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Clinton on Clinton

That was a moment.

Clinton was asked perhaps the toughest question we have heard tonight -- a 38-year-old woman emailed in asking how Clinton could possibly represent change when the Bushes and Clinton have been on every presidential ballot for the past two decades.

After asking to be judged on her own merits (and not those of her husband), Clinton unleashed this gem: "It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it might take a second one to clean up after this Bush."

An extended round of applause followed and, in a lucky break for Clinton, CNN broke for commercial -- helping to ensure people will remember the line.

Whether or not Clinton had that line in her hip pocket for tonight, she delivered it well and turned a tough question into a terrific moment.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 31, 2008; 9:15 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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A good line for the moment, for Hillary. A great line for Obama to play ad nauseum on radio/tv... it's only reinforces, in a very dramatic and literal way, the dynasty notion (a negative)... i think played ad nauseum, it'll creep out the undecideds and hurt Hillary.

Posted by: josephsharp | February 1, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I agree with a few other Mr. Cilizza - it was only a 'moment' if you had never heard a response to that question question before. A question that has been asked at least a dozen times, particularly at debates such as this one. I am kind of surprised you had never heard that one...

Posted by: andrew | February 1, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

"Whether or not...?!!" Are you kidding me?!!

She's been using that line for months!

Posted by: johnlumea | January 31, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

This dynasty question is an important one for me. I also think that if it's John McCain vs. Clinton, there will be at minimum 1-2% of Democrats who will vote for McCain (who will be seen as moderate and appealing to independents) for this reason alone.

To me, though, it's not an electability issue as much as a sign that our democracy is not healthy right now. The influence of money and celebrity is part of that I think.

Posted by: MNobserver | January 31, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Hillary has used the line as a standard response at least since New Hampshire, if not before...

Posted by: hkl | January 31, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

the dynasty question--bush, clinton: i think that there is a difference between dynasties and our presidential election. one, we vote for our candidate. but more importantly, bush senior had different policies than gwb; hillary and bill are different candidates as well. and if one were to consider issues, there are more similarities within parties than across issues regardless of the last name

Posted by: k1omal | January 31, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh... the Hillary CACKLE just came up in response to a question about her husband running amok in the Oval Office...

Tame that beast Hillary... tame it.

Posted by: Boutan | January 31, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Saved by the bell! the vote for the authorization to Bush's war is HRC's Achilles heel. She stated her case well, but BHO got the last word before the break.

Posted by: LadyEagle | January 31, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

She did have a good line. It is the second time I have heard it, but each of them have their little gems that they release from time to time. I think they are both having a good night, but her experience is clearly showing.

Posted by: LadyEagle | January 31, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Who won the CNN Democratic Debate in California?


Posted by: PollM | January 31, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

It was a good line -- but review it and all you get is "it takes a Clinton to clean up a Bush mess". Which underscores rather than gets rid of the doubts about dynasties.

Posted by: | January 31, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

"Whether or not...?" You're kidding, right? (I know I'm not the only one who's heard that trite little canard before...)

Posted by: dumouchk1 | January 31, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, well, lot of liemericans read newspapers to keep informed over the presidential race. I might as well grab the opportunity to ask 2 rather burning questions. What will happen with oil supply when you use 9 barrels pro second and find only 1 barrel pro second ? What happened with building 7 on 9-11-2001 ? Opinion Research Business and the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies figured out that 1 million Iraqis have died sinds the start of the American invasion in 2003. Figures are based on questioning more then 2000 Iraqi's in Baghdad. In Baghdad 40 percent of the families lost at least 1 family member during the war. The WHO (World Health Org) figured out that sinds the start of the war in 2003 120 people died on a daily basis. They questioned 9000 Iraqis and used figures from the Lancet and Iraqi health organizations. Enough seed for growing a million terrorists...yah continue the good works. This administration gave you Americans indeed a million reasons to be afraid. This is not a question but an answer to your feelings of insecurity. But you've got to do something when other big economies steal your oil away under your nose, and your economy is drifting on oil. In short 'NO OIL, NO AMERICA'. I wish the next president of the U.S.A., Barak Obama, all the best to get your economy back up again. Against all odds, take my advice and set up a good infrastructure to strengthen your home market, railways etc and get rid of domestic flights, to boost your economy on the longer term.

Posted by: jwholtkamp | January 31, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

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