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Clinton on Clinton, Part Two

Give Clinton credit. She has faced the tougher questions tonight and has generally handled them with aplomb -- although her answer on her vote for the use of force resolution was a bit rambling and semi-confusing.

Asked moments ago about how she could "control" her husband if she is elected to the White House, Clinton opened with her now familiar guffaw before offering this:

"I am running for president and this is my campaign. I have made it very clear I want the campaign to stay focused on the issues I am concerned about. That is what the campaign is about....It's a choice between the two of us...At the end of the day it's a lonely job in the White House and it's the president of the United States who has to make the decisions and that is what I am entrusted to do."

It's always tough for a candidate to answer a question about their spouse -- especially a spouse as well known and, at times, controversial, as former President Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton handled it as well as she could.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 31, 2008; 9:49 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Let it be said very loud. A vote for Clinton is like an endorsement of Bush. We need a CHANGE,and Barack Obama has what it takes to make it.

Posted by: ds_cenpak | February 2, 2008 2:14 AM | Report abuse

People may be riding the Obama wave right now, but look at the big picture. Hillary is the candidate most prepared to actually work within the system and get results. We know what we are getting with her experience and intellect. I read all of the right wing propaganda and they will slice & dice Obama during a general election campaign making McCain look great. Look at what the Republicans do to their own people like the damage done to McCain by Bush last time around. People think Hillary's campaign was tough on Obama? Ha! Wait until the Republicans drag him through the mud, and they will. They have used awful race tactics in many elections, look at what they did to Ford in Tennessee. I think now is Hillary's time, to lift everyone up and create real change and equality. I don't even like thinking that our society still responds in small minded ways, but I fear it is reality based on learning what the Republican blogs are talking about already. Hopefully the ticket could be Pres. Hillary & VP Obama, to create real opportunity and growth for the nation for the next 16 years!!!

Posted by: brendaly | February 2, 2008 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Undoubtedly Hillary was the more mature thoughtful respondent in the LA debate. She was asked the really probing questions as if she was in the dock! Wolf Blitzer even tried to put words in Hillary's mouth which she instantly rebutted with a "nice try Wolf" put down!! Obama got away with softball questions and used every occasion to question Hillary's stand on that issue when Hillary did no such thing.

The choice before voters is clear - vote for tried and tested Hillary who has mastery over policy, is focussed on getting things done OR for an untried Obama with a "trust me" message clothed in high rhetoric and constant criticism of what all went wrong with the Bush presidency and a self defined role of merely providing "vision" and "inspiration" and let the minions get on with it.

To any rational voter the choice is clear - its Hillary!!!!

Posted by: padmanabhan40 | February 2, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I get it! Obama can come off the trail and take a break from bashing Hillary to put on a show and pretend he's a gentleman. Meanwhile, his little minions spread out and spew their vile messages all over the blogosphere! Nice!!!

Posted by: brigittepj | February 1, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hiilary rolled around in the mudhole that is her explanation for voting for the Iraq war powers act. She wallowed around in there for a good 5 minutes. Then, when asked by Wolf if this meant that she was naive she looked like Dan Quayle at a Lloyd Bentsen rally and seemingly wasn't going to answer the question. Then when Wolf asked Obama to answer the question, she jumped in and said it was asked to her. Then she jumped back in the mire that is her explanation and rolled around another 5 minutes, flagellating herself with the answer like a Shi'ite at Ramadan. When she stopped Wolf asked Obama to comment and he threw her back in the mudhole where she rolled around another couple of minutes until she was sure that there was no spot on her body unsoiled by this.Even admitting she had been wrong and cutting her losses would have been preferable to this. The exchange lasted almost twenty minutes and every bit of it was negative air time for her. Worse yet was that the following day Carl Levin came out and said she had lied about what the Levin Amendment really stated and she has been castigated on TV all day
Friday for her answer. It was like herpes of an answer. You can't cure it. It just keeps coming back and it ruins your social life.

Posted by: majorteddy | February 1, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

There is no way I would stay home and not vote against a clinton/Obama ticket. As an independent hoping to vote for a democrat, I hope clinton gets sent back to NY and Obama gets my vote

Posted by: oscarb71 | February 1, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Senator Hillary Clinton won the last night
debate, she will be chief executive of our great country.!!!

Posted by: akber_kassam | February 1, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

MN is not a swing state! Quit saying that.

Posted by: csaunders | February 1, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Drama-king, nice post. Here are some more of Hillary's inconvenient behavior patterns I came up with in just 5 hours of research. No wonder the Republicans have calluses on their knees praying for Hillary to win the nomination.

- In 1988, jerry rigged Arkansas' first piece of ethics legislation to exempt Hillary and her law firm from conflict of issues in representing clients before her husband. (NYT Mar 27, 2992)

- Cooked up a plan during her husband's first Presidential administration to "sell" taxpayer paid for "trade missions" in exchange for campaign contributions.

- According to Independent Counsel Robert Ray, gave "factually false" testimony under oath in connection with the Travelgate investigation. I think that lying under oath is called perjury, isn't it?

- Prevailed upon her husband to grant pardons to convicted Puerto Rican terrorists (and that includes murderers) in a craven bid to ingratiate themselves to Hispanic voters in the run-up to Hillary's first Senate campaign. Nicely done Hillary.

- Allowed her brothers Anthony and Hugh Rodham to "broker" huge cash deals to obtain Presidential pardons from Bill Clinton for Marc Rich and others. In a Democratic debate during the last month Hillary hilariously denied that she knew anything about these pardons. Even Hillary's slimeball/ racist chief strategist Mark Penn must have laughed over that one.

- Hired a private detective to illegally obtain the FBI files of former Reagan and H.W. Bush staffers.

- Hired multiple detectives to track down the small army of Bill's Bimbos and intimidated or blackmailed them into silence, engaging in ". . . a systematic campaign to intimidate, frighten, threaten, discredit and punish innocent Americans whose only misdeed is their desire to tell the truth in public." Former confidant Dick Morris quoted in the NY Post Oct 1, 1998

- Invested $1,000 in cattle futures via the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and with insider advice turn it into a $100,000 in ten (10) months. A 1995 study by economists from Auburn University and University of North Florida concluded in an article published in the Journal of Economics and Statistics that there was only a 1 in 250 million chance that Rodham could have made the profits she did legitimately.

- Echoing the Nixon 18 minute gap, denied any knowledge of how her Whitewater billing records mysteriously disappeared from the office of Vince Foster, the former Rose Law Firm partner and Clinton White House Counsel. Yet after the heat went way, way up, those records mysteriously reappeared in the Whitehouse book room bearing Hillary's fingerprints (and I mean, her actual fingerprints as determined by the FBI lab).

- And revealing that down and dirty 'sleazeball' behavior that comes to the fore with desperate politicians, Hillary totted out so-called "liberal" Bob Kerrey - a former Senator - to go on and on and on about Obama's wonderful Muslim heritage and how great it was that Obama attended a "secular" madrassa. Pretty lame ploy. (And secular madrassa? I can't believe this idiot is the President of the New School.)

- Engaged in a race baiting campaign against Obama worthy of Bush the Elder's Willie Horton that was so egregious even conservative commentator Pat Buchanan a veteran speechwriter and witness to the Dirty Dick Nixon was shocked.

- And this one I love, while Hillary Clinton, friend of the little guy sat for six years on the Board of Walmart, she kept her mouth shut for four years while John Tate, a Wal-Mart executive vice president who also served on the board with Clinton for four of her six years, espoused the view QUOTE Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living. ENDQUOTE

Somehow I can't see Barack Obama, John Edwards or John McCain or Mike Huckabee letting that blowhard like Tate go on like that in the Boardroom. Can you imagine what Dem Senator Jim Webb or Rep Senator Chuck Hagel would have done to that idiot?

But you know what, drama-king, in this age of hyper-partisan, societal segmenting and downright tribalization of politics, making character and integrity the foremost considerations of the nation's leader is soooo old school.

Don't hold your breath. Hillary will be the nominee and old man John McCain will take the Presidency easily.

But if you want to keep posting, feel free to add this list to yours.

Posted by: xanpar | February 1, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

While Hillary, with Bill in the audience, presented a gracious face last night, Bill is now attacking Ted Kennedy in his speeches for working with the Republicans and so responsible for the No Child Left Behind policy. Bill is tearing down the party's most revered and successful fighter on behalf of the poor and union workers, who is the last surviving brother of the tragic Kennedy family. Why? Because Kennedy has endorsed Obama. The Clintons possess no regard for the good of the party or for the country. Bill's anti-Ted Kennedy attack shows the true face and voice of the Clinton Co-Presidency. Do not be fooled by Hillary's show of graciousness. It is all a sham. Watch Bill for the Clinton Dynasty's true tactics to win back the WH for the Dynasty. And watch Bill for where all the money has been coming from. Hillary may say she has been vetted, but Bill, her other co-president, has been grabbing monies from shady non-national sources and from shady American financiers under the radar of media scrutiny for years. Obama supporters cannot afford to be complacent. The Clintons lied and dissembled (including the tears she shed on prime time) to steal the alleged double-digit lead Obama was enjoying in NH. Hillary lied to NH that she would not support the Michigan and Florida attempt to take the lead in early primaries. And now she has turned against the very people who voted for her in NH and is fighting for those Michigan and Florida uncontested votes to count. How many more lies and attacks does the party need to decide that the Clinton machine is never going to be fixed? It is always already moving on crooked wheels, giving out fumes of corruption that are choking the party and the country.

Posted by: shirleylim | February 1, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's not miss a most important point.

Never has the majority of the country disliked an administration as they do now. We as democrats have a unique opportunity-- right now- to use that momentum to usher in a HUGE progressive majority that will lead to significant changes in DECADES to come (much like the Republicans did when Reagan came in)

Regardless how much you like Hillary in this primary nomination process, given Hillary's overwhelming negatives (50% of the country have stated they will not vote for her under any circumstances), she will be lucky to win 51% of the vote in a General Election.

Only Barack Obama has the ability to successfully create a New Majority to actually move the progressive agenda forward.

Do not let this opportunity pass! It may not come again for years to come.

Posted by: lmoor | February 1, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Last year, Michelle and Barack Obama were on 60 Minutes. She told Steve Kroft that he was in danger of being shot in the head every time he left the house because he was black. He has yet to disavow the racist and anti-semitic statements made by the pastor of the church who is so involved with his personal and professional life. And the WaPo is still writing about the Clintons injecting race and ethnicity into this campaign?

Posted by: mooshu20 | February 1, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Its a shame we have to wait for Jan 20, 2009 for the Clinton/Obama administration to begin reparing Bush/Cheney's damage to the nation. Its too bad we can't start immediately.

Every American should be proud of what they saw last night.

Clinton/Obama '08 !!!!

Posted by: svreader | February 1, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I've kept up with all the debates and have always felt Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president. She showed everyone last night, that she is best choice.
I did not like Obama in prior debates. I felt he was not respectful or competent. Last night, I appreciated his demeanor and found him likeable, although not electable.

Posted by: jomarie123 | February 1, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, Hil's memory is short and selective. Wasn't it just last week that she left "her" campaigning in South Carolina to Bill the Hatchet Spouse while she flew off to other locations where she perceived she was doing better and was more likeable? And wasn't it that same "Spouse" who spoke first and most emphatically after her South Carolina defeat while she remained strangely silent?

After hearing the uproar from Americans about the surley, mean attacks from both the Clintons, she has suddenly remembered that it is "her campaign". Once again Hil morphs into whatever she perceives America wants her to be! Go Obama!!

Posted by: oneshot1 | February 1, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Chris I read your columns regularly. You have a good hold on the dynamics of the Democratic party. I think you're right. Clinton did get the more challenging questions and she handled them well. Iraq will plague her until she's willing to change from the "if I knew then....." explanation to one that people more readily accept. But she was Presidential. She looks the part of Commander in Chief. I think even though there was no conclusive winner in the debate, she may have sealed her deal. She's OK, she's acceptable, and she is miles ahead of the Republican candidates. Reconciliation looks to be more her forte in the debate format and that's not good for Obama because that's his mainstay. She should continue to play up the working with the Republicans like Gingrich and McCain. I look forward to your upcoming reports on Super Tuesday.

Posted by: sonriseranch | February 1, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I need to post this again here, I think:

Watching Hillary debate tonight, I was very impressed with her polished manner and grasp of the issues.

In fact, if I hadn't followed the race from the beginning and watched as her campaign:

- took money from Washington lobbyists and PACs
- lied to women about the candidates' comparative records on abortion in order to collect ill-gotten, fear-inspired votes in NH
- tried to disenfranchise shift workers in NV
- race-baited throughout SC
- tried to change the rules mid-game with regard to MI and FL delegates (that's called cheating, folks!)
- declared "victory" in FL where there was never a contest to begin with (that's called lying!)...

...well, heck, if I didn't know she had done all of those dishonest and unethical things, I might have been tempted to vote for her!

America, keep your eyes open, and don't let her smooth debate performance fool you. She is a silver-tongued liar who will abandon all principles and ethics to win. That is not the kind of leadership America wants or needs.

While Hillary debates pretty, Obama is the clear, honest, ethical choice in '08.

Posted by: drama_king | January 31, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was great and Obama had his best debate.....and Liberal bloggers are becoming very scary ..........tonight they are claiming Hillary was racist against Hispanics...tonight YEAH RIGHT, get past your secret code book and 911 was not an inside job. And MSNBC is just broken harted about the niceness and policy discussion. And Rachel whats her name.....oh well.

Congrats Hillary..

Posted by: p_peppermint | January 31, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Just compare the civility and substance of this debate with the republican brawl last night.

Posted by: mrape | January 31, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

This was beyond my wildest dreams.

We are so lucky to have these two people running.

Clinton/Obama would be so powerful a ticket Republicans probably wouldn't even bother to come out to vote.

Clinton/Obama would give the Democrats 16 years of Whitehouse control and give Obama and African-Americans 16 years in the Whitehouse.

There is no force in the universe that can stop Clinton/Obama if both Clinton's and Obama's hardest core supporters get behind it.

I'm a pretty hard-core Clinton supporter.

What say you, Obama Supporters?

Posted by: svreader | January 31, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Her explanation of voting against the Levin Amendment was lame. It was a good question.

The one I had wanted to ask, so it must have been good.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

They were both smooth and friendly. They both made their points.
BHO is very likeable.
HRC was likeable.

Ds have no clue about why illegals should not be offered citizenship. They learned nothing from the Reagan amnesty. Work permits at the end for undocs, not citizenship. They are not here as political refugees, for the most part. They are here to find work and send money home and home is not the USA.

We do not have to be inhumane, but we do not have to acquiesce to illegal aliens by giving them a reward they are not even seeking.

Ds do not get it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I refuse to vote for HillBilly if they take the nomination.

Instead of holding my nose and wasting my vote on the least objectionable candidate, I will write in Dennis Kucinich.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | January 31, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Who won the CNN Democratic Debate in California?


Posted by: PollM | January 31, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Future President Hillary Clinton WINS another debate. She is so very impressive. Her experience, intelligence, political skills and grasp of domestic & international issues are second to none. Sen. Obama's "I was a community organizer in Chicago" can't hold a candle to the vast experience of Hillary Clinton. She will be a GREAT President.

Posted by: TAH1 | January 31, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Both candidates did well tonight. I don't think they will change any minds, but they did an excellent job dealing with the issues.

Tomorrow, they go back on the trail throwing missiles.

Posted by: LadyEagle | January 31, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

As for Clinton being prepared -- she has staff. There's nothing new under the sun, she's been prepped. She's got more experienced political hands, she better be prepped.

The better point is, HRC hasn't "controlled" WJC YET. She can she will all she wants, the truth his she can't -- either politically or otherwise.

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 31, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

They both did a good job. She got the tougher questions, probably because she has a longer record to defend so it's not a question of media unfairness. That being said, there was little drama and not all that much substantive disagreement but a good showing by both of them. If the Democratic party can project this kind of maturity in the general election campaign, they win.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | January 31, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

auntmo9990 writes
"Obama has moved beyond all of that, mkireker, for the good of the Party.
You should too."

And, if the party were smart, it would too.

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

For a while it seemed this election was all about Hillary, not about issues. Then it became an election about Bill and Hillary. Now it's become an election about Bill, whether he should be given a third term in the White House.

If folks think about it they will probably say no. But still the issues remain, notably about Obama's unwavering early stand against the war on Iraq and Clinton's (or really the Clintons') wavering stand on Iraq and Iran.

Posted by: FirstMouse | January 31, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama did better tonight than in any of the previous debates. But, Clinton still bested him. She was more confident, has better thought out answers that show she is truly prepared for day one. I especially liked her control of the discussions, even questions like 'dynasty'. What a great comeback--it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, and it will take a Clinton to clean up at the second one.'

She was clear in almost every instance. There are differences--like driver's licenses that Obama wants to give illegals. The discussion on health care got a bit long in the details.

Posted by: MatthewW | January 31, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama has moved beyond all of that, mkireker, for the good of the Party.
You should too.

Posted by: auntmo9990 | January 31, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused about the "I have made it very clear I want the campaign to stay focused on the issues I am concerned about" because she says this while allowing her communications team to continually target Obama's stances on the issues "she cares about"...being sufficiently against the Iraq War (which any informed Democrat knows he has), Abortion and being sufficiently pro-choice (which any Democrat, or moreover, any woman, knows he has), and being sufficiently anti-Yucca Mountain (which any Democrat knows he has). On top of policy differences, her communications team is extremely concerned with trying to find places where Obama hasn't been "positive" enough for them so they can say he's not practicing the politics he preaches, they're trying to paint him as the "black candidate" and one who is "all words, no action." The entire political game she plays sickens me...

Posted by: mkireker | January 31, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to both of them!! A civilized, grown-up, substantial discussion of issues.

THIS is what the American people want, Chris.

We don't want the media to tell us who to want. We THINK out here.

I'm guessing a whole lotta moderates, independents, and Reagan Democrats saw tonight as the the party they might want to come back to.

Bout damm time we all grew up.

Impressive, verrrrrrry impressive.

Democrats are the grown-ups now. :):):)

Posted by: auntmo9990 | January 31, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Again, I have to say, 'cackle'? Is that the best y'all can do? I don't remember anyone talking about Rudy's constant schoolgirl giggling--what does this have to do with anything?

I would like to hear some substantive comments, please. Some policy comments. Could we have that discussion?

And please compare this civil, adult debate with the R sandbox.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

CC says "her answer on her vote for the use of force resolution was a bit rambling and semi-confusing" and, in my opinion, this is because at the time she cast it, she was trying to look like someone sufficiently warlike to be president. If she had read the NIE, I think she would have been unable to deny later - say, in 2004 or 2008 - that she had seen proof in black and white, provided by our own intelligence agencies and those of allies, that Saddam did NOT pose a threat which justified military action.

This is the only explanation which fits the high level of intelligence claimed for her by her supporters AND the availability of classified information undercutting Bush's case for war. Conveniently, it also explains her "rambling, semi-confusing" answer... I would add such adjectives as "misleading" and "dissembling," but then I'm not a Clinton supporter. I will say this, though - despite my skepticism of the value of her "White House" experience, during those years she certainly learned from a master what political language "is."

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 31, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Bill is a real cackle rouser.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

What I don't buy is that Obama keeps saying that he's going to bring more ethics to Washington. He's got big time lobbyists working for him on his campaign. Gimme a break.

Posted by: bosslady1 | January 31, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton doesn't get it.

"Either way we're going to get a big change," [Sen Clinton] said. "I think having the first woman president would be a big change for the United States and the world."

With all due respect, that is not the kind of change that Senator Obama is talking about. Breaking demographic barriers, while symbolic and not irrelevant, is not the most important kind of change this country needs.

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

It would be a good response, except that she's trying to have it both ways.

She's trying to downplay all of the talk of "co-presidency" and partnership with Bill. Ok, then how does his administration really count as experience for you? How are you "ready on day one?"

Nice try, but we ain't buying it.

Posted by: cam8 | January 31, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton answered the question about Bill well. She also came across as very presidential. She did very well tonight>

Posted by: bosslady1 | January 31, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Geez Chris... you want to get your head out of Clinton's ass for a little while?



Heinous cackle.

How many times do you want to quote Clinton verbatim on this thing, whilst ignoring Obama's big moments...

The truth is, this was a chess game. No clear winner. The battle goes on.

Posted by: Boutan | January 31, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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