Obama: One of Us Will Be President
By Alec MacGillis
LOS ANGELES -- It's on. Barack Obama reached out to Hillary Clinton in his opening statement in tonight's CNN/Politico/Los Angeles Times debate, assuring all that she was his "friend" and would be so after the campaign as well, snub or no snub. In trying to be gracious, he went slightly off his own message. It was a testimony to the Democratic Party and the country, he said, that " one of us two will end up being the next president of the United States of America." That is at odds with what he argued in a tough speech in Denver yesterday: that Clinton would have trouble running against John McCain in a general election.
"We've reached Americans of all political stripes who are more interested in turning the page than turning up the heat on our opponents," he said in Denver. "That's how Democrats will win in November and build a majority in Congress. Not by nominating a candidate who will unite the other party against us, but by choosing one who can unite this country around a movement for change."
He added in Denver: "It's time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain...is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq; who agreed with him by voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran; who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don't like; and who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed."
We'll see if he brings out a version of this argument despite the initial olive branch. Or if Clinton challenges him on the Denver speech, which Clinton called an "angry screed."
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