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And This Round Goes To...

--Monday's CNN/YouTube debate in Charleston was the best of the campaign season, and not least because it offered a preview of a brewing confrontation between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over the fundamental divide in the Democratic race.

That fault line is Clinton's experience versus Obama's freshness. More Democrats prefer a change-oriented candidate, but the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that Clinton's strength and experience continue to trump what Obama has most to offer.

That's what made a fleeting moment in Monday's debate so intriguing -- Obama's veiled attack on Clinton for failing to have thought through the consequences of her vote in October 2002 to give President Bush the authority to go to war.

Continue reading Balz's analysis after the jump, or check out other Post writers' takes:

* Chris Cillizza names the debate's winners and losers.

* Howie Kurtz looks at local media reaction to the answers Clinton and Obama gave on whether they would personally meet with the "axis of evil" dictators.

* Matthew Mosk takes Mike Gravel's advice to "follow the money" to find out how who has influence over the Democratic field.

* Anne Kornblut sizes up Hillary's coat -- the only part of Clinton that Edwards doesn't like.

It came midway through the two-hour debate. Obama circled back on Clinton after she had complained about a Pentagon response to her inquiry about possible plans for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The Pentagon accused her of undermining troop morale.

"I think it's terrific that she's asking for plans from the Pentagon, and I think the Pentagon response was ridiculous," Obama said. "But what I also know is that the time for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraq was before we went in."

Obama appeared to be warming to the first direct criticism of Clinton for her vote on the war. Instead he veered away. "And that is something that too many of us failed to do," he said. "We failed to do it. And I do think that that is something that both Republicans and Democrats have to take responsibility for."



Obama's hope is to undermine perceptions that Clinton is far more ready to step into the Oval Office, to wave his initial opposition to the war as a flag that says her experience wasn't enough to lead her to vote against the war. If he is successful, his change-oriented message might resonate more than it already does.

But the moment passed quickly last night. There was no follow-up question for Clinton and Obama failed to press the point. It was tantalizing, but for now nothing more than that.

Clinton certainly didn't miss the implication of Obama's criticism. Later in the debate, she took a shot at him with an answer to a question about diplomacy designed to leave viewers with the impression that Obama is still too green to serve as commander in chief.

Stephen Sorta of Diamond Bar, Calif., asked the candidates if they would be willing to meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea during their first year as president.

"I would," Obama said. "And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."

It was an answer that sounded good as campaign rhetoric and one designed to please the legions of Democrats who dislike the president. But it was not the kind of realpolitik answer one might expect of a seasoned chief executive.

Clinton had the benefit of answering after Obama and made the most of the opportunity to draw a contrast with her rival -- without mentioning him by name.

"Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year," she said. "I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes."

On that question, the advantage went to Clinton -- reminiscent of the first Democratic debate in South Carolina last spring when she handled a question about how she would respond to another terrorist attack more aggressively and directly than Obama.

Obama will have many more opportunities in future debates to press his argument against Clinton. And other candidates -- John Edwards being the most likely -- will be trying to elbow their way into the Clinton-Obama conflict. That means Monday's session at the Citadel, for all it offered, may prove to have been light fare compared to what viewers will begin to see later this fall.

-- Dan Balz

By Post Editor  |  July 24, 2007; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Dan Balz's Take , The Debates  
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Democrats' Debate

Next: Hizzoner to Critics: Analyze This

Comments

I"m so sick of hearing how hillary has more "experience"!

GIVE ME A BREAK!

She has ONE TERM of experience over obama,
and she used that time in office to
expand bush's power,
and authorize the iraq war.
what good is experience
if it is experience in making bad decisions???

Other than her experience in bad judgment
and pandering,
she has experience in being married
to (and riding the coattails of) a prez.

big freakin deal.

Posted by: julieds | July 25, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I have to question my common sense and judgement--for remaining a Democrat. This is the same Party that has been criticizing George Bush for not speaking directly to Iran and Syria, contending he's further jeopardizing the security interests of the US by not doing so. Here is a quote by Hillary Clinton just this February, "You don't refuse to talk to bad people. I think life is filled with uncomfortable situations where you have to deal with people you might not like. I'm sort of an expert on that. I have consistently urged THE PRESIDENT to talk to Iran and talk to Syria. I think it's a sign of strength, not weakness." She didn't qualify her answer by saying he should send diplomatic envoys, she said "THE PRESIDENT." It is absoutely silly to suggest or state that Obama needed to qualify his statement. Like he's really going to pick up the phone and say, "Hey Hugo, stop by the house when you get a chance." This is absolute silliness! I can not believe that some of the same folks who lauded Nancy Pelosi for ignoring the wishes of Bush, THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF, and sitting down with president of Syria are now criticizing Senator Obama. I agreed with her then, and I agree with Senator Obama now. Right or wrong, I believe in consistency, but I can't seem to say the same for members of my Party. How can anyone, with any credibility, argue that it's imperative for Bush to talk to Syria and Iran THIS YEAR, for security interests, especially with a pullout of Iraq looming, but contend that there won't be an imperative in 2009? Why would the urgency for the President to speak to these nations subside in 2009?

I can not believe that anyone would buy into the excuse that by talking to these leaders we would be lending to propaganda. News Flash: the greatest nation in modern history losing a completely unnecessary war to a bunch of bandits will be sufficient propaganda to last the next two centuries.

In general, I just don't understand the imperialistic attitude of this country that the only way to communicate with enemy countries in the Middle East, Africa and South/Central America is at the barrell of a gun. They've proven they can withstand our military might. Short of dropping a nuclear bomb, what are we going to do? We have normal relations with some of the worse human rights abusers in the history of mankind, including China and the Soviet Union, but talking to Black and Brown nations is unacceptable? We import Oil from Citgo, owned by Venezuela, and have their logo plastered on baseball stadiums, but a conversation with Chavez is unacceptable? Where has this silence gotten us? They are not going away! Castro has been in power for over 50 years; he's rich and comfortable while the Cuban people remain poor. Our silence hasn't hurt Castro. And treating them as if they are non-existent only fuels hatred among their young. As much I disdained the policies of Reagan, I respected the man's courage to make demands of his enemies--to their faces.

Posted by: NMP1 | July 25, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Funny how the mainstream media is attempting to take control of this debate even though they were not involved.

One needs to look at how the majority of coverage in the press favors Clinton and mentions Obama while ignoring the other candidates almost as if they did not participate.

Many of the questions posed by You Tube members were more direct and hard hitting than those ever posed by moderators in traditional main stream media hosted debates.

Perhaps a lesson will be learned here, that the media should be asking the tougher more direct questions instead of lobbing generalized softballs which dominate debates hosted by main stream media outlets.

Its about time that a way has been found for the public to be involved in the debate process.

I seems that the lack of political bias and coporate controlled agenda leads to better and tougher questioning of candidates.

Personally, I would prefer that all future debates be conducted in this manner thus removing the media bias that has existed in the majority of past debates.

Posted by: ricroe | July 25, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The debate was an interesting show biz technology exhibit but it had all the depth of a beauty contest.

The democrats are running so fast and desperately to rid themselves of each other that all the Republicans have to do is wait until they exhaust themselves and make Howard Dean types of self destrucive rage vents.

Rudy already has enough gas to beat any of them.

Posted by: jstratt2 | July 25, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If anyone thinks Edwards is electable, they are kidding themselves. He's become a laughing stock. And it's all about his hair. First there was that youtube video from the last campaign of him preening his hair in a mirror for what seemed like ten minutes. Now Limbaugh is calling him the Breck Girl. And then Tony Blankley piled on today with the following:

". . . But I did learn a few things. For the first time Monday, CNN provided us with sustained close-up shots of Sen. John Edwards' haircut, and I can now understand why he paid between $400-$1,200 a cut. At middle range, it looks deceptively like your average $18 strip-mall haircut. And it seems to look the same from the left side of his face.

"But the close up from his right side is a revelation. Girding the long side of his part is an extraordinary spring-like wedge of hair running from front to back. And though bouncy, every hair remains in place -- even during vigorous head shaking and bobbing. This gives his entire hairstyle a lively, youthful look. Most middle-aged men's hair just sits on the head like a wet rag. Admittedly, the bouncy wedge does look a little flouncy when viewed from the candidate's front right. But from any other angle and from all distances other than close up, it simply gives his entire visage a healthy, animated look. Well worth a thousand bucks a crack -- at least in his part of the two Americas."

In other words, Edwards has become a joke. To paraphrase Mondale, the media won't tell you that, but I just did.

Posted by: theduke89 | July 25, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

To all those on here who tout Hilary's experience, and quote her service, I say she doesn't represent you. It seems pretty obvious that you are talking like inside the beltway people from the Washington Area where I was born. However now as a NY resident, I can say unequivocably that she is an awful senator who has not listened to her constituents in the least. She is no Patrick Moniyhan, and is a real dissappointment, and would be so as President. I would gladly vote republican before I would vote for her, since she is unelectable. As someone so aptly mentioned before - she wouldn't have been elected if it weren't for her husband. Hell I'd vote for Bloomberg - who is far more effective in one day than Hillary has ever been in her entire 7 years.

Posted by: regdak | July 25, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'You think the "far right" is going to be campaigning hard for Guliani? LOL.'

dm_frank, I hate to burst your bubble here but if the Democrats do nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, then yes, the "far right" (and far more importantly, the much more numerous and wealthier near and middle right) will indeed be campaigning hard for Giuliani. Or Romney.

Heck, if Hillary were nominated by the Dems, the Far Right would campaign hard for Karl Marx as the GOP nominee.

You and many other HRC supporters don't seem to "get" one very fundamental fact-- HRC is vehemently *HATED* by the Republicans (and, unfortunately, by quite a number of Independents and Dems as well). If HRC were nominated in 2008, then the Right's support for Giuliani would be less a matter of supporting him per se, and more a matter of *defeating* Hillary Clinton.

This is the fundamental reason why the cooler heads among political analysts recognize why Hillary Clinton would be such a disastrous choice for the Democrats-- she's positively radioactive, loathed more than perhaps any other candidate in the past several decades. This is far more than the dislike or party-based opposition we've seen with other candidates-- there is blood-boiling hatred toward Hillary out there, and believe me, no matter how much the GOP may currently be lukewarm about Giuliani, nominating Hillary would unify the Republicans as they probably haven't been since Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860.

I'm sorry, but in a country as ideologically divided as the USA, you *cannot* win with a candidate as fundamentally polarizing as Hillary Clinton. Even many Democrats despise her and would either cast a Third Party vote, or even support Giuliani as a protest-- at a Democratic Party meeting I was at recently, there was rage about Hillary's Iraq War boosting and some of her other stands (anti-labor for example, that bankruptcy declaration bill).

To beat the GOP, you have to select someone who, even if Republicans wouldn't support them outright, at least doesn't polarize and unify the GOP against them. Obama and Edwards both have this advantage, and in fact, they perform far better than Hillary in national polls against Republican candidates. Hillary is at best mediocre and at worst, is trounced-- and this is probably at a temporary period of low ebb for the GOP. When the summer of 2008 rolls around, the Republicans will be much more unified and much stronger than they currently are.

Posted by: malagasy | July 25, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I would hope that the American people are wise enough to see that Barack Obama is running as fast as he can just to come close to keeping up with Hillary Clinton. Where I once thought he just needed more time to gain valuable experience, I am now seriously wondering if he just doesn't have the driving personality necessary to be Commander in Chief.

He has such a vague and often bewildered look on his face in these debates. I keep waiting for him to be assertive; to grab the bull by the horns (so to speak), to say anything at all that will convince me he is ready for the job he is running for.

So far I have not seen it. And his response last night in the debate came quickly without his even paying attention to the wording of the question.

He is a rookie.

Let us not elect a rookie for President.


Posted by: audart | July 25, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought Obama performed much better than he did at Hampton University against Clinton, but he has yet to really crank up the heat and show his mettle.

As for the question on diplomatic relations to foreign governments, I think Obama's answer was undoubtedly more straight and to the point. Whoever answers second has the upper hand, as they are more or less free to bring up any number of possibilities the first answer did not account for. Her mention of "propaganda purposes" does not show an extensive knowledge of the subject, but a quick tongue.

I'm tired of people counting Obama as an empty suit or too inexperienced. JFK was inexperienced. Lincoln was inexperienced. And guess what? Clinton's relatively inexperienced as well, unless you want to count all the instances she stood behind her husband, nodding along. Don't kid yourself -- she didn't actually contribute to the formation of policy in this country. She's riding the wave of nostalgia and name recognition without bringing anything to the table.

If anyone, Hillary is the empty suit.

Posted by: alexander.ivey | July 25, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I find it quite ironic that Sen. Clinton is calling Sen. Obama naive. After all, she's the one who repeatedly claims that when she voted to authorize the Iraq war she really didn't think Pres. Bush was intent on going to war? Now, that's beyond naive - it's laughable.

Posted by: JasonT910 | July 24, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

"The far right" has been marginalized -- their leader and their ethos have been more or less thoroughly rejected. Hilary or whoever from the Dem side won't be running against George Bush or Dick Cheney, so this whole "she's a polarizing figure" isn't grounded in the political reality of the day. You think the "far right" is going to be campaigning hard for Guliani? LOL.

Sure, in 2004, Hilary as a "polarizing figure" would have been a serious issue. However, in this election it is unlikely to prove any advantage at all for the GOP should she get the nomination.

Posted by: dm_frank | July 24, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama's answer to the 'rogue' nations question was entirely typical of all his answers: he says what he thinks people want to hear, not what he truely believes. Part of the problem is that his own positions are vaguely defined: he simply lacks the requisite knowledge and experience on these issues. Don't fool yourself or let his campaign PR fool you, he hasn't studied these issues in the way the Hilary Clinton has -- and the differences in their answers not just to that question but to virtually every question illustrate that clearly.

Posted by: dm_frank | July 24, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I was leaning towards Hillary before last night's debate. I now lean towards Obama. Hillary is "a blast from the past", and Obama is a look to the future, JFK like. Last thin gwe need is another ideologue like Bush, and Hillary seems like a "my way or the highway" type.

Posted by: bfjam | July 24, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Hilary Clinton won the debate hands down. She demanded the attention of the audience, having the strongest stage presence and the most thought-out and well articulated responses. Yet, I would have liked to see all the candidates address the United States' commitment to the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, which call for cutting world hunger in half by 2015 and eliminating it altogether by 2025. Indeed, it is estimated that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion annually would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach and it is my hope that whoever becomes president in 2008 addresses this pressing issue.

Posted by: emh8k | July 24, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

skching commented, "what if either of you were wrong . . . that there was weapons of mass destruction."
That ignores what was going on at the time with UN Weapons Inspectors. Because of the presence nearby of U.S. forces, Saddam had backed down on his lack of cooperation with the UN. He promised that he would give them carte blanc access to any sites they wanted to inspect. The inspectors were going to check that out and see if the cooperation was indeed there, but then Bush started the invasion.

Posted by: btm11 | July 24, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I provide

((Concrete Proof))

that the Washington Post and CNN (as well as the rest of the mainstream media) lies about the front runners of the Democrat Party.

You Tube stats:

NYSENATOR (Hillary's site)

---Subscribers: 397

---Channel Views: 18,652

Johnedwards (obviously, John Edwards' site)

---Subscribers: 3,414

---Channel Views: 587,564

Oh, and did I mention that Hillary's site doesn't provide an open comments section to the voters, but John Edwards' does?

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Political Jihad? Calculating and robotic? Guessing how President Hillary Clinton might have handled Katrina? All this rampant speculation and it's as if you people know her and her policies. It seems that you already have an agenda of "hate" for the lady without even listening to her. You are quick to flog her for allegedly flip flopping, but "beginning diplomatic talks" is basically what she said last night, were you listening? You want the freshness of Obama, with the experience of Richardson, minus the flash of Edwards. Some idiot hates the Clintons so much and is upset that the former president is making money speaking and operating his foundation (along with Bush Sr. I should point out). So is it your position that anyone that can afford it, should not take any money from social security, or any other government subsidy, right? LOL, what a loon . . . And to the yahoo that feels that since 40% of America "hates" Ms. Clinton, she should not win the democratic primary. . . look with the likes of Arthur Branch, America's Mayor and the Hero representing the Republican party, I foresee 8 years of President Clinton and potentially 8 years of Edwards or Obama after her.

Posted by: cave_mann | July 24, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama must be getting to Hillary. Her remarks about naivety and immaturity is reflective of high-school debates.

Are not tthe ultimate decision makers "the voters" the ones who decide who is immature or naive, or hypocritical, or a party hack or an opportunist, etc,.

I for one believe Sen. Hillary;s remarks about Sen. Obama are immature and a pernicious insinuation that the American voter is not capable of deciding which candidate is worthy of her/his vote.

Unless of course Ms. Hillary will only converse with America's lackeys, the Israeli and a diminishing number of friends in Europe.

This faux-pas will definitely cost her.

Posted by: omop | July 24, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest...

With Hillary being the fiscal conservative that she is, would she have handled the Katrina situation (('much better')) than the current admin.?

Probably not much better.

There are plenty of other natural disasters that we aren't hearing about that have been mishandled.

The San Diego Cedars forest fire burned out several thousand homes in the middle of winter, not too long ago. The 5,000 plus burned out resident voters were left out in tents in below freezing temps.

We need someone such as John Edwards for these times. It is critical for the survival of the spirit of this country!

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats will keep up the same treason We have going on in Washington right now...if they refused to use the power of your vote to represent American best interest when they voted on "comprehensive" immigration reform, they will continue to not represent American best interests in the future.

Check out their voting history and bills they have sponsored or cosponsored to know what you and our country will be getting.

Cindy Sheehan has stated she will run to replace the "do nothing" Speaker Pelosi...good luck to Cindy...it would be great to see a true American in office and good luck to Congressman Ron Paul...he sounds like the most sane and most American candidate.

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

Hillary doesn't have a comments section on her main site at You Tube.

Why is that, you ask?

Because she lies about almost everything!

I am voting Republican if she is elected!

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, everyone missed the point of this debate, we should not vote for someone who is more flashy but has less experience. The most experienced person there us Gov. Richardson in every way. I like his slow deliberate thoughtful way of answering even if I dont care for that answer.

Posted by: RobAnn | July 24, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If we are supposed to choose Hillary over Obama because of her alleged "experience", how about selecting the one of two candidates who have way more experience than the Shrill. Both Biden and Richardson have far better respective resumes than Hillary Clinton. But this is America, where the media prefers celebrity over substance. If H. Clinton was not the wife of Bill Clinton, she would not even be the Senator from New York.

Posted by: bringbackimus | July 24, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

***If she is nominated, the far-right will mount a political jihad the likes of which we haven't seen....And that's why I support Obama***

Strange reasoning...do you think the far-right will treat Obama in a kind and reasoned way?

Posted by: Jerryvov | July 24, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I truly do not understand why Hillary Clinton polls so high, unless most of her supporters ignore completely the predominant issue of her national electability. In all likelihood, Bush and the Republicans (the latter, at least) won't be quite as unpopular as they are now when November 2008 rolls around. If you look at the map of the 2004 election, I am extremely skeptical that a figure as polarizing as Hillary would be able to turn any of the "red" states "blue." Other candidates could, but not her. If she is nominated, the far-right will mount a political jihad the likes of which we haven't seen. Nothing against her personally, I just don't think she can win. And that's why I support Obama.

Posted by: TimUVA1 | July 24, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I am so tired of you pundits talking about Hillary and Obama. Hillary is so calculating, she is almost robotic. Except for the brief moment when Biden called her out on not telling the truth on Iraq and her vote against funding MRAPs.
She was pale as a ghost. She knew Biden was right.

Biden was the winner of the debate last nite. He is the only candidate that is ready to move into the WH tomorrow. He is capable of getting things done. He is winning the online polls about who is the most knowledgeable.

Things were great in the Clinton era - but they did little for foreign relations. and this election is first about foreign affairs.

And Obama?? I'm still waiting. Other than an excellent cheerleader, who is he???

Posted by: jillcinta | July 24, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Educate yourself on the only

(((VIABLE CHOICE)))

for next President of the United States.

*That is if you want to improve our chances of a better education system, medical for all, better job opportunities for all that seek, and honest government!

http://www.youtube.com/user/johnedwards

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The mainstream media is so cute. They think there is a race. The facts on the ground are well represented by yesterday's polls:

Rasmussen

Clinton 40%
Obama 22%
Edwards 14%

Washington Post

Clinton 45%
Obama 30%
Edwards 12%

Posted by: mmeyerdc | July 24, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

edonnelly76 writes
"bsimon - Are you kidding? Hillary Clinton has been serving as a Senator to NY for over SEVEN YEARS now, whereas Obama has served only since Jan. 2005."

Actually, Sen Clinton has less than 7 years, or 4 more than Sen Obama. Prior to serving in the US Senate, Sen Obama was representing constituents in the IL state government, whereas Sen Clinton was serving as spouse to her husband. She is trying to parlay being First Lady as a relevant qualification to being President. People buying into this line of thinking are giving that experience far more credit than it deserves.

Posted by: bsimon | July 24, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

*sorry for all the typos...

But this whole Hillary propaganda campaign burns myass. Our future depends on people using intelligence rather than relfecting upon 'Well, she's gotta be better than what we have now'.

Please people think about what the media is doing to our future! What are the possible consequences to another 4-8 years of conservative politics!

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hilary's service as First Lady isn't relevant experience, but her participation as a key advisor to the president on numerous initiatives (beyond just health care) is... remember Bill said "two for the price of one" even while campaigning...and it's certainly better experience for an executive branch job than eight years in a state legislature.
Don't forget everyone, you don't have to choose one or the other... after Obama gains experience and shows us more of himself, he'll be highly electable in 2016 still. Why not embrace a strategy for 16 years of Democratic presidency?

Posted by: kemurph | July 24, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is OK with her and her husband's record in the White House throughout the 90's, oh really!

NAFTA

GATT

Welfare Reform - millions more than the yearly average are now bursting the seems of our prison system because if this poorly enacted 'experiment'. God knows how she will experiment with the lives our our poor if elected.

Universal Healthcare - ((SHE SAYS)) 'I WEAR THE SCARS FROM THIS EXPERIENCE.'

(((SCARS MYASS!!!)))

The isn't a single human being on this planet that has benefitted more from the Insurance and Pharmacutical Industries for what she has done. Hillary and Slick Willy lied to all of us and banked on the lobbyist money to become multi-multi millionairs. It's disgusting!

(((Let's not forget))) the stripping of Medicare. Hillary is no leader. A leader would find solutions to work these problems out. The USA is amongst the wealthiest countries on the world. We CAN afford these things for those that aren't permitted medical.

How did the Clintons craft a public education system for the new century?

A: The highered the Texas corporate thinkings to restrict the learning abilities of our young to be better worker bees. The is ((((NOT)))) the education system of a democratic society. They have greatly restricted the 'Persuit of Happiness'!

Clearly the winner was John Edwards and Obama. But the Southern states are still too biggotted to vote for an African American. This is the John Kerry set up all over again. The media is lying and controling the outcome of the primary race to their interest. The corporate interest!

What about what's good for the country as a whole.

Hillary will deliver us to hell in a handbasket as her husband did, as they stroll away with 10's of million in lobbyist dollars.

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

In Will Shakespeare's play TITUS ANDRONICUS, Aaorn the Moore and Queen Tamora, chop off Lavinia's arms/legs, gouge out her eyes and rip out her tongue. Will HILLARY and BARAK eviscerate AMERICA with the same brutal methods if they are the DEMBHOLE CANDIDATES in 2008??? Or does 'art' from so log ago not imitate today's realities???

Posted by: ZyskandarAJaimot | July 24, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

In Will Shakespeare's play TITUS ANDRONICUS, Aaorn the Moore and Queen Tamora, chop off Lavinia's arms/legs, gouge out her eyes and rip out her tongue. Will HILLARY and BARAK eviscerate AMERICA with the same brutal methods if they are the DEMBHOLE CANDIDATES in 2008??? Or does 'art' from so log ago not imitate today's realities???

Posted by: ZyskandarAJaimot | July 24, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

mmeyer, you're making the same mistake: a conclusion from prima facie poll numbers. Look deeper.

An American Research Group poll of likely voters in the Iowa caucus only has HRC with a 32-29 edge over Edwards, with 14% undecided. In New Hampshire, she has a slightly larger lead (9 points on Obama), but still double-digit undecideds. These are the states where momentum comes from.

And don't forget unfavorability. Recent CBS and Gallup polls show Hillary with upwards of 40% unfavorable responses. Those same polls show Obama with around 20-25% unfavorability. Hillary is starting with 40% of the populace hating her guts, with a much smaller group of people to sway in the positive direction. Obama could drive them away, sure, but doing so in the mass shove of Clinton is almost impossible.

So sure, Hillary may have a big lead nationally. Might that be because we're still 15 months from the election, and heck, 6 from most primaries? The name of the game now is name recognition; Hillary has it because of who her husband is.

Posted by: fuzzguy71 | July 24, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

National polls at this point are meaningless. What matters is who takes the Iowa and New Hampshire, and then the other states will most likely follow. That is what worked for Kerry in 2004.

Posted by: thegribbler | July 24, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

CNN has this person supposedly assess the canidate's body language. What a load of &h!t!!!

This person claimed that Hillary's body language had been the best. That is laughable. The only thing about her body language was her constant head bobble while each and every canidate had been speaking. She looked incredibly nervous, and for good reason. Hillary carries an enormous amount of baggage.

Bill's legislative/policy history is nothing to be too proud of from the average american's perspective.

What with NAFTA that hurt millions of american workers, as well as workers abroad. The only benefit had been to the corporations that are able to funnel large pay packages to the upper management.

Welfare Reform was proposed as an experiment. It has gone wrong because the politicians are still promising to help the unskilled worker with the reprecussions of such a drastic messure. As it stands now, millions are unable to deal with the reality of struggling with a job that pays under $10 an hour and turn to either drugs or some form of crime out of frustration and wind up on our prison rolls. *See DOJ prison statistics for the estimate of millions increased since the start of 2001 when the first people began to get thrown off the welfare rolls. (oh and btw... we shouldn't call them entitlements. The money that Halliburton steals from the operating of the Iraq War should more likely be tagged 'entitlements'.)

So, no! 28 years of Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton have not been good or considerate of the average american voter. Obama had shone brighter than the rest in this debate, but the South will never get behind an African American, unfortunately times have not gotten beyond the biggotry.

Kusinich is a good man but truthfully he looks too whimpy. Edwards scares the heck out of the corporate world because the press and news media continue to count him towards the back of the pack whilst he truely is the front runner.

Confront the DNC, the press, and people in your life with the bare fact that Edwards is the only responsible choice. Please!

Posted by: theman_in_black | July 24, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the current democratic front runners are going to be in for a rude awakening come October. In my estimation, should Al Gore receive the Nobel Peace prize for his recent movie, I believe that he then intends to use that as a springboard for running for President in '08. I believe that it will negate all the campaigning that will have been done to date. Moreover, Al Gore already has name recognition, and with his Oscar and a Nobel Prize to boot, will prove a most formidable opponent. Moreover, unlike Billary, he is a decent person, and unlike both Billary and Obama, he has international experience as vice president that is very important for being a president. A most clever maneuver.

I think Al Gore entering will also create some cracks in the campaign for guys like Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, and John Edwards. I think Gore, Biden, Richardson, and Edwards are all presidential material. Obama, he may get there some day, but I don't think he's quite ready yet. As for Billary, she's so power hungry her name should be Julia Evita Caesar. Billary's known tainted acts in the past, plus nothing more than a pure quest for power, in my opinion, pretty much disqualifies her as presidential material.

However, should the democratic party be so foolish as to nominate Billary, she's so liberal and out of touch with the average American I believe that beyond NY, CA, and DC, I don't think she would win any states. I can't see her winning state south of the Ohio River, and I can't see her winning any state that is between the Sierra Nevadas and the Mississippi River. Moreover, all her sleaziness of the past will prove an albatross around her neck.

Posted by: bdstauffer | July 24, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

And the Winner of the Debate Was.....
Gravel!

Posted by: madest | July 24, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I have assumed from the beginning of this campaign season that Hillary and Obama pre-ordained to be the Democratic ticket. Nothing that has occurred between the two of them suggests otherwise. During these debates they have to appear to be somewhat different and distant from each other, but I don't expect either of them to express any hard ball criticism about the other that would come back to bite them in the general election. I'm sure that Bill Clinton felt out Obama early on as a running mate for Hill.

Posted by: smeesq | July 24, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's response: "Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year."

To illustrate the total hypocrisy of Conniving Calculating Clinton, here are her comments on April 22 in DECORAH, Iowa: Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday criticized President Bush's foreign policy, and said if she were president she would do things differently, including beginning diplomatic talks with supposed enemies and sending envoys throughout the world.

"I would begin diplomatic discussions with those countries with whom we have differences, to try to figure out what is the depth of those differences," said Clinton, who spoke to about 1,000 people at Luther College in Decorah in northeastern Iowa.

She will say and do anything to gain power. She will out-flip-flop flipflopromney. Such people should not be trusted.

Posted by: ImpeachNOW | July 24, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I have a different interpretation than some readers of Clinton's response to the question of meeting with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea. My interpretation is that it is not a question of IF such meetings would be 'spun' for political advantage, but WHAT the spin would be at that moment in time. Spin on both sides is unavoidable. But it might be possible to avoid unintentionally making things worse by blundering into a meeting whose perception after the fact is not what you imagined it would be.

That having been said, however, I can't imagine that Obama would be any less careful of this than Clinton. So the distinction being drawn between the two candidates' responses seems a little fine to me.

Posted by: elizabeth.elzer | July 24, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I have a different interpretation than some readers of Clinton's response to the question of meeting with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea. My interpretation is that it is not a question of IF such meetings would be 'spun' for political advantage, but WHAT the spin would be at that moment in time. Spin on both sides is unavoidable. But it might be possible to avoid unintentionally making things worse by blundering into a meeting whose perception after the fact is not what you imagined it would be.

That having been said, however, I can't imagine that Obama would be any less careful of this than Clinton. So the distinction being drawn between the two candidates' responses seems a little fine to me.

Posted by: elizabeth.elzer | July 24, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight: You think that

"Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes."

is more direct than

"I would; and the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous."

?

I would say that Obama got the upper hand on this one.

Posted by: Bartron | July 24, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I feel as if the media wishes that this was a story more than it is one. Two senators, front runners' battling it out. In reality, however, both Clinton and Obama are both too politically shrewd to take out the bog guns because it just leaves them vulnerable to Edwards or other candidates. For Clinton especially this election is hers to lose right now, and there is no way she messes it up this early with a real feud that could degenerate into negative ads.

Posted by: JPotteiger | July 24, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I feel as if the media wishes that this was a story more than it is one. Two senators, front runners' battling it out. In reality, however, both Clinton and Obama are both too politically shrewd to take out the bog guns because it just leaves them vulnerable to Edwards or other candidates. For Clinton especially this election is hers to lose right now, and there is no way she messes it up this early with a real feud that could degenerate into negative ads.

Posted by: JPotteiger | July 24, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Where is the accountability with Clinton?? Her husband collects millions in speaking fees but asks the federal government for additional monies to pay for his NYC office. Why not means test social security and tax ALL income and see what Clinton, Edwards and the rest think. Another Clinton in office will only mean requests for additional monies for themselves.

Posted by: tmtennis | July 24, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I think you're misunderstanding something. You write: "More Democrats prefer a change-oriented candidate, but the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that Clinton's strength and experience continue to trump what Obama has most to offer", as though this were a paradox.

However, is that really a paradox? Experience and competence are, in fact, a CHANGE from the current administration. For the past seven years, we have endured someone who value loyalty, over competence, and so-called "freshness" over getting things done. Clinton is actually a huge change from that.

Posted by: rlalumiere | July 24, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - Are you kidding? Hillary Clinton has been serving as a Senator to NY for over SEVEN YEARS now, whereas Obama has served only since Jan. 2005.

Posted by: edonnelly76 | July 24, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Can we please have some print on more than Obama and Clinton????/ Let's hear more about Biden! Kucinich! And to simply call Gravel a quack is simply quacky! Gravel brings something important to the stage: he holds the fire to the others' feet. These are all great candidates and I'm tired of reading articles about the impeding 'war' between Clinton and Obama or and Edwards/Clinton ticket. This election is not over and I want the opportunity to read and hear about ALL of the candidates!

Posted by: deljunk | July 24, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but did anyone have MORE experience than Cheney and Rumsfeld?

Posted by: zeroproof | July 24, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but did anyone have MORE experience than Cheney and Rumsfeld?

Posted by: zeroproof | July 24, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The difference between CLINTON and OBAMA on this one was that she proposed to do lots of research and positioning before maybe meeting and he committed to having the meetings. One justifiably assumes that OBAMA would do EDWARDS' "homework" before any such meetings. CLINTON appeared more interested in creating an escape hatch for herself. These meetings are too important to risk not having them except for reasons no one has yet identified and that are difficult to imagine.

Posted by: tmaguire | July 24, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Everybody has hindsight . . . . Obama, Clinton, the Washington Post. But hindsight is history. What is not on display is foresight . . . . Obama, Clinton, the Washington Post. I take it from this Big Three that neither of you would have made this "bad" call into Iraq. But hindsight is great, and what if either of you were wrong . . . that there was weapons of mass destruction. It could have gone either way. That doesn't make you right, or superior, and the President is wrong, and inferior . . . . it only means that you, in hindsight, would have made the right call. Right?

Posted by: skching | July 24, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

You should remember that Ms. Clinton was blind-sided by the Palestinians, and she is smart enough not to let that happen again. I think she did a great job in the Youtube debate.

Posted by: jurassicnight | July 24, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I am puzzled by reports suggesting Clinton's response to the question of talking to leaders of certain countries was the more seasoned. Every president I can think of has used meetings with foreign diplomats for their own propaganda, and we should not expect any less from the other countries. What troubles me is that if Clinton will not meet before being assured the meeting will not be spun for political advantage, she will never ever meet. Obama had the more realistic and refreshing position, with Edwards adding the logical "but of course we will do our homework before the meeting." Insistence on a prior assurance that the other side will not put its political spin on a meeting is unrealistic and immature.

Posted by: lautaro | July 24, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama also stated that other administrations had failed to provide universal health care coverage, including "under a democratic president and a democratic congress" for the reason that they listened more to special interest groups than their constituents. Hardly a veiled attach against Senator Clinton whose fund raising is from far smaller and far more wealthy group of contributers. Seems like the media is completely ignoring this comment.

Posted by: gregwallach | July 24, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr Balz-
Can you summarize Senator Clinton's experience in comparison to Senator Obama's 'freshness'? From what I can tell, Senator Clinton has experience as the spouse of a Governor and President - experience which Senator Obama lacks. Is the 'experience' to which you refer in paragraph 2?

Posted by: bsimon | July 24, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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