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Elbows Get Sharper as Debate Wears On

By Alec MacGillis
LOS ANGELES -- Well, that didn't take long.

After opening up the debate with a friendly gesture toward Hillary Clinton, saying that he believed that either she or he would be the next president, Barack Obama just now made the argument that Clinton would in fact be poorly positioned to run against John McCain or other Republicans because she does not offer the "clear contrast" that he does when it comes to the war in Iraq. After Obama made a similar argument in a speech yesterday in Denver, Clinton decried the speech as an "angry screed." Such is the generally chummy demeanor of tonight's debate, though, that Clinton countered the claim with a relatively mild retort: that she possesses the necessary gravitas to go up against a Republican on foreign policy.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 31, 2008; 9:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Debates  
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Next: Candidates Made Each Other's Points

Comments

The comment "it took a Clinton to clean up after a Bush" seems like it was the big applause line of the night from an audience which may have been more Clinton-disposed than otherwise. But the retort "it took a Clinton to put a Bush back in the White House" was absent. The Clintons managed to hand the Congress over to the Republicans of the Tom Delay ilk, guaranteeing that all their fancy measures for the American people ended up in the dust-bin of the 24 news cycle. Poor Al Gore had to run away from his contact with the co-presidency to carry even the primaries.
Should The Clintons return to the White House, I hope to God that they do not subject Obama to the vice-presidency, for his political stature would be diminished to that of subservient, 2nd-class executive, number 3 to a 1 and 2 where it may be difficult to determine the pecking-order.

Posted by: rarignac | February 1, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

the comments regarding Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair still linger after all these years. Where are your minds if that is all you can process about the ex president whose dalliance with someone not his wife certainly aren't news to Oval Office occupants. It's been done before guys by presidents who are reverved by the nation. Time was when personal life was left as such and not reported as so much back porch gossip. GET OVER IT.

Posted by: mbalfe | February 1, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Hillary mentioned during the debate: "It took one Clinton to cleanup after Bush Sr. It will take another Clinton to cleanup after the second Bush."

After the first Clinton it took an army of house cleaning professionals armed with blacklight, chlorine bleach and other tough chemicals to cleanup the mess Bill and Monica created in the oval office as well as the Lincoln bedroom. They had to basically throw away or burn all the linen and upholstry.

Now do we want another Clinton to do the same. Think about what Bill Clinton will be doing. All the interns will have to go into hiding when they hear his footsteps in the hallways. The white house will have to install sex offender alerts in all corners of the building where Bill might end up wandering.

Only advantage will be the DNA testing labs in Washington D.C. will employ more employees to analyse DNA samples from blue dresses.

Posted by: ChunkyMonkey1 | February 1, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

The question that should have been asked of Hillary tonight is this ...

"Ma'am, your husband's presidency was marked by scandals running from the salacious to national security, you've run a campaign based on race coding, and both you and your husband have scant regard for the truth.

"What could you possibly say to young people, what could you possibly bring to the table, for those who need to hear a message of honesty and integrity, as personal responsibility is the cornerstone of government accountability?"

Martin Edwin Andersen
Churchton, Maryland

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | February 1, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I think the exchange on the war was the most significant in the debate because it highlights the weakness John Kerry had in 2004 in criticizing Bush on the war. He could not do so without casting himself as a flip flopper. It also emphasizes the suspicion, well founded in my opinion, that Senator Clinton and others were taking a political and not principled stands by voting to authorize military force. Call me cynical, but I believe that Kerry, Edwards, and Clinton were primarily protecting their presidential ambitions, believing that they needed to be perceived as hawks to compete with republicans in a post 9/11 election.


Posted by: MShaughn | February 1, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the exchange on the war was the most significant in the debate because it highlights the weakness John Kerry had in 2004 in criticizing Bush on the war. He could not do so without casting himself as a flip flopper. It also emphasizes the suspicion, well founded in my opinion, that Senator Clinton and others were taking a political and not principled stands by voting to authorize military force. Call me cynical, but I believe that Kerry, Edwards, and Clinton were primarily protecting their presidential ambitions, believing that they needed to be perceived as hawks to compete with republicans in a post 9/11 election.


Posted by: MShaughn | February 1, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I am tired of Obama's constant bad mouthing of Hillary and her husband. He has tons of spokespeople who crow with pain if Hillary or Bill ever attacks him, but he doesn't mind dishing it out himself. Hillary should line up a bunch of spokespeople to say "Oh, he is picking on a woman. He is denigrating the dream of Susan B. Anthony".
Frankly, I have had enough of his arrogance and superiority, but I suppose it won't end for quite a while.

Posted by: bghgh | January 31, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Who won the CNN Democratic Debate in California?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1669

.

Posted by: jeffboste | January 31, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

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