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First Thoughts on the Showdown in Cleveland

In a debate often defined by sharp clashes between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the final 20 minutes were largely cordial, as both candidates sounded vaguely wistful about a campaign that has gone on far longer than either of them expected.

Asked to describe what question Clinton would have to answer to be chosen the party's nominee and the eventual president, Obama demurred -- choosing instead to offer extended words of praise for the New York senator.

"Senator Clinton has campaigned magnificently," Obama said. "She is an outstanding public servant. I think she would be worthy as a nominee."

Almost half-heartedly, Obama lapsed into his standard stump pitch for why he would be better. "I can bring this country together in a unique way," he said.

Clinton, asked the same question of Obama, seemed to project forward to what things might look like if she comes up short in the nomination fight -- reprising her stick-to-it-tiveness following her inability to pass universal health care through the Congress in the early 1990s.

Of Obama she said: "Both of us feel strongly about our country. Both of us bring enormous commitment and energy to this race." Perhaps catching herself, Clinton quickly added: "I still plan to do everything I can do to win."

We'll be back tomorrow with our standard rundown of the winners and losers from tonight's proceedings, but here are a few initial thoughts:

* Neither candidate scored a knockout or even a knockdown. That's probably good news for Obama, who came into the debate on a roll and simply wanted to make it through the night without breaking that momentum.

* Clinton dominated much of the debate -- for good or bad. She repeatedly sought to take the fight to Obama over his campaign tactics, his commitment to universal health care, his alleged naivete on foreign affairs, and even his initial unwillingness to use the word "reject" when decrying the endorsement he received from Louis Farrakhan. But Obama successfully parried most of Clinton's offense and even turned some of her aggressiveness against her -- as when he painted the difference between rejecting and denouncing Farrakhan as part of the old politics he was running to change.

* Republicans will likely be pleased with at least two of Obama's answers tonight. On public financing for the general election, Obama insisted he would "sit down with John McCain and make sure we have a system that works for everyone." Maybe. But if Republicans see this as an issue where they can paint Obama as a flip-flopper or as a candidate who says one thing and does another, they won't give him the chance to sit down with their nominee. Second, pressed on his rating by National Journal magazine as the most liberal senator in 2007, Obama's answer ("People don't want to go back to those old categories of what's liberal and what's conservative") left something to be desired. Presidential elections are the most partisan of all, and it's hard to see how Obama's current answer on one of the main Republican talking points for the fall will convince those skeptical about his ideology.

* The grueling debate schedule is impacting The Fix's health and social life. To wit, here's what the Fix ate tonight: 1/2 block of cheddar cheese, seven chicken tenders, one Diet Coke with lime, one bottle of Poland Spring sparkling water (raspberry lime flavor). Not exactly the dinner of champions. And did we mention that tonight's debate coincided with a concert here in Washington by Wilco -- The Fix's favorite band? MAN. The sacrifices we make for the love of politics.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 26, 2008; 11:13 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Tough Questions...Courtesy of Russert
Next: For Clinton, What Defines a 'Win' on March 4?

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bonjei, that is an absolutely ridiculous conclusion you drew. Unfortunately here in Texas political scientist have have reached that conclusion, not me. Hispanics have turned in lower numbers in Texas at least in comparison to states like Ca and New Mexico and I don't like it anymore than you should. Is that intended to blame anyone, absolutely not. Am I happy about it, no. We have a fine hispanic culture here in Texas that you understand better than me who for some reason have been left out from our anglo bush loving, republican run government in Texas who have used hispanics to win elections and then provided anglos as well as hispanics with a healthcare and education system who is racing or the bottom. I am a proud native texan who says we can do better in Texas. Are we proud of this in Texas, certainly not any thinking texas progressive I know. Texans need even more engaged political activist like you so we can get rid of the W and Rick Perry mindset that have tried to run our state into the ground and run our healthcare and education system into the groundI congratulate you for your involvement even though I differ with your candidate selection.Hispanics will soon be the largest poulation in the state of Texas and that is fact and posters should not misstate that you only make up 21% of our population which is just flat wrong.We in Texas fully respect the hispanic culture but it also needs to be known by the anglo community that you have now have the power to elect our leaders especially here in Texas. We in Texas desperately need to change our direction. What I was referring to was past Texas voting patterns which I will not presume is happening today as we see tremendous early vote numbers in Texas across the bd, which is terrific for our state. I am probably older than you and have seen this issue come and have seen Texas politicans scratch their heads in bewildermant. We have lost so many state races for governor, many we should have won from Gary Mauro, to Chris Bell, to Jim maddox with disappointing Democratic numbers across the boards. And that doesn't need to hppen going forward even if means hispanics turning out for B.O. that is fine with me as long as it helps us change the entire political landscape here in Texas. If this makes you want to insult or slap me that is fine but we are here to have a civil political discussion and nothing moore. I salute you and your involvement in the political system and all I ask is that you join me in praying that we have the absolute largest hispanic turnout for whichever candidate Texans choose, on Tuesday, which will be good for all Texans and the nation. It is time all Texas voters start to turn our state around just like Ohio was able to do in 2006. Certainly I hope that is Hillary but I fully respect your decision to support B.O.

Posted by: leichtman | March 2, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

bonjei, that is an absolutely ridiculous conclusion you drew. Unfortunately here in Texas political scientist have have reached that conclusion, not me. Hispanics have turned in lower numbers in Texas at least in comparison to states like Ca and New Mexico and I don't like it anymore than you should. Is that intended to blame anyone, absolutely not. Am I happy about it, no. We have a fine hispanic culture here in Texas that you understand better than me who for some reason have been left out from our anglo bush loving, republican run government in Texas who have used hispanics to win elections and then provided anglos as well as hispanics with a healthcare and education system who is racing or the bottom. I am a proud native texan who says we can do better in Texas. Are we proud of this in Texas, certainly not any thinking texas progressive I know. Texans need even more engaged political activist like you so we can get rid of the W and Rick Perry mindset that have tried to run our state into the ground and run our healthcare and education system into the groundI congratulate you for your involvement even though I differ with your candidate selection.Hispanics will soon be the largest poulation in the state of Texas and that is fact and posters should not misstate that you only make up 21% of our population which is just flat wrong.We in Texas fully respect the hispanic culture but it also needs to be known by the anglo community that you have now have the power to elect our leaders especially here in Texas. We in Texas desperately need to change our direction. What I was referring to was past Texas voting patterns which I will not presume is happening today as we see tremendous early vote numbers in Texas across the bd, which is terrific for our state. I am probably older than you and have seen this issue come and have seen Texas politicans scratch their heads in bewildermant. We have lost so many state races for governor, many we should have won from Gary Mauro, to Chris Bell, to Jim maddox with disappointing Democratic numbers across the boards. And that doesn't need to hppen going forward even if means hispanics turning out for B.O. that is fine with me as long as it helps us change the entire political landscape here in Texas. If this makes you want to insult or slap me that is fine but we are here to have a civil political discussion and nothing moore. I salute you and your involvement in the political system and all I ask is that you join me in praying that we have the absolute largest hispanic turnout for whichever candidate Texans choose, on Tuesday, which will be good for all Texans and the nation. It is time all Texas voters start to turn our state around just like Ohio was able to do in 2006. Certainly I hope that is Hillary but I fully respect your decision to support B.O.

Posted by: leichtman | March 2, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

jmaac: Bill Clinton was a 2 term governor and Attorney General, not a mere State Senator, quite a difference.

MLK was truly inspirational and was of historical proportions for our nation. B.O.s speeches are vague and he is a blank slate, he has admitted as much. Look at the utube post earlier where B.O. admitted in 2004 he did not have the qualifications or leadership skills to run for national office. By his own admission that should give you pause.

And while MLK was a magnificant leader for our country he never showed any interest to run for president(if I am wrong let me know), so your analogy is inaccurate. MLK was the voice for civil rights but it was actually a white southern Texan LBJ who made that dream a reality. It was LBJ dedication to civil rights that reminds me much of Hillary. Let B.O. continue to be a voice for great causes but it will take the steady hand of Hillary to get this causes enacted into law which will actually make a difference like Bill's administration to our daily lives and national economy. It is their understanding of good economic policies that actually lifted up millions of poor people out of poverty that inspires me more than speeches about change. Heck there will be Change in 2009 be Hillary of B.O.

Posted by: leichtman | March 1, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

jmaac: Bill Clinton was a 2 term governor and Attorney General, not a mere State Senator, quite a difference.

MLK was truly inspirational and was of historical proportions for our nation. B.O.s speeches are vague and he is a blank slate, he has admitted as much. Look at the utube post earlier where B.O. admitted in 2004 he did not have the qualifications or leadership skills to run for national office. By his own admission that should give you pause.

And while MLK was a magnificant leader for our country he never showed any interest to run for president(if I am wrong let me know), so your analogy is inaccurate. MLK was the voice for civil rights but it was actually a white southern Texan LBJ who made that dream a reality. It was LBJ dedication to civil rights that reminds me much of Hillary. Let B.O. continue to be a voice for great causes but it will take the steady hand of Hillary to get this causes enacted into law which will actually make a difference like Bill's administration to our daily lives and national economy. It is their understanding of good economic policies that actually lifted up millions of poor people out of poverty that inspires me more than speeches about change. Heck there will be Change in 2009 be Hillary of B.O.

Posted by: leichtman | March 1, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I think there is a huge disconnect between the media adoration of Obama and the real Obama. The media can't see the errors of judgments that Obama makes, because it does not want to scrutinize Obama. Look, Obama made a huge blunder during Tuesday's debate. He showed his macho instincts by saying that he will send the troops back to Iraq if Al Queda becomes a threat there. He has always been saying that we are spending billions and billions of dollars in the Iraq war, and it is time for our troops to return so we can invest the money to solve the problems right here at home. Al Queda is fighting the American troops there right now. It seems to me that he has his one foot in Iraq to protect, while his other foot is withdrawing. This is the worst possible policy. It is now readily apparent that he can't defend his anti-war stand without a macho posture to fight Al Queda. In other words his policy is reactive, rather than proactive. If he is willing to defend American interests in Iraq by sending the troops back after a withdrawal, his policy is not very much different from that of George Bush and McCain, except that Bush and McCain are proactive. So Obama does not promise us that he will withdraw from Iraq if Al Queda starts ascending in Iraq. He also proposes a surge of American troops in Afghanistan. If he withdraws from Iraq, and reinforces our troops in Afghanistan, Al Queda will simply move over to Iraq. Then he will send the troops back to Iraq. And, he might even send our troops to Pakistan in pursuit of terrorists, as he says repeatedly. If the Pakistan's army returns the fire, where will we be? It seems to me that Obama may create a bigger mess than George Bush did if he follows through on what he said during the debates. If anybody had any illusion about a steadfast Obama against war, he has completely dispelled it. Hillary has a real opening here because of the mess he is proposing as his Iraq and its neighbourhood strategy. It is clear to me that he can't take the heat on his Iraq troop withdrawal plan without a promise to send them back if Al Queda becomes a threat there. So Hillary's point about Obama's weak credentials on the national security front is already finding resonance in his highly reactive and controversial strategies to solve the Iraq problem. I think that this issue needs a more serious debate, and Obama will come apart defending his posture.After criticizing Hillary all these weeks on her bad judgment on Iraq, I am realizing for the first time that Obama may create a bigger mess because he has shown no judgment at all. I know that no one knows the solution to the Iraq mess because the troops were sent there without a proper debate and careful analysis of outcomes. Remember even George bush's own secretary of state Powell told the President that he will own Iraq if he sends the ground troops there, but Bush never listened to any one. To suggest that the senate vote was an an authorization of war is the biggest fallacy. George Bush had already told some people way before the attack that he had already decided to throw out Sadam Hussein. To blame Hillary on the Iraq vote is to say that she (or even the congress)could have stopped Bush from what he intended to do. So people like John Kerry and Hillary voted for the resolution to help Bush take a tough position to force Sadam Hussein to surrender to the demmands on the non-existent nuclear and biological weapons. They hope that that vote would prevent the war on Iraq by eliminationg the reason for the war. For Obama, John Kerry's vote was fine in 2004, but in 2008, he says that Hillary committed a sin by her vote. How far can you go in your hypocrisy? Ofcourse we now we have a mess, and Obama's positions on this mess are dangerous delusions. And, the media gives him a pass on this and every other crucial issue. Like his claim that he passed a law protecticting consumers against the radioactive leak. The NYT reported once (mind you, only once!) that he lied about this in Iowa because the bill never passed and worse still, he purposely diluted the bill to help the company that was actually responsible for the leak. Reason? The company was his strong sponsor and supporter for fund raising over the years. So it is easy to know why a candidate can keep winning because the media keeps him afloat by constantly showing him as a messiah just because young people have a cult-like attachment to him (and we know Putin of Russia is getting the votes doing the same thing by controlling the media!). We, as parents, also get carried away by our children because we want to promote their participation. That is what Mao did in china during the cultural revolution. He used young kids to make him a larger-than- life figure by letting them loose on a frenzy. And by promoting a cult-like environment in this election, the media has all but abandoned its role as a balancing influence or to create a fair environment for a true democratic verdict by the people. By any stretch of imagination, they have failed to act as impartial journalists. This may eventually create skepticism even among the young because they also know that the people who ought to know are not execrising their judgment in a critical analysis.

Posted by: vaidyatk | February 28, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"What would happen if he didn't know the name? Couldn't risk that!"

Answer: If Obama did not know the name of the new Russian President, he would have said so, and refrained from trying to look like a know-it-all, mispronouncing the name finally and ending with a graceless "...whatever" which is what Hillary essentially did.

So much for her diplomacy when she shrugs off another major world leader's name with a "whatever" as if it didn't count. Obama would have said " I can't recall his name right now, but I can say that he has been hand-picked..." or something to that effect.

Point is, as in the old fable, with every word Hillary speaks- out of her mouth come toads, while with Obama, roses.

Posted by: Digi | February 27, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, Chris. You, apparently an Obama fan, thought that he had creamed Hillary. I, a Hillary supporter, felt that she had done so much better than he did. Her replies to the questions were to the point, yet descriptive of her intentions. She was able to answer every query with a knowledge that I thought was amazing. He, on the otherhand, talked and talked and talked, mostly around his point until he finally got to the point, and I couldn't wait for him to close his mouth. He also, after Hillary had given the lowdown on a topic, said that he agreed with her, completely. That was easy for him to do.
Her remark to him about Farrakhan was very well made so that he had to bow to it.
Obama is quite at ease with himself these days. Remember when, tho, he was on the losing end? He clenched his chin, his eyes flashed, and he got nasty. Not a very nice picture but I hope to see it again.
I would like to tell you a story of an incident that took place last week. It shows to me, and, I hope, to you, just what kind of a person Obama is behind his
gilded image.
Hillary was on a stage, giving a speech, while she was being taped for a showing of her speech later that might. Along came King Obama who leaped on to the stage and started his own speech. The cameras swung around to Obama, leaving Hillary standing there. King Obama spoke for 46 minutes without a thought of Hillary being left, literally, speechless.The cameras were closed and the crew left for their cable networks, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox.The tape was shown on those cable channels that night. CNN did Hillary the favor of showing 5 minutes of her 7 minute speech. [see Howard Kurtz/Washington Post/2/19/08]
Do you condone Obama's behavior? Was he right to believe that, as the frontrunner, it was okay for him to elbow a rival out of the way? Of course, he did this with the networks' help, as they have been kowtowing to him for months. This is not someone I would like to have the honor of sitting in the chair in the Oval Office.

Posted by: afed27 | February 27, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who want a Wilco fix, NPR is broadcasting tonight's concert on its website. Here are more details:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19271953

I don't think there was a clear winner in last night's debate.

Posted by: Heron | February 27, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"We've had a uniter, not a divider for the last 8 years and certainly not a fighter. Now we have another uniter, not a divider in Obama."

My sentiments exactly. This whole Obama obsession is eerily smiliar to the Bush obsession in 2000. But it's not just the "uniter" thing, it's also the duplicate lack of experience that makes me nervous. The most important thing that we should change with our next presidential choice is not handing the reigns of our country again to someone who may not know what he's doing. Our country has been too weakened to take this risk.

Posted by: Rounds77 | February 27, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Hillary does not give two shakes about the party, unless she is running it. Just like Hitler, she thinks she has been betrayed; scorched-earth politics is justified, since none of us are worthy of her.

Posted by: gmundenat | February 27, 2008 04:08 PM
------------------------
Like Hitler?? Not too over the top. I even hated it when people said Bush was like Hitler. Those kind of remarks take away any ligitamcy from your post.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | February 27, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Hillary does not give two shakes about the party, unless she is running it. Just like Hitler, she thinks she has been betrayed; scorched-earth politics is justified, since none of us are worthy of her.

Posted by: gmundenat | February 27, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

First, to "blueflorida" before commenting on the issue of the Danish cartoon that enraged Muslims, you should at least know what it was about. The rage came from the cartoonist depicting the image of Muhammad. To Muslims that is sacrilegious! Before you use something as an example, you should at least understand the context prior.

As for "pharvey", I must agree with JMac. I am a black man who grew up in Harlem my whole life and cannot understand how you say that Obama is not to be trusted but the McCain is your candidate of choice. I cannot fathom what you'd expect from a McCain presidency. I guess instead of believing in change and moving towards a new day, you'd rather have a candidate that tells you upfront he doesn't care about you or people who might be less fortunate than you? That boggles my mind!

Posted by: dtsb | February 27, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

diksagev,

I only read the first two paragraphs of your dissertation and fell asleep. Could you try to limit your eloquence to two or three paragraphs?

Best regards

Posted by: trace-sc | February 27, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Check out www.93xrt.com

On Feb. 19 XRT broadcasted and streamed Wilco's concert at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago live, as the band performed. XRT occasionally airs other concerts.

Near the bottom of XRT's home page there is a link "Jeff Tweedy on Eclectic Company" which takes you to a page where you can download and listen to the program, which aired on Feb. 12.

Although you and I disagree on certain aspects of politics, I will try to find some common ground.

Posted by: jim283 | February 27, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

What struck me the MOST out of the entire debate was Obama's clear hesitation to distance himself from Louis Farrakhan.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 27, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama has no plans to address the problems in the black communities across America. After all he is already beholden to the people who couldn't get elected. It is really remarkable that the reasoning that were espoused for not voting for Mr. Michael Steel just "because he is black" is now a good reason for some people to pressure the black community to vote for Barack Obama. Give me something more please. The gifted Harvard "gabber" is much more dangerous to this country than a Yale "C" student could ever be.

Posted by: pharvey1 | February 27, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

jadkisson1 - this AGE thing..I think it's a fallacy. I realize the polls show women over 65 are Hillary voters, but here's the thing:
1) I am 60 and have been supporting Obama's campaign for over a year now, both financially and on the ground.
2) Calling people in Texas this past weekend, I found that people over 65 are more for Obama than Clinton. I was shocked when I spoke with an 81 year old woman in a retirement community who told me more of her friends were for Obama than for Clinton. She was very well informed and knew her stuff! Others I spoke to were not quite as knowledgable about politics, but had the "anyone but Hillary" attitude.
Most of my friends are working for Obama and we are not under 40.
3) So, it's not necessarily about AGE. I think it's more about in depth knowledge of the candidates and not just name recognition.
Be patient...maybe it takes older people a while to come out of long held beliefs, but they are indeed coming around. Let's hope they show us with their votes on March 4th!
If Obama can win "hearts and minds" in THIS country, imagine what he can do in the global community! This is an exciting time for our country.

Posted by: sheridan1 | February 27, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The alleged slip up by Sen. Obama over the Minister Farrakhan issue is actually due to Tim Russert's poor use of vocabulary.

It struck me that Sen. Obama did not want to say anything untrue. How does one "reject" someone's support? Does one tear up their ballot? Does one say "stop saying I am a good guy... I am not!"

The word "denounce" is really the word that Tim Russert should have used.

Posted by: cea | February 27, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Does it matter the NJ's claim that Obama is most liberal is a partisan lie? He is about 15th (compared to Clinton at about 25) according to indepedent non-partisan analyses.

P.S.: This from somebody who wishes that he was that liberal.

Posted by: sauerbach | February 27, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I just don't want to see Barack Obama's giftedness at glib serving to undo the serious hard work and progress that "Real,Serious and Hard working African Americans" like Condoleeza Rice, Ron Brown and Collin Powell have put into this country.

Posted by: pharvey1 | February 27, 2008 09:59 AM

Great choices: The incompetent Rice has been in over her head from Day One; Brown, while a great asset died a much too early death in a plane crash; Powell prior to getting totally duped on WMD simply piloted his desk while sucking up.

Posted by: canoe | February 27, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

She called for these added debates, then whines about them. She says the media is showing favoritism. If Obama had lost 11 contests in a row the media would have allowed him to go gently into that dark night. However, Hillary, the actual loser of 11 contests, is still being highlighted and spotlighted in the media. It is, in fact, the media that has kept her in the race. Her constant changing demeanor concerns me. To paraphrase Forest Grump, she is like a box of chocolates, you never know what (or who you are going to get). I am afraid she will run the White House like she has run her campaign, which does not reflect the experience she claims. Mr. Obama on the other land had run a much better, even an excellent campaign and this was done absent the long-term Washington experience the Clintons seem to think he needs. His corporate like ability to lead and motivate will bring the right people with the experience and expertise to change this country to his administration. A Clinton administration, however, would be more of the same ole, same ole, same Washington "experience" that got us where we are today.

Posted by: friendlyfire | February 27, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the posts here, if neither Clinton nor Obama can get a majority of delegates at the convention, it sounds as if Jeff Tweedy will be the nominee.

"There's bourbon on the breath/Of the POTUS you love/So much..."

Posted by: davestickler | February 27, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Unlike a great deal of people, I am not wont to believe that Barack Obama candidacy will be any different from GWB. He sounds hurtfully too familiar to me. Where was his message of hope when over 50% of African American males are rotting in jails across America? Where was his message of hope when our kids are consistently achieving at the very bottom of the academic ladder? Where was his message of hope when he was voting to fund the war in Iraq? Just like Hillary Clinton. Finally, I am one of the many McCain democrats you will encounter this election season.

Posted by: pharvey1 | February 27, 2008 11:04 AM

PHarvey,

Please tell me where and when Senator McCain has addressed these issues regarding the ills of the Black community. Please cite one reference, one speech, one sound bite, one comment in any newspaper or magazine, that can be atrributed to McCain that would be relevant to the issues you have just raised.

You literally must suspend all logic to even begin to understand your positions.

I'll just say, if you belive Bush addressed all the issues that you just raised regarding black men, schools etc. then you should vote for McCain becuase he will give you more of the same.

One more question, as former President Reagan asked during his first presidential election (I paraphrase), are you and your community better off now than you were 7 years ago?

If the answer is yes, then vote Republican. If not, research the issues and candidates, put your personal biases to the side and logical make the right decision.

Posted by: JMac_in_MD | February 27, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Was there wi-fi at the Wilco venue?

(maybe you should try to go next time!)

Some of Russert's "what if's" weren't much better than the baked bull sessions back in my college dorm. His attempt at dumping a bucket of Nickelodeon-grade slime on Obama with the Farakan story was tabloid at its best, I guess. Obama is too classy to fall for those tricks. I actually like it when Obama is under fire, I feel better about voting for him.

I had it up to here with NAFTA and health care. What about No Child Left Behind--it is a disaster! What about running against McCain--do they realize how many independents and Republics are watching?

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | February 27, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

PHarvey,

As a black man who grew up under similar circumstances as yours, I find your comments to be stereotypical, shortsighted and plain wrong. You seem to be a very angry woman and some man in your past may have hurt you badly. But you can't judge all men by the few bad men you have encountered in your life.

Just because someone is inspiring does not mean that they are "slick" and will cause ill will to all??? Tell that to Dr. King, Gandhi, Churchill, Mandela amongst the many others. BTW, under the description you provide for Obama, couldn't you say the same thing about former president Clinton. He was a young inspirational, smooth speaker that poeple adored despite his lack of experience?

Posted by: JMac_in_MD | February 27, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I use to respect Tim Russert until this last year. He is coming across as a real jerk in his questions to Clinton. He should get a job on Fox.

Nice to see all the Wilco fans.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | February 27, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Why are you whinnie like Clinton? I think you need to suck it up. On the other note, i think Hillary Clinton is done and i hope she exit gracefully.

Posted by: gbuze007 | February 27, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Unlike a great deal of people, I am not wont to believe that Barack Obama candidacy will be any different from GWB. He sounds hurtfully too familiar to me. Where was his message of hope when over 50% of African American males are rotting in jails across America? Where was his message of hope when our kids are consistently achieving at the very bottom of the academic ladder? Where was his message of hope when he was voting to fund the war in Iraq? Just like Hillary Clinton. Finally, I am one of the many McCain democrats you will encounter this election season.

Posted by: pharvey1 | February 27, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Wilco ROCKS. bummer, dude. However, they'll play again, but I think you just saw closing night on the Barack and Hillary show.

Posted by: goldingirl9 | February 27, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The recent outpour of resentment against Hillary for (supposedly) releasing the picture of Obama in Muslim
RELIGIOUS attire, got me to thinking.

I took a print of the picture and pasted President
Bush's face over Obama's. Close your eyes and imagine...
would it make much of a difference or would there be a replused re-action from the public. I can't imagine President Bill Clinton wearing a religious Muslim garb in the DAYS OF 911. But the Obama clan accepts it as just being normal. As with the flag (no flags on his web sites) and denouncing Farrakhan. Obama said he did not
think Farrakhan's words against Jews were helpful. But he did not mention Farrakhan's words against whites.(see last night debates)
Take all of that into consideration, and add Michelle Obama's rally at UCLA (youtube) stating her racial struggles to get into Princeton. Most of us are proud if we can get our kids into trade school. She also wrote her graduation thesis on her racisim.
Notice, I said graduation....from Princeton.

Why is it, when the Danish Newspapers created a comic reflecting the Muslim belief, they were attacked and burned down by rioting groups of angry Muslims.(twice) Yet,
an American Senator representing "America the Evil"
did not even raise an eyebrow in the middle east.
No outpour of rage ... no burning of the flag or shooting guns in the air.....just silence. Are this Danish Newspapers asking...."what's up?"

I am each time someone brings up a fault of Obama,
(if he doesn't have one, he is our Savior!)
they cry.....RACISM! Dear Lord...Did Ted Kennedy teach him that trick? I don't like Socialism (govt pays for your groceries, home, transportation) but it sure looks like Obama will win because that's what he is promising.
Take from big business...give to the poor...I sure hope the poor save some of that money and invest it in other businesses! 'Cause we're gonna need some new jobs after the big ones are drained...oil too....U-think?

I say let the doors fly wide open. Who are you Obama.
You say you united people in your past. How, when and where? I want to see your back pockets....why would you
mind?

This Democratic war is not about Obama verses Clinton.
It's about dynasty verses dynasty. KENNEDY V CLINTON.
OBAMA did the opening speech at the Dem Convention for Kerry. Even during the Bush years, the Clinton's were still power houses...but they were not purebloods like TED KENNEDY. But Kennedy couldn't run (bad rap), so he latches himself to the next best thing...a TROJAN HORSE.
OBAMA. Ted Kennedy gets power (king) back and Kerry goes along for the ride. The Clinton's are banished. Off skip Kennedy and Kerry singing the Wizard of Oz song..."ding-dong the wicked witch is dead!"

Isn't it amazing how we are controlled by the invisible...Obama included.

Posted by: blueflorida | February 27, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

pharvey1,

It's tragic that your ability to appraise Senator Barack Obama is based on some assumption and fear that a strong communicator cannot also be substantive, e.g., your comment that he merely has the gift of gab.

Senator Obama was the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his international relations degree from Columbia. He came from a family where his parents were devoted to education, his father coming from a small Kenyan village to earn a Ph.D. and attend Harvard. Senator Obama's single working mom earned advanced degrees in anthropology and worked all over the world.

He worked to organize his Chicago community to deal with the devastation of steel-plant closings and get fairer treatment by government. He passed health care for children. Passed legislation to reform the death penalty and avoid wrongful convictions. Worked with Republican Senator Lugar to address nuclear non-proliferation. He predicted with startling accuracy what would happen if we went to war in Iraq. He has written two best-selling books.

He has built a campaign structure that has cleaned the clock of the "inevitable" candidate with lightning speed from red states to blue states, and built a movement of 1,000,000 donors averaging $109 per contribution.

He has inspired young people to vote at higher rates than ever in the last fifty years and brought independents and Republicans to the table in Democratic primaries and caucuses.

Just the gift of gab? Are we all being duped or seduced by a smooth talker? Or are many of us ready to finally believe that all of us, together, with an inspiration, brilliant, and yes accomplished leader can finally tackle the problems you identify?

It sounds to me that you are bitter with disappointment from people who have made promises to you and never delivered. That should not mean that you choose never to believe again, or choose the candidate who sarcastically admonishes us with warnings about what we can't do (and who alienates almost half the public and thus would not be able to get anything done) rather than one who aspires to tell us what we can do together.

Posted by: schandra1 | February 27, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is a loser, because she lies through her teeth, like 99.99% of our elected officials. Obama will be our next president for one very simple reason. GW Bush -- WORST PRESIDENT EVER -- is so bad that the country is energized by the prospect of changing history, showing the world that we are not a bunch of dumb rednecks morons, and fixing our country. Hillary and McCain are nothing but more of the same merde. Go Obama.

Posted by: queenskid | February 27, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I am a black woman who would never vote for Barack Obama as president. I simply do not believe in all his rhetoric. He does not have the skills and experience to be CIC at this time. I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood and am used to many people who have this gift of gab. Toget a better picture you must look far beyond this glib. Believe me please step back and examine the actions. If after you have done that you still feel he is your man, then go for it. I think about all the things that are wrong in our communities (prevalence of drugs, crime, unwed mothers strung out single mothers) and the image of a smooth sweet talking, slick Barack Obama gets etched into to vision. Contrary to what some people may want me to feel, I am not afraid, to hope, I've lived a life of hope. That still has not gotten me anywhere yet.I just don't want to see Barack Obama's giftedness at glib serving to undo the serious hard work and progress that "Real,Serious and Hard working African Americans" like Condoleeza Rice, Ron Brown and Collin Powell have put into this country.

Posted by: pharvey1 | February 27, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Wilco is WAY more fun than debates. Haven't you heard of tivo?

Posted by: FractalCones | February 27, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

astephens,

Debate "biased against Hillary"? Please, enough already with the victim/entitlement complex. Every question she was asked was fair game, e.g., releasing tax returns IMMEDIATELY when her supporter Governor Strickland did the same in his campaign and insisted those who don't have something to hide. They were good questions.

As for the question about Putin's successor--SHE jumped on answering the question first, and it became clear when she used the word successor that there was an opening (as there was back in 2000 in a debate with George W. Bush) to test her knowledge of the name of the foreign leader. It was a legitimate follow-up quickie and she stumbled.

It's not a huge deal--but it is fair game when your candidate is claiming to be so VASTLY SUPERIOR in her experience and knowledge to the other one. Senator Obama more than held his own against Senator Clinton on foreign policy, which goes to show you--judgment and wisdom can beat longevity in Washington.

Seriously, the entitlement mentality is what leads to the whining (e.g., the "give-Barack-a-pillow" comment). The whining is just unpresidential. She claims to be "tested" yet has a more belligerent style when challenged over even the smallest thing. Senator Obama, by contrast, is pretty much cool as a cucumber throughout. If she can't handle this, how is she going to handle the Republicans, foreign crises, bad media work, etc. With daily self-pity? Suck it up! No one made you run for president!

Frankly, I think your perception of bias comes from the fact that she just didn't handle tough questions as well as he did and you are buying into her increasingly pathetic "woe-is-me" routine.

Her candidacy was premised on inevitability, hardly an inspiring message to those of us who want to make our own decisions. Remember what her campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe said in menacing fashion to Democratic donors and leaders, "You're with us or against us." OK, we'll be against you. Got a problem with that?

Don't misunderstand me. I think Senator Clinton would make, on balance, a good president. But after watching that debate, I am now certain that Senator Obama will be a much better one. And perhaps even a great one.

My Ohio vote is with Obama.

Posted by: schandra1 | February 27, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The difference between Obama and Clinton was made clear in the question regarding Louis Farrakhan. Clinton raised it tactically, in order to attempt to frame Obama as having sympathies that she knows he does not actually have--and Obama answered in with honesty, grace, and relaxed humor. He knows who he is and what he believes. A tactical, reactive response--based on fear--was not necessary.

Obama--substantive and solid.

If you haven't been to an Obama rally, or want to take it with you as we get closer to decision day, you can find the entire Obama rally setlist--from "City of Blinding Lights" to which he takes the stage to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"--the entire setlist!--on Itunes, here:

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=273867065&s=143441&v0=575

Posted by: caraprado1 | February 27, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it's only the deference shown to a former First Lady and sitting Senator that is preventing the media from calling out HRC's performance last night for what it was... the angry and disjointed arguments of a candidate who cannot understand how her political ambitions have come crashing down around her. There were times when her tone came across more as a jilted lover than a Presidential candidate... hardly a show of forceful determination as we would expect from the leader of the free world. For his part, I was impressed with how Obama handled the questioning... I genuinely thought he had hemmed himself in with his response to Russert's line of questioning on re-entering Iraq, but he managed to wrap it back into his consistently stated (and recently vindicated) position regarding tactical strikes on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and turned what could have been a real "gotcha" into a significant plus which should win points from uncommitted conservatives.

The bottom line is that in both debates, Obama has done the one thing required of the next President... he was Presidential in his tone, appearance, and in the substance of his responses.

Posted by: lritger | February 27, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Seems to me like Huckabee has put himself out of the running for McCain's VP slot. I can't imagine that happening after this comment:

"Huckabee's campaign manager Ed Rollins: When asked if it's between Obama and McCain, he replied, "You can hang substance on a communicator. You cannot make an old man young."

Posted by: drindl | February 27, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

drindl, I do not know the man's name. He is apparently a Cincinnati local "conservative talk radio host". They played the clips about five minutes ago on NPR.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 27, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

So now we're cracking on people's LOOKS? How juvenile. Totally expected from Clinton supporters. Their conduct is adolescent.

Abe Lincoln didn't exactly look like George Clooney. Can someone name a greater President? Harry Truman was no stud either, but he was a pretty nervy guy.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 27, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Waaaaaaaaah, waaaaaaaah! The media is out to get me!!

Waaaaaaaaaaah! This is all the Obama's fault! Nothing is my fault! I've run a perfect campaign and I'm perfect, this is all the media's fault!! Waaaaaaaah!!!


We're all at the wake, but the patient refuses to die....

HILLARY'S NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCLgknkRN4o

Posted by: Rubiconski | February 27, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The debate, regardless of whomever won it on debater's points, served to reinforce the direction the race has taken. Fairly or unfairly, a majority of voters simply don't like something they see in Hillary Clinton. The more she is exposed to them, the less inclined toward her they are. By the same token, whether it is with or without substance, voters see something they are attracted to in Obama, and the more they are exposed to him, the more they are attracted.

The Clinton strategy of getting high profile debates plays to her weakness and to his strength. This is compelling evidence that she and the people with whom she chooses to surround herself lack the level of judgement and competence that Obama and the people with whom he surrounds himself display. We truly have little else with which to test our Presidential candidates, so by this "test", Obama garners greater confidence from the citizenry than does Clinton.

Posted by: Stonecreek | February 27, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Who was the radio host, Mark?

How much worse can Tim Russert get? all this ridiculous haranguing about Farrakhan, [another of the right's boogiemen] AFTER obama denounced him? The man is a posturing buffoon.

And Obama is right-- the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' have no meaning anymore -- they've been twisted and warped into empty labels and pejoratives. 'Liberal' is simply a catch-all insult used by rightwingers to demonize anything they disagree with, while 'conservative' hardly describes a group of people who want to gut the Constitution.

Posted by: drindl | February 27, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Obama is not ready for the Repuglican attack machine. Beside, have you noticed he looks like J Fred Muggs? HRC will be ready to hit the ground running on Day One. You Go Girl.

Posted by: rahaha | February 26, 2008 11:47 PM
-------
That was an extraordinarily racist comment. You have a bright future ahead of you in right wing talk radio.

Posted by: eemr | February 27, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I maintain the expectation that the McC - BHO race will be substantive and disputed on issues, not personalities.

Yesterday McC did his part. A radio host disparaged BHO during an introduction of McC.

McC disclaimed/rejected/criticized the host's remarks and reiterated his personal respect for BHO and HRC. The radio host announced that McC had thrown him "under the bus" and stated his newfound support for HRC.

BHO's campaign expressed appreciation of McC's remarks.

I hope that after BHO is the presumptive nominee that he and McC do sit down and agree on public financing for the two months after the National Conventions. That would be consistent with the positions each has taken in the past, and would be a legitimate point of contention if either refuses to do so.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 27, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Who won the MSNBC Democratic Debate in Cleveland Ohio?


http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1788

.

Posted by: PollM | February 27, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Ever heard of a salad? I'm worried about you!

Thoughts about last night:

Big positive for Obama: somebody told him to give the phrase "the notion" a rest.

Best moment for Obama (and I thought there were several) -- his riposte on Pakistan. It showed not only that he was right last summer (when he was a much less skilled debater, BTW), but also that he is doing his homework: "In fact, this administration did it 3 weeks ago without telling Musharraf." Overall, IMO this was his strongest performance yet, and I disagree with those who say McCain will eat him up if he's the nominee. These multiple debates have been very good for him, because he's s smart guy and he has learned from his mistakes in the early ones. Now he understands how they work, which will serve him in good stead if he's the nominee.

Although Hillary put in her usual solid performance on the issues, I agree with those who say she often came across as weary, testy, and humorless. (She should have skipped the SNL line; she can't tell jokes.) And, again, no game-changer of knockout for her, which is what she needed.

Either of these two candidates would be a good contrast with McCain because he often looks (and acts) his age, and his delivery is usually pretty monotonous and dry. (He does have a sense of humor, though, which Hillary appears not to have.)

Finally, for those Democrats who say they will vote for McCain if their favored candidate is not nominated, I have three words: Iraq. Roberts. Alito.

Posted by: jac13 | February 27, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Props on the Wilco love. I've been a fan of Tweedy since I saw Uncle Tupelo at Mississippi Nights in the summer of '89. But Wilco play here a couple times a year, so we're okay.

Thought Obama did fine, and while Hillary scrapped, she did so within the bounds of good conduct, so I'm not unhappy with her. If she needed something to change the narrative, she missed out. If he needed to run out the clock, he did. The race is still over, and we can all focus on the general in a week's time.

The thing about Obama that strikes me the most in debates -- and I'd like to go back to the early ones to see if this has always been true -- is that he won't let himself get ruffled. He knows his stuff, he exudes cool and calm and confidence, he passes on the opportunities to hit back, and he doesn't leave himself open to much. The Farrakhan answer liberal answer was classic. He didn't hesitate to distance himself from Farrakhan, he coolly stated his anti-anti-Semitic bona fides, and when Hillary tried to make an issue of him not explicitly rejecting Farrakhan's endorsement, he didn't argue for argument's sake about it.

Sort of wish he had done better with the National Journal question. It was fine to dissect the rating and the votes behind it, but he should have also pointed out that liberalism has a glorious tradition in this country and that Americans, on an issue-by-issue basis, are pretty liberal too (and increasingly liberal). He's been good at that kind of rhetorical jujitsu in the past, so I'm a little miffed he missed the opportunity to do a little brand-rebuilding. Maybe next debate, in a few months.

Posted by: novamatt | February 27, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Now let me see, if we were doing a search for say Managing Editor of the Washington Post, would we accept a candidadte with no journalistic experience, with no experience or track record in managing people,with no business background? Yet in the search for president of the united states we are ready accept a candidate with no track record of accomplishments , no record of leadership, whose words far exceeds hid deeds. No doubt our nation is starved for change after 8 years of failed republican leadership, but we are getting ready to turn the levers of power to a candidate who has less experience than W, and we are doing so largely on the basis of his oratory.

God save our country.

Posted by: paul2150 | February 27, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

am convinced it is now really over. Senator Clinton held back on several occasions to attack. She seemed tired and resigned. Her few attacks were weak and uninspired and were easily deflected by Barack and she offered few counter attacks. His arguments about his better judgment on foreign policy were powerful. Barack simply looked and sounded more presidential. I think we can now officially call the nomination for Senator Barack Obama. Let the "Supers" begin their endorsements!

Posted by: zb95 | February 27, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

No wonder I love this blog soooo much. Wilco is the tops! See them every time the troubador Tweedy comes through Minneapolis. Got a free beer from their roady way back when at their first show at Seventh Street Entry after the Tupelo break up. Standing in the front row waiting for an encore the guy starts passing out beers to a few of us. What service!

Posted by: pers0011 | February 27, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

"rahaha:

When you said that Obama looks like J Fred Muggs, did you know who/what J Fred Muggs was? Would you like to check and take another shot at that?

Posted by: afking | February 27, 2008 12:43 AM "

J fred muggs was a chimp, and obama does look like him.
Bush also looks like a chimp.

I'm sick of you fake liberals who think treating people the same is racist.

Here's one for you, Obama is a white guy culturally, ethnically.
that's the only reason he can be the "black" canidate.


Posted by: newagent99 | February 27, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

lmazelier from Franche"feeling that B Obama is really similar to S Royal"
_____________________________________

This comparison is not accurate.Obama and Royal are very good candidates.In the french presidential compaigne last year, the candidate Sarkosy was seen(as Hillary now) as a the one with more experience.But did French President Sarkosy do with all the experience he claimed to have? The answer is nothing. After 9 months on the job,Sarkozy did not even get started. This
week he became the most ridiculous joke in YOUBUBE: a French citizen refused to shake the Sarkozy's hand saying:"Dont touche me, you make me dirty".What can american learn with the French Election: Beware of those who claim to have experience.Being skilled is not a passport to perform better.

Posted by: absurdistan2007 | February 27, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama's status-quo demeanor intended to keep his lead, will not work in a General Election.

The notion that he can somehow, and he hasn't told us how, lift us out of partisan politics, is absurd.

Do we think that a woman would ever be believable if she espoused such warm fuzzies?

No way; she'd be chastized, ridiculed and laughed out of the race.

Obama looking Presidential keeps coming up. This is a meaningless Brownie-point kind of characterization that's rather sexist.

GWB has also been described many times as appearing Presidential..

We've had a uniter, not a divider for the last 8 years and certainly not a fighter. Now we have another uniter, not a divider in Obama.

We dont' need an election; we've got the press to pick the President for us.

Posted by: vammap | February 27, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Chris, good analysis but your comment about the National Review question being wanting seems to suggest you weren't paying attention there. His answer was more specific than to simply say that we must go beyond definitions of conservative and liberal. He said that the magazine article IN QUESTION used suspect methodology. He cited the two votes used to separate him from Clinton and parried them off nicely. In doing so, he pointed out the sloppy work much, if not most of the media does in articulating the policy viewpoints of the candidates and the vast overemphasis on style over substance. You're a good analyst, Chris. Don't fall into that trap yourself.

Posted by: nvamikeyo | February 27, 2008 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Are they determined to let Obama get all the way to the White House without ever challenging him to tell us specifically what he plans to do when he gets there? Will the press ever fall out of this unreasoning crush they have on him? At what point can we say "our long national orgasm is over"?

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | February 27, 2008 6:46 AM | Report abuse

If Barack Obama is sworn in next January, last night's debate may prove to be the turning point when American voters started seeing him as more than a gifted candidate. Hillary Clinton's job was to create doubts about his fitness to be President, but she ended up giving Obama the opportunity to demonstrate he has the qualities for the job.

After a peevish start (citing a Saturday Night Live skit to air her grievances against the questioners), Sen. Clinton worked hard to present herself as Presidential and rattle Obama into appearing less so. But he never took the bait.

He was the one who ended up looking Presidential.

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2008/02/picturing-president.html

Posted by: connectdots | February 27, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary was debating Russert. He kept cutting her off and not let her answer. Also, he talked over her. Never did this to Obama.

Hillary answers the questions first then Obama mimics her answers. Russert and Williams gave Obama a pass.

J Carn

Posted by: Jcarn53 | February 27, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary was debating Russert. He kept cutting her off and not let her answer. Also, he talked over her. Never did this to Obama.

Hillary answers the questions first then Obama mimics her answers. Russert and Williams gave Obama a pass.

Posted by: Jcarn53 | February 27, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary was debating Russert. He kept cutting her off and not let her answer. Also, he talked over her. Never did this to Obama.

Hillary answers the questions first then Obama mimics her answers. Russert and Williams gave Obama a pass.

Posted by: Jcarn53 | February 27, 2008 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me or is Tim Russert hoping to be Sen. Obamas WH Press Secretary. At times during the debate and while on camera; he looked like the seething mean ogre who lives under the bridge. Just an observation from his hometown of Buffalo.

Posted by: flyguy14222 | February 27, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's not afraid to fight, because she's fighting for you!

Posted by: niksiz | February 27, 2008 5:28 AM | Report abuse

I've read the transcript and it appears that Hillary did nothing to change my impression that she continues to take a business-as-usual, top-down, connections-dominated approach to politics.

Obama said tonight that his average internet donation is $109. He'll get that from me today. His internet operation, which he initiated on his own well before Joe Trippi signed on, clearly establishes his bottoms-up approach to governing.

GO OBAMA ! ! !

Posted by: brian.mclinden | February 27, 2008 5:25 AM | Report abuse

And having just seen the comment from France, I can add that from Brussels (Belgium) a similar feeling about Obama is beginning to surface, even though there is strong support for him among the 'liberals' (social-democrats) in this country. And as women are important in this country, there is also support for Hillary, at least not much open criticism. But mostly the feeling prevails that neither Clinton nor Obama can win the election in November against McCain. Recent U.S. polls seem to support this, as overall confidence in McCain is a lot higher than for Clinton or Obama (Yes, also the NYT poll shows that, if you look at the poll results).

Posted by: mike-straight | February 27, 2008 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Wilco? Gee man, somehow I had connected you to something a little more jazzier.

Posted by: mike-straight | February 27, 2008 5:14 AM | Report abuse

seeing from France (we follow with a lot of interest this campaign) we have the feeling that B Obama is really similar to S Royal (the socialist candidate in french presidential campaign) for these elections:a great popularity but no real program only incantions. At the beginnig french media were really behind B Obama but it changes now because the feeling that he's only a "beau parleur" come very strong now....

Posted by: lmazelier | February 27, 2008 4:32 AM | Report abuse

seeing from France (we follow with a lot of interest this campaign) we have the feeling that B Obama is really similar to S Royal (the socialist candidate in french presidential campaign) for these elections:a great popularity but no real program only incantions. At the beginnig french media were really behind B Obama but it changes now because the feeling that he's only a "beau parleur" come very strong now....

Posted by: lmazelier | February 27, 2008 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Please do not put Obama on Gen X. Its the Ys or as I like to call them the 'Obambi generation' that shoulders the blame for this one. It is there you will find the cultist in there highest numbers. Yes we Gen X peeps do have some issues as well.

Does it bother anyone to have an unknown with the best coverage imaginable trailing in the polling vs Mac at this point. It can only go down when some of the indys find out he is a Democrat.

"the demise of the democratic party in 2008 is predicted and predictable."

Posted by: mul | February 27, 2008 4:01 AM | Report abuse

How do writers like Chris Cizilla get jobs? I'm serious, this is absolutely the worst analysis of the debate I've seen. Silly!

By the way, Hillary Clinton is a LIAR and HYPOCRITE. She acutally SOUGHT the endorsement of the anti-Semitic Independence Party of New York, while knowing it was an anti-Semitic group:

"By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: April 30, 2000
The two candidates for United States Senate sought the endorsement of the fractious Independence Party here today, but Hillary Rodham Clinton used her speech to attack the group for what she said was the ''anti-Semitism, extremism, prejudice and intolerance of a few shrill voices on both the right and the left.''

Mrs. Clinton added that she welcomed the endorsement of the party, but said emphatically that she would not accept it if the party supported Patrick J. Buchanan for president. ''I cannot and will not as the price for any endorsement embrace or excuse those who use hateful rhetoric that separates and divides,'' she said. ''So let me be just very clear: I will not run on a line with Pat Buchanan on the top of the ticket."

Posted by: JenniferBlair | February 27, 2008 3:42 AM | Report abuse

"I found one element of Obama's response to the public funding question interesting: that his campaign is essentially raising funds in the ideal way (90% from small donors), rather than from special interests--which makes the public funding element less important."

What do you think the chances are that Hillary will reveal what the average donation to her campaign has been. She won't, and if she ever did, you can bet that the special interest people have it way higher than the $109 figure that have contributed to Obama.

Posted by: diksagev | February 27, 2008 3:36 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, Cillizza was an Olympic figure skating judge in his previous career; or perhaps he was paying more attention to his menu than the debate before him.

There were no knockouts or knockdowns, but this was clearly a debate that Senator Obama won. He continues to grow stronger in each debate they have and Hillary just continues to look more and more desperate!

Hillary looked very tired; at times, very angry, and she lost the debate on virtualy every question.

She once again manged to look ridiculous and petty before a national audience. Her comment about, "I find it curious that I keep getting asked the first question" came out of left field and went over like a lead balloon. If she didn't mind, and was happy to answer, as she stated (seeming to contradict herself) what was the point of her observation anyway?. Research intoHillary's claim (conducted by MSNBC and revealed after the debate) indicated that Hillary has in fact been asked the first question in 6 of the last 10 debates (hardly an anomoly), and when Russert intentionally refrained from directing a later question specifically toward either candidate, Hillary was the first to jump in and answer that question.

There were clearly three people who scored points against Hillary Clinton in the debate tonight. Tim Russert did an excellent job, as usual, and was hardhitting with his questions to both candidates; and he had his facts all lined up to hold them accountable if they strayed too far from a truthful response.

I thought it was a real blow when he pointed out that Hillary's campaign promise of creating 200,000 new jobs in upstate New York when she ran for the Senate in 2000 but has resulted in a net of 30,000 LOST jobs in reference to her latest campaign promise to create 5 Million new jobs in this country in the next 10 years. Clinton's "excuse" that her promise had been made on the assumption that Al Gore would be the President and that Democrats would control Congress was a pathetic attempt to once again dodge responsibility for her own failure.

Russert also did a superb job in pointing out direct quotes that Hillary made from year to year clearly supporting NAFTA up until the time that she changed her tune when she started running for President. Russert's closing comment, "the record is clear", was very strong but I would have loved the Perry Mason-like question posed to Hillary, "so, were you lying then, or are you lying now?" I really idn't think that Russert was as successful as Chris Matthews gave him credit for during post debate coverage, concerning getting a full admission out of Hillary (finally) that her vote to authorize the War in Iraq was a "mistake". I felt that Hillary once again left herself enough wiggle room to deny that she ever referred to her vote as a mistake and clearly she was unapologetic.

Senator Obama landed a lot of blows. Although he had several opportunities to go for the juggular, he was always content to score the small victory and move on rather than going for the kill shot. He refused to allow Hillary to get away with mischaracterizing his statements or his position which she tried to do at least half a dozen times during the debate with her distortions (the same distortions that she so vehemently accused the Obama campaign of conducting in their mailers when she ranted over the weekend that "ALL DEMOCRATS SHOULD BE OUTRAGED!" Obama framed Hillary's argument about "experience" beautifully when he stated, "Senator Clinton equates experience with longevity in Washington", painting her as the business as usual, political insider that she really is. Senator Obama once again looked very Presidential and defeated Hillary Clinton soundly on the matters relating to Foreign Affairs. He once again managed to take the high road, refusing to tear down Clinton or engage in personal attacks against her, without resorting to any of the canned closing remarks that will be proven utterly worthless in the next 48 hours when he launches into a series of highly negative and devisive attacks against Hillary with a vitrionic show of a loss of self control. Senator Obama shows a great knowledge of leadership in knowing how to pick which battles are worth fighting and which are two trivial and assinine to waste time fighting over, as evidenced when he merely laughed off the video clip of Hillary's sarcastic, sing-song, attack against him and his belief in ideals like hope and change which she immaturely displayed during her stump speech over the wekend. He displayed the same good judgement later in conceding the point to Hillary that even though he didn't see any substantive difference between "denouncing" an endorsement from Louis Farakan or "rejecting" it, he would both denounce and reject it if Hillary felt so adamantly that one word was really stronger than the other. Perhaps the statement that impressed me the most all evening (and I will admit to being slightly biased because I am a retired military veteran who is deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of our troops still in harms way in Iraq) was Senator Obama's promise that we will be "as careful getting out as we were careless getting in" in reference to his plans to bring our troops home safely as soon as possible after he becomes President.

The greatest damage to Hillary in the Ohio debate was probably self-inflicted! Her off the wall comments about always being asked the first question in recent debates was bizzarre enough onit's own to make her look quite foolish. The comment about "pillows for Senator Obama" went over almost as well as her "xerox" comment during the Texas debate. Perhaps I would have understood it a little better if I had seen the skit from Saturday Night Live that Hillary was "borrowing" the line from, but surely we don't need a President who takes too many of his or her cues from Saturday Night Live!

Hillary Clinton, once again, showed herself to be the ultimate hypocrite that she has always been in telling lies in an effort to distort Senator Obama's position on at least 4 different issues, and Senator Obama called her on these. On the heals of her fictitious claims that the Obama campaign had engaged in these very tactics with their mailers and her indignant ranting and raving about "ALL DEMOCRATS SHOULD BE OUTRAGED" her resorting once again to what truly are and always have been "Clintonian" tactics during this campaign showed astoundingly poor judgement. The two best were her claim that Senator Obama had "threatened to attack Pakistan". She was left with egg on her face when Obama patiently waited for her to finish her diatribe before calmly correcting her and pointing out that he never said any such thing. What he said was that if he had actionable intelligence that revealed the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden or other high ranking Al Qaeda leaders, and the President of Pakistan was either unable or unwilling to launch strikes to take him out, he would respons to take him out in the interest of our national security. Then he took that one step further by pointing out that the current administration had just done precisely that and eliminated the number 3 man in the Al Qaeda chain of command.

The other was when Hillary tried to claim that Obama had voted against a Bill that she supported which placed a limit of 30% on what credit card companies could charge - trying to pin a negative voting record on Senator Obama. Barack countered that he opposed the bill itself and voted against it because he thinks that 30% is way to high and does not support allowing such an exhorbitant rate. But the real damage was when he pointed out that Hillary had earlier supported this bill and said that, I voted for it, but I hoped it wouldn't pass". Obama provided a little lesson in legislation 101 when he correctly pointed out that the appropriate way to oppose a bill that you don't wish to see passed is to "vote against it".

All evening, Clinton seemed to have trouble shutting up or staying on target, and had to be almost forcibly stopped several times by the moderator needing to ask another question or pause for one of the few commercial breaks. At times, she seemed to have that "1,000 yard stare" as Obama was talking. As far as actually comments where she seemed to damage her own candidacy; she seemed to be saying that the United States should look to "outsourse" the Afghanistan situation and turn that effort over to NATO when she tried to point a finger at Obama for not holding meetings on a Foreign Relations subcommittee that he chairs concerning NATO. Her non-answer when once again asked why she refuses to reveal her tax return information or her meeting agenda from her 8 years as First Lady makes voters wonder what she is trying so hard to hide.

Hillary got a round of applause from some in attendance when she made a blatant pitch for the women's vote before further pandering by interrupting the debate to run a "commercial" soliciting donations to her campaign web site as she has done at least once before during a previous debate. The most interesting aspect of her comment so clearly aimed at women are the post debate comments that if Obama had made exactly the same comment, substituting "African American" for "Woman" it would have been received in a mcuh different light and likely would have led to a great deal of questions about exactly what his comments meant.

This was an Obama victory, all the way, even without taking into consideration that Hillary Clinton was the one who desperately needed to land that knock out punch that didn't come again tonight.

Posted by: diksagev | February 27, 2008 3:28 AM | Report abuse

Diet? Good going, Fix.
I had 2 glasses of chardonnay.

Posted by: SoldiersMom | February 27, 2008 3:15 AM | Report abuse

docbox88 wrote:

"The more I think about it the more I realize what a sleaze merchant Tim Russert is. The Farrakhan comments were beyond the pale. "

_____________________

Actually, I see it differently. I am glad he did it to put an end to the constant whining from the Clinton side on the issue. Now they don't have that and the entire Israel issue to whine about. Plus it showed everyone watching the pettiness of the Clintonites.

Posted by: dogsbestfriend | February 27, 2008 3:13 AM | Report abuse

More important than the debate, today Sybil had her Howard Dean moment.

The Hillary clip shown during the debate, and repeated many times on MSNBC before and after the debate, where she is in a yellow suit with the "the skies will open.... " hysteria was embarrassing to all women everywhere.

I'm a democrat but I would vote for Pelosi or Hutchison in a snap because they have poise, they don't lose their temper and act like a lunatic. Hillary shows she can be pushed over the edge and nobody wants that in a president.

Hillary doesn't understand the difference between being a FIGHTER and being CATTY.


Posted by: dogsbestfriend | February 27, 2008 2:58 AM | Report abuse

IT'S AGE, STUPID! The campaign has come down to a single demographic. Throw out race, gender, ethnicity, anti-NAFTA voters, health care advocates--it's not the war, it's not the economy! Throw out every teeny tiny well carved out niche subsection of the voters--because an exhaustive analysis of more than a dozen recent polls has revealed something stunningly simple: only one thing matters.

IT'S ALL ABOUT AGE. AGE IS THE RAGE! IT'S AGE, STUPID! (paraphrasing James Carville)

But it's not McCain's or Obama's or Clinton's ages that matter. They don't matter at all.

It is the ages of the voters themselves. Take a look at the Democrats. Over 64--solid Clinton. Under 40-- solid Obama. 41-64 (influenced by their high school, college, and entry level workforce kids-- the folks are leaning to Obama.

Age patterns like these are unique since the pre-Reagan era. The trend will likely last through November since it is so unprecedented.

So, is Obama just a lucky fellow with exquisite timing? Maybe. But he's also a smart cookie. You see he figured this out just a few weeks ago and came up with the "past vs. future" theme which perfectly pits the seniors against the gen x'ers. It's open warfare and Obama has clearly captured that slender but desirable demographic--"the under-64 crowd" -- quite a coalition that.

Not the ages of McCain, Obama, or Clinton -- irrelevant they are.


Posted by: jadkisson1 | February 27, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

My personal favorite is when they asked Hillary to give an assessment of Putin's probable successor, and to pronounce his name. Then they asked Obama to comment on it. If they are going to play Jeopardy, why didn't they ask Obama this, since his only experience is 3 years in the Senate, with the last two spent running running for President full time. What would happen if he didn't know the name? Couldn't risk that!

Posted by: astephens

It would not matter. No one would think Obama would know. Some time in the 1990s people stopped valuing knowledge. Oh well.

Why don't some of you instead for making stupid comments about how Hillary looks then say you support Obama just say "I hate my mother and my wife beats me down so no Female President for me."

Posted by: mul | February 27, 2008 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Testing

Posted by: mul | February 27, 2008 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. malkin is a right-wing-psycho who thinks the Japanese-American internment camps were the best thing in our history.

Wacko.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 27, 2008 2:22 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Obama in getting rid of the (currently phony and meaningless) labels of "liberal" and "conservative". All anyone means by those is "our side" and "their side" anyway.

Funding Social Security shouldn't be a partisan issue. There are different views, but I don't see them as being particularly "liberal" or "conservative".

Right to birth is another example. A true conservative would insist the government shouldn't be involved in personal decisions, but the religious right has reversed the philosophical l/c positions.

That's the sort of thing that's caused people to become so cynical about politics and politicians. It's all been labeling, name-calling, insulting, posturing and dividing, and nothing's actually resolved. Obama appears to be the only candidate who gets it.

Posted by: TomJx | February 27, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you mentioned CLinton's silly remarks about SNL in an earlier post, but I think they bear repeating. She also was very aggressive on a lot of other issues, like the whole "reject" debate, who supports "universal" health care, and seemed rather pushy and whiny. It wasn't so much being aggressive on the issues as a seemingly single-mindedness to tear down Obama. I think voters are going to come away from the debate somewhat disgusted by her haughtiness and rudeness. That's not good for her coming into Obama.

Also, I thought Obama's answers on foreign policy judgement were great. He said we should be more aggressive in Pakistan, and Bush recently did that (sending in an unmanned bomber to take out an al Qaeda guy), so once again he was right while Clinton was wrong.

Posted by: freedom41 | February 27, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

You really want to compare records on shirking responsibilities here?

Obama's subcommittee is in Foreign Affairs, I'm still not sure what hearings he was supposed to hold. His purview over NATO is limited to the role of NATO and how it relates with our relations with European allies, not its effectiveness which is really an Armed Services issue. Does Hillary believe NATO should not be in Afghanistan? Hillary, btw, is on the Armed Services committee, maybe she should call for some investigations herself.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | February 27, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

dc-native: I was being sarcastic. It would be pretty if rahaha made a mistake, but it's obvious it wasn't an error. Frankly, I'm more astounded by the almost total lack of reaction than the slur itself. I hadn't thought so, but maybe people did need to be told who J Fred Muggs was. C'mon, people, can't we agree that you can't compare the black candidiate to a monkey?

Posted by: afking | February 27, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Why is there always an assumption that America concedes the Health Care points to Hillary? We ARE aware of her mandate... and that IS a major problem for millions of us. The media fails to see how much that mandate has turned a lot Dems away from Hillary. Every time the discussion of health care comes up in a debate, I think the victory goes to Obama. He seems compassionate and in touch with MY reality. Hillary has never convinced me that she has one clue about the plight of struggling American workers and families.

Posted by: DogBitez | February 27, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

If you need to call a winner, its Obama. Did anyone notice that after the Iraq answer from Obama, Hillary's eyes swelled (a little late for the Oscars). Further, Russett finally came alive and didn't allow Hillary to duck a question, particularly on NAFTA - great. I respect hillary but -in my opinion - she should have run in 2004.

Posted by: tho1mas | February 27, 2008 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Those who say that they will vote for McCain rather than whoever it is they love (Hillary/Obama) that wouldn't get the nomination need to wake up.

This isn't high school and we aren't voting for the prom king and queen! It isn't just a popularity contest. This next election is so important. You should vote for the candidate who represents the ideals, policies, and beliefs that represent you the best.

Do you think Hillary or Obama truly want you to vote for McCain rather than the other? NO! They agree that their policies are 90% the same, with most of the difference on how they will achieve them and leadership style.

If you don't like the other candidate, than stay at home. But don't throw your vote to someone you are against just to "spite" someone else. That is ridiculous and petty.

Posted by: hillmannic | February 27, 2008 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Anybody But Clinton

Posted by: tmm4264 | February 27, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that the HRC's last line of defense keeps moving backward. Last week it was "Meet me in Texas" where she had a substantial lead but has since lost it. The Texas call was followed by this week's call to "Meet me in Ohio" where she had a commanding lead but the gap is closing fast and likely will continue to do so based on tonight's debate.

Likewise, last week I believe everyone understood and even HRC understood that she had to win both Texas and Ohio to stay in the race. This week, I believe everyone except HRC still believes this. However, moving backward, she is now looking for a split as a good enough reason to continue to fight.

It is at the point that, if she loses both Texas and Ohio, she may very well move her last line of defense to Pennsylvania.

I would say that if she loses either Texas or Ohio, she should just give in, leave with some dignity, and do so with the best interest of the Democratic Party in mind as well as herself.

After all, I believe even HRC recognizes that neither Texas or Ohio is a small state which of course was her last line of defense prior to and after losing the Potomac and Wisconsin primaries.

Posted by: csfoster2000 | February 27, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

kreuz-missile: Are you actually equating a Senator missing a vote on FISA with a Chairman of a Sub-Committee failing to convene a meeting in over a year touching on troop reinforcements against the Taliban? There were many other Senators voting on FISA, even if a few did not show up. But who convenes a Committee meeting when the Chairman fails to do so? Apples are not oranges, kreuz!

Posted by: searchesetc | February 27, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

For those of you under the age of 60 who may not know, J. Fred Muggs was a chimpanzee who appeared on the Today Show during the mid 1950s (the Golden Age of Television ???). So Clinton supporter rahaha is basically saying she thinks Obama looks like a monkey. Nice.

(afking: you don't seriously believe rahaha just pulled the name J. Fred Muggs out of the air without knowing what s/he was saying, do you?)

Posted by: dc-native | February 27, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Hillary needed a strong showing to off-set the loses she is apparently going to take in Texas and Ohio:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=53

It would appear this debate did not deliver that for her. What is her next angle? Does she have one?

Posted by: davidmwe | February 27, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

liberal...conservative...moderate...blahblahblah. SO SICK OF LABELS AND BOXES!!!! obama's response was on point and prophetic in its simple brilliance. he proved once again that his reach is as wide and far as his grasp.

OBAMA '08!

Posted by: caligirl1 | February 27, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

searchesetc, seriously...

For one thing, Obama does look weakby being forced to simply say "I agree with Hillary" over and over again, answering first, especially when you're presumed to have the experience, is an advantage, so stop you're freakin whining, it's all the Hillary campaign seems to have left, and it's getting really old.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | February 27, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

OH MSNBC is reporting he won...well, then it must be true then.
The liberal bias on these blogs and so called news sites is hilarious.
McCain wins, it doesn't matter.

Posted by: blevins20061 | February 27, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

optimyst: It's a matter of simple fairness that when two people are debating, they should alternate in who first answers questions. Sort of in a ping-pong fashion. Otherwise, the one not answering the questions first has a huge advantage. He or she can merely feed off the answers of the one who answers first all the time.

Obama has been feeding off Hillary's answers by saying "I agree;" "Hillary's right;" then he launches into a filibuster with his talking points. Anyone who taped the debate should assess how long either of the two actually spoke during the debate. Obama comes out way ahead, because he does not directly and precisely answer questions.

So, it's a matter of fairness: "X" answers question 1 first; "Y" then follows with an answer; then "Y" answers question 2 first; "X" then follows with an answer to question 2; ping, then pong; pong, then ping. That is a fair debate, damn it!

Posted by: searchesetc | February 27, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

searchesetc, Clinton wouldn't even show up for the FISA vote to do her duty for the Constitution. People who live in glass houses...

Posted by: kreuz_missile | February 27, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

"Hillary, you drove the bus into the ditch." [or close to those words]...

What a well spoken and delightful bon mot. BO cut her off at the knees and she didn't even notice the bleeding. He is smart [so refreshing after 7 years of you know who...], thinks very well on his feet, looks sharp, acts cool, and makes sense to the "person" on the street. His humor is gentle and he uses it very well to his own advantage. He also seems very presidential to me, but then I think of JFK as the epitome of presidential-ness. Honestly: image, charm, ability to explain his thinking, tone of voice, twinkle in his eye, etc., all are PART of job if he really wants to be a source of healing. Humans vote for many different reasons, perhaps the most basic one being... "I like him!". That may not be the smartest reason, but I think it makes a big difference. Finally I do not sense a choice of the lesser of two mediocres.

Posted by: stevek2 | February 27, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Obama won by not losing. He had to look presidential and he did. The Clinton era is over, but will they let it be?

Brian
http://www.politicalinaction.com

Posted by: bschick20 | February 27, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

rahaha:

When you said that Obama looks like J Fred Muggs, did you know who/what J Fred Muggs was? Would you like to check and take another shot at that?

Posted by: afking | February 27, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

As i have asid all along John Mccain will win the presidency .and obama will come out looking like the fool.he does not stand a snow ball chance against Mccain.The ones who voted and stand with Hillary will be voting for John mccain .And 10 says shw will throw her votes to Mccain .still dosent matter if she does or not ,all of her supporters will vote for Mccain .obama is lunch .

Posted by: jeffbrummle | February 27, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

The only thing Dems would blame Obama for is losing. They just want to win, they don't care how he does it.

MSNBC poll says Obama won tonight, something like 65-27.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 27, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Has no one mentioned the fact that Obama admitted during the debate that, as Chairman of a Senate Sub-Committee on Europe and NATO, he never convened even one oversight meeting in over a year because he was campaigning? During that year, Defense Secretary Gates and top Pentagon officials have been complaining publicly that the NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan are refusing to increase their troop levels, even as the Taliban is resurfacing dangerously in that country.

And no one posting seems bothered that Obama would shirk his official duty to find out why NATO are not measuring up in Afghanistan. This, after all, directly affects national security. People, wake up!
Did you miss the most important moment of the debate?

Posted by: searchesetc | February 27, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

On Farakkhan, I hope this gets out more this week. Apparently, Clinton neither rejected nor denounced the INdependence PArty, as she claimed:

Mayor and First Lady Reach Out, in Very Different Ways, to a Third Party

By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: April 30, 2000
The two candidates for United States Senate sought the endorsement of the fractious Independence Party here today, but Hillary Rodham Clinton used her speech to attack the group for what she said was the ''anti-Semitism, extremism, prejudice and intolerance of a few shrill voices on both the right and the left.''

Mrs. Clinton added that she welcomed the endorsement of the party, but said emphatically that she would not accept it if the party supported Patrick J. Buchanan for president. ''I cannot and will not as the price for any endorsement embrace or excuse those who use hateful rhetoric that separates and divides,'' she said. ''So let me be just very clear: I will not run on a line with Pat Buchanan on the top of the ticket.''

Posted by: kreuz_missile | February 27, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Watched it via msnbc streaming, which was horrendous. Clinton was more articulate, and Obama stammered. So, as far as mechanics, she clearly won. Will that change the electoral trend favoring Obama? I don't think so. Voters do not rely on debate mechanics when filling out a ballot. They rely on likability, especially when competence is not a deal breaker. Here, Obama, though not as articulate or perhaps knowledgeable as Clinton, does not come across like an idiot like you know who sometimes does. Once the voter is past that competence standard, she or he then moves to likability. Clinton loses here, unfortunately, and while that may not be fair, that's life. She's probably a very, very nice person in person, who would be fun to be around. But, she just doesn't come across that way while campaigning. Compare her to Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein. Both seem equally competent and tough, but they also both are likable in the public arena. Public likability may be something you either have or don't have.

Posted by: secondjune | February 27, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

What was the SNL comment about outside of pandering and whining to women? Or does she want us to know that Tina Fey has endorsed her for the President of the United States of America? That was so very tacky coming from a woman who use to be the 1st Lady.

Posted by: kjcross | February 27, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton had a obituary debate on herself. Her deadly face, old woman street fight manner and aggressive languages. She was exhausted physically and mentally. She should bow out the race graciously before March 4, TX, OH Primaries if she has little wisdom.

Posted by: jlr1Judy | February 27, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed how biased this was against Hillary? Obama was given softball questions and not pursued, while Hillary was interrupted constantly while just trying to get out answers. This has been happening almost universally with the press, but NBC is the worst. My personal favorite is when they asked Hillary to give an assessment of Putin's probable successor, and to pronounce his name. Then they asked Obama to comment on it. If they are going to play Jeopardy, why didn't they ask Obama this, since his only experience is 3 years in the Senate, with the last two spent running running for President full time. What would happen if he didn't know the name? Couldn't risk that!

Posted by: astephens | February 27, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about it the more I realize what a sleaze merchant Tim Russert is. The Farrakhan comments were beyond the pale. I'd like to see someone in the MSM address this. Cillizza certainly won't but Russert is at his worst tonight and a light needs to shone in his face.

Posted by: docbox88 | February 27, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

hillmannic -- interesting question. I don't think most Democrats will hold it against Obama if he opts not to go with public financing -- as you state he is effectively doing it already minus the middle man (this is all assuming he wins the nomination of course).

As far as McCain goes if he presses the issue loudly and Obama says no, it might make Obama look less credible, but it could also make McCain look impotent. If he attempts to bully the guy into adhering to a non-existent agreement, and the guy says no -- where does that leave him?

And who knows maybe the two can work out a deal that both can live with. Stranger things have happened this election cycle.

On the issue of the National Journal article, it was definitely interesting to see the issues that they defined as "liberal".

Temporary worker visas for illegal immigrants are a conservative idea? I can think of a few cultural conservatives who might disagree -- although maybe these folks don't count in McCain's GOP.

The independent ethics office? This strikes me more as an issue related to incumbency and K Street lobbies than it is an ideological issue (unless the "conservative" position is that less transparency in government is good -- I can think of some conservatives who might disagree with this).

Posted by: JPRS | February 27, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

She came out ahead and looked like the Democratic nominee. No need for a brokered convention. Ohio will go big for Hillary and expect Texas to be a big surprise. I think the debates help people see through the Obama mystique which is without substance.

Hillary 2008

Posted by: strumcat | February 27, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

throughout the debate, hillary sounded tired, beat, desperate...there was a deep sadness about her, as if she has waited all her life for this presidency and is desperately trying to achieve it...

it must be truly sad, overwhelmingly sad for her to lead her life towards that one overarching goal and seeing it slip away...

i do feel sorry for her but observing her unpredictable temperament, unchecked ambition, and more importantly observing Obama's keen sense of dissecting a position, argument, or foreign policy, with his balanced temperament, and breadth of his knowledge... I more convinced than ever before that obama is the better candidate...

Posted by: hajam69 | February 27, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm absolutely impressed with Hillary Rodham Clinton

I thought she sealed the deal in terms of why she would be the most solid, practical, resilient and strongest President for this country.

She, more than anything, showed why she can be strong --not ambivilent - and certainly not wishy-washy--or wordy...

As a voter, my family and I are completely comfortable with Hillary Clinton being our President & Commander-In-Chief.

Posted by: giub99 | February 27, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I found one element of Obama's response to the public funding question interesting: that his campaign is essentially raising funds in the ideal way (90% from small donors), rather than from special interests--which makes the public funding element less important. This is true, however, I do think it would be in bad form for him to waffle if he committed in the past to public funding. But, it does make sense: if you are earning money from average Americans, in a "clean way," the only reason the Republicans want you to take public funding is so they can compete with you in terms of money. They know Obama is a fundraising phenom, so by limiting him to public fundraising they would even the playing field considerably.

I'm wondering what Democrats think of this, because it might actually hamper the party in November for him to go with public financing. Should he go against prior statements or should he stick to his word, even if it hurts the party?

Posted by: hillmannic | February 26, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Hillary effectively changed tactics tonight, so it is another slight win for Obama. She is a tenacious fighter, true, but for the first 20 minutes she seemed very angry (red neck) and more unfocused than normal, even turning some frustration on Russert. She is clearly smart and prepared, but her attack-mode really impairs her ability to connect well with the audience/voters , in the end hurting herself more than helping.

Kudos to Russert for really pinning down both candidates and following up effectively on the NAFTA, Obama Public Funds, Clinton Tax Returns, and Clinton "take back the war vote" (first time I heard that strong of an answer from her, which was great).

In particular, Hillary's attack/anger style really emphasizes her lack of humor. In always trying to jab at Obama, she loses some of her "humanity" points. For instance, the audience wasn't laughing with her but at her after Obama's response to the "reject/denounce" tirade.

Her comment at the beginning regarding SNL was another flub (right at the beginning of the debate, unfortunately) that was her "xerox" moment of the night. It came across as whining. Considering she is the one who requested these last debates, its seems disingenuous to complain about talking first.

All in all, I think this debate was more of a loss for her than necessarily a win for Obama. But it was a much more lopsided event than Texas. I think her attack mode is not flattering and makes Obama seem bigger after every attack.

Posted by: hillmannic | February 26, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

>>Second, pressed on his rating by National Journal magazine as the most liberal senator in 2007, Obama's answer ("People don't want to go back to those old categories of what's liberal and what's conservative") left something to be desired.<<

Obama has a point. I mean, in the age of George W. Bush, if you support habeus corpus (a right that goes back to the Magna Carta)you're a far-left liberal who wants nothing more than to endanger this country.

Posted by: hammond1 | February 26, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Fix. Sky Blue Sky lacked all of the heart and expressiveness and spontaneity and edge of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and their earlier releases. It was dull at best. Maybe its for the best you didn't have to catch an awesome band in full decline...

Posted by: pyrophile | February 26, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

You missed a hell of a Wilco concert. They brought a horn section along...

Posted by: enots7 | February 26, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

This nomination was always Hillary's to lose, and she has lost it.
It was Barack's to win, and he has won it.

Neither candidate is perfect, but both are superior to McCain.

Hillary can't unlearn her weaknesses non the job, but Barack can learn his strengths on the job.

All of us have work to do starting Jan 2009 under Barack's leadership....can't wait!

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you should have gone to the concert. It would have been as awesome as the debate was frustrating.

- A broke and bitter ticketless Wilco fan at GWU

Posted by: dtearl | February 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama did very well in the debate. If Hillary looses either Ohio or Texas I think it's time for her to get out.

Posted by: lumi21us | February 26, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama is not ready for the Repuglican attack machine. Beside, have you noticed he looks like J Fred Muggs? HRC will be ready to hit the ground running on Day One. You Go Girl.

Posted by: rahaha | February 26, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

In the early debates, there were complaints by some candidates about not receiving enough questions. Back then, Hillary got what many of the candidates thought was an unfair advantage. When you are trying to win the presidency, and you are the challenger who asked for these debates, and you've lost 11 primaries/caucuses in a row, it strikes me as bizarre that she would complain about getting the first question as if it was some kind of vast media conspiracy.

Further, she turned the question tactically into the health care discussion which is where she wanted to go anyway. Where is the cause for complaint?

Posted by: optimyst | February 26, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you are wrong that Obama's answer to the "liberal" characterization was weak. It was very strong. To say that he was labelled "liberal" because he was an advocate for ethics and transparency, and he knew that conservatives supported this as well, was masterful. It was not simply a brilliant argument, it was an invitation for inclusion.

Posted by: richardshaker | February 26, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see other Wilco fans on here!

Every little thing
Every little thing
Every little thing
Is gonna tear you apart

Try that Wilco lyrical metaphor for tonight's debate

Posted by: amyuw05 | February 26, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

My favorite highlights
Admitting to supporting NAFTA
Hedging on producing tax paperwork
Hedging on releasing paperwork on time in White House so the American people can see the work experience.

Posted by: dotheresearch | February 26, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Hillary proved yet again that she's the better choice for President.

Posted by: svreader | February 26, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I love Wilco too! Seriously, thanks for all the coverage. I don't have a TV and I've wanted to follow this campaign closely, so I really appreciate it.

Posted by: leadie | February 26, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Tough call; if you've never seen Wilco before, you made the wrong choice. Not to rub it in or anything.

Thanks for the running commentary.

Posted by: bsimon | February 26, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Good taste in music, Chris. I thought this was Obama's best performance relative to Clinton, meaning a moderate win. Clinton just had too many errors and came off poorly.

I'm hoping this will end in a week so Obama can focus on returning fire on the Republicans. You're right about the lines of attack, but it's nothing that can't be handled.

Posted by: Nissl | February 26, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Heck, I'd take your job, Chris! Be that as it may, keep up the good work. Hillary was on the offensive and she was also offensive, as usual. I thought Obama won but at a minimum, I don't think she landed any serious blow on him. In a week she will be contemplating withdrawal.

Posted by: RealChoices | February 26, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Tim Russert for being tenacious in following up on important questions. That sets this debate apart from so many of the preceding 19.

Obama demonstrated the level-headedness and rationality that I would hope our next president will exhibit. His answers to questions are consistently straight forward and show a mastery of the facts. He did not whine when he got a question, did not complain about receiving hypothetical questions and did not attempt to parse language in the style of the former President Clinton (i.e. what is the meaning of "is") when confronted about whether he rejected or denounced Farakhan's support.

Hillary needs to look after the well-being of her party and leave the stage. Admirable attempt but her time has passed.

Posted by: mmmmbeano | February 26, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

CC writes:
"But if Republicans see this as an issue where they can paint Obama as a flip-flopper or as a candidate who says one thing and does another, they won't give him the chance to sit down with their nominee."

Just a quick reminder, BHO has never said that he will be committed to public funding. He said will aggressively pursue . It's understandable that both players follow the same rules to have a fair game.

Posted by: pinepine | February 26, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Should've stopped at a Swenson's for dinner.. :)

Posted by: erikpdumont | February 26, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"The sacrifices we make for the love of politics."
Suck it up, Chris. You are getting paid to do something you love. If you don't know how incredibly rare that is, you are an even luckier man than you appear to be.

Posted by: jonathanmstevens | February 26, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

geez, sounds like you might need some laxatives chris?! as far as missing wilco, don't worry, "I am the man who loves you"...

Posted by: muaddib_7 | February 26, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

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