al Quada, no threat to the US, etc), then all of our politicians should have seen it too, period.

Posted by: markusward | July 27, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

politicallogic
Hillary is divisive my friend and the United States consists of more than New York. Want specifics on her polarizing effect? Read the other posters here. The name Clinton simply has too much baggage.

There is more at stake here than having the "first woman president" or whatever it is that draws you to a person totally unquallified for the job. We need someone who unites and gets our government back on track and a district-shopping baracuda with the painfully transparent desire to advance her own career at whatever cost - who also coincidentally is named "Clinton".

Oh yes, sorry but I have never read an MSM or MSN article in my entire life, so I am not part of your conspiracy theory, just a concerned citizen who thinks that everyone who voted for the Iraq war needs to be fired and probably tried for treason. If I was smart enough to see it was a stupid idea before the invasion (no WMD, not ties to Al Quada, no threat to the US, etc), then all of our politicians should have seen it too, period.

Posted by: markusward | July 27, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's decision to wade into the mud was a bad mistake, prompted by her annoyance at Obama's comment on exit strategies earlier in the debate.

Her decision to double-down outside the debate was even worse -- she should have been able to score points on 'experience' and 'competence' with surrogates, without risking making herself look petty.

If she can get so mixed up in a debate, it is no wonder she's concerned that some tin-pot dictator might embarass her as well.

The 'Clinton machine' is looking rather less impressive.

Posted by: carringtonward | July 27, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

What Obama and Clinton say now about future presidential summits is irrelevant. Regardless of who assumes the presidency, long established principles and practices in diplomacy will ensure that a good deal of groundwork by State staffers will precede any kind of meeting between a US president and any foreign leader. The current Obama and Clinton exchange has more to do with political gamesmanship.

Posted by: glenn_angela | July 27, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

To those who say that it's not personal or "a fight" you want to pull the wool over your own eyes. You want to think that politics and governance is all about gentle people gently disagreeing with each other about matters of real substance. But calling someone's approach to something "irresponsible and frankly naive" is about as personal as you can get without resorting to profanity and namecalling. You know what? It has gotten personal and it is a real fight and that's the way it should be. Until now, it looked like Obama wasn't going to put up a fight and may even have been gearing for a shot as vice president. Now we know that Obama is going to call a spade a spade and genuinely compete for the nomination. Clinton was already nervous because of Obama's fundraising advantage. Now, she's getting desperate and that's why she started the insult match. Just because you want everyone to get along and politics to be a gentle, dignified and honorable thing doesn't mean that it isn't rough, rude and messy as hell. You can dress it up however you want. It's not pretty.

Posted by: chessvariants | July 27, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the problem commentators/opinionators have is you can't find that traditional explanation for the Obama factor. This campaign will be like none other in the history of this country. George Bush has shown America at it's worse in the political arena. The citizendry yawned and now we are wide awake! We are sick of the Clintons and the Bushs! Interestingly, I was an ardent supporter of Bill Clinton. However, enough is enough, we can't continue to drag this country into the miry muck of another mess like the Clintons and Bushs. WE DON'T WANT IT ANYMORE! These two families have made us the laughing stock of the world. We need fresh and bold leadership. Hillary just doesn't do it for me--too much of a flip flopper and opportunistic. After Bush we don't need a symbol, we need bold leadership that respresents America at it's best. Hillary represents America when it was spiralling downward. Too much baggage, too much history, too many investigations, too smug!

It's OVER! Enough already! And, by the way, I'm 52 years old in case you think Obama's campaign is simply about young people.

Posted by: kmontgow | July 26, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Its time that the 'Divisive an Polarizing' meme about Hillary Clinton dies. Its an MSM fabrication.

Was she divisive and polarizing in New York's last two US Senate elections? No. Has she been a divisive and polarizing influence in the US Senate? No. Will she be divisive as President? No. Does anybody begin to compare to Bush? Now he is divisive.

Anybody who keeps using this meme is just plain dishonest and lazy. It is no substitute for the specifics. I challenge people to be specific.

Posted by: politicallogic | July 26, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

There are two important things happening here:

First, Clinton and Obama have pulled away from the the rest of the pack. They are the focus in the Democratic nomination process - already.

Second,

Clinton is gambling that the positions that she is taking now will gain her the most traction in the general election - provided she wins the nomination. National security will be the central issue for the foreseeable future. She is gambling that a lot of primary voters will eventually see this also.

Obama is gambling that enough primary voters will resent Clinton's vote and vote for him. I think he will lose on this. Why? Look at the polls before the war and now. A lot of people have changed their mind. Who cares if she apologizes? She didn't start the war, Bush did. And Bill let it be know he wasn't for it. And Bill still has a lot to say about this if necessary.

She wins on this, Obama loses.

Posted by: politicallogic | July 26, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

GWBush*s diplomacy (when not mitigated by Condi Rice*s greater realism) is, like his approach to sex education, ABSTINENCE. Let*s not talk with those bad nasty people, and maybe they*ll go away and not bother us; let*s not let teenagers find out that they have all this reproductive equipment, and maybe they*ll never try to use it. Yeah, right, in both cases.

I am disappointed that Hillary is following the GWBush line on avoiding diplomacy with unfriendly nations. Obama wins this argument hands down.

Posted by: cwh2 | July 25, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

What will really be telling is how this issue plays out at the YearlyKos candidate's forum a couple of weeks from now. After the latest revelations about Markos Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA (MAMZ) (published at the "Truth About Kos" blog), I believe the candidate who most successfully successfully distinguishes herself from MAMZ will be the winner of that YearlyKos candidates' debate.

http://truth-about-kos.blogspot.com/2007/07/why-has-mamz-dailykos-misled-us-about.html

Posted by: francislholland | July 25, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

When candidates feel people should vote for them as some sort of entitlement becuase their husband/family was a good leader, I get turned off big time. Hilary has this air about her that because Bill was all that she's just as good, maybe better. No way Jackie. Not this go around. I'll take Dodd over Hilary any day.

Posted by: Gharza | July 25, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The issue of how to approach leaders of rogue nations is NOT an overblown issue. Since Obama and Clinton agree 95% of the time, this issue BEST highlights the differences between their two philosophies.

Clinton's policy is one of caution and status quo. Obama's policy is revolutionary because it is proactive and progressive. Both are legitimate strategies for foreign policy, the question is which strategy you prefer.

What exactly is "foreign policy" experience? I believe this includes (1) knowledge of foreign affairs; (2) experience living abroad and understanding the perspective of others; and (3) understanding how U.S. resources can affect foreign affairs.

Obama majored in international relations during college, lived in Indonesia for several years during his youth, and has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This experience, while not as extensive as others, sufficiently reaches the baseline necessary to be competent in world affairs. Bush never lived abroad, was a private sector person, and didn't have any sense of U.S. power. Clinton never lived abroad, didn't study international relations as far as I know, doesn't serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and only knows about foreign policy as a backseat driver in her husband's White House.

Posted by: aumbre | July 25, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

If Clinton somehow survives the slimy swiftboats in waiting and actually wins, we will still only have more partisan bickering for her efforts. Come on folks, we simply can not afford to even waste the time considering someone as divisive and polarizing as Hilary Clinton. Let's get real, win or lose she's a dead end! In other words, the chances of her becoming president are too low and the consequences too high - for all of us!

Posted by: markusward | July 25, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The question was: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

Obama said yes. Nobody asked if the candidates would prepare for such talks in the ordinary way. Nobody asked if Mr. Obama would just jump on a plane, arrive in the Middle East and say, let's talk.

Clinton, who has no more direct foreign policy experience than Obama, responds with calculated condescension: She would engage in the ordinary preparation first! How sarcastic and demeaning can you get. The worst thing about Clinton's smug response is she did not say she could get past the preliminaries in her first year in the Whitehouse. What she said was she wouldn't would not allow talks to be used by enemies for propaganda purposes. That kind of insecurity is why we haven't held talks for the last 61/2 years. Mr. Obama seems a lot more comfortable in his own skin. That's a mark of a leader.

Posted by: ohlsonrw | July 25, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The follow-up attack on Mr. Barack Obama on the day after the last debate is a typical politics as usual stunt by Ms. Clinton's handlers. Egrass, as so many have pointed out, is absolutly right. Recent modern American presidential history shows that U.S. presidents from both parties have met with leaders of countries not considered our friends or allies. Even in a dumbed down way, refusing to meet with leaders who we disagree with us hardly makes any sense. Mr. Obama has my vote!

Posted by: tja133 | July 25, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Great comment, egrass. The public simply can't be educated on the issues if the press refuses to talk about them -- and if the public doesn't know the issues, democracy doesn't mean anything.

Posted by: jesselava | July 25, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I think the way this disagreement has been spun is more a matter of selling papers and getting clicks than of deliberately obscuring information. News organizations, as businesses, are just getting better at knowing what people want. Possibly, people are more interested in this type of "news" than they were in the past, but I doubt it. I think that some of the laws and policies concerning the business aspects of the press need to be looked at carefully if we want to begin turning the tide of sensationalist, uninformative news coverage.

Posted by: me414697 | July 25, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The issue here isn't the difference in their respective responses. It's the fact that Hilary is knocking Barack's position, yet knocked Dubya for not doing what Barack said he's going to do. That, by definition is defined as hypocrisy. Experience in diplomacy is one thing. Experience in lying gets you alot of votes based on the posts I'm reading here. What a joke!!!

Posted by: Gharza | July 25, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if they exchange blows. They are both courtin endorsements from Council LaRaza - the militant Hezbolah-like, pro illegal organization which, in its manifesto, says - "America will bow down to us".

Election 2008: If a GOP candidate sought votes from a white group calling itself the "National Council of the Race," he'd rightly be shunned as a racist. But let Democrats do the same and they're called "progressive."

The difference, of course, is that in the latter case both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were appearing before the National Council of La Raza ("The Race"), a radical Latino group.

Trolling for votes, Obama pandered to La Raza's convention in Miami over the weekend, selling himself as one who marched alongside Latinos at last May 1's illegal immigrant amnesty rallies.

Clinton, by contrast, insisted she was "at home" among the La Raza crowd, having hired a top La Raza official, Raul Yzaguirre, as her national co-chair. She then whipped out a mariachi band in his honor to celebrate his birthday.

Obama challenged Clinton's flashy mariachi tactics by saying he'd "walked the walk" for amnesty and would revive the sunken immigration bill that went down in flames in the Senate this month. "We will make this a priority and get it done," he said.

But rather than either of these campaign tacks being political gaffes, both got favorable media coverage because the Latino community supposedly has been "galvanized" over the loss of the Senate immigration bill. It signaled that Obama, like Clinton, buys into the idea that the bill's end was brought on by what La Raza calls a "wave of hate" and that other American voters won't notice.

The irony is that La Raza is no ordinary organization. The name, in English, literally "the race," is something its embattled apologists now claim means "every race" or "community" -- both absurd, since they both mean just the opposite of the actual word.

The organization has been around since the 1960s, with many name changes. If it really means "community," the Spanish language provides at least two completely serviceable words for that -- "pueblo" and "comunidad." It's called La Raza because its leaders want to be called that.

La Raza is not only the loudest proponent of illegal immigration in the U.S. It fosters ethnic separatism in schools. It runs Hugo Chavez-type handouts for indigents and has ties it refuses to renounce to fringe groups like MEChA, whose own slogan is derived from the rhetoric of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro: "Through the race, everything; outside the race, nothing."

Today's La Raza is a $52 million not-for-profit group that lives off congressional earmarks, shakes down big corporations like WalMart and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC PRZ) (NYSE:BAC PRA) (NYSE:IKR) (NYSE:IKM) (NYSE:IKL) (NYSE:IKJ) (NYSE:BAC) for financial support, and has made illegal immigration and ethnic separatism its leading agenda.

Obama's spiel showed only that he understands the mentality of leftist pressure groups, with this one falsely claiming to define and represent all Latino voters. Hillary is no different.

Even La Raza's own Web site disproves that. A July 23 study by "Ed In '08" and La Raza reported that U.S. voters of Latin American extraction are more concerned about education than immigration.

That startling fact moves the debate too far into territory La Raza wants nothing to do with, like condemning failing public schools; oppressive, politically correct teacher unions; and the herding of immigrant kids into Spanish-only classes dubbed "bilingual."

What matters to La Raza is amnesty for illegals, if not through the Senate, then through the 1960s tactic of silencing opponents by smearing them as racist.

Of the candidates who attended the convention, Obama stood out as the most willing race-baiter, his Chicago activist experience coming in handy. He denounced immigration bill foes as "both ugly and racist in a way we haven't seen since the struggle for civil rights."

It's pure charlatan logic. The illegal immigration issue is about whether to reward foreign invaders who've broken the law, just because there are 13-20 million of them.

Obama and Hillary should know that there are also 300 million other Americans of every skin color and ethnicity -- including Latinos -- who oppose amnesty and resent efforts to intimidate them through charges of racism. Americans have already shown they won't be intimidated. They believe in the rule of law.

Indeed, something much bigger is happening in this country with a federal government not responding to its own laws and an outraged citizenry up in arms. Maybe Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should get a clue.

Posted by: Patriot1 | July 25, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA MAY HAVE TALKED RASHLY MONDAY NIGHT, BUT BOTH CLINTONS HAVE ACTED SELF-DEFENSIVELY AND STUPIDLY
THROUGHOUT THEIR CAREERS -i.e.: the Rose Law firm and the WOMEN issue, Whitewater, Travel-gate, HEALTHCARE, etc.

Remember, Bill spent most of his second term flying all over the world on his jet-set junkets; and what did he accomplish?
He derveloped no treaties, no diplomatic coups.

SO LET'S CUT OBAMA SOME SLACK.
All Presidents learn on the job.

Posted by: Anadromous2 | July 25, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, the Post is not allowing us to comment on it's Iraq articles today. But the Post doesn't mind at all comments on these two jerk politicians. I feel that we should be able to constantly bash the despicably evil "w"/DICKY regime for what it has done to the United States of Arrogance because of it's monumental fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ken in South Louisiana

Posted by: kentigereyes | July 25, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Egrass (first comment) makes an excellent point. Washington Post, you should listen! I have been frustrated, ever since I came of voting age years ago, that even the "intelligent" media just serves up shallow sensationalism, rather than examining the substance of issues, and the merits of points debated. How can voters have a fighting chance of voting based on information and not emotion?
Then again, maybe the NY Times is examining the issue more thoroughly; I'll have to look. I'm from the DC area, I have always loved the Post, but lately its news has been getting shallow. Much of the time I find much better in-depth reporting from the NY Times. Post, I thought your journalism model was Bob Woodward, not Geraldo Rivera. What has happened?

Posted by: MHinNC | July 25, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

People who are judgmental and rigid decide to do one way and one way only- like extreme right, extreme left. For example:
1. Mr. Bush Sr. decided upfront "No new taxes". But, when faced with reality, he had to raise taxes.
2. Current administration (especially Mr. Rumsfeld) decided that the size of the army should be small and quick. Now, we face shortage of forces, etc.

May be Mr. Clinton was more flexible, may be not, but people around the world liked him because he was willing to work with them. People in the country, especially right-wingers wanted him to decide on issues before he took office otherwise they said he was evading issues and not giving firm answers.

One has to be flexible on issues to deal with an open mind when one is really faced with it and not go with presumptions. From this point of view, I think, Hillary Clinton is not taking a position regarding meeting leaders of rouge nations and facing criticism now. But Mr. Obama is taking a firm stance, albiet a positive stance and he is setting himself up for failure later. It is helping him avoid criticism now, but MAY face it later.

Posted by: rsamudra | July 25, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

After seeing the clip concerning this so-called "showdown" between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama it seems to me much ado about nothing. The two candidates disagree concerning their approach on when they would speak with leaders of nations that are not our allies. Senator Obama stated clearly he would speak to them when asked to and Senator Clinton stated she would do her homework before meeting with them.
The question was answered correctly by both candidates, it is just a matter of which candidate any given person prefers.
End of story, lets move on.

Posted by: chicago2323 | July 25, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

After listening to all the hoopla at the debate, the World Wrestling Federtation seems mild and more interesting. At least the WWF admits to fakery and theater, something the democratic candidates fail to admit.If you insult Hilliary, Bill will hit you with her purse!

Posted by: nmg3rln | July 25, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

After listening to all the hoopla at the debate, the World Wrestling Federtation seems mild and more interesting. At least the WWF admits to fakery and theater, something the democratic candidates fail to admit.If you insult Hilliary, Bill will hit you with her purse!

Posted by: nmg3rln | July 25, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

After listening to all the hoopla at the debate, the World Wrestling Federtation seems mild and more interesting. At least the WWF admits to fakery and theater, something the democratic candidates fail to admit.If you insult Hilliary, Bill will hit you with her purse!

Posted by: nmg3rln | July 25, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The press generally are desperate to turn the primaries into a dogfight. After all it sells more papers. The WAPO in particular which editorially leans somewhat against the democrats are very keen to see blood spilt on the democratic side. The pathetic attempts to turn some mild exchanges into visceral combat are fairly pathetic and entirely predictable. On the democratic side I don't reallly think the candidates are going to oblige because they are basically all standing in more or less the same place. Mind you it won't stop the WAPO from trying.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | July 25, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Until yesterday I was undecided between Hillary, Joe Biden and Barack. But this morning I'm angry at Hillary and wrote the following email to her:

to Hillary

Your follow-up attack on Obama on the day after the last debate has cost you my vote.

Calling him naive was like a cat calling the kettle black. He has the right idea in general and every president has advisers who would prevent whatever small damage you hypothesize that Barack would create by being eager to turn to diplomacy. It might have been OK as a quip in the debate, but now you are trying to capitalize upon what you erroneously think of as an opening for your campaign. It's too negative and so obviously political and it demeans you more than it demeans your opponent.

For you have already demonstrated how naive you were five years ago, voting to "buy the Brooklyn Bridge" from someone the likes of president Bush. And recently you try to excuse it with a claim that he lied to you about how he would use your vote to authorize war.

What in heck did you think you were signing, a "sense of the Senate" resolution? It had no dates, no exit strategy, no provision to define the true goals nor when the job was done, no provision for congressional oversight, etc. And according to your own words, you did not even read all of that material. You left that to your aides, you said. So much for the kind of aides you employ.

I am no longer willing to overlook this, now that you treat others like they are common dirt. And for something they have not yet already done.

Say hello to Bill for me. He was a good president who screwed up his chances of accomplishing so much more. I'll never completely forgive him for that.

But absent an apology to Barack and an apology to the public for your vote in '02, I don't think I'll help to give you a chance to continue in his footsteps. You are dishonest to us, saying you voted for something other than what was clearly written down in black and white in Bush's 2002 bill authorizing war. It shows how naive YOU are, rather than how you think Barack would be.

Posted by: sjbob | July 25, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the press lives up to its vital function of elevating style and name-calling, while keeping actual issues fuzzy or dark. Nothing is more dangerous than an informed or mobilized electorate, as the recent defeat of immigration decontrol showed. It is an absolute priority that the media keep real differentiation among the candiates to a minimum, while keeping the public eyes on silly squabbles, stunts, or gaffes. Above all, prevent the emergence of any lead candidate who might actually, truly exit the Mideast ASAP, let it stew in its own doggone juices, or overcome our oil dependency seriously. Be sure to dig up dirt, and release your brigades of columnists, against any candidate who gets any bright ideas.

Posted by: jkoch1 | July 25, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear: with his naive response to the question at the debate, Obama reinforced the well-earned perception that he is not ready for prime time. Clinton (of whom I'm no fan) did what one would have expected a smart politician to do: she pounced on Obama's gaffe and is exploiting it as much as possible. Should Obama win the nomination (which seems unlikely), this debate response will be used to help torpedo his candidacy in a general election.

Posted by: dan_tarman | July 25, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear: with his naive response to the question at the debate, Obama reinforced the well-earned perception that he is not ready for prime time. Clinton (of whom I'm no fan) did what one would have expected a smart politician to do: she pounced on Obama's gaffe and is exploiting it as much as possible. Should Obama win the nomination (which seems unlikely), this debate response will be used to help torpedo his candidacy in a general election.

Posted by: dan_tarman | July 25, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The role on MSM in the quest for market share is not to inform but to entertain an increasingly stupid public with a 30 second attention span
The line between the two no longer exists in the most media outlets
Look at the CNN news site where you can immediately find HOT news whatever HOT means

Posted by: brk2 | July 25, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

There is so little that divides the Democratic field that this dust up must be exaggerated. On healthcare, taxes, Iraq, terrorism, etc. Obama and Clinton are in agreement. The question of whether to converse with foreign leaders of rogue states may be their only substantial policy difference.
IMHO, Hillary is right. You can't negotiate with thugs. They will agree to anything but follow through on nothing. Obama completely misrepresented Reagan's negotiations with Gorbachev.

Posted by: Art3 | July 25, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, as anthropologist, Helen Fisher, explained recently...Senator Clinton is a "Director" and Senator Obama is an "Explorer."

Posted by: judithclaire | July 25, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with egrass. The more interesting issue is: "Who agrees with Clinton? Who agrees with Obama?"

It is relevant that Clinton and Obama are fighting and calling each other "naive," but that's not nearly as important as the fundamental disagreement.

Posted by: m_____s | July 25, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Senator Obama is an extremely intelligent man, and as President, I have full confidence that he would surround himself with the brightest people to advise him as to the steps that should be taken to accomplish this kind of diplomacy."

Kinda like the same way W was gonna do the same thing on foreign policy when he got elected in 2000?

No thank you!!!

We dont need someone to surround himself with experienced people to make up for his lack of knowledge on certain areas, we need a president who has experience, who has been there, who has tackled these issues. Obama has not.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | July 25, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure if I am missing something. I watched the debate, and I believe that the question was if you would meet with the leaders of these countries, not how would you go about doing this. Senator Obama is an extremely intelligent man, and as President, I have full confidence that he would surround himself with the brightest people to advise him as to the steps that should be taken to accomplish this kind of diplomacy.
Hillary is looking for a fight to demonstrate how strong she is. To me, she just seems arrogant and unwilling to listen to others. It seems like we already have a President like that!

Posted by: okolva | July 25, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Where's Obama's picture? No bias here.

Posted by: AlexThuronyi1 | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

egrass is absolutely right. Excellent points.

Posted by: jrcsfo | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

egrass is absolutely right. Excellent points.

Posted by: jrcsfo | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Where's Obama's picture? No bias here.

Posted by: AlexThuronyi1 | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

egrass is absolutely right. Excellent points.

Posted by: jrcsfo | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

It appeared to me Clinton was doing the attacking, Obama responding...very well, I might add.

Posted by: quesadaarmando | July 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree with egrass. Why can we see the difference between engaged debate and personal attack and you seem to want to ratchet it up to some kind of tabloid gotcha. You seem to want confrontation instead of thoughtful response - the kind happening here. Our ability to understand the nuances in these opinions without labeling them personal attacks seems to me just common sense. Please listen to what the people are saying and how they are seeing these situations.You will gain valuable insight to what we really want and the changes we are looking for.

Posted by: goddessreturns | July 25, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't desagree with either of them... either style differs from the president's policy of seemingly always stirring the water with obstinance...

Posted by: genechar | July 25, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a neocon. She possess alot of the same views as Bush and the neocons on foreign policy. why should anyone trust her to have the power of the presidency only to carry on with the same tragic policies of the past several years.
Obama is correct to think that opening up dialog and talking with your enemies is part of a package in foreign policy.
Given the chance, Hillary. like bush, would bomb some country just to show she had balls.

Posted by: vwcat | July 25, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Typical of the Post. This is not 'personal' or a fight. They have an actual policy disagreement on how to deal with dictators. This has been a major area of debate since at least 1980 when Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote her article in Comment touching on similar issues. Now, writing an article about Hillary Clinton's cleavage is 'personal' and ridiculous. But that was by the Post, not by a campaign. Why can't you see the difference? Stop writing about stupid horse race issue and who is being nice or not. Discuss the ISSUE. Should we have meetings without preconditions to try to advance diplomacy or not. I see interesting argument on both sides and how Clinton and Obama approach those arguments tells me a lot about whether I want one or the other for President. Why don't you address the substance of their policy dispute so that votors can decide who they like on policy grounds? Is that so hard?

Posted by: egrass | July 25, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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