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Democratic Debate: Winners and Losers

The Fix grew up a HUGE fan of professional wrestling. So, it was with a mixture of fascination and glee that we watched last night's Democratic presidential debate, which resembled nothing so much as an out and out brawl.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) spent the first hour of the debate fending off shots from her opponents and parrying pointed questions from the moderators. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) made good on his pledge to be more aggressive against Clinton, albeit it in the low-key manner that has come to be his trademark in this campaign. Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), on the other hand, took it directly to Clinton -- challenging her at every turn and effectively ensuring that the stories coming out of the debate didn't focus solely on Clinton versus Obama.

Even Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.), Joe Biden (Del.) and Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) got in their shots -- although this debate was designed (rightfully so, to our mind) to give Obama, Edwards and Clinton a chance to mix it up.

Below you'll find our winners and losers from last night's debate. We added a "tweener" category for this debate because several of the candidates had performances that didn't seem to fit into either the winner or loser side. As always, these ratings are subjective. Agree? Disagree? The comments section is open for business.

WINNERS
John Edwards: We've said it before and we'll say it again: Edwards continues to make the strongest case against Clinton of any candidate in the field. Time and again last night, Edwards one-upped Obama's hits on Clinton by using his courtroom skills to deliver devastating one-liners about the New York Senator and her record. On Iran: "Are we going to hear 'If only I knew then what I know now,'" Edwards asked. On electability: "[Republicans] may actually want to run against you." On change: "If people want the status quo, Senator Clinton is your candidate." Was Edwards too angry? Too confrontational? Maybe. But, the anti-Clinton crowd wants someone to stand up strongly against her. Edwards showed he was willing to do that last night.

"Sabre Rattling": Wow. The Fix lost count of how many times the candidates uttered this phrase last night in reference to the Bush Administration's policy toward Iran. Edwards and Obama used it to hit Clinton; Clinton used it to hit the Bush Administration. Sabres were being rattled EVERYWHERE.

TWEENERS

Barack Obama: Obama promised more aggression and he delivered -- sort of. The Illinois Senator was clearly committed to drawing contrasts with Clinton last night, even though it still feels as though he is forcing it at times. (Our read on Obama: he is not someone who enjoys direct confrontation and is still learning the political necessity of the tactic.) Obama's best line of the night (and one of the debate's highlights) came after Clinton refused to offer a clear answer on releasing the correspondence between herself and her busband during their time in the White House. "I'm glad that Hillary [used] the phrase "turn the page" but this is an example of not turning the page," Obama said. "Part of what we have to do is to invite the American people to take part in their government again." That message -- Obama as change agent -- is a powerful one; as the campaign has worn on, Obama has honed it nicely. So why not make him a winner? At times Obama seemed to wander into wonky policy talk on issues, letting his professorial side come out a bit too much. The more Obama sounds like every one else on the stage, the less chance he has of convincing voters he can and will change the status quo.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: After the first hour of the debate, Clinton seemed nearly-certain to wind up in the winner's circle again. She had largely faced down a withering barrage of attacks from Obama and Edwards (notable exception: her non-answer on opening up the National Archives) and come out none the worse for wear. And then she slipped. In the debate's final minutes, Clinton got caught trying to be too cute by half on whether she supported Gov. Eliot Spitzer's (D-N.Y.) plan to offer drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Sensing a rare opportunity, Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) jumped in to question Clinton and was followed in the piling on by Edwards and Obama who sought to cast Clinton's answer as typical of her tendency to offer the political rather than the honest answer. That the moment came at the close of the debate was a double edged sword for Clinton: on one hand, it left viewers with a sour taste in their mouth and may have colored her performance overall; on the other, it was nearly 11 p.m. by then and the viewership had probably declined somewhat significantly so less people saw the slip. Why not make Clinton a loser then? Because for the majority of the debate she acquitted herself well despite having the deck stacked heavily against her. In the first hour, nearly every question and response started and ended with Clinton. Might she have won points among women who saw a bunch of men going out of their way to gang up on her?

LOSERS
Bill Richardson: On a night when both Dodd and Biden had their moments, Richardson struggled. In every debate and every answer, it feels as though Richardson is trying to stuff 10 pounds of rhetoric into a five pound bag. Part of that is because he doesn't get as much time to address issues as the frontrunners. But, knowing he isn't likely to get as many opportunities, Richardson needs to have adjusted by now to take advantage of the chances he does get. Thinking back on the debate, it's hard to find a moment where Richardson distinguished himself -- with the possible exception of his defense of Clinton. Then, after the debate, Richardson seemed to side with the pro-UFO crowd in response to a joking question by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Um, not good.

Lightning Rounds: For those who followed The Fix's live-blogging of the debate last night, you've already heard our rant against lightning rounds. While a great idea in theory (allow all of the candidates to sound off on an issue in a short period of time) these lightning rounds just don't work because there is no real penalty for a candidate going far over the allotted time in their answer. Our suggestion? If we are set on keeping lightining rounds, create a real penalty for candidates who don't follow the rules. Maybe the next round of questions skips them? Ok, that's never going to happen, but a boy can dream.

Late Night Debates: The Fix's campaign against debates that start at 9 pm or later continues. That is all.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 31, 2007; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: FixCam: Happy Halloween

Comments

Can you take my comment off. I'm not comfortable with the fact that it shows up on a google search of my name!

Posted by: kenney.elkomous | November 21, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't disturbed about the attacks coming from Obama and Edwards, any and all candidates are fair game and rightly so. I was disturbed by the moderater's participation, particularly Tim Russert's willingness to appear to help the attackers. I found it totally out of place. What was he thinking of?

Posted by: kaycwagner | November 1, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a winner in my book, because she held her on for the entire debate. Because Hillary is a critical thinker, some time answers need to be explained; such as the immigrant question. Regarding the archive records when she was first lady, perhaps she made mistakes and if those mistakes were revealed, people would be judgemental. However, I believe she should reveal the records and let the chips fall where they will. I understand why some people may think Hillary is not forthcoming, but i understand why she is evasive, because people may get the wrong impression and think that she has not learned from her mistakes. My strategy would be to reveal the records, but then I am not running for president.

Posted by: butterfly2 | November 1, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

First, I love these debates! I watch all of them for all parties. Seeing the candidates onstage together is often illuminating, even if they aren't saying anything.

Second, Chris, you did not mention the abominable performance by Tim Russert! He appeared to be so eager for someone to take Sen Clinton down that he was practically salivating when he teed up questions for the "guys" and seemed to chortle with glee when he tried to tie Sen. Clinton down to statements she had not made. Geesh, someone send him on a long vacation and perhaps they should send Chris Matthews with him for company(whom I used to admire, but now just find silly).

The Democratic candidates should keep their collective eye on the ball: they are not running against Hillary Clinton; they are running against George Bush, his legacy and his heirs.

Posted by: mkolb | November 1, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Latest poll released in Iowa for the Republican nomination has Romney 27% leading the way, not followed by Huckabee's 19% with about 13% still undecided. Granted, Romney still has a huge organizational and financial advantage, but Huckabee now has found life in the Christian right. Huckabee is not just running a campaign for 2nd in Iowa anymore, he's in it to win it.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | November 1, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is turning into the true Progressive in this campaign. With Obama having the singing anti-gay pastor in SC on the campaign trail, and Clinton's problems with the radical left on defense, Edwards is now left (no pun intended) to take advantage of the situation. Richardson wanted to be that man, but he has been beaten out by Edwards for that role now. Edwards has it all on the line in Iowa. With Clinton's non answer on immigration, that could really help Edwards & Obama in Iowa and SC. In SC, the anti gay singing pastor may be okay but in other states, NH for instance, it will turn back to bite him.

Did it seem to anyone else like Richardson is now running for VP to Clinton?

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | November 1, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,
I'm with you in that everybody running should be heard and I don't like the way the debates have been run. I'm not sure that this can be blamed completely on the media - the DNC has said they are OK with the qualifications that NBC places on the candidates to get on stage which were what removed Mike Gravel from the stage. Ron Paul is interesting in that his debate time is limited but he definitely has support. I see it as kind of a chicken/egg thing - if you get some support and headlines, you will get more face time with the media vs. how do you get support and headlines if the media is not covering you? Providing all candidates with fairly equitable face time during debates is where I give the moderators a failing grade, not with the particular questions they ask.

Posted by: dave | November 1, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I admit that I don't pay much attention to local politics. I first heard of Kerry as a presidential candidate. So my opinions of him as a senator are colored by my opinions of him as a candidate.

But I do take issue with one thing you said about him: Repeating Bush's assertion that Kerry was the most liberal senator. That's just silly. He was a moderate Democrat who followed the party line. Senators like Feingold and Wellstone were far more liberal than Kerry. As a presidential candidate, he didn't have a single policy that was really liberal; he didn't even want to end the Iraq war! He was one of the more conservative Democratic candidates; Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton, and Mosely-Braun were all to his left in the primary. He was a mainstream Democrat, which makes him more liberal than the average American, but he was hardly on the party's fringe.

Posted by: Blarg | November 1, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I had to post this because it is simply mindboggling. Here we have someone who has extorted billions of US taxpayer dollars, in return for which he repeadtedly lied to start a war that would benefit mmostly himself and then spied for Iran. I guess bush will be giving him the Medal of Honor next. Why not just hand the whole country over to Abenadinnerjacket right now?


'On Sunday, McClatchy reported that disgraced Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi had "re-emerged as a central figure" in the U.S. strategy for Iraq. His latest job: to press Iraq's government to "deliver better electricity, health, education and local security services to Baghdad," as "the next phase" of the escalation.

Today, Blackanthem.com reports that Petraeus has been trumpeting his new alliance with Chalabi, introducing him to U.S. troops serving in Iraq:

Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force-Iraq, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi, director of services in Iraq, and Dr. Safi Al-Sheik, director of the Iraqi National Reconciliation Committee, met with Soldiers and leaders of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., who are operating in the Arab Jabour area.

Before the war, Chalabi provided faulty intelligence on Iraq's supposed weapons programs, helping launch the war. He was investigated for allegations that he passed intelligence to Iran, "wrongdoing that endangered American troops and American lives," according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Furthermore, Chalabi has alliances with militia leader Muqtada al Sadr, who has led a "series of uprisings against the U.S. military."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/homepage/story/20893.html

Posted by: drindl | November 1, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin,

You and I commonly see eye to eye when it comes to these debates. I finally typed up my analysis of it. You can access it here:

http://www.theseventen.com/2007/11/pennsylvania-debate-analysis-d.html

What do you think?

Posted by: theseventen | November 1, 2007 6:31 AM | Report abuse

milbrooks27: Health care is my main issue. I am disabled, on SS and SSI, have both Medicare and Medicaid. Some of my RXs are not covered under the formula, and I have to pay the full cost, and the ones covered I pay a maximum of $3.10, ProudtobeGOP is the best one I know of to explain this. I favor a single payer simular to what I have that would reduce the paperwork and save a huge amount of money simply by using a single form for all, Hospital, X-Ray, Blood work, and all the rest.

Posted by: lylepink | November 1, 2007 1:58 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13 - I think the first thing we need to do, is come together as liberals. Most liberals would agree with points #3 - #10 and I truly believe that the economic downturn we are embarking upon will convince most people of #1 and #2. If we had a simple platform, with these points laid out, like Gingriches contract, we could convince most voters that they and their children would be happier and better off in a country where these were the accepted and shared goals. Politician's, even dumb or crooked ones, want to be re-elected, and if these points were the expectation of people, we could force hem into law.

lylpink, I am "down to earth" tonight, not attempting to skewer anyone. I do not hate Hillary, I am merely very distrustful of her and honestly think she would be a mistake. We can agree to disagree there. I really would like to hear from you, about the issues that are of most import to you. Mark_in_Austin, you too. You seem like a pretty reasonable guy. No skewering or insults from me - promise! I really and truly want to know what's important to you. There is plenty of time for us to engage in the fun of trading insults and name calling in future discussions...and I'm sure we will!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 1, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

mark - FYI. My take on John Kerry is that he is basically a decent man with views that are outside the mainstream of what most people want. In that, he is like John McCain. Kerry is a self convinced fan of free trade and global markets. I think he is isolated in Washington, away from how disasterous this has been for the Amercian people. Likewise, McCains views on Iraq and foreign policy in general do not reflect what most people want or expect. There are plenty of decent folk just like them, from Newt Gingrich to Mr. Paul. They are not at all like the Romney's, Cheney's, Kennedy's, and similar sorts in Washington that nealy pu up "for sale" signs.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 1, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13: Guns are not an issue for me. As a teenager, I practiced with a 22 rifle by shooting thru the neck of a botte and breaking the bottom out at a distance of 30 to 40 yards, also with a BB gun by striking the old kitchen matches that are not seen around very much these days at a lesser distance. Yes I was good!, and very few could beat me. These "Hillary Haters" cannot even get their reasons straight for their hatred of her. I do not agree with her on everything, for I do not know what her position is on everything,and have said so many times.

Posted by: lylepink | November 1, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

mibrooks27, thanks for your response. I agree with most of your points - especially #3-10, but I think that unfortunately most are non-starters in today's political environment. Remembering that Congress is largely made up of wealthy members (many who are ex- and current businessmen), it is hard for me to picture the votes coming together to institute tax fairness, mandatory salary caps, universal health and education, etc. There are just too many interested parties who have way more political clout than you or I do (remember, health care alone represents some large percentage of the ENTIRE US economy! and higher ed is huge, too...)
I'm not on board with your gun rights stuff, but we have discussed that before and don't need to again here. overall, I see where you're coming from. Given the socioeconomic situation as it is, how would you go about convincing both the masses AND leaders in government to take this on as an agenda?

Posted by: bokonon13 | November 1, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mark - you ask

"boko, at 7:11P I was very critical of John Kerry and asked you and Blarg if I have underestimated him. I really am curious if my view from here would be seen by you and/or Blarg as overwrought, and if so, why?"

well.... I am by no means the biggest fan of John Kerry, who I thought and think exhibited the whole "Put my time in, and now I'm due" mentality of many veteran politicians. And he came across as an impossible nerd, politically tone-deaf and convinced that the presidency was his for the taking. (Having said that, I don't think he is nearly as vain as this year's rich candidate from Massachusetts, who was knocking on doors in France while Kerry was fighting in Vietnam.)
So I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment, but think it's a little harsh. I think Kerry is not the least effective senator, nor the least responsive, nor the dumbest, nor the most elitist/corrupt - he seems to me to be relatively average without much to distinguish him one way or the other. (I will say that I know a few people who have worked on his campaigns, and they all describe him as being a kind and intelligent man.)
In any case, my impression of Kerry is that he's basically OK, with some serious drawbacks, and neither a great nor a terrible legislator.

Posted by: bokonon13 | November 1, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13 - I was asking those pointed qustions for two reasons. First, I really don't know what those people actually believe in/want from the next President. Secondly, I don't think anyone really knows what Hillary Clinton stands for. A lot of her supporters apparently think she believes as they do on a variety of issues, something the Clinton campaign fosters, without the sightest evidence for it.

drindl I have always found to be a thoughtful and articulate poster. I happen to agree with her on most issues (surprise!). I am truly afraid, however, of Hillay Clinton. I am old enough to recall how slippery and vengeful and just plain nderhanded she was during the "bimbo Eruptions" during Bill's Presidency. Now, don't get me wrong, I would love to see a woman President but that woman would be, if I can dream, Elizabeth Edwards or Nancy Pelosi. These are tough women and you know precisely what they think and believe in and will do. Of the current crop, my favorites are Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards. The Republican Mike Huckabee is another populists and I could live with him as President.

My issues, order of importance: (1) end outsourcing. Use tax laws to penalize companies for doing this and add duties and taxes and other fees to goods and services that are brought back into this country as a result of outsourcing. (2) guest workers. I advocate ending any and all guest worker visas that displace Amercian workers. For those guest workers that companies claim are necessary anyways, I would add a 100% tax with NO possibility of a write off. That tax would go into fund that would train a U.S. citizen to replace that quest worker in the shortest amount of time possible. After that, the guest worker goes home. (3) Reign in corporations by making boards and corporate officers responsible, economically and criminally, for any criminal actions or damage by the corporation. Eliminate corporate contributions to election campaigns and any "issue" politics entirely. Place limits on CEO and other corporate officers compensaion package. I think 10X the average salary paid to FTE employees is more than enough. (4) Universal single source, single payer health care. (5) Completely subsidied public education, from full day kindergarten through university. (6) Participaion in the world court and, even, membership in the E.U. (7) a universal retirement system coveraging every worker. Not Social Security, but a genuine universal retirement system replacing the hodge podge of private systems we have now. (8) Strict envirnmental laws that would penalize companies and individuals for any environmental damage. The last time I checked, fish and game were publically owned. Likewise, parks. If development harms a fishery, the company and individuals involved ought to bear full responsibility for restoring that publicly owned fishery, game, park, or view. I would quite literally padlock the door of a company that dumped toxic chemicals into a river or take the home away from an owner that bulldozed dirt into a stream and shut down a mining company or oil company that built a pipeline or road that harmed the health of an elk or caraboo herd or pheasant population. (9) Complete and total energy independence. No foreign oil imports, cars running on hybrid motor, trains, trams and buses on electricity (10) No foreign adventures ala Iraq. No war unless we are attacked. Not threatened. Attacked. I would also end the all volunteer army and impose the draft. Mothers and fathers, especially politicians, don't want to send their children off to war unless it is for a darn good reason. If all of those soldiers in Iraq were the result of a draft..we simply would't be there. Oh, and I am opposed to any further gun control laws and also opposed to private land owners being able to prevent access to any public fishing or hunting area. I am opposed to all laws that unnecessarily limit peoples ability to do what they want, otside of my "pet" positions.

I am somewhat to the left of most posters on this board. I admittedly enjoy scewering people who I don't think reason through their positions.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

As someone who has been reading about the UFO subject for over half of a century, it is infuriating to hear ignorant journalists automatically go into smirking laughter mode whenever the subject is raised.

Obviously, neither you nor Chris Matthews knows anything about the subject. Bill Richardson does.

There is a very down-to-earth political issue involved: The United States governmental policy of keeping secrets from American people that ought to be made public if we are, supposedly, a free and open society.

Any legitimate journalist who investigates the UFO subject soon learns that the United States government has plenty of UFO information, and keeps it secret, and fibs about it, and contines to do so to this day.

For example, after 4 years of FOIA litigation, NASA continues to resist opening its records of the Kecksburg Pennsylvania incident. Why?

UFO phenomena, and the US government dishonestly about it, are an important and legitimate issue.

Posted by: carlhcarl | October 31, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

boko, at 7:11P I was very critical of John Kerry and asked you and Blarg if I have underestimated him. I really am curious if my view from here would be seen by you and/or Blarg as overwrought, and if so, why?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27, who I believe to have been 'MikeB' in the pre-registration life, you say:

"When asked to explain what issues are of import to them and where they stand on issues, lylepink, claudia and the rest of that mob *still* haven't answered that simple direct question."

-I could be wrong, but as a 3rd party observer, it seems to me that lyle and drindl are more or less comfortable with the Democratic platform. That doesn't mean that they - or any of the rest of us for whom that may be true - may not have slight to substantial differences with how some of the issues are framed, or sold to the public, or used as bases for other pronouncements and policies. drindl strikes me as a smart feminist, and lyle as an avid Hillary supporter. I don't think their opinions or positions on issues are a mystery to anyone who has been following the conversation. Your asking them might seem to them to be trying to pick a fight - I haven't been following the conversation today, but that is what the tone of this email sounds like to me.

You continue:
"Is it really too much to ask fo, especially when each of us has been the target of their jabs and hatred, that they tell us what they actually want?"

-and I have to ask you, who is "us"? I personally have never been hated on by either of these two... I have had some disagreements with lyle about Hillary, but have no hard feelings. And it's not really a mystery to me what they want - (I think) - in general terms, a Democratic victory (upper AND lower case "d"), and plans, and competent politicians to put them in place, that will repair some of the damage caused by the economic, international, environment (etc.) policies of the current administration. In fact, that seems to be what a lot of us want. We may differ on the details, but if we can't discuss those differences without name-calling

"And, would it be too much for them to explain to us what Clinton stands for, or, rather their perception of Clinton? Now, we all expect an answer and I think everyone ough to keep after them until we get such answers. Perhaps tey don't have on, maybe they are just containers of anger."

-once again, who is 'everyone'? I haven't been following super closely, but it seems to me that most people read what they post and agree or disagree... then move on to worrying about what to have for lunch, or what time it is, or whether or not one of their shoes may be untied. These two want to say what they want to say, just as you do, just as I do, and so on. To call them "containers of anger" I think is an exaggeration/distortion, and it sounds extremely... angry.

Posted by: bokonon13 | October 31, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

roo - Having lived in Europe I'm used to the common notion that American's are vilent and resort too easily to violence. Hollywood and the idiots in Washington seem to conform that view everyday. It is, however, simply not true. If you look at the statistical data you will see that slightly more than 80% of our violent crime is with gangs. The 20% left over is on par with any European country. In Sweden, where I lived with my family, violent crime was virtually unknown until they started accepting large numbers of Arabic and Eastern European immigrants. hen he crime rate took off! But, those crimes were still confined to those communities with very little spill over. The ame hlds true for Britain, France, Germany, Austria, all over Western Europe. The rate of violent crime, including firearm related crime, even in the face of firearm bans, aligns closely with the rate amoungst those communities here. I hate sounding like an emotional slob, but the roots of this are hopelesness, broken homes, unmployment, racism, lack of opportunity. Cure those things and violent crime is reduced consideably. It will not and cannot be eliminated becasue here are some few people who are mentally ill or just plain evil or, sometimes, in the rush of anger, out of control. Guns have little or nothing to do with this, ignorance and fear and anger and madness have everything to do with it. (And, "yes", I agree with Dennis Kucinich; I think George Bush is mentally ill.)

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27, I see a dangerous fascination that Americans have with guns, posses, and frontier/street justice. You, inducted as you are, may not.

The Generalised American Solution to Everything(tm) is to "take them out" whether it is by a bullet, legal maneuvering or out-and-out war.

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

roo - I don't know if the statistical data will help convince you or not, but the DOJ statisics showed slightly fewer than 12,000 deaths due to firearms in this country last year. Eighty percent of them were due to inner city gang warfare - thugs shooting other thugs over drugs, turf, prostitution, or racism. Half of the homicides in this country occur in the black community, 30% in the Hispanic community, virtually all of it gang involved.

As for your "macho" comment, that is ot much more than a throwaway line. My lovely 22 year daughter is a trap shooter and has hunted with me since she was 8. Most of the women in my family shoot. It's fun and, as a sport, is safer than bowling (no alcohol). Men, in genral, don't watch Soap Opera's or read Romance Novels. Should we ban them with an aside that they only appeal to women? Grow up!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The immigration problem can be solved by having all illegals register with the FBI (not immigration, they're not qualified) for a ten year photo-id work permit. The penalty for being here illegally is a lifetime ban on citizenship (not their children) and a fine of their and employer payments to social security. Any illegal found working for less than min. wage faces deportation. I see few problems issuing drivers licenses to people that have this ID.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 31, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

retnep hit it right on. Biden was definitely a winner in this debate, which was tough given the format which limited his speaking time. The only other winner I would add, a la CC's "Sabre Rattling" is "I agree with Joe.../As Joe said..." Clearly everyone up on that stage knows that Biden is the mot qualified. I hope voters figure that out soon too.

Posted by: terpinNE | October 31, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I wish one of the candidates would opt for the zero nuclear weapons option. Get the big 5, U.S., Russia, China, Pakistan and India all agree to disarm and to use their conventional forces to disarm all others that don't voluntarily participate. Iran can be defeated simply by naval embargo of petroleum products. We would have to tap the strategic oil reserve temporarily until the worlds output is increased for the shortfall. Irans economy is so fragile it would collapse in less than two years.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 31, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Ops, that should have been "macho fetish for guns" or "macho gun fetish."

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Ops, that should have been "macho fetish for guns" or "macho gun fetish."

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin--My term "aura" was a bit ambiguous. Specifically I mean that I have the feeling that his personality type (which I dub the "flummoxed humanistics professor") would lead to a similar type of campaign arch as Kerry suffered. This time around it would probably be sufficient to carry the archee to the White House, though.

Biden's supposed strong point to me is his weakest: anyone who is "experienced" in U.S. foreign policy in the last ~35 years should be bodily disbarred from holding any diplomatic position.

As an aside, I have nothing against gun ownership. I am tempted, myself, to get a nice shotgun in case of a zombie outbreak.

Guns do not, indeed, kill people. The insane American macho fetish kills people.

Anyway, I have no problem with the loose interpretation of the second amendment, everyone being allowed to bear arms (as opposed to "..only as a part of a well-regulated militia.") After all, it says nothing about rights to ammunition.

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

All - Interesing, isn't i. When asked to explain what issues are of import to them and where they stand on issues, lylepink, claudia and the rest of that mob *still* haven't answered that simple direct question. I received more name callin, more vitrol, more insults, but no answer. Is it really too much to ask fo, especially when each of us has been the target of their jabs and hatred, that they tell us what they actually want? And, would it be too much for them to explain to us what Clinton stnads for, or, rather their perception of Clinton? Now, we all expect an anwer and I think everyone ough to keep after them until we get such answers. Perhaps tey don't have on, maybe they are just containers of anger.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

linnie--"Your comment about the late time (11pm) is typical of ALL of the pundits who assume the only people in America are on the east coast...those of us on the west coast were awake and watching!!!"

And clearly the inference here is that you people on the west coast do not care about those on the east because it IS 11pm on that side? Follow your logic through, please.

Starting at 9pm EDT is too late for many in the east, starting at 5pm PDT is too early for many in the west. Personally, I would just do a re-run in the west.

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama did a poor job in his attack. Mobile biological weapons labs, nonsense. No one is stupid enough to put deadly biologicals in something that can be breeched by a car accident. Terrorist movements, silly. No bully like Saddam would allow a threat to his power. WMDs, where's the beef? Edwards and Clinton both believed this as rationale for their Iraq votes. Too bad Joe Wilson did not set them straight before they voted.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 31, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

'claudialong - ah, you DIN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. Beeeep! Let's try once again. Instead of hysteria and name calling and the usual viterol, just sit down for a few minutes and tell us all (1) what candidates do you support (2) what issues (let'd just try the top 5) concern you the most and what are your postitions on them, and finally what does Hillary Clinton believe in'

Umm, MikeB, I wa't hysterical and I didn't call you any names. Please go back and check my post. I have iterated my views here at great length, and I have no obligation to dredge it all up for you, at your command--see, I have a job, a family and a life.

Thank you, Nick --now I have trick-or-treaters to attend to.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

This is less about the candidates and all about the news media professionals who want controversy and action and divisiveness and food-fights. They made this perfectly clear long before the Philly debate began, the NYT got Mr. Obama to promise a fist-fight against Mrs. Clinton and the rest of the male line-up followed.
Indeed, there is room for differences on the substance--I am far from agreeing with Mrs. Clinton on all counts. But to have 6 men with mixed experiences and accomplishments go after the female candidate (although Mr. Richardson took exception to nearly personal attacks) because two male moderators threw them balls that had to be hit out of the ball park was pretty pitiful to watch.
I was not committed to vote for Mrs. Clinton before the Philadelphia debate--I am now.

Posted by: bn1123 | October 31, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

roo, I respect your comments and found your 6:14P begging me for a reply.

Full disclosure; probably unnecessary:

I am very much more conservative than you are as to economic opinions. I may be more libertarian than you as to the Bill of Rights - I am a lawyer, and I cannot help but think the first ten amendments mean what they say [yes, including the Second]. I think the role of the Federal government should be more limited than you think - if I remember your views on health care correctly, and judging from your fondness for DK, whom I dismiss.

Now, having said that, I viewed Kerry as a second rate US Senator who voted to the left of everyone in the entire Senate according to
both "liberal" and "conservative" sources. Further, he hardly had a signature piece of legislation to his name. I voted for him because GWB was incompetent, and insistent on the theory of the unitary executive, in my view; not because I shared Kerry's philosophy, if he had one, nor because I liked him, which I did not.

I view Biden as a first rate US Senator, one who has shepherded much legislation through the minefields. This is also true of Dodd and of McCain. I do not know about Dodd, but in most years, Biden and McCain would be in the middle 40% of Senators on conventional rating systems.

Everybody in the Senate is more "moderate" - closer to the middle - than Kerry, except the single most conservative Senator, whoever s/he is. Biden can speak forcefully without sounding like a pompous preppie. Kerry always sounded like "the Great Gildersleeve".

Dismiss Biden because he is too conservative for you on economics, or too willing to have America active on the world stage for you, or
any reason of substance.

But

-we have seen John Kerry and he is no Joe Biden. He is not even Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton; that is how ineffectual he has been in the Senate.

Blarg and Boko - you are Mass Ds: Have I understated Mr. Kerry's accomplishments, gifts, and graces?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

lylepink: You are bizarre. If anyone disagrees with you--or worse, actually provides a little bit from a mountain of facts against your position--then they are irrational and in need of a little Jungian therapy. And filled with hatred. And out of touch with reality.

My, that sounds just like . . . who is it now who always responds that way about criticism? Coulter, Hannity, O'Reilly, Rush? Hillary and her supporters seem so . . . Republican?

Anyway, I'm glad I bring a smile to your face and a chuckle to your belly. I do hope, however, that your laugh is not like that of your heroine--that phony, Halloween-like cackle. Happy spook night, everyone. It's a good night for a little cuddly Hillary pillow talk.

Posted by: ppellikka | October 31, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

ppellikka: "There's a sucker born every minute." Appears to fit you "Hillary Haters" as femalenick suggests. Every time Hillary is mentioned on this blog, you and others like you are out in full force. I can hardly keep my laugh to a level that does not hurt my stomach when reading how out of touch with reality you folks really are. At least try and get your reason for your "Hatred" accurate. May I suggest you read Jung, a noted author, and maybe, just maybe, you will learn a little about yourself.

Posted by: lylepink | October 31, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

mikeB - it is difficult to demand an accounting of why someone likes hillary when she will not clearly state a position on much of anything. you are asking the bloggers to speculate about what they hope hillary will do. now are we talking about primary hillary, general hillary, lifetime hillary, copresident hillary, her own gal hillary, shrill hill, cackling hill? you see the dilemma?

If they post something about her war stance, it can be held against them tomorrow when the new polls come in and Hill changes her mind again.

they could say one thing - I like a gal who can't decide. we are already getting the "talking out of two sides of the mouth" thing. first we talk to Iran, then we don't. first we have nothing to say about SS, then we do. first we are for the war, then we're not. It is hard to keep up. One thing you can count on above all else, she won't say something you, the voter, can disagree with. who doesn't want free money for their kids. I love free money, don't you?

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

claudialong - ah, you DIN'T ANSWER THE QUESTION. Beeeep! Let's try once again. Instead of hysteria and name calling and the usual viterol, just sit down for a few minutes and tell us all (1) what candidates do you support (2) what issues (let'd just try the top 5) concern you the most and what are your postitions on them, and finally what does Hillary Clinton believe in? Just try it! You too lylepink. I've gone back over the posts for the past serveral months, even, and I cannot figure out what you guys actually stand for.

Now, guys like me and rufus and even koz, you know what we believe, you know the candfidates we like best, you even know our top ten issues. We just don't have the slightest idea of what you actually believe. Now's the chance. No name calling. Just tell us.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Since I began posting, I can't help but comment on some of the comments -- which is why I don't come here when I am buried in work -- and I shouldn't be here today.

To call lylepink or claudialong name callers or ranters couldn't be more inaccurate and thus is just plain wrong. There are others who do that here, but not these two.

And to ppellikka's comments:

1. The "two-for-the-price-of-one" was technically "buy one, get one free" and was a joke made by Bill, not Hillary, while he was stumping in NH. Funny thing is that that's when he became the "comeback kid."

2. Bill did appoint her to work on the health care system WITHOUT pay. For something that big and that important, why shouldn't she have had her office int he West Wing? Blame Bill for that, not Hillary.

3. First lady visits to foreign countries are "holiday-ing?" Good lord. Should the first ladies stay home and have tea parties in the White House instead? Have you lodged a complaint about Laura Bush's visit to foreign countries? Or what about her mother-in-law's?

4. What proof do you have that it was Hillary who advised Bill to pardon who he did? Are you suggesting that Hillary was Bill's Cheney? That she was the "shadow president?"

5. I understand your comments about NY to some degree. But I now liken the Clinton's move to that of a military family in public service who don't have a permanent home. When their service is over, they choose to retire among the places where they've lived or visited. So what if they chose New York?

And how do you know how much time Bill and Hillary spend with each other? I don't know anyone here who would have a clue about that.

Hate Hillary if you want, but to call lylepink and other Hillary supporters as "suckers" is nasty. You'd be better received doing that on Michelle Malkin's or Ann Coulter's website. Or call Rush Limbaugh's radio show. You'll find plenty of company there too.

Posted by: femalenick | October 31, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

'Scary, she acts like a Lib'
a viper in your nest, zouk -- watch out.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I would like to invite people to do some soul-searching. Most of us have a candidate that we like better than others and to whom we do not apply the same critical standards as the others. I would like to invite everyone to, for a moment, prentend to be the devil's advocate against your candidate of choice. Then take those criticisms and attempt to intellectually verify their correctness. And you know what? It is PERFECTLY FINE if your candidate has flaws. Everyone single one of them does and we would do better to admit to them instead of trying to rationalise them.

Sadly it appears that Democrats are just as capable of being completely unable to process new input as the other side.

Anything their chosen candidate does that they would not intellectually agree with is completely ignored or spun or distracted from.

It is probably no secret that my two candidates of choice are Kuchinich and Obama (I would vote for the former in the primaries if I actually could attend one in a state where it made a difference.)

I did not like Obama in this debate as much as previously, mainly because he seemed uncomfortable. Perhaps it is just MY rationalisation but he does much better when he is talking about what HE would do, not about the shortcomings of others. He does need to produce more specifics about his plans, too (although he is certainly not faring any worse than most candidates here.)

Dodd has been doing very well recently, creating a bit of a stir with his strong positions on many of the administration's transgressions. He does have the "luxury" of being an underdog which helps there.

Biden just gives me the aura of Kerry again, aside from being even more moderate.

Clinton.. She does not want to be held to a position. While I think that flexibility of opinion is generally a good thing (as opposed to "staying the course") but, rightly or wrongly, that does not seem to be her reason for it. I also find her politics-as-usual "attack machine" and her style of PR handling extremely distasteful.

Posted by: roo_P | October 31, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Mark in austin - interesting study. My kids 7 and 5 would take the candy. they understand the overhead associated with actually going to the store and the interest paid on the chocolate that can be eaten now vs next weekend. Or perhaps they just don't know how much things cost. they think a house costs 20 dollars and a new Porsche costs one million.

consider you must amass at least one or two dollars to enter into the chocolate kisses market - so taking the nickels can result in zero kisses in most cases.

I play a little with the tooth fairy. I randomly give different amounts, 5 bucks one time, two bucks another, one dollar the last time. she came in the next morning and proclaimed "I only got a dollar this time. I don't blame the tooth fairy, it was a really small tooth anyway." she set the dollar on the night stand and left the room, never to think about it again. Scary, she acts like a Lib - free money is expected and when you get it, you can just leave it anywhere, you can always get more from Hillary... I mean daddy.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, "lylepink", that great Clinton worshiper, writes: "I can only repeat this in the hope some of you "Hillary Haters" will at least look at her life history for a few minutes and then disagree with her if you can."

Well, I don't want to write a book about some of her life and character examples that I disagree with, but just off the top of my head:
1] She worked the 1992 campaign on the slogan of "two-for-the-price-of-one." It was clear that she wanted a piece of the power that only her husband [a serial adulterer, and she always knew all about it] was the legal candidate for.

2] As soon as Bill was elected, Hillary set up her own office in the West Wing, and got herself appointed [by hubby] to take over reform of the nation's health care planning, over the heads of the properly appointed and confirmed cabinet members. [And the rest of that is history...]

3] Throughout the White House years she did what she does best--living her life of self-presumed entitlement, always at other people's [taxpayer's] expense. For example, in her typical unofficial, self-aggrandizing presumptuous way, she went off holidaying to some 80 countries on Air Force 1, which at the time, y'all might like to know, cost the taxpayers $55,000 per flight hour. [Including an extra four hour jaunt once to return to the Carribean island on which Chelsea left her homework notebook.]

4] As Bill was getting ready to leave and Hillary was getting ready to run as the representative of NY [where she never lived before, but that is the NY's problem], Bill set her up in his infamous money-gathering Rolex [those procedures still keep surfacing]. Then with her advice he went on his record-breaking presidential pardon binge, not only by pardoning Marc Rich, who at the time was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list [he's a big money contributer to both of them], but also by pardoning a series of legally convicted Cuban drug dealers in NY city. Well, that just happened to actually help the campaign of Hillary with the Hispanic vote of NYC. Fancy that!

5] As they left the White House, the toted off a bit of property that was not theirs but was public trust property belonging to the White House, which they were forced to return afterwards. Then stand-by-your-man Hillary immediately set up a completely separate living quarters apart from Bill. They have never lived together since, except when she appears goggle-eyed by his side in the campaign rallies. Her house near NYC, by the way, was of course paid for by others. She furnished with OPM [other people's money], of course, and like a darling bride even had a registry list so people could contribute china, silverware, etc., they she had selected.

This is her life, and it's all well documented on public record. This is the person some people can actually support as having the quality of character to be the POTUS. Digging into my great stock of philosophical wisdom, the quote attributed (wrongly) to P.T. Barnum, who is best associated with Hillary's circus, comes to mind: "There's a sucker born every minute."

Posted by: ppellikka | October 31, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

'Climb out of the gutter and reason with us!'

Mike, you accuse me of name-calling and hysterics -- and then you tell me to 'climb out of the gutter.'

You're the hysterical name caller and ranter, my friend, I have articulated what I beleive quite often, and I hope, rather more rationally than you have.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Blarg - You say that about Kucinich, but look at Ron Paul. His people look like they may actually be turning him ionto a viable candidate! Dennis Kucinich is by far the most honest and forthright candidate amoungst the Democrats. I like him, I wish to god he were the front runner for the nomination, and so do a lot of other other people. So why isn't he?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"...It's a vicious cycle; minor candidates are ignored, so they have little chance to become major candidates..."

Amen, Blarg.

The media is largely to blame, but voter indifference or lack of curiosity is no less a factor. It's clear to me that most Americans skipped their civics classes, if they even took one. Most just regurgitate what the talking heads spew (esp. those on radio or tv) without ever bothering to check the validity of the statements. The worst part is that the mediums seem to enjoy reporting on what each other has said before they take time to research the accuracy! Rumors turn into fact, making it even harder for us who do care to separate fact from fiction.

Posted by: femalenick | October 31, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Happy Halloween. I now must buy the candy kisses. I give the neighborhood kids the choice of 2 kisses, or one nickel and one kiss, or two nickels.

Most kids are smart enough to take nickels.
Even some five year olds ask their older sibs or parents "How many kisses can I get for a nickel?" and then brightly yell "NICKELS".

Kids seven and older who ask for kisses are hopeless, of course.

KOZ, you should try this. Its way more conclusive than SAT scores.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, you, too! All you do is engage in hysteria and name calling. You're pretty good at it, but anyone with any degree of intelligence caught onto it a long time ago. So, tell you, articulate what you actually believe. What positions do yo take, what candidate do you support, what policies do you want. Climb out of the gutter and reason with us!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Hillary started out partisan and polarizing -- Obama doesn't not attack with malice, but would rather debate a point/statement. Axelrod should take the muzzle off and Obama should go with his gut and listen to his wife. The one I really liked "Part of the reason that Republicans, .....are obsessed with you, Hillary, is because that's a fight they're very comfortable having. It is the fight that we've been through since the '90s."
and you know I just don't want to watch and hear that fight over and over and over again.
Besides, Obama's foreign policy ideas are a lot better than Hillary who just is mimicking GW another, I don't want to go there either
It's time they started to pick apart her rhetoric -- she's playing for the presidency not the primary.

Posted by: paulet | October 31, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I was viewing the MSNBC poll on the debate. I can't understand why voters said that of all the candidates Hillary stood out and showed the most leadership. I suppose she stood out because of her very high scores in avoiding the questions and having the most rehearsed answers. If this is how voters are deciding on who should lead them, then we are in a world of hurt.

We don't need a president who avoids answering questions. We've had 8 years of that. Two years from today I don't want to hear people complaining if she gets elected - if I only knew then what she was going to do, I wouldn't have voted for her.

We don't need someone who can't provide answers because their answers have to be rehearsed. The position of President requires someone who can respond quickly and intelligently without rehearsal. What will she do in situations which require quick answers and quick thinking? Will she say wait, I have to rehearse my answer?

I've waited a long time to vote for a female president. However, Hillary is not the female I want to lead America. She is wrong for the country at this critical time in our history. I feel she is more interested in big corporations and the wealthy and not in me, a struggling retired middle class citizen.

Again, thanks to all for your kind thoughts.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | October 31, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Dave, I know that Kucinich is lagging very far behind the frontrunners in money and polls. But that's not surprising, the way the media treats him. The average voter knows nothing about Kucinich, because he's rarely mentioned except as a punchline. It's a vicious cycle; minor candidates are ignored, so they have little chance to become major candidates.

I know that Kucinich's ideas are too radical for him to ever have a real chance at the nomination, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have a role in the campaign. Most of the media is willing to throw out all but 2-3 candidates from each party. On the Republican side, look at Ron Paul. His exclusion from media coverage is even worse than Kucinich's, because Paul has raised a lot of money. But the media doesn't want to cover him, so the average voter has no idea who he is.

Posted by: Blarg | October 31, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

'what better measure of a person than to examine how they interact with their spouse, the one person they should be the most honest, the most giving, the most trusting. It seems like a splendid way to choose a candidate.

now that I have said thet, I am sure you will go totally against what you proclaimed and call into question Rudy's marriage. but consistency was never something expected from a moonbat Lib. your people are getting wackier by the day.'

what a splendid example you are of R incoherence, zouk. it's okay to criticize dem's marriages, but not republicans. so you think how one treats one's spouse is a good way to choose a candidate, so you back -- Rudy. Please, get real.

Mark, I think one reason we don't have some of the same issues here as other communities with immigration, is we see very few immigrant families. They can't afford to live here with what they make, and we have very stringent controls on who can attend our schools. You can't prove you live here, your kids don't get in. Emergency rooms will treat them, but as that exposes them to being reported, many will forego treatment for injuries and illness. This bothers me both from a humanitarian and public health perspective, but as a citizen and hard-working taxpayer, I can barely afford my own family's heatlh care and education costs -- why should I pay for someone who's here illegally?

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Loudmouth, you and lylepink still haven't been able to articulate an intelligent argument for supporting Clinton. People, like me, point out the insanity of her vote allowing Bush to invade/go to war with Iran, her dangerous relationship with and support of otsourcing and globalization, he inexperience, her past radical feminist ideology, and and on. Wha we get from the pair of you are insults, name calling, and an utter lack of reasoned response. It's all hysterics. So, please, sit down and write a reasoned response to a basic question -- What does Ms. CLinton actually believe; her real policies. We don't need to go over her talking point of gifting $110 billion dollars to the health care industry; her so-called public-private alliance is more costly than the TOTAL cost of a single payer Scandinavian system... Beyond this, though, what differentiates her from even Bush or Cheney?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Let me amend that last statement to say that I personally do not concern myslef with a person's marriage. I know too many members and thier wives and for the most part, they are all disfunctional. I make my choice based on two or three important issues. this time I consider foreign policy and economics to be prime. That means a Dem is out. Of the rest, Rudy looks the best. That is just my personal view. I think any R would do better than a D, if they actually do as they say.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

LV: Check The Gallup Poll and you will find Hillary is gaining support from all sections of the country. Rasmussen shows the same as well as every poll I have been able to find.

Posted by: lylepink | October 31, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

claudialong,
I believe that this question was asked not too long after Obama accused Conservative Christian leaders of "hijacking" religion. From the start of this campaign, Democrats have been trying to talk more about religion so that they can better counter the right on "values". Obama's campaign has run six faith forums in New Hampshire, where local clergy and laypeople discussed religious engagement in politics. Clinton hired Burns Strider, a Congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) who assembled a faith steering group from major denominations and sent out a weekly wrap-up, Faith, Family and Values. Edwards organized conference calls with progressive religious leaders before his 12-city poverty tour. It's no secret that the left has decided to court the religious vote - http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1642649,00.html. So yeah, I think it's a fair question if they are taking this approach.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"And once again, I'm amazed by repulican women who think what goes on inside any marriage other than their own is their business to be baffling. Who made you God?"

So do tell us oh sage of the moonbats, what exactly should we base our choice upon. we can only take your metrics so choose carefully. some people might want to elect someone who thinks like them and would act according to a set of morals they can trust. for example, if there were an intern under my desk, what would I do? If a missile were coming at me, what would I do? etc.

since one never knows exactly what challenges are coming, (very few predicted 9/11 when electing Bush) (very few predicted Iran hostages when electing Peanut) you have to go with your gut. Once everyone saw how Peanut dealt with foreign entanglements, he was fired. Once everyone considered how Kerry would hanlde it, Bush's term was extended.

now we must consider what surprises will confront the next President. It is fairly certian that the situation in Iran is going to need to be resolved. do you trust Hillary to do this effectively? more so than others? When confronted with scandal, will she blame the media or the VRWC again or take responsibility for the first time ever?

what better measure of a person than to examine how they interact with their spouse, the one person they should be the most honest, the most giving, the most trusting. It seems like a splendid way to choose a candidate.

now that I have said thet, I am sure you will go totally against what you proclaimed and call into question Rudy's marriage. but consistency was never something expected from a moonbat Lib. your people are getting wackier by the day.

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for their kind thoughts.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | October 31, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I see that Reid and Pelosi are now below 50% approval ratings in their own districts. combine this with the notion that 50% of the voters will never vote for Hillary.

Keep spreading the word Dems. the people are hearing you loud and clear. Tax and spend and surrender.

Hillary has yet to answer a hard question, even the Dems see it now.

Pelosi has yet to pass a significant law, even with the now cancelled five day week.

Reid has yet to demonstrate a single trait associated with leadership.

Even with the Repub brand at a 20 year low, the Dems are struggling to even keep up. If you can't beat us now, the forecast for your Lib party is very grave indeed. but you will blame your upcoming loss on anything but the message. I predict a 42 state sweep with hillary carrying MA, HI, DC, MD, NY, CA, OR, WA and IL ONLY.

Go GOP!

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 31, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,
I think that what's not fair is that all candidates on stage don't get the same time or number of questions. That has been an issue in most debates I have ever seen. I don't think that it is because of him not being the media-anointed frontrunner, I think it's because polling and funding data demonstrate he is not the frontrunner. Heck, Mike Gravel didn't even make it onto the stage last night. It is unfortunate for both the candidates and the american public. However, the question I liked and I would be more willing to watch if he got to speak more...

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

lylepink: Forget about the "Hillary haters." For people like mibrooks, the hate is visceral. These people can't be expected to act rationally when it comes to Clinton.

I'm pretty neutral on her; if she is the Dem nominee she'll probably get my vote, only because the GOP nominee will almost surely hold positions on various issues that are simply unacceptable to me.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 31, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

'I actually like the Obama question by Russert. I fail to see how that question can make someone look bad. '

So memorizing Bible verses is now a prerequisite for the Presidency of the US? That's just ridiculous, dave.

Yes, Mark, I think you do have me confused with someone else. People are somehwat concerned with crime from undocs, but here we haven't seen much of it, but again as I said, the guys hanging around the corner waitng for work annoys everyone -- the trucks of ecudorean landscapers are ubitiquous and invisible.

And once again, I'm amazed by repulican women who think what goes on inside any marriage other than their own is their business to be baffling. Who made you God?

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

femalenick,
But if immigration is going to be one of the major issues for the election (I too think it is), don't you think Democratic voters should know where she stands on it? I would think that the correct answer for her would be NO - she has the points in the polls to give and that would be the correct answer, politically speaking, for the general election. That said, I know that Dodd is telling the truth on it (need to appeal to Dems due to poll numbers and his answer works against that). I don't know that if and when she comes up with a discernable answer, I would believe her.

"Am I the only one who is troubled by Obama's halting speech?" I am also. And it puzzles me because I don't remember him being like this back in 2004 when he burst on the scene and I first took notice of him.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Proud: I am only pointing out how biased Tim Russert is about the Clintons. Hillary made a fool out of him on Meet the Press weeks ago, and did it again last night. Joe Biden did very well on the "Gotcha" question by giving a intellegent answer to a stupid question. The media, taken as a whole, has been against the Clintons going back to before Bubba was elected POTUS and continues to this day. I can only repeat this in the hope some of you "Hillary Haters" will at least look at her life history for a few minutes and then disagree with her if you can. Frankly, I doubt many of you will disagree with her on her positions she has held all her life.

Posted by: lylepink | October 31, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The UFO question is offensive because so few questions were asked of Kucinich. The media refuses to give him any attention unless they're mocking him. If they wanted to ask Hillary about UFOs, that would be fine. She doesn't answer policy questions anyway, and she gets plenty of attention.

But Kucinich gets a handful of questions at the debates, because he's not a media-anointed frontrunner. So even though he's the one candidate on the stage who has radically different views, a candidate that represents a marginalized part of the Democratic Party, he only gets joke questions. It's not fair.

Posted by: Blarg | October 31, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: you are sounding more and more like kingofzouk, another pathetic, miserable wretch. With him it's Pelosi and Reid, with you it's Clinton; with him it's Loud and Dumb, with you it's Loudmouth, but it's the same nasty blah blah blah.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 31, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Nevadaandy - My thoughts and prays go out to you, too. I lost my mother this past June and my ailing father, as genuine a hero as I have ever known, go's to the cemetary every day and talks with her at her grave. I'll bet your father's greatest pride and joy is you. Honor him and remember him and love him for the decent man he was.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Well, I'm not so sure its irrelevant. Doesn't Kucinich's claim to have witnessed a UFO equally relevant to questions about whether candidates believe in evolution?"

bsimon, fair enough, but Kucinich is not a real candidate, and we all know it. I see him as the voice of the extreme left, which should be heard as the extreme right. The UFO time would have been better spent on another question that the viable candidates would have been forced to address.

Posted by: femalenick | October 31, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

In recent years, Americans have preferred governors to legislators when electing a president, but there seems to be no real pattern in terms of eventual success as president. Running through the list, we see some very effective and very weak presidents with substantial and relatively little executive experience.

It may simply not matter. Perhaps the presidency is so different from any other office that no preparation is adequate and it comes down to temperament and external circumstance. Indeed, the ability to be an inspiring communicator would seem to be the common denominator for success. Hillary Clinton is not and never has been an inspiring communicator.

People's experience with Hillary, rather than Hillary's experience, will be her main obstacle.

Who could forget the "I'm not some Tammy Wynette standing by her man" and "This is all part of the VRWC". Yes, let's rehash all of that ad nauseum as a constant reminder of why we don't want the Clintons back in the White House.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Dave - a yes or no answer is possible. The difficulty of which I spoke is about the ramifications of a definitive answer. The NO answer is right for the general electorate, while the YES answer will not fly. That's what I meant by difficult.

I live in the liberal state of CA, and a few years back, nearly 60% of the residents in this liberal state voted to cut off benefits to illegal immigrants (the infamous Prop 187). The only reason it isn't law is because it was overturned by a federal court as unconstitutional.

I guarantee that if Obama gets the nomination, he will lose the general election because he is now on record as saying that he will support giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants -- no matter how much sense it might make from a public safety issue.

Posted by: femalenick | October 31, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

femalenick
"Add to that the dumb questions they asked -- UFOs? C'mon! What was the goal? To make Kucinich a laughing stock?"


Well, I'm not so sure its irrelevant. Doesn't Kucinich's claim to have witnessed a UFO equally relevant to questions about whether candidates believe in evolution? I hate to admit that I might have a litmust test or two of my own, but I'm thinking both are fair disqualifiers for becoming President. Seriously - If Kucinich believes in UFOs, and it sure sounds to me like he does, shouldn't the American people know this?

Posted by: bsimon | October 31, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Nevadaandy, Sorry for your loss. That is a very touching story about your father, thanks for sharing. I lost mine when he was 47... he had good political instincts and insightful outlook on life too. I often wonder what he would think of our world today....

Mark, I'll take the fine minds :>)

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 31, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"UFOs? C'mon! What was the goal? To make Kucinich a laughing stock?" To quote Bill Parcells, your record is what it is.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

femalenick,
"I also understand the difficulty in answering that question." If I recall, when asked if they agreed with Spitzer, Dodd answered "NO" and Obama answered "YES". They did not appear to have any difficulty in answering that.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Loudmouth pretty much summarizes what you are. The chief difficulty people have is where you stand. You dodge and weave all over the place on any meaningful issues. The constant seems to be your nasty asides to everyone. I figured you for an angry male hating feminist in dire need of psychotherapy. You "claim" to be a male...or sorts...but you're no kind of man I would care to know; just a pathetic slob with the intellectual integrity of a weasel and the ability of same.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

For the life of me I can't understand the flap over Hillary's answer to the driver's license question. In my opionion she gave a perfectly reasonable explanation of 3 different types of licenses. Russert is a disgrace. Can you imagine a dumber question "will you PLEDGE that you will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?" Answer: "No, you dumbass, I will help them build one if they are having problems." And that pundit, Chris Mathews, who seems to think that if he shouts loud enough people will believe him, and think him brilliant. Hillary was a clear winner. Biden also. As Joe Biden nd Hillary so aptly illustrated, foreign policy is not black or white as those in the White House would have everyone believe. DISCUSS ISSUES, NOT UFO's OR
PERSONALITIES. As Joe Biden and Hillary so aptly illustrated, foreign policy is not black or white as those in the White House would have everyone believe, or the other participants glossed over. Richardson was OK, but Edwards and Obama were fixated on going after Hillary. They must have been reading some reporters telling them that that is what they have to do.

Posted by: melpremium | October 31, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Your comment about the late time (11pm) is typical of ALL of the pundits who assume the only people in America are on the east coast...those of us on the west coast were awake and watching!!!

Posted by: linnie1 | October 31, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

nevadaandy, My dad died at 87 nine years ago and I still miss him. My condolences to you and I hope that your memories of him are fond.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

My biggest problem with the media is that they're only interested in reporting horse races. If this weren't true, Biden and Dodd would have been listed as winners today rather than just being mentioned as afterthoughts.

My thoughts on last night's debate:

1. I agree with Badger3 -- the losers were Brian Williams and Tim Russert. Russert seemed ticked off and out to get Hillary. Add to that the dumb questions they asked -- UFOs? C'mon! What was the goal? To make Kucinich a laughing stock?

2. Edwards' anger and desperation was in full view last night. These will neither get him the nomination nor the general election. I, along with dozens of Dems I know, hold as visceral an aversion to him as that held by right wing Rs' towards Hillary.

3. Am I the only one who is troubled by Obama's halting speech? At best, he seems like he's searching for words, and at worst, he comes across as if he doesn't know what he's talking about. I like the guy - but in a general election, esp. after years of an inarticulate Bush, I fear he would be demolished!

4. Biden, by far, remains my favorite. He's smart, articulate, speaks in a manner to which the average person can relate, and I know that he would fare well in a debate against the R nominee. And no one seems to notice that his net worth more closely mirrors that of the average American. He is one of us. So frankly, I don't understand why he doesn't fare better among Dems.

5. Dodd, too, would make a good president. But like Biden, he can't seem to rise in the Dem consciousness.

So it becomes a horse race between the top three. And of the top three, Hillary gets my vote. While I was troubled by her puzzling driver's license response -- what exactly did she say? -- I also understand the difficulty in answering that question. As Mark in Austin noted, immigration is going to be a very big issue -- perhaps THE WEDGE issue next year. So for now, I'm giving her a pass on that flimsy, convoluted answer, because the reality is that any Dem nominee that is on record saying that s/he would support allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses will likely lose the general election. And that's why the Rs keep talking about immigration.

Posted by: femalenick | October 31, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

claudialong,
I actually like the Obama question by Russert. I fail to see how that question can make someone look bad. Not every question has to be one that allows the candidate to ramble on and on while never actually answering the question. I think it tells you a lot about that person - even with an 10 second answer. Russert should let the others have the same amount of time as Obama (whatever that was), but other than that, I think its a perfectly fine question. If Obama had 10 seconds, then I am OK with the same for the others. In fact, 10 seconds would give Edwards no time to try to convict Hillary of having it both ways on her answer. So is a pop question like who is the PM of Canada is OK?

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

drindl, I thought you had written that the job pickup site and the school and hospital tax issues and fear of crime [from hispanic undocs] were all alive and well in Westchester. I may have either confused your post with another, or read more into it than you wrote, or remembered it in a different light than the one you shed on it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Nevadaandy- Condolences on the loss of your dad. It sounds like he had a profound change of heart for the right reasons. Words of wisdom, to be sure.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: LOL I'm a leftist? You bitter, bitter, sad, sad, pathetic little man.

Someone whose posts are nothing but screeds really has no business calling someone a loudmouth, ace.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 31, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, Truth, earlier I wrote:

"If Truth, bsimon, and JimD all saw the same debate that 7-10 and I saw that may prove we are a group who share the same prejudgments."

Or else fine minds work alike.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Sciencemom & Kenneyelkomous, I'm with you.... Biden is experienced, straight-forward and able to communicate without the go-'round-the-mulberry-bush blather. I could sleep at night if he became president. He'll have my caucus support.

Obama has a lot of fine qualities, but I agree that there's no punch. Dodd nailed Hillary on the Spitzer illegal alien licensing plan but when Obama tried the same he ended up agreeing with her.

Edwards really took some shots at Hillary, but doubt it will move the needle. Richardson was flat, as usual.

I thought Williams and Russert did a good job in all.... I like it when they challenge the candidates.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

BTW, Since CC liked the "wrestling match" last night, doesn't this squelch the idea that he's Hillary's guy?


Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 31, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

My dad was a staunch Democrat who in his 86 years never voted for a Republican. He always stuck with a candidate from beginning to end. At the start of this primary campaign he supported Hillary. I am an Obama supporter. I never thought I would get him off his stand for Hillary.

A few weeks ago my dad passed away, but before he died he told me that he was disappointed with the direction that our country is headed and he felt that no two families should create a dynasty out of such an important office. He wanted to see a real change and believed this would not come with another Clinton in office. He felt many of the politicians of his generation and the generation after his were stuck in the past or too beholden to others.

He told me that he was supporting Obama because he is young and hasn't been in office long enough to be beholden to big corporations, and because he viewed him as the person with the best vision and ability to restore America at home and abroad. He said it was time for the younger generation to step up to the plate to serve the nation, to show that they can forge a new and stronger America, just like how the WWII veterans, some of whom are still in the Senate, were given an opportnity to serve their nation.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | October 31, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Edwards? Really? He didn't say anything! I heard nothing substantive coming from his mouth last night. And Richardson did WAY better than you think he did. He, HRC, and Biden were the only ones up there to really discuss policy.

When it comes right down to it, who gives a damn about who called who what name? I care about policy. Edwards and Obama seem like lightweights, and they did nothing to change my mind last night.

Posted by: jlwoodhe | October 31, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

dave- The Clintons are so good at spinning, it almost seems effortless. Her answer to the question about experience was a prime example. She touts herself as having been co-president, (a term which I find absolutely nauseating and demeaning to the office of POTUS -but I digress).

When called on to explain her actual experience she goes into spin mode about her supposed "35 years of public policy experience". She has been an elected official only seven years, but the drumbeat of sound bites and statements touting the 35-year figure appears to have paid off. Even her Democratic rivals prefer to assail her electability rather than her experience.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Edwards and Obama only came off as attacking Hillary? Are you kidding? It was time to reveal the woman behind the curtain! Happily, she was indeed revealed. And it is NOT anti-feminist to be against this particular Clinton. Quite honestly, I think she has been very strong and a good candidate and if she gets the nomination I will vote for her.
But last night she showed her true colors. Obama caught her several times and Edwards did go on the attack but he did it WELL and she looked completely flummoxed.
Obama won this debate by being clear on his policies and calling Hillary out on her LACK of clarity. Edwards was a close second with Biden 3rd. Did anyone take note of the text vote after the debate? It was Obama 29%, Edwards 21% THEN Biden and Hillary was 4th.
After showing these numbers, the pundits completely ignored them.
I find it most interesting that people often comment on the lack of polling individuals with cell phones. Then Obama wins a text vote, and there is no recognition of this??
What's up with that, MSM? WHY do you want Hillary to the point that you are living in denial?

Posted by: sheridan1 | October 31, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

To all of the Hillary haters:Your hatred for her challenges your hearing because no matter what she says,you hear differently.She answered the questions presented to her yet you all say she "double talked".Some questions can't possibly be answered by any candidate,be it Dem or Rep. This double speak is somewhat worse with the Republican candidates but you don't hear that.How many times has Rudy or Mitt flip-flopped on their views? I lost count. So no matter what she says it's wrong.It's like fighting a losing battle.(Iraq anyone)
I think she did a good job considering that she was getting slammed from all sides. She held her own in this "set-up" of a debate. I wonder how any other Dem/Rep candidate would've held up in the same situation. I don't think there is one who would've held up like she did.
Is it possible to have Keith Olberman moderate the next Rep.debate?
Now that would be classic!
I wholeheartedly agree that Tim Russert was the biggest loser last night.He even looked crazed trying to "get" Hillary. It was disgraceful! He was just looking for ammo to give his Republican candidates,whom he gives only BS questions during their debates. What substance ever comes from those debates.Answers anyone?
I have supported Joe Biden from the start,knowing he really doesn't stand a chance,thanks to the MSM. I think Hillary is going to win because the people are starting to think for themselves and not Faux News or Rush Limpaugh. If it comes down to it,a Clinton/Biden ticket could be unbeatable,which I would definitely support. The Republican candidates are the worst I've seen or can remember. All I see is Hillary would do this or that and destroy the country.Look around people,it's getting destroyed by the Reps as we speak and any candidate they put forward would just continue the same destruction. Given a chance,Hillary would do what's best for this country and the wittling down middle class that the Republicans are trying to get rid of completely. That's why they're so scared of her. So open your ears and listen to what she say's,not what you want to hear.

Clinton/Biden 08' They'll give our country back to us

Posted by: jime2000 | October 31, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This is a good day. I just completed what should have been a face-to-face half-day negotiation in 11 minutes on the telephone confirmed within another ten minutes by email. Colin, do I bill by results or straight time? Every once in a while both sides are thinking the same thing...

Not so much in politics, I guess.

dave, I read your stuff on the previous thread and largely agreed. If Biden [or Dodd] ran against McCain, we could deal with issues above partisanship, with grown-ups who would largely avoid talking points, and completely avoid slander. Colin had suggested I read "1912"
by Chance and I looked for it last weekend at "Half Price" books. I had read "Theodore Rex" by Morris not too long ago.

The last time candidates traveled to live debates all around America was 1912: TR, Wilson, and Taft. Biden and McCain had agreed they wanted to do this last year.
Would that not be better than what we are likely to get?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27 - I grant he's passionate. But my reading of his posts (and I do for many) lead me to the path of cut and paste every article under the sun with a "FOX is evil" sidebar. That is not perceptive. I understand many of the points he is trying to make, I just don't think he is doing a good job at all of making them, regardless of what or how much he sources.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Mark I don't know what isaid that led you to beleive immigration is a big deal here -- this is an affluent area, there are few here who would do the jobs the illegals do -- nannies, garderners, roofers--for the prices people want to pay--and this includes people who SAY they are against undocs, so there is little outcry, except for the pickup sites where day laborers gather hoping for work, which pretty much everyone opposes.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

a good article on what's wrong with russert and punditry in general:

'Last month, near the end of the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire, moderator Tim Russert -- known as "Washington's toughest interviewer" and perhaps the most influential journalist in America -- had one last chance to pin the candidates down with his legendary common sense, persistence, and no-bull style. This is what he asked, first to Barack Obama:

"There's been a lot of discussion about the Democrats and the issue of faith and values. I want to ask you a simple question. Senator Obama, what is your favorite Bible verse?"

When Obama finished his answer, Russert said to the other candidates, "I want to give everyone a chance in this. You just take 10 seconds." Predictable banality ensued. A foreign visitor unfamiliar with our presidential campaigns might have scratched her head and said, "This is how you decide who will lead your country?"

Indeed it is, because the process is controlled by Tim Russert and people like him. Russert's Bible question encapsulates everything wrong with him, and with our political coverage more generally. It seeks to make candidates look bad rather than finding out something important about them (if you want to explore a candidate's religious beliefs, you don't do it in pop-quiz form and give them just ten seconds to answer). It substitutes the personal anecdote for the policy position, the sound-bite for the substantive answer. It distills the debate into a series of allegedly symbolic, supposedly meaningful moments that can be replayed.'

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=tim_russert_stop_the_inanity

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP,
"If she can't handle that, how will she handle being in a room with all male heads of state who disagree with her?" OK, none of the Dems can handle being in a debate on FOX but that does not stop people from considering them presidential. I think she is just using what she has/is to a perceived advantage. I believe they call that spin. And who says that in politics, you can't have it both ways?

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

dave - If you canno see that rufus is trying to make points, using sources, then there is no hope for you. Sometimes he is angry, very angry, when he sees things differently from the bumbling masses of partisans that inhabit this forum, and become inarticulate. But, I enjoy his passion and have been able to clearly understand his postings. I wonder what is wrong with fools like Loudmouth and lyingpink that they fail to understand them...you, too? Not smart enough or just too narrow minded tand lazy to even try?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

milbrooks27,
"Rufus...one of the more perceptive to boot"
perceptive <> cut and paste.

Posted by: dave | October 31, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So, I'm a die-hard Obama supporter.

With that out of the way, two things are clearly missing from all the media reports on last night's debate:

(1) Obama was a flop.

(2) Biden OWNED that whole debate. Every time he speaks, it's as if he had a whole month to prepare. Yet, the "liberal" media drowns him into an after-thought. Let's face it, Biden is the best man for the job. He proved that in the famed CNN/YouTube debates, and he definitely sealed the deal last night.

With that, I hereby proclaim both my disgust for the media that drowns out meaningful, qualified voices, as well as change my support from Obama to Biden. I know Biden won't win, but for all the hype of Obama's campaign that I've been caught up in, I was seriously let down by him last night.

Posted by: kenney.elkomous | October 31, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

LoudmouthVoter - Is that the best you can do? When someone points out valid points, starys from your scipted leftist ideology, they are somehow mentally unbalanced? Let's see...the last people who did that was the KGB in the old Soviet Union and you and the rest of your mob, a collection of cattle on some sort of stampeed, sound just like them.

As for Rufus, you're not fit to change his shoes. Rufus is a genuinely religious person whose belief in God dictates how he lives his life and how he views the world. I think he is one of the most moral and delightful people on this forum and one of the more perceptive to boot.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"but this is not what Hillary thinks, it is mainly by members of the media that are opposed to her"

That's b.s. lyle. She wants to have it both ways on the issue of being a tough woman yet apparently not tough enough to handle a debate in which she is called to task for her many non-answers by the other candidates who happen to be men. (If her opponenets were women, what would her team say? They're just jealous?)

The fact is Mrs. Clinton wants to have it both ways on just about every issue, as demonstrated so beautifully last night. She's a liar and a weasel... I know it, you know it , and the American people know it. So stop with the whole "ganging up on her" rhetoric. If she can't handle that, how will she handle being in a room with all male heads of state who disagree with her?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I am in the pro-Biden camp. I never once --before last night -- considered voting for him, but he was just so darned REASONABLE. And he showed some substance, which I saw none of from the three "top" contenders (Clinton, Obama, and Edwards).

I loved Edwards in the 2004 election, but I found him laughable last night. My favorite was the question about the primary Hillary versus the general election Hillary. This from the guy who is running so far to the left as to stake out SOME ground for himself? Is he really planning to go into the general election with the same stands? He's either lying or he's stupid.

Obama was pretty lame last night. It felt like he was desparately seeking to trash Hillary, when she was doing enough self-damage that he could have stepped back. He was practically salivating about how he could link her not releasing her White House documents to his argument that she is disingenuous. Frankly, for most of America, they will be less than excited over that particular issue. It seems a bit weird for him to grasp onto it -- the first thing people will think (regardless of whether they are right) is that a wife has every right not to have her communications with her husband in the archives. His only good comment was about how the Republicans WANT to run against Hillary because it's more of the same -- and that was attributed to Edwards in all the newspapers (who I think said it less eloquently).

And I, too, felt a little sorry for Hillary. But at the same time, I was disappointed in her answers regarding the Iran measure. I wasn't awake long enough to hear the drivers license comment. I am sure I would have been annoyed by her non-answer. But at the same time, I can imagine her democratic "colleagues" attacking her no matter which way she came down on this.

And what about Obama's completely neglecting the question of his own "flip flopping". I just LOVED how he answered that question by discussing Hillary's flip flopping.

Ugh. I learned nothing about any of them last night, and nothing about what they will do for our country. With the possible exception of Biden . . . he deserves more serious scrutiny.

Posted by: sciencemom | October 31, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Last night was Hillary's fright night... something you really realize when reading the transcript (a link on my blog).

The loser was Hillary, the winners, all of the above.... except for Dennis who gets no respect.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | October 31, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, I spelled Hillary's name wrong in my post.

Posted by: badger3 | October 31, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Colin: Many articles about the men ganging up on Hillary helped her with women voters to a degree, as I posted on another thread, according to media reports. You may have a point, but this is not what Hillary thinks, it is mainly by members of the media that are opposed to her. These same folks were against Bubba before and during his term as POTUS. Women I talk with support her for her ideas and not because she is a woman, although it doesn't hurt.

Posted by: lylepink | October 31, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- First of all, I'm jealous of your lunch location as I eat at my desk. :) I agree that immigration is an issue just about everywhere and that it cuts accross party lines. That being said, I'm not convinced that WHAT the GOP is saying on the topic is actually going to benefit the party.

In '06 republicans tried to use hardline immigration rhetoric as a wedge issue. In large measure, those efforts failed. JD Haynesworth (SP) in Arizona, who lost his seat after focusing on hardline immigration measures, is a good example. Moreover, as per usual the current GOP "approach" is overly simplistic and completely divorced from reality (McCain exempted from that critique). Candidly, it's easier to talk about issues when you don't worry at all about creating a viable solution to a real problem.

Dems do need to talk about it though. Ultimately, I think MOST people support comprehensive reform if it's explaine properly AND really does contain common sense enforcement measures that are long over due.

Posted by: _Colin | October 31, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The biggest losers of the night were Tim Russert and Brian Williams. First their questions were about 5 minutes of them "windbagging," enjoying listening to themselves ask their worthless questions and then the candidates had 30 seconds to answer.

Tim Russert seemed like he wanted to get back at Hilary for for her quick response to his questions at the last debate he moderatated. He was "badgering" her versus asking questions of any substance. Even with that said, he still asked the dumbest question I've heard asked, "Would you allow Iran to get Nuclear weapons if you were President?" How the heck are the candidates suppose to answer that?

I thought Brian William's question to Dennis K., about UFO sitings was mean spirted and really unnecessary. Kucinich may lean way to left to be president, but he makes some good points and he is not a "clown." William's questions mocked him.

Edwards and Obama only came across as attacking Hilary. Even with their constant attacts, Hilary still gave solid answers with substance. And who has any good answers to the immigration problem. All Edwards and Obama did was point out she contradicted herself. They didn't even bother to address the question. At least Dodd gave a sound response to the question, versus simply attacking Hilary for not giving a consistant answer.
Why are Edwards and Obama even in 2nd and 3rd place? Biden, Richardson, and Dodd are so much more qualified to be president than Obama or Edwards. Edwards and Obama seem all glitz and "empty suits."
Back to Russert and Williams, I think the snowmen did a much better job of asking questions.

Posted by: badger3 | October 31, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Finishing off lunch at an outdoor cafe with wifi on a great sunny day I offer these two responses.

Drindl, you might have convinced me that Ds in the NE actually do not care much about the issue of undocs, except that you have previously said your Westchester neighbors worry about it daily.

In TX, Rick Noriega is going to have to deal with it as an issue, and every D candidate for Senate in or west of the Rockies will have to deal with it. They may be dreading the vacuum. Indies everywhere rate the issue close to foreign policy and energy, form what I have read in polls. McCain compormised on something better than nothing, and it was better than nothing, but the fact that the right wing of the R Party wanted purity of essence killed the effort. That does not mean the issue went away.

historian4, send JB some money. His candidacy is still viable in IA.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I would agree with other posters that Biden was a winner last night. He comes across as smart, experienced (more so than any other candidate), informal and witty. Why he is not a serious contender is a question that needs to be asked?

Aside from Biden, I thought Obama played his cards well, while Clinton did a solid job of defending herself for the most part. Edwards struck me as too obviously promoting himself -- as was surely the case with Richardson and Dodd.

Posted by: historian4 | October 31, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

oh forgot one thing. this all reminded me of the debate hillary had with rick lazlo, who ran against her for senator after rudy dropped out. he was trying to force her to sign some nutcase pledge and he kept shoving a clipboard and a pencil in her face... he nearly poked her in the eye with the pencil, so she had to step backward--it was so unintentionally brutish and funny, that he went straight downhill after that. comic theatre...

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

'But if the Ds do not talk about it and the Rs do, its good for the Rs and bad for the Ds. '

That all depends on what they say, Mark. I don't see how what McCain has said has helped him at all.

Besides, as you say, the issue is tremendously complicated--the nature of the debate structure, the 'sound-bite' news, the 'gotcha' culture of punditry, all conspire against any kind of serious discussion --of any issue.

In any case, it's clear to see that a great part of the issue for hardright R's is simple xenophobia--so it's a very passionate issue for them. Whereas on the left, there is much more ambilvalence. For me, it's below a number of things -- like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, climate change, healthcare, etc. I'm more concerned right now about our survival in the very immediate future.

Posted by: drindl | October 31, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks: you really need to start anger management therapy. Your issues with women go really, really deep. Your portrayal of Clinton as some sort of fringe feminist nutjob is laughable -- ask a real liberal like Rufus.

Posted by: Spectator2 | October 31, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The big loser last night seems to be Tim Russert from all I read. He does seem to hit Hillary and not the others, especially the GOP.

It is clear that it was not Clinton's night but a coworker, who is a NYC Rudy fan, said he felt sorry for Hillary because of all the hits from all directions.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | October 31, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Lets be truthful Chris. Last nights debate resembled an "out and out brawl" as much as professional wrestling resembles real wrestling.

Posted by: foon | October 31, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

RE: vienna12

So if I don't support Hillary, that must mean I'm sexist? I don't support Hillary because she is corportately bought and paid for. I don't support Hillary because she is beholden to the defense industry (which means she will find a war to couduct). With her poll-tested responses and speeches, she is the epitomy of an inauthentic politician. The reason the media declares her as a legitimate candidate is because she is good for business. She will (for the most part) maintain the status quo, which the media and their owners have a vested interest in keeping. This is why someone like Ron Paul is marganilized by them. He is too much of a threat to their interests.

On a less serious level, I don't think I can stomach another 8 years of dumb down, low-brow "Bill Clinton is horny" jokes from mediocre comediens like Jay Leno. Can we just move on, please?

Posted by: happyj13 | October 31, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

happyj13 - ANd it gets worse when you look at the national polls. Right at 50% of likely voters says they will never, under any circumstances, vote for Hillary Cliton. I am normally a reliable Democratic voter, as are my wife and children, and most of our friends. Not one us will vote for Clinrton. Indeed, all of us will turn on Democratic candidates across the board who support her. That means COngressional races, Senatorial races, local races at every level. Personally, I think the people supporting her are the Democratic equivalents of the right wing Fundimentalist that causes to much grief for the Republican's and the sooner we we give them the boot, even if it means turning on them and voting down their issues, even rolling them back, the sooner we will be rid of them. Let them go form their own party of fringe nutcases, weasels, radical feministists and homosexual radicals. We'll take moderates, women who care about equality for MEN and women, gays who want protection and some form of domestic partnership recognition without ramming their sexual preference down everyone else throats, Latino voters who understand we simply cannot afford the new estimate of 38 million illegals, blacks who will accept responsibility for the disproportionate violence in their community and will work to end the "code of silence" that prevents law enforecment from ending gang warfare and the slaughter of their youth by their youth, the wealthy who understand we must have limits on corporate influence, CEO pay, tax increases (big ones) for investors and speculators if for no other reason than they do untold damage to society, etc. In other words, common sense moderates. ALl of this is completely unrecognizable to the extremes of either party, but especially to the extremes of the Democratic Party. Stated plainly, as I have done, expect common sense to be attacked by those very people berift of it.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 31, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

boldbooks - The Rs debate immigration constantly; the Ds seem to avoid it.

We all know that Reagan's amnesty failed and backfired. that the borders are porous, that IAs are currently difficult to ID, that removing them would be expensive, that employers who try to do the right thing are affirmatively told by Social Security that they cannot use the report of a falsified SS # to terminate an employee,
that southwestern farms could not find labor without using aliens, that there are hitech and lotech employers who want to ease restrictions, that there are American workers who have actually lost jobs to undocs...

in other words, we all know this is tough and complicated.

We probably all realize that McCain is correct when he says doing nothing is de facto amnesty.

But if the Ds do not talk about it and the Rs do, its good for the Rs and bad for the Ds.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I am continually amazed to see that a vast majority of bloggers are ready to bash Sen. Clinton, hail Sen. Obama as some beacon of virtue and ride the fence about Edwards (I like him, but I'm voting for Obama).
Well, the numbers say that all of you angry people are dead wrong. The Democratic Party, the United States of America and the world have nothing to fear from a Clinton or Edwards victory. Clinton IS electable, but Edwards would get eaten alive by the Republicans.
What we really need to fear is Rudy Giuliani. If he becomes president, it's going to be worse than Bush and you can take that to the bank.

Posted by: Faggyliberal | October 31, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

No one even mentions that Edwards posed a great challenge to us for the future, to ask ourselves what kind of America we want to leave to the next generation.

No one else comes close to putting these questions into real perspective. No one else provides the examples that show the context.

Yes, he can take on Clinton, but Edwards can paint a vision of the American ideal and responsibility that can unite the people who this government is supposed to serve in the first instance.

Posted by: citizen53 | October 31, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this is just me, but I'm already sick of hearing about how it helps Hillary if the other male candidates are viewed as "ganging up on her." To me, her campaign playing up that angle, which they assuredly do, is pitiful and ought to insult rather than appeal to women.

I mean, we're talking about the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President and a woman who has styled herself as the most hawkish and aggressive candidate in the race. Yet, if any other candidate has the temerity to challenge her, she seems to be arguing that's unfair b/c she's a woman.

Honestly, if her message is that she's the strongest and most qualified candidate then she shouldn't have any trouble dealing with other candidates aggressively challenging her. After all, that's what the democratic process is all about. I don't see why the fac that the other candidates are men ought to play into that equation at all, unless Hillary secretly doesn't think that woman are capable of standing up to strong criticism. And if that is how she feels, she doesn't deserve to be the first female president.

Posted by: _Colin | October 31, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Any time there is half a chance to post comments on WaPo, the Hillary deriders come out in droves. Very few supporters. These must be the ones who don't want a woman president no matter what. Who do you want for president after George trashed the Constitution? I want someone like Hillary who has the guts to get us back on track. She ain't perfect but she is better suited for the job than the others. And I agree with the poster about Russert. He always goes for the jugular with Hillary and sends softballs to the other candidates.

Posted by: vienna12 | October 31, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

In past campaigns voters were fed up with all the mud slinging candidates did. Now that this is not happening, they are quick to say that Obama is not tough. You don't have to be abrassive or abussive to be tough. Obama's toughness is in his intelligence - questionning and pointing to the flaws in the character and positon of the named front runner, Hillary Clinton. What a refreshing change and change is the what this election is all about.

America can't afford to have another President who labels other countries an Axis of Evil or terrorist state. It only serves to only further anger them and fuel their desire to hurt America. We need a President who is not afraid to engage in tough dialogues with our enemies without being abussive. Obama in his debates has shown he can do this.

America doesn't need another President who won't or can't work with Congress to enact really meaningful legislation. Obama can work with and influence Congress into taking the right actions.

Dodd said Democrats need to take back the White House. This is what the Democratic primary is about, choosing the candidate with the most electability in the general election. Hillary has shown she is not the candidate who can win in the general election, so why waste a primary vote on someone who won't be able to win in the general election? We need to choose the Democrat with the best chances of winning the general election and that person is Obama. He can bring in disenfranchised Republican voters and Independents.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | October 31, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Chris Matthews and other pundits feel like Republicans have an easy win with immigrations. Rudy SUED the federal government to let illegals have welfare checks & ran a sanctuary city. McCain & Huckabee support Bush's amnesty plans. Romney has illegals cutting his grass. Thompson seems like the only one who could make this an issue and he is already an "also ran."

Posted by: boldbooks | October 31, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

RE: novamatt

You just hit on what is driving me insane about this nominating process. On the one hand you asked what does Hillary stand for. And then you went on to say that you have no doubt she is going to win. Something is missing here. Why is she the so-called front runner? WHO are these people that think she actually represents change. She is pro-war, pro-corporate, and pro-establishment down to her core. People who are liberal or progressive in their thinking flat out would not agree with her on most issues. Are they even aware of this? Or are they just that desperate to back a winner.

Andrew Sullivan said it best: "Hillary is Dick Cheney in a pants suit."

Posted by: happyj13 | October 31, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

A big loser: Tim Russert. The spectacle of him joining the fight and throwing a punch after punch at Clinton when he is so timid with the GOP candidates, including _their_ front-runner, Giuliani, was pathetic.

Posted by: clare_knight | October 31, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Who said Clinton is treated with Kidd gloves by the media? Until a month or so ago, the media did nothing but coo over Obama... then it turned out he can't get the support of voters in the polls, the media pointed it out, and the Obama fans cry "FOUL", pointing out the truth like that!

Clinton held her own last night, Edwards was close to brillant, and Obama looked weak and , well, feminine. Weird but true

Posted by: newagent99 | October 31, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a conspiracy guy. Not at all. In fact, as a democrat, I cringe when I hear the ultra left wing of my party talk openly about President Bush being behind 9/11 or a right wing conspiracy having something to do with Paul Wellstone's death.

But I have to say this. The way the media treats Hillary Clinton is raising my suspision. I have watched all but 1 debate. In my opinion, she did well in only 1. She did ok in the others, and last night, she was flat out terrible. She says nothing when she answers questions, and in fact, a lot of the time she simply refuses to answer questions. Yet all you hear about is her being stoic, cool under pressure, clear front runner, and her winning the debates.

Even after last night, when it was overwhelmingly clear that she performed badly, you still had pundits coming on tv saying that she won. Making up some story about the fact that the front runner always wins when they stick to attacking the republicans and their opponents attack them. I'm getting real tired of this. When will the media start doing their job?
A presidential candidate should answer questions. If they refuse to answer, or are evasive in their response, they should be called on the carpet for that. It shouldn't be lauded as some kind of great general election strategy.

America is looking for an honest leader, that will level with them when things are bad, and clearly present them with the options to move forward. In short, they're looking for, I'm looking for, someone that will do what is best for our country first, not what is best for them polliticaly.

Hillary Clinton is what is wrong with politics in America. The American people know that, it's just too bad the media hasn't caught on to that yet.

We need to turn the page. I haven't decided on Obama, Edwards, or Biden yet. But I respect all of them for answering tough questions, taking positions, and saying things that might not be popular, but are right.

Thanks

Posted by: jgeorge | October 31, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"I think that our responsibility as presidential candidates is to be in 'tell the truth' mode all the time," Edwards said.

Which candidate do you believe was the least honest & least forthcoming during the Debate?
---> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=846

.

Posted by: PollM | October 31, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Here's background information on Spitzer's scheme:

http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/immigration_dls-digest.html

There's a money trail to be followed there, but don't expect the NYT or the WaPo to follow the money: they're just as much supporters of illegal activity as Spitzer.

As for the "debate", these have been more like Soviet puppet shows.

Consider, just as an example, the two disaster-related questions here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21528787/page/15/

The first question just allowed Edwards to launch into a speech. The supposed follow-up just allows another open-ended promise that there should be "limits".

Of course, there are always going to be limits, and what we need is a grown-up discussion of where those limits are and tangible examples of what policies the candidates would push in disaster-prone areas. And, if they've already supported such policies, then the flaws in their existing policies need to be pointed out.

Instead, all we got was just blather.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | October 31, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Hillary really showed her duplicitous nature at the end of the debate last night on the issue of giving illegal immigrants a driver's license in NY. She shrieked "We should've passed immigration reform!", in a desperate attempt to schlep this issue off onto Bush like every other policy statement that comes out of her mouth.

The problem is, when the Senate was debating the immigration reform bill (that Pres Bush supported!), she was busy trying to kill it with her proposal to remove limits on visas for the spouses and minor children of immigrants with permanent resident status. This is not a consensu-building kind of person! Dodd was right about that.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am wondering on how CC comes up with the winners and losers. He tells us its all about Iowa for the Democrats, but then doesn't talk about how it might effect the race there. Hillary has 2 main problems; Iran and "double talk". Both were hit on last night. Also, Iowans (as a recently former one myself) do not like attacks on they're candidates. I think Obama's calm "attacks" will play better in the long run than Edwards. Most people did not watch, but will read about it. And they will read that Edwards was very aggressive in his attacks, while Obama's was softer. This could end up being 2004 all over again with Edward's Gephart to Clinton's Dean.

The other candidate that might benefit is Biden. The people I talk to in Iowa all state that they like Biden, but "he doesn't have a chance to win". His numbers are slowly trending up, and if he catches fire, the Edwards (and lesser amount Obama)/Clinton fight could make him the dark horse. IF Biden gets the Register endorsement, it could be interesting.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | October 31, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Winners:

- Biden. He has a great personality and if he made it to the general, it would be a brawl. His no nonsense approach is engaging and likeable.

- Obama. It was as if Edwards and Obama were playing good cop / bad cop. Obama was able to play the good cop, being firm but also appearing to be fair at the same time.

Tweeners:

- Dodd. He comes across as very intelligent but I struggle with to accept that driving is a privilege. The right to travel is a fundamental right and driving is an extension of that right. States may regulate that right for the sake of safety but not simply because it is a 'privilege'.

- Edwards. Anytime a person plays bad cop, it kind of turns people off. He was a good advocate just not personally appealling.

Losers:

- Kucinich. UFOs? A spiritual connection?

- Clinton. Mechanical. Dishonest. Victim. Presumptive. No substance. You might not walk away thinking one of those things but you could. Anytime those are viable descriptions of a performance, it was a bad night.

Posted by: Retnep | October 31, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Chris, your utter certainty that this is a three person race is your occupational prerogative, but it blinds you to weighing the input of the others.

Biden and Dodd were excellent performers and could be expected to handle the one-on-one debates of a general election campaign with aplomb and with actual depth and range of knowledge. Dodd, as Dave mentioned, is a bit hampered on style points, but not on substance.

Obama answers questions. That is a positive. Edwards, as Dave mentioned, can handle tough debate, too, although his populist approach would be a very hard, if not impossible, swallow for moderates [like me]. I also wonder how much "there" is there - something I do not wonder with Biden and Dodd.

Now that we are into the actual primary season, HRC will have to answer for her Kyl-Lieberman vote again and again. That Lugar, Biden, Webb, Hagel, and Dodd were against K-L is more telling than that a compliant Senate and a compliant HRC voted for it.

The reality of this debate is that it was the first time the Ds actually sought to draw distinctions and it is probably a lightweight version of what is yet to come.

And the Ds underestimate the power of the issue of undocs/IAs.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 31, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Putting aside her side-stepping of the license issue in NY, Clinton came out the winner - yet again.

Obama and Edwards came across as desperate. Since they appear to be losing ground on Clinton they reverted to the old Democratic tactic of doing the Republicants homework for them by beating up the frontrunner by making mountains out of molehills.

She comes across as pragmatic and well-grounded in, you know, the real world. Her answer on not allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons was dead-on. Tim Russert seemed to be channeling Chris Matthews anti-Clinton rhetoric with re-asking questions that she gave legitimate answers to already.

None of the other candidates really came out winners, although Joe Biden certainly had some of the best lines of the night (especially about Guiliani). At the end of hte day, Clinton remains by far the frontrunner and for good reason - she's living in the real world.

Posted by: scorbett1976 | October 31, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

And I return Slcathena's comments on Hillary. Hillary has receive unusually favored treatment in the media all season and this is what has caused her numbers to rise so much. it's unfair to the other candidates and the people. They need to assess her more in line with the others and point out her flaws the same as they so enjoy doing with the others.
Hillary is overly programed and she had this knocked down last night.
She gulped water furiously to hide her discomfort and the shrill rise of her voice was telling. She got hit hard by both Edwards and Obama, just differently. But, both ways were effective and did the job.

Posted by: vwcat | October 31, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

What are Hillary's core values? We know she's willing to bend on plenty of important issues, but what will she stand and fight for, no matter what? Does anyone know?

I can't see at this point how she's not the D nominee and how she doesn't win healthily in the popular vote and narrowly in the electoral, but what or who will we be electing? I'm baffled.

Posted by: novamatt | October 31, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't even like John Edwards, but I thought he was a winner last night. He definitely took Hilldog to the mat on a whole range of issues, and Obama looked like a wussy in comparison.

It took quite a while until finally Obama generated the nerve to pivot toward her and make his point about the non-release of documents and continued secrecy in a Clintaon administration. That was an excellent point, but I think only true political junkies really listen to his explanations because they are so ponderous and dispassionate.

I'd have put Clinton in the loser category...she seemed very defensive from the start, not at all like the laughing/cackling/smiling Hillary of previous debates. Her answers were all given in the same monotone yelling/lecturing tone that I thought her handlers had weeded out of her...apparently not. She was getting more forced and angry-sounding as the night wore on; not a presidential image this time.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 31, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with vwcat that Obama comes out above the fray here. He got his hits in, they were meaningful, but there is no way for the Clintons to tag him with "abandoning the politics of hope" after that. That's a win-win, considering the blows Edwards landed.

My major dissent with your post is that I believe Clinton lost this debate. She didn't get through the first hour unscathed. The camera caught her rolling her eyes at Obama as he opened the door to criticism on Iran, only to have Edwards land the blow--with HRC pursing her lips behind him. Her pitch went up. As her opponents continually pointed out her failure to answer questions, she continued to prove them correct, only to have it be 100% visible by the end of the debate.

In order to tout her in the winners/tweeners category you would need to win the argument that she was expected to fail in this debate before hand. That simply isn't true. She was "above 50%" in numerous polls before this debate. She was "marching to" the nomination. That is no longer true.

She lost significant ground. That's a loss.

Posted by: slcathena | October 31, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama was clearly a loser last night. After all of the hype, he seemed hesitant, to say the least, in his attacks against Clinton. I had been debating whether to support either him or Clinton, but he cannot attack or respond effectively to attacks. The Republicans would eat him alive in the general.

Posted by: uckeleg | October 31, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

On another note, here's something interesting: Giuliani's response to Biden's jokes at his expense. Drindl posted an excerpt before, but I prefer the part she skipped.
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/giuliani-hits-back-at-biden/

"As the pundits work to figure out who won the debate tonight, its pretty clear Rudy Giuliani was the real winner. It is increasingly apparent Rudy is the one the Democrats are most worried about running against in the general election."

Huh? Giuliani has been attacking Hillary day in and day out for weeks. But according to his campaign, he's getting attacked because Democrats are worried about him. Does that mean he's worried about Hillary? And by writing this statement, Giuliani is responding to Biden. I guess he's worried about Biden too!

Posted by: Blarg | October 31, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"Even Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.), Joe Biden (Del.) and Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) got in their shots -- although this debate was designed (rightfully so, to our mind) to give Obama, Edwards and Clinton a chance to mix it up."

That's such a load of crap! Debates shouldn't be "designed" to give some candidates a chance to fight while marginalizing others. Dodd, Biden, Richardson, and Kucinich are legitimate contenders in this presidential race. They have as much of a right to speak as the media-proclaimed frontrunners. Do you even understand the concept of democracy?

Posted by: Blarg | October 31, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Your comment is okay and i kinda agree with you a little bit. I watch the whole debate and i must say Clinton is more vunerable when the debate is about issues.

This is what republican has been waiting for, they want to pound on her records - especially the one hidden in the presidential archives. She is toasted

Posted by: gbuze007 | October 31, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that Obama is perfectly happy with Edwards delivering the more aggressive attack on Clinton. It softens Clinton up and points out her weaknesses, but allows Obama to seem above the fray. He pursued a similar strategy in his Senate primary, where he came up the middle of an ugly battle between two other candidates.

I think you're right -- Obama isn't personally comfortable going on the attack -- but he also sees a strategic advantage in not being seen as the one going on the offensive.

Will it work? That remains to be seen -- but I'm sure that he is hoping that Edwards does the damage that allows Obama to move up against Clinton. Obama will continue to carefully draw policy differences with Clinton, but don't expect to see him conducting the full frontal kind of assault that Edwards seems more willing to do.

Posted by: terje | October 31, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The media obsession with bloodbath style politics is what is wrong. there are different styles for each candidate.
I agree that Edwards was strong and passionate and he lived up to his fighting populist image.
However, the press undermines Obama because he doesn't act the way you guys want him to even if it goes against his character. You can be tough and fight without shouting. He was quite aggressive against Clinton but, did it by taking the problems about her to her and exposing her for her ducking and dodging and playing games. he made his case to the people quite well.
You see, the people are sick of the mudslugging style of the past 20 years. They need answers and what the candidate will do and he pointed out why she is wrong. She cracked her aura but, did not need to attack. A sly put down and wit works as well, sometimes better than kneecapping.
Everyone was so impressed when he did the same against Howard in Australia last Feb. It was effective. Why is it now seen as too weak? because the press wants blood and for him to act out of character.

Posted by: vwcat | October 31, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The debate's winners and losers are not restricted to the forum, but also extend to the aftermath. Clinton, unfortunately, was pummelled in the media today. Dodd, however, is being mentioned much more often than after any other debate - a true, rare, plus in his column. Biden also came across well last night. Another winner: more intimate debates. Even with the move from eight to seven, there was a difference. Although issues weren't as fleshed out as much as the public deserves, the candidates really had the opportunity to present more of themselves, and differ with others on the stage. Kucinich needs to go for next round. Beam him up, Scotty!

Posted by: kmcavey | October 31, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

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