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Before Debate, Obama Courts the Coach


Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, walks with University of Texas head football coach Mack Brown during a tour of the school, Thursday, Feb. 21, in Austin.
(AP.)

By Jonathan Weisman
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said Hillary Clinton needs a strong showing in the debate far more than
Barack Obama does. "These debates, which she wanted so badly, are now absolutely critical for her," he said.

The Illinois senator will try to stick with the message that has earned him the front-runner status, but he is prepared for an opponent in attack mode. Obama campaign officials conceded they were not sure what to expect tonight. Some Clinton officials have said she will be in attack mode, ready to charge that he is not ready to be commander in chief. But others have suggested she will be conciliatory and friendly.

"You can count on the fact that he will answer any negative charge that comes at him with force," Burton said, "but negative attacks are exactly what have been rejected all across the country. Negative attacks come at a certain peril."

While Clinton campaigned this morning, Obama toured the locker rooms, players' lounge and football stadium at the University of Texas, posing for pictures with Texas head football coach Mack Brown -- who has not endorsed Obama and says he never votes in primaries -- and hoisting a Heisman Trophy.

When the Associated Press's pool reporter, Nedra Pickler, shouted out a question about Sen. John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist, she was scolded by the coach.

"Do you know it's inappropriate while we have his time to ask him these
inappropriate questions?" Brown asked.

Obama grinned. "Coach solved that one, didn't he? Shame on you Nedra."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 21, 2008; 4:19 PM ET
 
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Posted by: zhascqyn szudiqw | April 16, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Some of you who have posted these comments are completely ignorant(Clinton haters). Now I am speaking mostly to the Obamanites I like whatDavid Ignatius wrote about buyer's remorse. You might want to read up on it.He suggests Obama needs to be looked at carefully. Who knows what is behind the curtain. How is he not going to leave all these Obamanites with empty stomachs when he is unable to give them what he has promised? Will they then think I guess Clinton ws the best choice after all. Experience does count!! You might also want to read what Charles Krauthammer wrote about Obama leading his people. To have hope all you have to do is vote for me? It is cult like having all these people follow him like this. What does the Bible say about this? It is starting to scare me. I understand the black voting for a black man. What I cannot understand is why women do not want a women in the highest job ever. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? And white men do not want a woman in charge - cowards. I am sure there have been more republicans voting for Obama just so Hillary cannot win - typical. Obama is getting quite arrogant - like that is surprising with everyone chanting his name. I think you Obamanites you should stand back and rethink what you are doing???!!!

Posted by: anxious08 | February 22, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

To summarize zakk1:
It's about who makes the better POTUS, not who makes the better POUTS.

Posted by: TomJx | February 22, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Silly JakeD,
I see you're up to your old, tired tricks yet again. As someone who obviously pays a lot of attention to politics, you know that Obama has shown wide leads in countless polls over McCain (usually 6-8 pts) while Hillary typically trails (usually by 2-3 pts). Furthermore, in key swing states like Virginia, Wisconsin and Minnesota, Obama beat Clinton by wide, gaping margins. And we both know California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts will vote for anyone with a "D" next to his or her name on the ballot. The electability argument, simply put, is a landslide for Obama.

Posted by: RyanMcC1 | February 22, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

(1) How does Hillary "loose" to McCain in November for sure, when the current Gallup match-up shows Hillary beating McCain? There are plenty of possible scenarios where some October Surprise dooms McCain and Hillary wins.

(2) That same Gallup poll shows McCain BEATING Obama! Maybe you are reading your talking points upside down? Granted, a lot can change between now and November, but I'm just curious which planet you are living on?

(3) When did Obama "vote against the war"?

Posted by: JakeD | February 21, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is desperate and would do anything to get the party nomination. The message that she is trying to send across, is empty, flat and non-inspiring. To make things worse, she is mounting negative attacks on her opponent which will come back and haunt her.

The problem for Obama is that, Clinton will try to get him on the TV so that she can attack him. And he will have to be very careful how he responds. He needs to be able to control his nerves because the last thing he wants to do, is to loose his temper.

Let's look at some facts:
(1) If Hillary was to get the party nomination, she would loose to McCain in November for sure. But people don't want another Republican in the White House with Bush's Iraqi war and the current state of the economy. So they need to choose someone with the ability to beat McCain, and that will not Hillary.

(2) If Barack Obama was to get the party nomination, he stands more chance of winning in November for sure. McCain is no match for Obama.

(3) Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain keep saying that they've got more experience than Obama. However, they both voted for the Iraqi war and Obama with no experience was intelligent enough to vote against the war.

So this is not about having more experience or being much older. It is about having a good sense of judgment to be able to make the right decision when it matters.

Posted by: mensan | February 21, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Some one please tell Hillary that it is not about:

(a) 35 years(?) of experience,
(b) ready to lead on day one,
(c) having survived the GOP attacks for now,
(d) hands on management (leave that to the career professionals).

It is about:
(a) Who would make a better POTUS for the next 4 years.
(b) Who have better judgments (start by reading the NIE reports)
(c) Who can plan, manage and execute more effectively (like this campaign)
(c) Who can lead and inspire the American people to innovate and address the issues of the day.

Posted by: zakk1 | February 21, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

What a disappointment she has turned out to be. If she would simply close her mouth and open her eyes, she'd see this has long been decided. Get over yourself Hillary, and get a life.

Posted by: gmundenat | February 21, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Bitter, angry, whinny, shrill-

Hillary's a loser even without Bill.

Says she's the fit Commander in Chief-
Just forget her record,
and suspend belief.

Posted by: JaxMax | February 21, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

LOL! The Locker Rooms are the most lavish place on the UT Campus.

Obasama's lucky I am down in San Antonio. However, I am CERTAIN, him and his fellow World Labor Party loving Congressman, Lloyd "Dogmeat" will be entertaining the Socialists in Hyde Park tonight! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | February 21, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to ridicule Hillary with a couple of humorous soundbytes. Hillary has no zsense of humor and wil be wound tight.

For example, if she whines about plagiarizing, pull a notecard out of his pocket, and say:

"Hillary has accuse me of plagiarzing friends who asked me to use their material.
So my lawyers prepared the legal disclaimer for speeches, like car ads on tv:

"Obama Speeches are an extemporaneous, collaborative intellectual process. Portions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Shakespeare the Bible, and other intellectual, literary sources may be used without attribution since we live in the post Google era.Full text cites are available to any whiny Hilary supporter who needs documentation at Obama.com"

Posted by: JaxMax | February 21, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Shame on you Nedra."

Another time, another man...
WaPo Trail, 1/23/08, Anne Kornblut:
"Former president Bill Clinton lashed out in response to criticism on Wednesday from a prominent Democrat in South Carolina, accusing the Obama campaign of running a political smear campaign against him through the media.
...
Referring to the Obama campaign, Clinton said: "They are feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover." As Clinton's aides tried to steer him out the door, he continued to scold back in Yellin's direction: "Shame on you."


It's good to be Obama.

Posted by: zukermand | February 21, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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