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Democrats' Debate Opens on the War

The debate began at 7 p.m. ET as many people had hoped -- on the war in Iraq.

Democratic presidential candidates
The eight Democratic presidential candidates on the stage in Orangeburg, S.C. (Reuters)

The first question went to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). She was asked by anchor Brian Williams whether she supported Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's statement that the war was "lost."

"The American people have spoken," Clinton said."The Congress has voted to end this war. Now we can only hope the President will listen."

Following those remarks, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) repeated the fact that he had opposed the war from it start -- drawing a subtle contrast with Clinton as well as former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and added that the plan the Senate approved today was a near-mirror image of the plan he offered in January.

Edwards was given a chance to take a shot at Clinton for her refusal to apologize for her vote in favor of the use of force resolution. He passed. "That is a question for the conscience of anyone who voted for the war," he said.

Clinton was given the final word in the exchange. "I take responsibility for my vote," she said. "I did as good a job as I could at the time."

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 26, 2007; 7:27 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Setting the Stage: The First Democratic Presidential Debate
Next: Questions the Candidates Don't Want to Hear


The only candidate that seemed a possible president was Obama. The others made me angry especially the Catholics Biden, Dodd espousing the abortion religion. Gravel was ridiculous. Only Governors can be elected so do not discount Richardson who is the most level headed member of the motley group. Hard to get excited about the group anyone of whom would be better than our present incumbent.

Posted by: John Walsh | April 30, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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

Posted by: anonymous | April 28, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Interesting reading:
from AlterNet
After Moyers Iraq Documentary, DC Reporters in Damage-Control Mode
By David Sirota,
Posted on April 27, 2007, Printed on April 27, 2007

In the lead up to and wake of Bill Moyers' much-anticipated mega-dunk on the Washington press corps this week, we are seeing the ugliest side of Beltway culture -- the meltdown, damage-control freak out. Only what's new is that instead of politicians melting down, it's reporters themselves. And never underestimate the desperation that comes when Establishment Washington unifies to try to defend itself.

Over here we have professional power-worshiper Chris "It Doesn't Matter Where Political Money Comes From" Cillizza attempting to defend Tim Russert, and in the process insulting the recently deceased journalistic hero David Halberstam.

Yes, Cillizza -- clearly begging for an invite on a Meet the Press panel -- is out there saying that "modern journalists are doing their very best to emulate that sort of reporting" that came from Halberstam, and that "Tim Russert is one of the best examples of that kind of accountability journalism." I guess turning over NBC's airwaves to a Vice President spewing lies, ignoring the solid reporting of Knight Ridder that debunked those lies, and having panel discussions laughing hysterically with fellow pundit friends over predictions for when the war would start is, under Cillizza's warped Beltway definition, "accountability journalism" from Russert (who, I'm sure, Cillizza would also have us believe is just a "blue collar guy from Buffalo," despite Russert's multi-million-dollar salary and quaint Nantucket summers).

Over at CBS, White House reporter Mark Knoller's acrobatic attempts at defense make Rodney Dangerfield's "Triple Lindy" from "Back to School" look like a simple somersault. Knoller actually claims that the now-famous pre-war press conference where reporters fell all over themselves to compliment the president for his leadership was actually a scene of journalistic bravery. Atrios does the takedown of Knoller, showing the full transcript of that press conference, but if you don't want to read that, please just remember what New York Times White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller said to defend the media's behavior at the event:

"We were very deferential becauseÖit's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time."

Moyers piece is important not just because it has exposed the entire sham that was pre-war Beltway journalism, but also because he has finally exacted a price -- in this case, humiliation -- from the reporters whose power-worshiping, must-stay-on-the-cocktail-party-circuit tendencies led them to aggressively push this country into war. And we can hope that fear of future humiliation will help prevent another gross abdication of responsibility next time around.

David Sirota is the author of Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government--and How We Take It Back (Crown, 2006).
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

Posted by: George Waldman | April 27, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I am 56 years old... Campaign debates have come and gone, But "THIS" Presidental election seems Historical which is encouraging,exciting and hopeful... Hope ??? Isn't that what any soldier feels while crossing any street in Bagdad??? Hilary?? I have so much to ask you,I want answers that I can count on. A Strong Woman and good Mother in the Whitehouse,there will be some new rules!!! I have 14 Grandchildren riding on your vote.

Posted by: Lesli | April 27, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I liked Hillary's answer

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

So, who won? I need someone to tell me what to think! :)

Posted by: fulch | April 26, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

shingles - Now THAT was funny!. A very good and insightful comment. It made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: MikeB | April 26, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

And while you're watching the debate, keep in mind that ace reporter Chris Cillizza has said; "History has taught that where money comes from doesn't matter all that much."

So keeping this piercing insight in mind, the candidates' positions on various issues will have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with who their biggest financial supporters happen to be.

Posted by: shingles | April 26, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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