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Democratic Debate: Edwards Backs Up Obama

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) cast off the magnanimous, above-the-fray approach she had used up until now in the campaign, aggressively challenging Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) over which of the three can truly bring about change.

"I think I am an agent of change," Clinton insisted. "I think having the first woman president is a huge change."

While that line drew spontaneous applause from the audience inside the debate hall, it may be too little too late for Clinton. A majority of voters in the Iowa Democratic caucuses said a candidate who could bring about change was their top priority in making their pick, and Obama won overwhelmingly among that bloc of voters.

Given the short period of time between Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary, it will be difficult for Clinton to change the underlying dynamics of the race in such short order. Obama is at ease when talking change and he showed it again tonight; "Regardless of what the Republican candidates are talking about I think there are a whole hosts of Republicans and Independents who have lost hope in their government," he said. "We can draw those independents and some Republicans into a working majority for change."

Clinton's tactic to disrupt Obama in New Hampshire is to raise questions about the consistency of his record. Time and again, she sought to take the offensive against Obama, beseeching voters (and, more obliquely, the media) to look more closely at alleged contradictions in his statements on health care and the influence of special interests. She even noted that Obama's New Hampshire chairman is a lobbyist. "Words are not action and, as beautifully presented and passionately felt as they are, they are not action," she said, directly taking on the lofty rhetoric that has installed the Illinois Senator as the frontrunner in the primary.

Obama, to his credit, immediately pushed back -- insisting that she was underestimating the power of words. "Words do inspire," he said. "Words do help people get involved."

The problem for Clinton is that Edwards has decided that his best chance to be one of the last two candidates standing is to knock her out in New Hampshire. Edwards' campaign believes that if he can do that -- perhaps with a close third place finish -- Clinton will be a non-factor and allow him to debate Obama over which man is the true change agent.

Edwards repeatedly cited his agreement with Obama and savaged Clinton as a defender of the status quo, making it very difficult -- as we noted earlier -- for Clinton to score a direct hit on Obama. Edwards' argument throughout the debate was that while he and Obama differ over the proper method to bring about change, he and Obama are far more capable to bring about that change than Clinton.

Other thoughts:

* This may have been Gov. Bill Richardson's (N.M.) best debate. While the debate largely revolved around Clinton, Edwards and Obama, Richardson came across as knowledgeable and affable in the time he was given. Will it matter in New Hampshire? It may win him a few percentage points but it's hard to see a Richardson surge with so little time left before the vote.

* The debate benefited from the slimmed-down Democratic field. Given the HUGE disparity in polling between the Big 3 and everyone else, it was refreshing to see a debate where the frontrunners got a chance to really engage one another on the issues.

* We're fascinated to see how Clinton's performance tonight will play with New Hampshire voters. As we wrote in The Fix analysis of the first 45 minutes, Clinton was far more animated and aggressive than she had been in all the past debates combined. When she attacks, Clinton always faces the risk of drawing a negative reaction from voters. That said, Clinton seemed to show tonight that she was willing to fight for it and that could potentially resound with New Hampshire voters who, unlike their compatriots in Iowa, tend to like a bit of combativeness in their politicians.

* Obama seemed to come into this debate determined to show that he is presidential and he did that nicely. He avoided engaging Clinton on a personal level and insisted that their policy disagreements were legitimate and fair game. That is the strategy of a confident candidate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 5, 2008; 10:45 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Senator Obama is clearly the winner of the New Hampshire debates.

He remained above the fray and smartly avoided Senator Clinton's invitation to a mud fight which we the public did not want to see.

I'm curious as to why Senator Clinton thinks that she has been "changing" for 35 years. All I remember during the 8 years of Clinton in the White House is the sex scandals. Will that change?

Posted by: wperryjrbooks | January 7, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Attempting to step aside all subjective flack, I saw/see it this way:

Hillary is very knowledgeable on the issues and strong. I respect her intellect and her backbone. But there is something about her that does NOT motivate. She has a certain quality, intangible, that turns one off, not on.

Obama is truly inspirational. His rhetoric soars. But he appears to lack depth concerning the issues. If he can surround himself with top-notch advisors (ala JFK) we would be fine.

Edwards is genuine. And would be great for the country. But the forces he wants to take on are just too powerful and will never allow him to be elected. Even if he "won", he'd lose (remember the election of 2000 ?).

I don't think Richardson should have been there...

On the Republican side:

Though I disagree with him on some MAJOR points (Iraq and health care), I respect John McCain. He is as genuine as Edwards and McCain is not afraid to speak politically unpopular truths. He is no sound-bite candidate.

Glad they are ganging-up to kick the chameleon Mit Romney's a**. I pray he does not win the nomination, 'cause ya never know, he could get elected. And if you think the past 7 years have been a disaster for America's long-term interests, a Romney Administration could be even worse.

Why is Thompson still in the race?

Guiliani looked way better than I would have liked. He didn't sound too bad. But why he thinks he could be president is beyond me. What does he have besides 9/11?

Huckabee sounded like, well... Huckabee. Despite Iowa, I think he is an extraordinarily long, long-shot. But it would be good if he won, because the Dem candiate would soundly defeat him in the general election. I'm thinking landslide on the order of LBJ versus Goldwater.

So, there it is. If Obama gets the nod, and hires the right people, then we're in good shape. If HRC wins the nomination, it will be an extremely tight race in the general election regardless of who the Repubs put up.

Edwards, though he would be great, doesn't have a prayer.

Romney is the dream candidate of Big Money, whose interest is very short term, geo-politically-arrogant and detrimental to America's long term well-being. Watch out for him... he's dangerous.

Huckabee would have a devout core of support -- not exceeding 35 % of the populace.

Thompson and Guiliani should just stop. C'Mon!

McCain would probably make a good president, but I'd rather see Obama or Edwards (dream on!).

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 7, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Nevadadandy - you have spelled out a good reason to elect Bill Clinton if we could! This "real life" experience stuff is just as amorphous as "change." Who has not had a real life experience. Hillary went to college and law school just like Obama. Hillary is well traveled and any moron at this point knows how troubling our image is in the rest of the world. Frankly, I do not care that Obama has lived abroad. We can have a statesman/stateswoman as president who lived his/her life domestically. The question is not whether you have lived abroad, but whether you are versed sufficiently in world affairs to understand the importance of the global context of our economic and political reality. I understand this, and I have not lived abroad. I think that is a weak criterion for selecting a president.

As for the health care issues, most people the age of these candidates (and Obama is among the youngest) have lost a parent. I know that Hillary's father is deceased. So I imagine that all of them have encountered the costs of healthcare. But let's not deceive ourselves -- that Obama and Hillary have lost parents does not make their experiences with the health care system similar to the "common people." Both are Ivy League law graduates with substantial resources available to take care of their families medical needs. So I found this part of your analysis troubling.

In any event, I believe we have a long race ahead of us. I would love to hear a concrete message from all of the candidates -- one that is based on substance, not feel-good platitudes. If I want emotional inspiration, I will listen to some jazz or read Maya Angelou. I expect substantive policy statements from my presidential candidates.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

American voters who are looking for real change must become a part of the change process by ignoring the negative ads, looking at the candidate who pracice what he/she preaches, and looking at the candidates real life practical experiences, not so much as their political experience.

I believe practical real life experience arms a person with a better perspective on the problems and issues facing Americans. Obama has real life experiences that make him better able to deal with our real life issues. He spent several years living in a foreign country as a child. He knows Americans are viewed by foreigners as being arrogant. He was raised by a single parent and elderly grandparents. He knows the problems they faced. This is very similar to the situation faced by many children in America today. He lost his mother to cancer and he knows of her concerns for paying for health care during her battle. All of this has given him a better understanding of the real life problems many Americans are facing today. We need a President who has shared many of the experiences most Americans face on a daily basis. He was able to change his circumstances and better his life and I believe armed with that experience, he will help to change and better the lives of all Americans.

Political experience is meaningless. We have candidates who have years of political experience but have not demonstrated good sound judgment and a true understanding of the problems facing Americans. They are so wrapped up in making political deals to "enhance" their personal power at the expense of Americans. Only a person who has not been tainted by the established way of doing business can bring about true change.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | January 6, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Lylepink. I appreciate the comment. I think this will be a long race, and that Hillary will not drop out anytime soon. Edwards is doing what he does best -- kissing up for a VP pick. Hillary is in it for the leading role. I totally admire Obama, and will support him if he gets the nod. I just think Dems need to ask themselves why they keep doing the unexpected and LOSING the election year after year. Dean had galvanized the party, but he was too chummy. Clinton galvanized the party, but she's too stiff. Jackson galvanized the party, but we needed Dukakis. There are so many losers who have been given the nomination in my lifetime that I can only expect the worst from the party at this point. Change looks remarkably like the past.

I am also amazed how gender has fallen out of the equation. I do not recall a woman ever winning a presidential primary. Jesse Jackson won 13 during his two runs. So that history has already been made. I think on some level, Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of a woman president which is quite pathetic. A lot of "guys" on here have subtly called Hillary the "b-word" in describing her performance. When the guys go after Hillary, they are vigorously taking her to task....When she does it, she is "mean." Earth to men: Hillary is not your mother or other adult caretaker you had as a kid. Get over your childhood issues with "bossy" women and act soberly.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: caraprado1 | January 6, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Here's the first Republican attack ad out of the gate. Distraught Latin/ American families talking about how many loved ones they lost to drug wars. Then the caption, "Obama calls it "scoring some blow", we call it supporting drug cartels"

That's just the start! Here's the next ad, "Barack Obma lives in a 1.9 million dollar house. His grandmother lives in this hut with no medical care, no water and no electricity. If Obama wont get these things for his own grandmather, why would he get them for you?"

Obama is suicide by independents and 17 year olds for the Democratic Party. He is the least electable candidate in any of the fields.

Posted by: slbk | January 6, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

darren12000: It is nice to see a thoughtful and reasoned comment such as yours. The "Hillary Haters" along with the "Nuts and Wackos" are plentiful on this blog as you will soon see. I have taken the time to learn everything I could find about Hillary since childhood, and it is amazing at the constant effort to help the less fortunate.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

This may have been Gov. Bill Richardson's (N.M.) best debate.

Damning with faint praise.

Posted by: wayne | January 6, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

From the WPost

N.H. women are not amused:

"In a striking demographic development for Obama, he now runs evenly with Clinton among women for the first time (Clinton 33 percent, Obama 32); a week ago Clinton had an 11-point edge among women."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/05/AR2008010502732.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2008010502800

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 6, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Well, welcome to the Spin Room! By that, I mean this comments section contains more than the usual number folks advocating for their candidates without regard of what actually happened during the debate.

My observation is that not much really happened. I liked the format in that it allowed a little more extended discussion and gave me a better feel for the candidates (I agree the video vignettes didn't add anything--more network self- promotion than anything else).

Richardson did a little better than past, Edwards a little worse (he's become a one-note performer: "I'll fight the evil corporations for the the little guy).

Clinton and Obama didn't change anything, and that's probably a loss for Clinton because she needs something to change.

Nothing's settled. Obama is on the rise but things can still change greatly in a month. Feb 5 should settle it on the Dem side (either Obama or Clinton) but could go longer for the Rs (come on brokered convention--I want the entertainment!)

Posted by: malis | January 6, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

America and the world hungers for a leader who inspires. After eight years of cringe inducing and incoherent White House communication, Obama is THE change that people can sense the most.

As a Republican voter, I respect Obama and will consider casting my vote for him.

Posted by: AbeFroman | January 6, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13 02:55 AM,

Friend, that is a gem.

Thanks, you have made my day!

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 6, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

We desperately need a Democrat for president..did you listen to those Republicans?? We need a strong, experienced candidate at this time, not a nice young black man who has hope. This is not a time to promote civil rights...Oprah can put her money into that whenever she wants. This is an exercise in retrieving our country from economic disaster. Words and hope won't do it. We need the terror war funding to upgrade our infastructure and quality of living here in the US--not in other countries. For John Edwards...go back to being an attorney representing the middle class against corporations.

Posted by: hazwalnut | January 6, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I came in to the debate with a Richardson bias. Why? I've always appreciated his experience, without the negatives that HRC brings. I'm more sold after this debate because the real, genuine man came through. He's a "Guy" that you'd probably like to have a beer with, like Reagan. But he's not the best communicator in the world.

Bill, stop with the laundry lists of what you'd propose. Just state "Gee that's a good question, because I DID "this" in NM to improve this situation.

If you look at what he has ACCOMPLISHED, there would be a run towards his camp.

Words are great and OB make s great use of them. Yes, they are inspirational...that's why we're Democrts. But results trump words.

Posted by: skinsfanbu | January 6, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I would call the Democratic debate a draw. I would rather that Clinton had come out a very clear winner.

I am from Illinois and have voted for Obama as often as I could because I think he is a tremendously capable person. STILL, I have supported and continue to support Hillary Clinton because I believe that experience in Washington politics will be a requirement in order to clean up the mess created by the Bush/Cheney administration and the Republican rubber-stamp congress.

Charisma,gifted rhetoric, and celebrity status will go only so far. It seems pretty obvious that DC politics are polarized and extremely partisan.

That leads me to the conviction that skillful negotiations at the national and international level will be the real stuff of life for the next president. I see Clinton as better suited from that standpoint.

Posted by: ChokoChuckles | January 6, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

How does putting the Clintons back in the WH with all of the usual suspects(Albright, Clark, etc:) represent change? Been there, done that.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 6, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid that Hillary has had her "Howard Dean moment". Tonight she showed the nation how angry and frustrated she can get when she feels things are not going her way. This feeds into her percieved weakness among the electoriate. Her temperment does not seem Presidential to me. Obama on the other hand, appears calm cool and collected and in control...

Posted by: hawaiirod | January 6, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

I love Obama and Mr Slip-n-fall teaming up to put it to the wicked witch. And the bit about Richardson being rumored to have thrown his people to Obama in Iowa means he's officially off the Clinton reservation, now he's officially running for Obama's vice.

He better stay away from Ft Marcy Park though, the Clintons play for keeps.

Posted by: JD | January 6, 2008 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton's response was appropriate and effective. She was strong and pointed out how she has actually effected change (e.g., through healthcare legislation for veterans and children) rather than just talking about hoping for change like Obama.

If Obama is elected, God forbid, we are most likely going to have an ineffectual Democratic president like Jimmy Carter (who is a great citizen but was a lousy president). Then the Democratic party will be saddled with the failure of the Obama presidency and take another 12 years or more to gain back the White House.
Senator Clinton has already learned from mistakes made in the first Clinton Administration. And although the Clintons were attacked for 8 years, we still had 8 years of peace, prosperity, and a budget surplus.

Posted by: Rob6 | January 6, 2008 5:05 AM | Report abuse

sniang: what "new breed of politics" are you talking about? This is very vague...it may give tingles to new voters but in the end, it means nothing. It sounds like language from a campgaign ad or bumper sticker...."compassionate conservativism" was another goosebump thing with no meaning. So, do you care to elaborate on this "new breed of politics"? And how is it different from the "old breed," whatever that is. And why do we even need the "new breed."

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Three three major candidates each came across very well.

HRC was quite good in elaborating on the problems of any military intervention in Pakistan -- e.g. the fact that the military situation in Afghanistan is weakening and the "blow back" to be anticipated on top of the Iraq fiasco.

Edwards was quite persuasive about the need for personal commitment and the depth of his.

Obama was good in explaining that his true preference was for a single payer system (it's about time someone said this) and his plan was designed to deal with the reality of the built-up employer/private insurer situation (which is true of all three plans). He was also persuasive on the need for coalition building.

The fact is that all three candidates are in substantial agreement on every major issue.

The real questions are (1) can he/she be elected and (2) win a way that increases the Democratic majorities in Congress and allows these ideas to actually happen. If you look at American history, significant change is always associated with one party having the Presidency AND significant majorities in both houses of Congress.

Posted by: mnjam | January 6, 2008 4:55 AM | Report abuse

Clinton's campaign cracks me up. She is essentially saying everything she did from the age of 25 counts as "experience."

For heaven's sake, why doesn't anyone point out that Obama has held elected office longer than she has? Fair enough, she has FOUR more years when it comes to the US Senate.

The rest of her experience came as a PRIVATE CITIZEN who was married to a governor and then to a president. Her experience will not lead to change because it is precisely her experience in the White House that will be the source of acrimony, gridlock, and continue to perpetuate the status quo.

You've had your turn, give the new generation and new breed of politics a chance.

Posted by: RomanolePoliticien | January 6, 2008 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Elroy: I am not a Hillarybot. Apparently lacking any substantive response to my arguments, you have now called me a Hillarybot and wingnut. Great. I guess this is what changes we will get -- empty phrases that mean very little. I have my own mind. I went to an even better law school than Obama. I have been involved with politics for over 20 years. I am hardly anyone's "bot" or "nut." Unless you have a substantive comment, please keep your empty musings to yourself.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 4:47 AM | Report abuse

Um, Elroy1, you call me a "wingnut" who is making the case for a democrat. I think you need to read my posts more carefully. First of all, I am not a "wingnut," especially if you meant "rightwingnut." Some of my friends my call me a leftwingnut, but I doubt that's what you had in mind. In any event, I have only voted for democrats and will do so again.

I have called the dems losers, and I stick with this, because they are very skillful losers. In my 39 years, I have only been blessed with 12 years of democrats as president. Just two men. This doesnt sound successful from my perspective. The dems know how to mess things up. They allow remote and demographically irrelevant states to get rid of people who could win the broader contest. Dukakis was a mess. Gore and Kerry were not the stronghold candidates going in, but good old cornfield and ski slope voters propelled them to their ultimate losses. Nice.

Now we are taking the wildly popular candidate and ripping her to shreds while the newly popular candidate gets to run on a vague message of change. Sounds like a pep rally not sober thinking about what direction our country needs to take. Obama supporters booing Hillary scares me even more.

Change should be a part of any election not involving an incumbent. They will all bring about change. We need specfics though. Otherwise, and I stick to my prior posts: "change" will become the new "fuzzy math" and "inexperience" will become the new "inability to fight terror." We are setting ourselves up for failure if we go with "feel-good" messages. We need substance and experience. I do not care if Hillary is dry. I am not having coffee with her. Bush is chummy but look what got us. I want someone who is bright, engaged and concerned about doint the most for the country. Hillary is criticized as "ambitious." That is exactly what we want - - someone so concerned with getting stuff done and advancing her stature that she will work to do the best at her position.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 4:43 AM | Report abuse

What meltdown? There was no meltdown. Sen Clinton was firm and definitive. * She was clear in what she wants to do and how to do it.

Geesh, we need someone who actually knows how to govern and is interested in it. We've had almost 8 years of the Republicans saying "Washington is the problem" then going to Washington and proving it (if you catch my drift).

Words are wonderful things, but as a citizen, I want action to back them up.

* complete side note: Women's and men's voices are very different. Without going into a dissertation, here's some homework. Listen to commercials and often you will find a female voiceover talking about the product, ending with a male voice telling you to "buy it". Unless the ad is for any kind of financial thing (bank, credit crd) and it's all voiced by men. Iy's a trick of biology with some sociology thrown in.

While it's fun in an odd way to go through the litany: men are shrewd, women are calculating; men are authoritative, women are hysterical; etc. Think some about it.

What a fantastic group - what a choice.

Posted by: mkolb | January 6, 2008 3:58 AM | Report abuse

from the New Yorker:

"At the top of a column abutting the stage were the words 'witness to change.' 'Change,' as just about everyone in Iowa understood, had become the most important word in this Presidential campaign.
Rather than 'demanding it,' like John Edwards, or 'hoping for it,'like Barack Obama, Hillary told Iowans, 'I believe you bring about change by working really, really hard.' So it seemed rather lucky that her campaign had found an event space with a version of that slogan inscribed in the architecture. But, on closer inspection, it turned out that the phrase was part of an exhibit for the mammoths, long extinct, that once roamed what is now Iowa. The skeleton of one of the beasts loomed ominously a few yards from the Clintons, and the museum's exhibit explained that the mammoths were witnesses to change because they 'watched as their world disappeared and their dominance was usurped.' "

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 6, 2008 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Other way around -- an Edwards/Obama ticket would be very tough. Edwards has the long distance legs to get it done, while Obama has good charisma and ideas, but just doesn't feel like someone who can weather the long election cycle storm. Hilary, shrill and queenly as ever, probably put the dagger in herself tonight...just so far from a 'team player' and leader that you wonder if anyone close to her really imagined her a president. Edwards won another debate, hands down, and will school any Republican he faces.

Posted by: macalnic | January 6, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

I was not a fan of HRC, but I think tonight, that has changed. She has shown courage and intellect to outsmart the Edwards-Obama tag team. I have liked Edwards before, but I think he sank to a new low with how he is playing is cards. Obama is so-so, neither here nor there on the debate. I think he was trying to have that "above-the-fray" look. If the basis of the vote for NH is tonight's debate, I think HRC wins hands down.

Posted by: CPCook | January 6, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Obama can take up Edwards as VP. He needs someone on his ticket with "experience" and preferably some real foreign policy cred. (from the candidate field I would think Biden or Richardson might be good choices, though Biden might be better for Sec. of State). I wouldn't mind having Edwards heading up the Department of Labor or something like that, though.

Posted by: illinois2 | January 6, 2008 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Obama is an inspiring speaker but watching him in these debates, I feel like when it comes to confronting issues and answering tough questions, he seems flimsy and shaky. HRC, despite all that is said about her, is clearly very knowledgeable and instills a sense of confidence in her ability to lead this country. Obama is a nice guy and seems to energize the youths of this country, but I am not sure if he has what it takes to be president right now.

Posted by: hoangers | January 6, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

I definitely think Obama won the debate. He looked and sounded calm, thoughtful, and intelligent, as well as his trademark inspirational.

Clinton looked and sounded desperate. She IS part of the status quo and cannot effectively claim to be an agent of change using her husband's accomplishments as her own examples of change.

Edwards is obviously running for VP. How would you feel about an Obama/Edwards ticket this fall? Could be powerful.

Posted by: doicare | January 6, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

January 5, 2008, 11:39 pm
New Hampshire and Those Labor Ads
By Kate Phillips

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- As we've been driving around New Hampshire this week, we can't help but hear the radio ads playing repeatedly. We've heard Ron Paul ads, John McCain ads and then ads that just stopped us -- those for Hillary Rodham Clinton and against Senator Barack Obama.
We had to listen hard (and not veer off the road) to hear AFSCME as the sponsor at the end of one of the messages. And while we've been paying attention tonight to the debates, Mark Halperin's item over at The Page caught our eye, and we thought we should share it with you.

As Mr. Halperin reported, several members of the International Executive Board protested loudly in a letter to AFSCME president Gerald McEntee that an independent expenditure unit run by two people had been using funds solely to attack Senator Obama (and no other Democratic candidate). Keep reading this letter, posted on The Page, and keep in mind that it comes at a time when Senator Obama has emerged victorious out of Iowa and is in a very tight race here in New Hampshire.
We are writing to protest in the strongest terms the negative campaign that AFSCME is conducting against Barack Obama. We do not believe that such a wholesale assault on one of the great friends of our union was ever contemplated when the International Executive Board (IEB) made its decision to endorse Hillary Clinton.
In fact, when the vote to make a primary endorsement was taken by the IEB, there appeared to be widespread agreement that we had a strong field of Democratic candidates all of whom had made a very positive impression on the IEB Screening Committee. The argument for endorsing Hillary Clinton was not that her positions were better than those of the other candidates or that she would be the better president for working families, but rather that she was the clear frontrunner, the most likely primary victor, and the strongest general election candidate.
......
We were therefore shocked and appalled to learn that our union-through "independent expenditures"-is squandering precious resources to wage a costly and deceptive campaign to oppose Barack Obama. As Barack's standing in the polls has soared, according to numerous press reports AFSCME has spent untold dollars in Iowa and New Hampshire to send out mailings and run radio ads whose sole purpose is to undercut his candidacy. And now AFSCME has even registered a website with the explicit purpose of "opposing Barack Obama."
It is also worth noting that the campaign that AFSCME is waging against Senator Obama is fundamentally dishonest and inconsistent with past positions of our union, i.e. attacking him for not forcing individuals to purchase health care even when they can't afford it. The ads are misleading in attempting to give the impression that they are associated with John Edwards rather than Hillary Clinton and in their claims that Sen. Obama's health care plan will exclude 15 million people when in fact every person will have the opportunity to participate. This dishonesty is giving our union a "black eye" among many in the media and the progressive community.
Earlier this week, The Concord Monitor reported that voters had received emails criticizing Mr. Obama's health care plan as "a Band-aid solution" that would leave "15 million Americans uninsured." (We are pretty sure Mrs. Clinton has used the same term -- Band-aid solution -- to refer to plans that weren't hers.) These mails included comments by John Edwards that criticized the Obama plan, The Monitor said, which residents could have inferred meant they were backed by Mr. Edwards and his supporters.
But, no, they were financed by an AFCSCME committee. The Monitor reported that AFSCME had spent nearly $80,000 on such mailings recently. And it had paid for radio ads, as we mentioned earlier.
The issue of primary endorsements has been loudly debated among labor unions. And in fact, some unions or their umbrella organizations decided not to endorse in the primaries -- sometimes citing the fact that the field was fairly strong. Others, remembering how they were stung by supporting a candidate who lost in previous cycles, were still skittish this time around.
If you read the entire letter by members of the board, you can sense their concerns about such a scenario. It's pretty palpable.

Posted by: msadvice | January 6, 2008 2:23 AM | Report abuse

No, I am not whatever it is you label me. I think BO is a good candidate, make that great candidate. He will be a worthy adversary in the general election. But remember it is not the GOP who term him "un-electable"..you look in the mirror...it is dem operatives and the HRC machine. What is "un-electable" code for?? The GOP did not call him that. GOP candidates except Mitt seemed to be be of more respectful of him than the dem party establishment. And your point about Iowa is entirely consistent with my analysis... anti-war vote.. got BO that first victory. Politics is an emotive subject and intellectual honesty is called for not emotional honesty. I will give credit where credit is due..BO is intellectually qualified(HRC is not;she failed her first attempt at the bar exam). He is not a product of social promotion and at least GOPers respect that..and don't use code to describe him.

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Just comparing the democrat debate to the republican debate, I was truly struck by how much more vicious the republican debate was. You really got the sense that everyone truly hated Romney. It seemed to me anyways that there was respect on the democrat side. One wonders what the independent voters in NH make of this, especially considering how nasty McCain came off (he was funny though).

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Krux, your analysis is as bizarre as one could possibly have. First off, you're basing the outcome of the race based on your guess of some posters' loyalties in this one blog entry, and extrapolating it to the entire country on election night isn't bizarre?

Here's a thought about whether all democrats are racist - there was this caucus thing that happened in Iowa - a primarily white state. Perhaps you should look into the results.

If you're looking for a racist here, perhaps you should consider looking at your bathroom mirror.

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 2:06 AM | Report abuse

I thought all of the Dems. had strong moments in this debate and did well overall, but I think that Clinton's "response" (as RD prefers to call it) to Edwards' attack in Obama's defense was a pretty significant overreaction. I really admired how Obama handled the healthcare discussion... calmly emphasizing that biggest difference between their plans is that his does not include a mandate and hers does, and that they should talk about the reasons for each approach rather than pretending that they are extremely far apart on the broader issue.

Edwards definitely wins the prize for "most energetic." I liked what Obama, Clinton, and Richardson had to say about energy/economy/environment/national security as interrelated issues.

Posted by: illinois2 | January 6, 2008 2:06 AM | Report abuse

ralphdaugherty cares what Democrats and independents think. I have been both (currently a registered Democrat) and I think Obama is the leader this country needs at this point in history. I believe that Hillary is not qualified, especially with her "35 years" mantra... if EVERYONE were allowed to count dirty laundry as job experience, there would be millions in this country who qualified. All she really has is the health care failure in 1993 and 1 1/2 relatively undistinguished terms in the Senate... although she DID vote for the Iraq invasion without readng the NIE. (In other words, in her judgment, the Bush / Cheney argument was plausible.)

But Ralph deserves some credit for partisan loyalty. Way to go there, Ralphie Boy!

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 6, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

My analysis is not so bizzare. Let me explain it.Dem play book for 2008 was to get anti-war vote, welfare state(poor whites, blacks and hispanics) and "illegal immigrants" code for latinos. But they did not contemplate that some candidate who was anti-dem party/clinton establishment would rock the boat.. So, many dems, who cannot stomacha BO presidency..see posts byRD, bonnieswain railing against products of the public school system(code for what??) turn around and leave the dem party en-mass like happened with southerners in the 60s and 70s. GOP stays in WH another 8 years, It analysis that is intellectually honest. Dem party has ridden on the backs of hapless individuals. Has it improved their lot..No!

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 1:59 AM | Report abuse

krux wrote:I really do think that HRC cut a sad figure with that meltdown. It was hard to watch. I am sorry, you do not agree RD.

That's fair, but that wasn't a meltdown. It's a response. What do you want, robots? I hope she doesn't respond like Obama so people like you can't say she's in a shrill metdown. Then you'd say something else else hateful, like she's too controlled and calculating.

Oh wait, you guys say that anyway.

Well, let's face it. She never had your vote to start with. What I care about is what Democrats and independents think.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Krux, you win my vote for the most bizarre analysis yet. Democrats are closet racists so they'll all vote for McCain????

Wow, just wow.

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Prediction: McCain over Oh-bah-mah in general election. Reasons: 1) National security credentials. E.g. Profile in courage, supporting surge when conventional wisdom as to run away from it. 2) Many dems as shown in posts here are closet racists and who would rather McCain won regardless of what Oh-bah-mah says. If Oh-bah-mah were white, he'd win in a landslide and be called the second coming of JFK. No wonder the GOP rocks. They at least call it as they see it and are not cynical and state heir position on race clearly with their southern strategy. Dems..well they lose Florida, scream "yeeeaaaaaaaah, get swift-boated and tonight, we saw another product of the dem hype machine lose it under pressure.

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Another general comment:
I must reject Hillary's contention that her being the first woman president is a huge change because she is a member of the Clinton dynasty. It's clear that without Bill, she would not even be in this race at all. In that sense its a continuation of the status quo as we all know. Really, its much more like Christina Kirschner succeeding her husband as President of Argentina than anything else. Whatever you want to say about Obama, he has earned everything he's gained in his life.

Posted by: akminstral | January 6, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was Senator Clinton's best debate. If Senator Edwards thinks his best shot is to team with Obama, fine (although I question the logic). But he really needs to tone it down. When Charlie Gibson is basically mocking his "eliminating Lobbyist meals" comment, he needs to keep quiet. But Edwards tone when talking about lobbyists vs. his working father was effective. Senator Obama did exactly what he needed to do. Best debate by Richardson by far. He's clearly trying to clip Edwards...nice try.

Posted by: kevin_mcgurk | January 6, 2008 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Here's the trouble for Hillary: How to refute Obama's mantra that he can work most effectively across the aisle to solve problems.

While she claims she's the best change agent in the room as evidenced by her record in congress (and it's worth noting she has won a number of admirers amongst the NY Republican establishment), she is inextricably tied to the Clinton era partisan warfare, which will lead many to despise her no matter what...

Posted by: akminstral | January 6, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Edwards: Great attorney move. HRC expected him to join in her attacking Oh-bah-mah. Edwards is sharp and instntly saw an opportunity to wipe out HRC without appearing to have started it.Great strategy! Obama: Appeared fatigued, sometimes articulate, but in general tried to stay positive until he could not take HRC's sniping and sounded off. Concerning moment about his temperament ? Sure, but many of us would react similarly if attacked persistently. Therefore, he gets benefit of doubt.
HRC: What was that? Her I had a scream moment came in NH..not Iowa

And to the HRC apologists railing about other posters being products of the public school system... HRC failed her first attempt at the bar exam.. hidden gem!. BO JD magna cum laude. You are the crass one with your comments about public schooling.

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

The only person who really left me with a negative impression was HRC.

I found her assertion regarding 35 years of experience to stretch the bounds of credulity. I thought she worked for the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, and it was my understanding that she was not a department head, and did not have a direct role in the creation of policy while First Lady.

What relevant legislative or executive experience is she referring too over that 35 year period?

Additionally, her assertions regarding the Clinton economic policy were just bizarre. She needs to state more clearly exactly what her role was -- and to provide supporting documentation.

Was she involved directly in policy negotiations and policy-making? Did she sit in on meetings with Clinton's economic advisers?

Which of the Clinton economic issues would she like to claim as her signature? Which one did she develop and negotiate? Please more specifics HRC.

The statement about campaign lobbyists was equally bizarre in light of the fact that Mark Penn (Rove 2.0) -- who heads her national campaign -- was a lobbyist affiliated with union-busters before he was brought on board.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2008/01/04/iowa/

Not exactly a great statement about HRC's hiring standards. As an ordinary American who can't buy off politicians with loose change, it is disconcerting to think that Penn might actually get a job in an HRC White House.

Posted by: JPRS | January 6, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Not having yet read any comments, I have to say that my husband and I both agree. These debates had a structure which helped us to compare and contrast the positions of the candidates better than any previous debates held to date.
They were truly informative.
It is our earnest hope that the commission designing the fall debates will take this construct into consideration.
Perhaps they can hold each fall debate on a specific topic, with all the various subjects relating to it and allow the candidates to explain their positions in the kind of depth this format engendered.
Thanks, ABC. This was a vast improvement!
Judith Allen, Beaumont, TX (KBMT-TV, Ch. 12)

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | January 6, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I thought Richardson had a great debate, but I don't know what he was seeking to accomplish politically. If he's looking to actually get back in this thing, he had to pull out the heavy guns and he didn't.

Was he trying to make amends to the Clinton campaign for the deal he made in Iowa?

Posted by: neduggin | January 6, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton did well tonight.
Firm and composed.

And there does seem to be some amnesia
about the 1993 budget votes (passed with zero GOP votes) that put the US on track to erase what was a perpetual budget deficit.

Edwards is a lightweight if not an
outright phony. Gov Richardson politely dismissed the angry young
man naivete of the Edwards attempt at populism. I remember how easily the nation's Don Corleone brushed off Edwards during the 2004 Vice Presidential debate.

The Roosevelts accomplished great deeds by using Presidential power as a check on concentrated financial power. However, each of them was
already in office before their intentions were publicly revealed.

Posted by: publiuserc | January 6, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Edwards must have been the grade school bully and tattletale. The way he took up for Obama was so small, and Obama looked equally small for not speaking up that he could fight his own battles. Tired of the way MSM keeps glorifying Obama - when he starts slipping into his ghetto speech (like Oprah did with him) it is not at all Presidential. Really don't care about watching the dancing onstage either. Folks, this is just way too relaxed. Our nation is going down the tubes. Allowing his supporters to boo her and cause disruptions when she speaks shows exactly what values he holds. But then, we're really talking about fundamental differences in the way people are reared and acceptable ways of acting - there is a huge double standard. Class (Clinton) vs. Crass (Obama). And yes, you know what I mean. Isn't our society uncivilized enough? Stunned that our entire country is being hijacked by a bunch of clueless kids and star-struck lighweights. Where is the common sense that will keep this country afloat? Change isn't always for the good. We found that out eight years ago. There's alot more at stake here that Hillary losing. This entire scenario that is playing out is the product of the public school system that dumbed down the curriculum resulting in the mentality that Obama is the answer. Oh. My. God.

Posted by: bonnieswain | January 6, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

An exciting debate. They are all very sharp and any will give hope to the country. Edwards shone tonight. He has the best combination of passion, smarts, and committment to changing the power structure in the country. It is amazing that he has stayed as viable as he has, with the media virtually shutting him out of the election by giving him almost no press coverage. Obama is pleasant, but I agree with Edwards that you can't "nice" your way to change. And why is his health care plan not stronger? I found Hilary very smart, more herself, and more appealing than she has been before. Why shouldn't she duke it out with the guys? Complaining about her getting loud and arguing toughly is pure sexism. (Is it not ladylike for a woman to get loud?) If you measured decibels, Edwards was probably just as loud. Is it fair to call his volume passion and call hers shrillness? On the other hand, Obama needed to be louder. He was a bit faded and boring compared to the others. I guess trying to be presidential and act like the leader can tone a person down a lot. Richardson is likeable and smart and I wouldn't be upset if he won either, however unlikely that appears.

Posted by: joelangford | January 6, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton did well tonight.
Firm and composed.

And there does seem to be some amnesia
about the 1993 budget votes (passed with zero GOP votes) that put the US on track to erase what was a perpetual budget deficit.

Edwards is a lightweight if not an
outright phony. Gov Richardson politely dismissed the angry young
man naivete of the Edwards attempt at populism. I remember how easily the nation's Don Corleone brushed off Edwards during the 2004 Vice Presidential debate.

The Roosevelts accomplished great deeds by using Presidential power as a check on concentrated financial power. However, each of them was
already in office before their intentions were publicly revealed.

Posted by: publiuserc | January 6, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm sort of amazed at some folks here proclaiming Hillary the clear winner. Are ya workin for the campaign? As an Obama supporter, I freely admit that Obama and Hillary both looked dog-tired from the beginning. They both should have taken time off for this.

Edwards had more energy and clarity than the rest of the field combined. He both sounded and looked like the winner. Obama on the other hand looked in danger of checking out his watch. And I don't think Hillary would have lost her cool like she did if she wasn't operating on 2-3 hours sleep and having massive campaign stops.

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh--even better, darren12000 is a hillarybot.

Jeez, still a little upset over Iowa, I guess.

Posted by: elroy1 | January 6, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Edwards must have been the grade school bully and tattletale. The way he took up for Obama was so small, and Obama looked equally small for not speaking up that he could fight his own battles. Tired of the way MSM keeps glorifying Obama - when he starts slipping into his ghetto speech (like Oprah did with him) it is not at all Presidential. Really don't care about watching the dancing onstage either. Folks, this is just way too relaxed. Our nation is going down the tubes. Allowing his supporters to boo her and cause disruptions when she speaks shows exactly what values he holds. But then, we're really talking about fundamental differences in the way people are reared and acceptable ways of acting - there is a huge double standard. Class (Clinton) vs. Crass (Obama). And yes, you know what I mean. Isn't our society uncivilized enough? Stunned that our entire country is being hijacked by a bunch of clueless kids and star-struck lighweights. Where is the common sense that will keep this country afloat? Change isn't always for the good. We found that out eight years ago. There's alot more at stake here that Hillary losing. This entire scenario that is playing out is the product of the public school system that dumbed down the curriculum resulting in the mentality that Obama is the answer. Oh. My. God.

Posted by: bonnieswain | January 6, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton did well tonight.
Firm and composed.

And there does seem to be some amnesia
about the 1993 budget votes (passed with zero GOP votes) that put the US on track to erase what was a perpetual budget deficit.

Edwards is a lightweight if not an
outright phony. Gov Richardson politely dismissed the angry young
man naivete of the Edwards attempt at populism. I remember how easily the nation's Don Corleone brushed off Edwards during the 2004 Vice Presidential debate.

The Roosevelts accomplished great deeds by using Presidential power as a check on concentrated financial power. However, each of them was
already in office before their intentions were publicly revealed.

Posted by: publiuserc | January 6, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I love it when moronic wingnuts like "darren12000" show up. They make the case for a Dem president better than almost any of the actual candidates can.

Posted by: elroy1 | January 6, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Clinton focused more on the economy, since it was in shambles, just like today, after a Bush presidency. I have nothing against change. My problem is what change as an end to itself. Bush was a dramatic "change" over Clinton and on some level he ran on that ("restoring dignity to the White House"). As long as you are not the incumbent, your candidacy should emphasize changes you want to bring in. So we get it: "change" is a value. I want to see substance. Obama cannot get away running on words. Words inspire -- yes, that's why I listen to Sara Vaughan and read poetry. I want a president with proposals, experience, and political skills to get the job done. Save the words for his or her press secretary.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I really do think that HRC cut a sad figure with that meltdown. It was hard to watch. I am sorry, you do not agree!

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

There is an enormous amount of confusion about this snippet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07u6uffKvpA . people are accusing folks of being sexist for posting this, others are defending Hillary for reacting in a way that they consider forth right and strong. Well, which one is it? You can not have it both ways, duh. First off, this was one of the few "real" moments in the debate where we got to see something outside the normal talking points. Isn't that the whole point of these debates. We hope to some how glean something revelatory about the candidates. This clip is very revelatory. Hillary overreacted. Yes, she did. (If you do not believe me, look at how Mitt Romney kept his kool during the republican debate. He was also attacked but he was cool as a cucumber. Kudos to him, even though I do not support him for President).

Now back to Hillary. Her overreaction is fair game. She is pissed because she came in third in Iowa after spending lots of money, time and brain power. She is also pissed because she did not anticipate that Edwards would attack her (by the way, kudos to Edwards, this is why he must have been an excellent attorney. He had a strategic decision to make, and if you study the board you will realize his was a wise decision all around. Clearly he wants to continue to come in second and then make it a two way race. Smart move. Very smart).

anyway, my point is that being pissed is OK. She was pissed about Iowa, she failed to anticipate Edwards flank attack, and in general she seemed pissed about not connecting with voters in NH. Under those circumstances her angry reaction was understandable, but it was not OK. This type of reaction is not good for a leader. This is exactly what leaders, particularly experienced ones, should not do. (Think Don Corleone or a serious chess master).

so, the bottomline: Is posting this clip sexist: No. Does it reveal something important about the candidate: Yes. what does it reveal: She ain't kool under pressure. Moreover: if her whole argument is I am experienced and therefore you can trust that I will be kool under pressure and make the right decisions, well, this clip reveals otherwise.

So, I don't think her experience argument holds water. Clearly she lacks key leadership qualities. When attacked, she appears petulant and non-reflective and that ain''t good.

Cheers,

John

Posted by: JuanBetancourt | January 6, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I really do think that HRC cut a sad figure with that meltdown. It was hard to watch. I am sorry, you do not agree RD.

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Keniosso-

How old are you? Do you remember the Clinton election? I do. I recall that it was mostly about who could best eliminate the deficit (believe it or not). I don't remember any general talk of "change".

You know, you Obama folk seem have the wheel to the Democratic party. You can make up the rules and suspend reality all you want. Just don't screw it up. There is an awful lot at stake.

Posted by: lpeter59 | January 6, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Hillary has rebounded. She was her usual self tonight - cool, collected, and intelligent. She had the most current facts at her fingertips - and if one actually listened, she was able to expound on facts that were overlooked or glossed over by the others. I've often tried to imagine what a woman president would actually look like for us Americans - Hillary looks just right for the role, and tonight she came across as presidential.

Posted by: jbleenyc | January 6, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Hillary has rebounded. She was her usual self tonight - cool, collected, and intelligent. She had the most current facts at her fingertips - and if one actually listened, she was able to expound on facts that were overlooked or glossed over by the others. I've often tried to imagine what a woman president would actually look like for us Americans - Hillary looks just right for the role, and tonight she came across as presidential.

Posted by: jbleenyc | January 6, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Edwards: To borrow a line from Senator Biden, the only three words that come out of his mouth are a noun, a verb and a mill. Give me a break! I am so tired of hearing about Rich versus Poor, the fight against corporations when obviously we need them since the economy is slowing down. Have a backbone and try to make a distinction between you and Obama rather than trying to ride his coatails.

Obama: Sometimes, I dont understand what is wrong with my party in trying to elect people who will lose a general election. Inexperienced president make bad president, look at Bush. These lofty "words" of "hope" and "change" mean nothing if you cant demostrate past how you plan to bring change. I would rather vote for McCain because I know he can deliver despite me not agreeing with some of his issues.

Clinton: The only real democrat capable of taking on the republicans in a general election and winning. I am so tired of failed attempts such as Gore and loser Kerry. Elections that they should have won but rolled over when the republican attacks came.

Go Clinton!

Posted by: dmoralestx | January 6, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Obamaa/Edwards: yeah, Edwards looked like his was doing his favorite role -- running for VP yet again. This would solidy yet another Republican victory.

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Obama's choice of a running mate if he wins, no way is it going to be Edwards. It will be someone like a Joe Biden who has rock solid foreign policy creds. I would see Edwards as Attorney General though - that is very plausible.

Regarding the possibility of the Dems losing, while they had to work hard in 2004 to pull defeat out of the hands of victory (and work hard they did!), I think it would be close to impossible for them to do it this time. Regardless who is chosen, I think it would be insanely difficult for the Dems to lose, no matter how hard they tried.

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

From the NH article on the WA Post front page:

"Mary Louise Hancock, the 87-year-old grande dame of the state's Democrats, said she "resented" that independent voters were poised to influence the outcome of the Democratic primary, saying it turned the vote into a "personal-liking affair" dominated by "students and the trendies."

Jeeze. No wonder the Democratic party is such a mess if this is the attitude. Sorry we can't just hand the nomination to your candidate of choice. Just because independents and students are voting doesn't mean it's a popularity contest. I think tonight's debate showed that the party has four very viable candidates.

Posted by: laurarozek | January 6, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Chris obviously wasn't watching the same debate I saw.

Edwards attacked and Clinton responded defensively.

Obama stayed above the fray.

Posted by: KC11 | January 6, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Actually, someone did get elected by almost repeating the word "change" over and over again. I think his name was Bill Clinton - and it was a great strategy.

Edwards is trying a very high risk strategy of trying to run one on one with Obama. He has a fraction of Obama's $. Obama seems likely to win the first three states and I don't see how he can attack Obama directly and not turn off more democrats. But maybe it's the only route he can see to the nomination.

I've read a number of posters suggesting an Obama/Edwards ticket. It seems really implausible given that Edwards ran for VP last time. Has that ever happened in the 20th century - the same VP candidate in two straight cycles with different P candidates?

Posted by: stpaulsage | January 6, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Actually, someone did get elected by almost repeating the word "change" over and over again. I think his name was Bill Clinton - and it was a great strategy.

Edwards is trying a very high risk strategy of trying to run one on one with Obama. He has a fraction of Obama's $. Obama seems likely to win the first three states and I don't see how he can attack Obama directly and not turn off more democrats. But maybe it's the only route he can see to the nomination.

I've read a number of posters suggesting an Obama/Edwards ticket. It seems really implausible given that Edwards ran for VP last time. Has that ever happened in the 20th century - the same VP candidate in two straight cycles with different P candidates?

Posted by: stpaulsage | January 6, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats love to lose. I've lived nearly forty years -- with only 12 years with a dem as president. So, they are well on their way to being the leaders among losers again. "Change" will be the "fuzzy math" of 2008. "Inexperienced" will be the new "inability to fight terror." Go Democrats. I have to give it to you: you are the party of losers! Dean was the only candidate who could not be labeled a "waffler" and who opposed the war, but democrats, fearing a victory, concocted the "scream" and chased him out of the race. So many other potential victors have lost the nomination that it is mind-boggling. Well, at least we have the 14th time in history that a black candidate won a primary, running on a campaign of change. Yay!!!

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse


Hillary was passionate and reasoned and strong, not mean and shrill.

Your post, on the other hand, is mean and shrill.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats love to lose. I've lived nearly forty years -- with only 12 years with a dem as president. So, they are well on their way to being the leaders among losers again. "Change" will be the "fuzzy math" of 2008. "Inexperienced" will be the new "inability to fight terror." Go Democrats. I have to give it to you: you are the party of losers! Dean was the only candidate who could not be labeled a "waffler" and who opposed the war, but democrats, fearing a victory, concocted the "scream" and chased him out of the race. So many other potential victors have lost the nomination that it is mind-boggling. Well, at least we have the 14th time in history that a black candidate won a primary, running on a campaign of change. Yay!!!

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats love to lose. I've lived nearly forty years -- with only 12 years with a dem as president. So, they are well on their way to being the leaders among losers again. "Change" will be the "fuzzy math" of 2008. "Inexperienced" will be the new "inability to fight terror." Go Democrats. I have to give it to you: you are the party of losers! Dean was the only candidate who could not be labeled a "waffler" and who opposed the war, but democrats, fearing a victory, concocted the "scream" and chased him out of the race. So many other potential victors have lost the nomination that it is mind-boggling. Well, at least we have the 14th time in history that a black candidate won a primary, running on a campaign of change. Yay!!!

Posted by: darrren12000 | January 6, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

How would HRC react if difficult negotiations weren't going her way? Well tonight we got a preview. She loses her composure! That was a painfully sad spectacle...err.. meltdown. Her temperament is definitely not presidential.
Losers lose their temper..Even Mitt did not lose his cool despite sustaining serious body blows during the GOP's debate.. HRC is going down like Howard Dean...and unlike Dean's moment, her's was not spontaneous combustion, but her underlying personality finally coming out. Mean, calculating, and shrill does not do it for President.

Posted by: krux | January 6, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Our family's ratings for the democratic debate:
the winner: Hillary Clinton who came off more likeable and made her case for looking at specific actions. Her phrase "delivering change" helped to make the distinction she's been looking for.
#2 Bill Richardson - knowledgeable, likeable, presidential and smart. His piece on what's wrong with experience helped to support HC's position
#3 Obama- didn't do anthing unpresidential but clearly the most exhausted
#4 - and here I know it's different from others - Edwards. He came off angry and contrived. Siding with Obama seems strange and opportunistic. We have 3 voters in the household, if Richardson was still in it by the time Super Tuesday comes along, he'll probably get some votes. If not, the choice is still HC or Obama. But how nice that democrats have such a choice.

On another note: I thought the question to republicans about Obama was UNfair to the rest of the democratic field and I thought the ABC news vignettes before each debate questions was unnecessary self promotion for the network.

Posted by: MassamachusettsWoman | January 6, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

i'm not a big hillary fan, but i did love her "you hurt my feelings" response to that idiotic question about how she feels about people liking barack better.

it felt like a very sincere response. what do you say to something like that? she told the truth. that's always appreciated. and then she made a joke about it, and was actually kind of amusing. and barack knew just when to jump in.

but i continue to enjoy edwards. he can be quite the wise-ass--but a really freaking smart one. he really makes it fun to watch.

(god, i'm starting to feel like an edwards plant. i'm not, just enjoying him. and i'm still catching up on the tivo, so i have not seen it all.)

Posted by: cullendave | January 6, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

The world great depression following the large sudden fall of stock prices was caused in 1929 since the income deregulation plan decreased to 25% though it was misunderstood that the United States misunderstood the preferential treatment to the income gainer and the property owner in 1925 as a correct selection, and the tax system was irrelevant to business, and praised the boom at the high graduated income tax rate of 50-73% at that time was executed, and it continued for four years. "

It does a graduated tax increase ..the income restriction reinforced doing.. : from 25% of the top rate of income tax to 63->92% in dramatic form three years later though put on "The United States is a real ..recover completely of national revenue before burst of the economic bubble of holding off.. economic recovery orbit as for the rise in the unemployment rate in only six years". The theory of this thesis is not being recognized even by the United States, and the tax increase plan of this United States
is evaluated as the policy unavoidably taken, and is clear also in forcing a large tax cut policy of Reagan Administration that generates large-scale fiscal deficit after 50 years and present child Bush administration.

However, it splendidly made it big to real economic growth and the achievement of the fiscal reconstruction simultaneously in the tax increase policy of the criticized graduated income tax etc. according to this analysis when Clinton administration after the political power of Reagan failed claptrap.

Posted by: tyamoni | January 6, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

As an Objective Obama fan, I can say the candidate that did themselves the most good was Edwards, but he is not a front runner, so he had the most to gain. As for who won, it was probably Obama. Hillary did not win at all, she was constantly either on the attack, or defending herself, one or the other, never straight policy. Whenever she attempted to be straight policy, it was always about her as opposed to benefiting the country, like Obama and Edwards have conveyed. Richardson too has this problem, he could be a lot better if it wasn't always about him and what he's done "as governor."

To be fair, I wish Obama would show a little more energy, but he didn't need to - he won. He was reasoned, calm even when being attacked, and this debate was by far his most effective policy presentation to date.

As I stated Edwards did himself the most good. His zingers on Hillary will be replayed until the primary, although he lacked policy specifics, he stuck to his main labor/middle class issues and the worked.

Great debate set-up, the chairs suited their fatigue well, and the interaction between Republicans and Democrats was historic, and will be talked about for some time.

Posted by: LoudKidB | January 6, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh My God!!! Someone actually said 'Camelot'???!!!??? First point, it was never attached to the JFK until a year or so after he died. Secondly, and much more importantly, THE CLINTONS ARE NOT THE KENNEDYS!!!

Posted by: dyork | January 6, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Obama's droll "I think your likable enough" appeared to come from an exhaustion with being sniped at. She's lucky he didn't take her on directly as she certainly left many opportunities. Obama doesn't have to like her, nor does he have to pretend to like her to appear presidential. Particularly when her subordinates are pulling the very Swiftboat crap that she and Bill whine about.

BTW - I loved Bill but he single-handedly ruined Al Gore's nomination with his recklessness. Bill and Hill represent the machine that must be dismantled once and for all.

Posted by: dhxx | January 6, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I can understand why people are talking about Edwards hitting Clinton, because he did, but he also drew many distinctions between himself and Obama too. He consistently stressed that you can't play nice with the entrenched interests.

Edwards won that debate, hands down. Obama did well, but the fatigue showed on him more than the others. Clinton was far too harsh.

Posted by: gwhose | January 6, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA gave an ELECTRIFYING speech the night he won IOWA...that's what Hillary doesn't nor will she EVER have...the ability to mobilize millions of new voters...GO OBAMA!

Posted by: RudeIsraeli | January 6, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

The world great depression following the large sudden fall of stock prices was caused in 1929 since the income deregulation plan decreased to 25% though it was misunderstood that the United States misunderstood the preferential treatment to the income gainer and the property owner in 1925 as a correct selection, and the tax system was irrelevant to business, and praised the boom at the high graduated income tax rate of 50-73% at that time was executed, and it continued for four years. "

It does a graduated tax increase ..the income restriction reinforced doing.. : from 25% of the top rate of income tax to 63->92% in dramatic form three years later though put on "The United States is a real ..recover completely of national revenue before burst of the economic bubble of holding off.. economic recovery orbit as for the rise in the unemployment rate in only six years". The theory of this thesis is not being recognized even by the United States, and the tax increase plan of this United States
is evaluated as the policy unavoidably taken, and is clear also in forcing a large tax cut policy of Reagan Administration that generates large-scale fiscal deficit after 50 years and present child Bush administration.

However, it splendidly made it big to real economic growth and the achievement of the fiscal reconstruction simultaneously in the tax increase policy of the criticized graduated income tax etc. according to this analysis when Clinton administration after the political power of Reagan failed claptrap.

Posted by: tyamoni | January 6, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Our family's ratings for the democratic debate:
the winner: Hillary Clinton who came off more likeable and made her case for looking at specific actions. Her phrase "delivering change" helped to make the distinction she's been looking for.
#2 Bill Richardson - knowledgeable, likeable, presidential and smart. His piece on what's wrong with experience helped to support HC's position
#3 Obama- didn't do anthing unpresidential but clearly the most exhausted
#4 - and here I know it's different from others - Edwards. He came off angry and contrived. Siding with Obama seems strange and opportunistic. We have 3 voters in the household, if Richardson was still in it by the time Super Tuesday comes along, he'll probably get some votes. If not, the choice is still HC or Obama. But how nice that democrats have such a choice.

On another note: I thought the question to republicans about Obama was UNfair to the rest of the democratic field and I thought the ABC news vignettes before each debate questions was unnecessary self promotion for the network.

Posted by: MassamachusettsWoman | January 6, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

lpeter59, simply dismissing Obama as unelectable doesn't really hold water. Contrary to the desire for detailed policy statements, I think this is exactly what we don't need. Why? Because any proposed policy from either party is DOA unless a workable majority in Congress can be established. Obama is talking about this. Moreso, he's talking about getting the public behind his mandate for getting rid of the vitreol.

If the idea is we should just accept that Congress will never do anything until one party dominates everything, I suppose policy positions are just ducky. But if you're dealing with reality, unless you find a candidate that can get both parties together, you really are just blowing smoke with policy positions.

Posted by: ndickover | January 6, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse


There's a theme running here that Hillary had to "damage" Obama to presumably do well enough to win the primary. I disagree.

She needed to talk about why people should vote for her, not why they shouldn't vote for Obama, and she did a great job presenting her ideas and reasons.

If Obama sufferered any damage, it is simply from a cmparison of what each had to say, and that's the way it should be.

For anyone undecided, I think Hillary gave a good argument for voting for her.

Good job, and I hope she keeps it up.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 5, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Every time I starting thinking that I'm going to switch to Obama, he says something that worries me. His very first answer, about going into Pakistan unilaterally to get Al Qaeda is a prime example. For U.S. forces to invade a wild, mountainous area that's been controlled by Pashtun clans for centuries is a recipe for a fiasco (just ask the Pakistani military). Beyond that, it would set the whole Muslim world against us. The way to beat bin Laden is to make him irrelevant, by promoting democracy and the development of civil society in the Middle East. Richardson's answer was much more nuanced and pragmatic--too bad he doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the nomination.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | January 5, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I fell in love with Hillary all over again.

If she doesn't get the nomination, Edwards will be fine.

You can tell he'll really enjoy ripping the privates off of big business and the Republicans.

It couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of guys, and you've got to love a guy that takes such obvious pleasure in his work.

If Obama or Hillary get in, they'll make him Attorney General if he's not VP, so he'll have all his time to devote to making life for giant corporations, the ultra rich, and the Republicans, as uncomfortable as the Republicans have made it for the middle class.

It all adds up to yet another reason to Vote For Hillary Clinton For President.

Imagine Hillary as President, Obama VP, Edwards Attorney General, Richardson secretary of state, and Biden Secretary of defense.

Camelot 2.0 here we come!!!

Posted by: svreader | January 5, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

With regard to electing the first women president, wouldn't electing the first African-American president represent a dramatic change as well?

More than anything, I want to want Hillary to win, but truth be told, I just look at her and think about the nasty partisan fighting over the last seven years. Maybe she'd initially be the better president? There's no reason to think Edwards or Obama wouldn't be good presidents as well, and there would be an end to the Bush-Clinton era. I think Hillary just came at the wrong time.

I thought all four had an excellent debate, especially compared to the train wreck of the Republican debate. Being undecided before the debate (Hillary vs Obama) I think the debate put me squarely in the Obama camp Tuesday.

Posted by: laurarozek | January 5, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I was at the State Department when Bill Richardson came over from the Congress to represent us as U.S. ambassador at the United Nations. Bill then went on to become secretary of Energy and now governor of New Mexico. He did an outstanding job in each post.

Bill Richardson has the experience necessary to be an effective president.

Posted by: dcbostonboy | January 5, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Edwards "backed" Obama only as a strategy. He is trying to put Hillary Clinton away. Clinton is by far more difficult to beat than Obama. If he can do it, Obama will be destroyed one-on-one with Edwards. Obama is a lousy debater, and Edwards would expose the Audacity of Hype (TM) as the Emperor With No Clothes.

Posted by: snunes | January 5, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

This will likely be the most disappointing election ever for minorities and women. Hillary will soon be eliminated and Obama is not electable (No folks..it is NOT possible to win the most powerful job in the world by just saying the word CHANGE over and over)

Despite the promise of a historic election, we will end up with a white male for President. Either a republican or Edwards.

The ironic part of this is that despite everyone talking so much about "change", in terms of the white male hold on the White House,we will end up with more of the same.

Posted by: lpeter59 | January 5, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama is an empty suit with a nice smile. His ideas aren't worth the paper they are written on as he has no money to pay for them. Also somehow I feel the moderators of these debates ask tougher question to the Republicans than the Dems. If you are going to accomplish anything in Congress you need to know how it works -- and Obama hasn't a clue as he spends all his time campaigning. Remember due to Gerrymandering most of the seats in the House are "safe" seats so don't expect the votes to be there for big programs - the same is true in the Senate. But noone talks about that. Change is empty chimera the candidates hang out there in lieu of real programs the country can afford.

Posted by: Lavrat2000 | January 5, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

While I'm definitely an Obama supporter, I thought Edwards won this debate hands down. Both Obama and Hillary looked absolutely exhaused right from the beginning. This was the best I've ever seen Edwards look. That said, I don't think Hillary really did enough to hurt Obama - I would expect Edwards to get a bump out of this, but doubt it changes the outcome.

Posted by: ndickover | January 5, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Did I see a completely different debate???!!!??? Hillary was NOT 'on fire'. She was okay but did not stand out. And at this point she needed to stand out and more. Face facts. She lost and she needed to win big to win in HH!!!

Posted by: dyork | January 5, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

What Democratic Presidential Candidate is most Capable of Making Change Happen?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1452

.

Posted by: PollM | January 5, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I was impressed with all of them. The worst of the Democratic candidates are better than the best of the Republican candidates (I do have respect for both Huckabee and Paul). Still in Obama's corner, but they all made good points tonight.

And will someone please throw Romney and Giuliani into a cage so they can pick each other's eyes out? Please?

Posted by: treetopflyer | January 5, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

This was a GREAT performance by Hillary. She was in charge, she was on fire and she was in total command of the facts and of the interchange.

And Hillary made the most important case of the night: that electing the first woman President represents a huge change.

Her performance completely dwarfed Obama and Edwards. (I don't count Richardson for much of anything.) Obama looked like a little schoolboy being reprimanded by the teacher.

And what is it with Obama's stuttering the moment he gets a question? Isn't he supposed to be an orator with an enchanting rhethorical flow or something?

Brilliant performance by Clinton. This will help her tremendously with the NH voters.

Posted by: welfarestate | January 5, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

cullendave, I totally agree that Richardson's comment about "civility" was completely unfounded and inappropriate. The debate was all about substance, and was very civil. Richardson seems a bit muddled - although I like him, those comments were inappropriate, and he made a comment about Edwards's view on getting out of Iraq that seemed to misunderstand or misrepresent the statement Edwards had just made. Again, the three leading candidates were all brilliant.

Posted by: diane3 | January 5, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Strip out certain efforts at positioning and repetitive sloganeering here and there, this "debate" was a harmonious and somewhat illuminating affair. The Democratic Party debates have not been all that bad at all. With everyone coming off so well, this debate might not resolve much, which surely can't be to everyone's advantage, but it has to be good for the party. There was that exchange about words, however. Words are a politician's primary tools, policy always following on convincing argument, not the other way around. One has to feel great sympathy for all of the individuals involved. The attacks, as they were, melted quickly into substantive discussion. Although I appreciated Gov. Richardson's quip on hostage negotiations, I very much appreciated the general civility exhibited.

Posted by: rarignac | January 5, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Hillary won.
I think its odd that people accuse of her having an emotionally sharp response to the accusation of being the status quo candidate and at the same time praise john edwards for his emotional blackmail. He could not even provide an example of how, when he was in Senate, he created substantive change.
I think Hillary displayed passion, eloquence and substance in this debate. Obama's bar was not to screw up. So I guess when you set the bar that low, a toddler can roll over it.

Posted by: akjain87 | January 5, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse


David, you must be a Republican.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 5, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama seemed to come into this debate determined to show that he is presidential and he did that nicely. He avoided engaging Clinton on a personal level and insisted that their policy disagreements were legitimate and fair game. That is the strategy of a confident candidate.
_______________________________________

Huh? The above is a damn lie! Of the four, Barack Obama was the one who seemed most unsure of what he was saying, to the point of actually stuttering at times. I hope people got to watch this so they can see what a crock this Cilliza is. Richardson is the most personable and John Edwards is definetly the most personaly involved with what he is saying and he's also the best orator. Hillary is probably the best political mechanic.
Obama came across like a person that is convinced he can change things with words. Matter of fact the kid actually said that.

The horse that came in last was Barack Obama.
But remember the the Kerry/Bush debates and the MSM spin afterwards? Believe what you see and hear for yourself, people like Chris Cillizza are not to be believed!

Posted by: harried | January 5, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was strong, assertive, and seemed less scripted than usual. Edwards blinked his way through mostly stump speech talking points by trying to tag team with Obama against Clinton, but she took them both on. The spin from her opposition will be the angry woman losing it, but she's claiming to be a fighter so it works for me. Obama seemed a little flat but he was good overall, especially on the foreign policy questions . Liked her response to the likability question, Obama looked peevish when he said she was likable enough. They all looked tired.

Posted by: rdklingus | January 5, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

That's a pretty strong statement by Sen. Obama, that people have actually "lost hope in their government," and this should be challenged by other candidates as well as by responsible editorial writers. People may express themselves in favor of new policies on a number of central issues facing the country, but to go so far as to say that Americans are losing hope in their very structures of government seems considerably off the mark.

David P. McKnight
Durham, N.C.

Posted by: Proctor2 | January 5, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Of course, the great irony is that Bill Clinton's entire career was based on the inspiring words of Jack Kennedy.

Hilary just doesn't get the human reality that true change is effected through perspiration AND insipration. She's perspiration; Obama, inspiration. He can gain the perspiration, but she'll never effect the inspiration. Essentially, i think, because she never is truly herself...she always holds back something. There is a lingering self-doubt that undercuts whatever inspiration she could elecit.

Now, or in 2012, Barak will be the gateway to true change...as long as the dark side doesn't do to him what they did to Jack.

Posted by: wpost4112 | January 5, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

To bluevoter, George S. called that her finest moment, and I agree. You clearly hate her, so you're going to say something hateful about her no matter what happened. Probably the only reason you're here.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 5, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

i totally disagree that this Richardson line was the line of the night: "I've been in hostage negotiations that are a lot more civil than this."

what i find most frustrating is that the press tends to report these supposed zingers as big scores. yes, it was a very funny line, but if the secret to great comedy is timing, his could not have been worse. my take on it:

for one of the first times in a year of really boring debates, the D candidates were finally starting to take each other on directly a bit--yet still being tame as hell by normal standards of politics--and the school marm had to come in way prematurely and lecture them to stop it. it was really annoying and inappropriate, and as usual, the poor man was completely out of step. he felt like he was in a different contest, as usual.

to me it came across as a desperation move of someone who just doesn't get the conversation, can't make their way in, so they make some stab at a one-liner apropos of almost nothing. sad.

please, don't reward the candidates for these annoying moves.

Posted by: cullendave | January 5, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

NEFUS12
I disagree. I think that BHO has a chance to be like Reagan and actually use the Bully Pulpit to make a change. I remember being positive about Bill Clinton only to watch him not show any courage to his convictions when faced with opisiton. I belive that a 'movement' can make a substantial change in our lives.

Posted by: dyork | January 5, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse


To the question of Charlie Gibson, this format and Charlie's timely moderation, with local news guy involved and both Republicans and Democrats back to back and together in passing, has to be considered the premier debate of debates.

Job well done, ABC and presidential candidates.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 5, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama won the debate with Edwards in a close second. Obama came across as relaxed, confident and presidential. He also showed some heretofore unseen depth in terms of foreign policy. Edwards showed good passion on health care in particular. Hillary did not perform well. That moment when Edwards engaged her when she wanted to after Obama, she had a Howard Dean moment. If the media gets that video of her completely imploding and yelling at these two like an angry schoolmarm it will be over. It just cannot be spun into a positive.

Posted by: bluevoter | January 5, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

i have to say, my favorite person at these debates is john edwards. i am loving him.

he's fun to watch, very sharp, and man does he know how to throw a punch--and sometimes where least expected. he flattened hillary a couple times. i thought she would want to strangle him when he said the forces of status quo always attack changers, and motioned toward her. ouch.

and then when he said "I didn't hear these kind of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead." yow. in one swoop he 1) made a vague accusation that she was being either vicious or desperate or something that she couldn't really defend against, because he had not said what he meant, so she would look like she was swatting at windmills, and 2) called her a big loser. i think the second one was worse. it was a clever way of saying, "by the way, may i remind everyone that hillary is losing now."

man. and what the hell is she going to say? there's no answer to that. he was fighting a little mean, but i couldn't really say he did anything unethical. just very clever street fighter.

when he's on, he's really on. i would love to see him in a debate with the R candidate. but i'm still backing my man barack.

in all honesty, i thought all of the top three had impressive moments, richardson not so much. but while i think barack is the man overall, edwards really ran away with it.

Posted by: cullendave | January 5, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

muaddib_7, I would like to just compliment you on your insightful and cogent statements. I, too, find Clinton's argument that she will change the culture of politics laughable. I also agree that change can only come from what Obama calls "a working majority", a coalition if you will. With half the country loathing her, she will never get anything big accomplished. Finally I concur that the media has dumbed down this election to some mutually exclusive "change" or "experience" binary choice for voters. God, I wish our political discourse was more elevated.

Posted by: shahpesareh | January 5, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Great debate by all. Democrats should feel proud.

I thought Hillary was great and it was good to see her energy and ability to critique Obama.

Chris thanks for the analysis, I could not understand why Edwards was not also going after Obama given his position. I think his "knocking her off" stratergy is flawed because Hillary has the determination, money, and organization to be in this fight until the end, but we will see...

Obama is the front-runner and should inherit all the positives and negatives that come with such status. I hope he is scrutinized more because it will reveal a lot about his true character and will give us a real measure of his ability to win in November IF he gets the nomination.

Richards was funny, smart, and likeable.

Best of luck to all of them.

Posted by: mcfield | January 5, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I think that Hillary has been getting mauled by the media for several weeks. Evry detail of her and her husbands nose twitching has undergone scrutiny. I feel that Obama will end up being tossed around like Jimmy Carter by the end of a presidential term Once the honeymoon is over he will be hard pressed to unit anyone besides those frustrated by how badly the country is tanking.

Posted by: nefus12 | January 5, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

HRC did not win!!! Did not stand out as Presidential!!! Didi not slpa OHB down !!! As Stan Lee would say, "Nuff said!!!".

Posted by: dyork | January 5, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Can CC and Chris Matthews be any more anti-Hillary? Get a grip guys! Start examining Obama's record. I support them both, but the biased coverage is ridiculous and is making me look elsewhere for coverage.
Eric

Posted by: flyguy14222 | January 5, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

charlie gibson: worst moderator ever?

he made this big speech at the beginning of each debate about how it was going to be a different format, with them debating each other and him getting out of the way. great idea. and then he proceeded to the exact same format as every other debate.

i saw only two differences: 1) no time clocks--big deal, 2) ABC inserted three trashy "news" segments into the captive audience of a debate. that was cynical.

then charlie went on to take the goofy bush admin line on the surge and badger the candidates when they disagreed. he said he didn't want to debate them, but did. bad moderator.

Posted by: cullendave | January 5, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse


A great debate performance from the Democrats. All did well but Hillary gave specifics and reasoning with a passion that I hope swung voters her way. Edwards also should have won voters with his performance.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 5, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

My original favorite, Edwards, did very well, but Obama and Clinton were also impressive. Richardson less so, but I'd vote for any one of them over the snarly, substance-free Repulicans.

Posted by: diane3 | January 5, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the overall analysis here. Yes, Edwards and Obama did team up -- who can blame Edwards for sharply highlighting his differences with Clinton and trying to ride the coat tails of Obama to get out of New Hamphsire with a decent finish. Clinton, bounced back about halfway through, but she came off somewhat fatigued and, honestly, frustrated with Edwards pointing out plausible philisophical differences with her (she's been working really hard for 35 years and yet it begs the question what major changes has she really brought?). I think she held her ground but didn't score any points. Edwards came through as passionate, well prepared and decisive. Obama, too. Richardson? Come on, he's a good guy but he blathered his way through several questions. And he was doing a little teaming up of his own with Clinton.

Posted by: erichegy | January 5, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Clinton made a cogent and effective argument of how change is not possible without experience.

FYI, Obama did make a nasty personal dig at Clinton when he said "You're likeable enough". Not at all classy, and not at all Presidential.

Posted by: JoeCHI | January 5, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

"I think having the first woman president is a huge change."

Sorry, but having a different gender does not change make if the person in question has bought wholesale into a political system that continues to embrace fear, distortion, political calculation and all around general cockmanship.

I find it extraordinarily amusing that Clinton 44 is allowed to play the gender card so incredulously by the press, when she in fact embodies the entrenched masculine hierarchy and values that has for so long been embedded within our political system.

The faux change/experience argument that pundits have fomented on for so long misses the point entirely.

The question is who stands for TRANSFORMING a political process SYSTEMICALLY and not working through a broken system to perpetuate the same old, same old. And yes that kind of paradigm transformation does require appealing to others who do not adhere to a progressive tradition.

Clinton 44 clearly does not and never will represent this kind of systemic transformation. Clinton 44 represents the hood ornament on the sinking ship. Let it sink.

Posted by: muaddib_7 | January 5, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

During the halftime break, surely one of her advisers told her to stop acting like a lioness protesting her throne. From Day One, she assumed the nomination was hers and has not quite adjusted to the reality that America simply won't roll over and sell her the White House.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | January 5, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Reading the posts so far it seems clear that HRC did not do what she had to tonight to stay viable. She isn't out of it completely yet but she is much closer to beign out of the race.

Posted by: dyork | January 5, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Edwards was great!

George Stephanopolous said that it was the best debate for him, and that is saying something, as Edwards won the last debate hands down!

Posted by: river845 | January 5, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

New Hampshire Democratic Debate Winner

Who won the ABC Democratic Debate in New Hampshire?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1451

.

Posted by: PollM | January 5, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure what Hillary Clinton did today was helpful at all. The debate structure encouraged discussion on substantive issues (which is supposedly her strength) and she chose instead to make personal attacks on Obama. Instead of listing Obama's shifting policy issues (like she has never done any shifting--remember the vote for Iraq???) I would have preferred if she had told us what are the bills that Obama voted for that she disagreed with. Not presidential at all.

Posted by: vrinda_23 | January 5, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Does Hillary have to YELL ?

Geez, I had to turn down the volume on my TV when she was speaking.

Posted by: Digital_Voter | January 5, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

That is because Obama IS more presidential than HRC, and is coming into presidential posture more each day.

Posted by: meldupree | January 5, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza,

If you don't do justice to the great debate performance of John Edwards tonight, I will never trust your Feed's objectivity again! He did a magnificent job of conveying his message tonight.

Respectfully.

Posted by: democrat2 | January 5, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Obama's phrase about words having the power to move inspire change is the gem of the night.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 5, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

On the basis of tonight's broadcasts, I would vote for any of the Democrats [especially Richardson!!!] and none of the Republicans. I would in fact drive many miles out of my way to pee on the grave of any of the Republican candidates.

Posted by: thrh | January 5, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama did come off more Presidential the Hillary. She needed, if not a knock out punch, a solid kick back after coming in third in Iowa. Not lsoign ground tonight means that she lost big.

Posted by: dyork | January 5, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

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