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Clinton on Trial

Is Clinton too divisive to be elected president?

Yes, sort of, according to both Edwards and Obama.

Asked by moderator George Stephanopolous whether Karl Rove was right when he said Clinton would enter the general election with incredibly high negatives and is fatally flawed as a candidate, Obama and Edwards chose to avoid mentioning Clinton's name. But both sought to draw a real contrast with her.

Obama said that many of the problems facing the country are not simply the work of the Bush administration, an implicit criticism of the Clinton years. "I think a winning strategy is not crafted by a political calculus that divides the country into red states and blue states," said Obama, adding that he is the candidate for people who "believe part of the problem is the failed politics of Washington"

Edwards echoed that sentiment but took it a step further, using the question as a launching pad for his attack on Clinton's willingness to accept money from lobbyists. "If we become the party of status quo in 2008, that is a loser," said Edwards. He added that Clinton has "been in Washington a long time."

Clinton pushed back effectively by noting that "we" (she and Bill Clinton presumably) had been fighting and beating back Republicans for more than a decade and that the idea that the GOP would not attack any candidate who was the Democratic nominee was naive.

"The idea you are going to escape the Republican attack machine and not have high negatives when they are done with you is missing what has been going on in politics for the last 20 years," she said to applause from the audience.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 19, 2007; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Ron ohio is exactly right- and more than that, the corporations that have corrupted and stolen the power of us, the people, cannot buy him off and it scares the hell outa them! John Edwards is the choice.

Posted by: swtexas | August 20, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I watched the debate with great interest why can't Hillary answer a question it is annoying. Over 20 years of of two familes controlling the white house is enough. Democrats need to pick someone who can actually win and who has taken on the insurance industry and drug compaines if you want real change John Edwards is the choice.

Posted by: Ron ohio | August 20, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

And, as another life-long GOP'er (40-years), I will join with Jeffrey Sykes (above) and vote for a Obama-Biden ticket in a heartbeat...

Better listen up Democrats...

Posted by: Vunderlutz | August 20, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I am so impressed by how Hillary handles these difficult situations. When she is attacked, she acts like it doesn't mean anything, that no matter how harsh, unfair, or ridiculous the comments are, they just don't affect who she is. It comes from a lot of experience running campaigns.

We don't want another person that looks great to democrats, but just doesn't have the skills to win elections. They are all politicians and no SAVIOR among them. But I will vote for the one that can actually win, that even Rove is trying to sabotage because she is the biggest threat to the republicans. I really hope the rest of the democrats aren't so naive to keep our only hope of a democratic government out of general election.

Posted by: Dor | August 20, 2007 5:49 AM | Report abuse

As a lifelong GOP'er I'd like to let the Democrats know that I would vote for an Obama-Biden ticket in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Jeffrey Sykes | August 19, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

LMFAO!!!!

MACDOODLE is a Card Carrying Dim! Obasama has his Support! Lucky Obasama!

Now, that I have stoped laughing so hard,

GOP Attack Machine?

Gimme a Break! From the same Obstructing "I have been FIGHTING THEM THE LONGEST" Bit24, who should not even be allowed to get BACK into the White House in the First place!

The Dims have done nothing but ATTACK and criticize! What in the hell do you call 600 Congressional Oversights in 100 days?

Sorry, all I see on that stage are some of the qworst excuses for Americans this Country could ever find!

The Dim "Debates" are just like the last ones-"But, I have attacked and hated george Bush more than the others!"

"No, NO!!! I have!!!"

Wake up call for the DIMS-You all lose!

Take one look at the Republican't's issue!

EVERY im is PRO INVASION-and as such-UNELECTABLE!(And I mean the Illegals-not the soldiers)

Most Americans are fully aware that the Dims are just blowing Smoke about any Major Changes in Iraq!

No Major changes in Iraq, AND SUPPORT FOR THE 20,000,000 Invaders, means Hasta Dims!

Posted by: RAT-The | August 19, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The messages I heard:

Clinton: I have the campaigning skills and money to win.

Edwards: I will get the lobbyists and corruption out of Washington.

Obama: I will appeal to the middle.

Biden: I fully understand the details of the mess in the Middle East.

Dodd:??? Although, he seems driven on the issue of antitrust.

The others: No clear message.

From my perspective, I predict the next President will predominately be involved with the Middle East, and protecting America from the powerful influences of monopolies on government.

Biden seems the most knowledgeable on the Middle East. Dodd seems to want to break up monopolies and to enforce antitrust laws. Obama's day will come.

Posted by: Vunderlutz | August 19, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

In a word, yes.

Clinton is right that any candidate's negatives will go up as negative campaign attack ads come along in the campaign. However, she alone among the Democrats engenders immediate polarization when mentioned in a crowded room--and it isn't just the Republicans who dislike her, as you've alluded to. There's not even any possibility for growth in her positive appeal--most have already made up their minds (as, I admit, have I, at least on Clinton).

Maybe this IS what's been going on "for the last 20 years," but do we have to concede that slash-and-burn, Karl Rove/Ken Starr/and, yes, James Carville tactics are simply the reality--simply the way it is, so "get used to it?" I, for one, hold out for something better; I'd like to find common ground with my ideologically opposed neighbors and solve some of the bigger social problems this country faces right here at home.

Clinton can't address these. Like Bush, she immediately has no credibility: conservatives loathe anything she stands for; many on the left see her as nothing more than a corporate shill (and have no idea WHAT her parsed words and hedged votes stand for).

As for experience, who is "we"? I'm sorry, being first lady is not an elected office any more than being Karl Rove is. Yes, she took the heat and is an inherently political animal, but she didn't have the responsibility of having to answer to anyone for it until she ran for senator. That gives her a term in the Senate--LESS elected office time than Obama when you consider his Illinois state service.

Four to eight more years of "I hate Clinton" on talk radio isn't going to bring this country any closer together.

Posted by: tellthetruth | August 19, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle in ca | August 19, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

*i still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle | August 19, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

*i still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle | August 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

i still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle | August 19, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

i still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle | August 19, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

i still worry dinners with the senior Bushes..rumor arnold was present.. from san fran chronical reports anohter in san fran. happen too often.
the DLC isnt middle road its GOP IN SHEEPS clothing!
Is Hillary a cloeoseet republican?
i read clintons would have done ssa private but monica adn the blue dress saved trhe day with scandal and many other reasons to worry.
can we reALLY GET THE RADICAL SURGERY and repair OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO GET BACK ON TRACK WITH " ITS LONELY IN THE MIDDLE" as DLC AND Clinton claims to be?

i'm voting obama.

Posted by: macdoodle | August 19, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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