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Clinton Talking Tough

If viewers had doubts about whether Hillary Rodham Clinton was tough enough to lead the country in a dangerous world, she sought to erase them just now.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden
From left to right: Sens. Biden, Obama and Clinton at the Democrats' debate in South Carolina. (Getty Images)

Asked what she would do if two American cities were simultaneously attacked, Clinton let 'er rip. "Having been a senator during 9/11, I understand the extraordinary horror of that kind of attack," she said. "I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate. That doesn't mean we go looking for other fights. Let's focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them."

It was at least the second time in the debate that Clinton referenced her experience as a Senator during and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- an effort to show she has been in the trenches fighting terrorism and its aftermath for years.

Edwards, who was asked that same question, emphasized the importance of diplomacy -- changing the way that the world looks at America. "We have more tools available to us than bombs," Edwards said.

Richardson went a step further, advocating an immediate military retaliation.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 26, 2007; 8:29 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: First Direct Confrontation

Comments

You only need to listen to Hillary and Barack - the rest are there to entertain!

Posted by: Alfred Kader | April 29, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 28, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | April 28, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Rhetoric, hype are no substitutes for reason and experience. This was the message of the South Carolina debate. Obama tried to spin his way through but failed! Hillary in sharp contrast was the picture of calm composure whose responses showed her maturity of thought drawing upon her vast experience.She did not pander to populism nor engaged in empty rhetoric. It was a practical "this is what needs to be done" approach. What a relief from the mushy nonsense that Obama keeps dishing out - and adding insult to injury, plagiarizes Hillary's ideas which he shamelessly passes off as his own.

Posted by: Espi | April 28, 2007 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton shone. She is proving her credentials, her knowledge, her confidence and most importantly, her readiness to hit the ground running when elected President.


I thought Hillary was the clear winner of the debate. Her answers were highly intelligent, she was responsive to the questions, she was at ease and she came across as very genuine. Extremely impressive.

Posted by: John Marchese | April 27, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

hillary is the ebst- she the ebst in new york like bill like hilary it means- like bil clinton and like hillary clinton shes brilliana dn anuzing lady.

Posted by: laura | April 27, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Senator Edwards, I apreciate what you said, and in a way, I agree., but I realize some people don't understand anything BUT the violent way., I ask you, to come down, and watch some things in the late hours of the day, and you will realize if you don't fight, you will lose everything. there is a time to call the police and there is a time to help people realize the error of there ways. let me explain that? in 2000, I was robbed of 1700 hundred dollars. now 2 of those guys live in Jacksonville, FL. I see them on occasion now., but there was a time, I would have taken a bat to them. because when they robbed me, it was 3 men and 2 women. and the one thing you don't do, you don't fight me, I will fight back, and I will win., no, they finesse it out of me., this is one reason I don't trust people today, especially the President or the Vice., sweet words, bitter tongue and fork tongues!!! thank GOD I have great nephews and sons., when I asked them to take me back there, they left me in my father in laws house and Uncle Janair, we can't let you get in any trouble., it took 4 months to get over that., one guy still terrorizes people on the southside, but he also knows I live for the day he wants my help! the other works at the greyhound in Jacksonville., he had the audacity to asked me for my ticket as I was leaving, I said you going to steal this like you took my $1700? he hurried up and walked away., then people started asking me about it, and I told them! he wanted to smoke crack! PERIOD!!! no, Senator Edwards-President Clinton, will do what the people need and want if it should happen again., although, I can't see it!!!

Posted by: Janair Williams Sr. | April 27, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Hillary outshined them all.She did an outstanding job and showed how much experience she has behind her and if she is elected once we get Cheney and Bush out I hope she follows through and has her husband become America's Ambassador to mend fences all over the world after Cheney and Bush destroyed what we had. Come on Hillary!...Dr.George Corella

Posted by: Dr.George J. Corella | April 27, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

After thursdays debate, I've decided to vote for Hillary Clinton! She clearly outshined the other candidates something I didn't expect. She knew the issues,and addressed them really well. I think she'll be a good President. I am very disappointed in Obama he didn't shine and he showed me his inexperience is indeed going to keep him from the Presidency.

Posted by: SamCMU | April 27, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton shone. She is proving her credentials, her knowledge, her confidence and most importantly, her readiness to hit the ground running when elected President.

I have criticized her enough. It is time for me, and hopefully others, to really take a close look at the candidates and ask who is the most Presidential.

I will vote for Hillary and support her in any way I can.

Posted by: Meadow Feinstein | April 27, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Heterodoxy serves no useful purpose with his pseudo-intellectual rantings and if he must, at least he should alter the message from blog to blog. Hillary & Obama were the front runners coming in and retained their positions at the end. Richardson was the big loser IMHO. (and my favorite going in). However, thie format is NOT suitable for serious debate and hopefully will not be repeated.

Posted by: Bob Feher | April 27, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought Obama would have come a close second to Hillary, but she clearly outshined them all. Not at all what I expecte...

Posted by: jose | April 27, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I cannot stand that voice of hers and tonight was no exception.

Posted by: pblah | April 27, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary was the clear winner of the debate. Her answers were highly intelligent, she was responsive to the questions, she was at ease and she came across as very genuine. Extremely impressive.

Posted by: william boe | April 27, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Retaliate where???? We've already retaliated against a country in retaliation againt of Al Qaeda. It's called Iraq! Was that not lesson enough that a conventional military response against an enemy with NO country and NO standing army is a no win scenario?

Posted by: J Hill | April 26, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how to watch this on replay? CSPAN? (not internet, but on TV)?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Edwards' answer on his response to a hypothetical terrorist attack was right on. I liked that he addressed not just how to deal with such a thing if it happens again, but how to prevent it. He rightly understands that to prevent it involves engaging the rest of the world and taking actions that help the world to respect us again.

Posted by: Laura | April 26, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Hillary seemed to be yelling the whole debate, and was looking around in circles when she was talking, it was kinda weird.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm no Clinton fan, but I thought she did quite well tonight. She looked calm under pressure and made a lot of good points.

Posted by: fulch | April 26, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Heterodoxy | April 26, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the old Democrats like Scoop Jackson; the ones who really were fiscally responsible and the ones who were tough on defense. Since McGovern this party has looked like a hippie commune.

Posted by: Slats | April 26, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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