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Winners and Losers: A Good Night for Obama, McCain

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A funny thing happened as The Fix was driving back to the hotel after last night's back-to-back Republican and Democratic presidential debates at Saint Anselm's College.

At 11:48 p.m. ET came an e-mail from Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign. "The Reviews are In: Hillary 'Very Strong Performance', 'Tour De Force', 'Very Effective'," it blared.

One minute later, an e-mail from Barack Obama's campaign arrived in The Fix's inbox. "The Reviews are in: Obama 'unflappable,' 'presidential,' 'kevlar'," it read.

Those two e-mails typify the difficulty -- and subjectivity -- inherent in declaring the winners and losers of last night's debates. With the stakes so high, everyone seems to have a different opinion about who won, who lost and why. And the truth of the matter is that no one sitting in that media filing center last night really knows the answer. We won't get the final verdict until Tuesday, when New Hampshire voters actually head out and cast their ballots.

With all of that said, we now go once more into the breach with our take on the winners and the losers from last night's debates. Agree? Disagree? The comments section below is ready and waiting for your thoughts.

WINNERS

John McCain: The Arizona senator entered last night's debate as the frontrunner in New Hampshire and looked every bit of it on stage. He was relaxed, affable and clearly in his element as he talked about his early support for the war in Iraq, defended President Bush for keeping the country safe from terrorist attack and watched with no small amount of glee as his main rival in the Granite State -- Mitt Romney -- came under withering assault from the other candidates. When the focus of the debate shifted to illegal immigration in the second 45 minutes, McCain was on far more shaky ground but managed to escape relatively unscathed -- again thanks to the fact that people like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee came down hard on Romney.


VIDEO: In this excerpt, Clinton charges that Obama has repeatedly changed his stand on health care policy over the past four years. Obama insists that he has been consistent in his views, and John Edwards dismisses Clinton's criticism as clinging to the status quo. (ABC News/Facebook/WMUR)

Barack Obama: Judging from the dynamics of last night's debate, there seems little question that the mantle of frontrunner has passed from Clinton to Obama over the last week. In the face of a far more aggressive Clinton, Obama generally took the high road, preferring to look magnanimous and presidential rather than debate the New York senator on the finer points of her attacks. Obama also avoided being distracted from his core message of "change" and "moment" that, at least in Iowa, proved so powerful. "It's easy to be cynical," said Obama at one point near the end of the debate. "But there have been periods of times in our history where a president inspired the American people to do better." Obama looked like a president last night.

Bill Richardson: Anyone who has spent time with the governor of New Mexico knows he is tremendously affable and entertaining. But in the debates previous to this one, Richardson seemed to struggle with the format; crowded out for speaking time by the better-known candidates, he always seemed to be trying to pack too much rhetoric into a too-small box. With the field slimmed down (Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped from the race after Iowa and Rep. Dennis Kucinich didn't qualify to participate under the parameters laid out by ABC) Richardson shone. He was still the odd man out as the Big 3 battled for the title of "change agent," but when he did get time to speak, Richardson showed his sense of humor and his deep résumé. "I've been in hostage negotiations that are a lot more civil than this," he said after one particularly heated exchange between Clinton, Obama and John Edwards. Will Richardson's strong performance matter? Probably not. But he deserves credit for giving it.

Debate Format: The smaller groups of candidates made for more interesting -- and substantive -- exchanges, and moderator Charlie Gibson let the back and forth play itself out before interjecting himself. It made for tremendously watch-able and informative debates.

LOSERS


VIDEO: In this excerpt, Huckabee and Romney battle over the extent of their support for the war in Iraq, questioning each other's initial position on the troop surge. (ABC News/Facebook/WMUR)

Mitt Romney: The clearest loser from either of last night's debates was Romney, who watched in horror as every other candidate on stage (other than Rep. Ron Paul) decided to gang up on him. Huckabee took the first shots, claiming that Romney was distorting comments he had made about the "arrogance" of the Bush foreign policy, and it went downhill from there. McCain, Fred Thompson and Giuliani all attacked Romney at one time or another during the debate, an onslaught that left the former Massachusetts governor clearly rattled as he tried to fend off incoming from all directions. What was clear from last night's debate is that the other candidates in this race just don't like Romney all that much. We've long known that McCain has a personal distaste for Romney, but it became clear as the night went along that he is far from alone. To Romney's credit, he did not totally collapse under assault -- scoring points against McCain on illegal immigration and repeatedly questioning why he was being personally attacked by the other candidates. But it wasn't enough.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Clinton came into last night's debate with an almost impossible task: Find ways to take the shine off of Obama without reinforcing the perception that she is too negative and too partisan. She came darn close to pulling it off, but not close enough with just two days left before the New Hampshire primary. Clinton, to our mind, effectively raised questions about whether Obama's rhetoric had anything behind it. "Words are not action, and as beautifully presented and passionately felt as they are, they are not action," Clinton said in one of her most effective lines of the night. She also was able to defend her campaign's argument that she is a legitimate change agent by declaring: "I think having the first woman president is a HUGE change." Where Clinton seemed to fall short, however, was in her delivery where -- to our eye -- she came across more often as angry rather than purely passionate. Clinton also got no help from Edwards, who rather than seeking to take down Obama seemed content to turn his significant oratorical gifts against Clinton. The results of Iowa showed that Clinton had much work to do and not much time do it in. She made a valiant effort last night but came up short.

Mike Huckabee: Huckabee has been the darling of the debate season, standing out with his ability to deliver lofty rhetoric in one breath and a quotable one-liner in the next. Last night, however, he seemed to fall flat. His lofty rhetoric didn't seem to go anywhere (or make all that much sense), and his jokes didn't elicit their usual uproarious response. Huckabee's main role in last night's debate seemed to be as McCain's henchman -- whacking Romney so that McCain didn't have to. That's a sound strategy for someone looking to be picked as vice president, but an odd one for a man who was just days removed from a convincing win in the Iowa caucuses.

Commercials: It seemed like every time The Fix looked up from his computer screen a commercial for "male enhancement" pills or women's undergarments was being aired. What does that say about the demographics of people watching ABC between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Saturday night?

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 6, 2008; 9:49 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Video: Wooing Independent Voters in N.H.

Comments

Republicans
McCain: 37%
Romney: 25%
Huckabee: 14%

Democrats
Obama: 40%
Clinton: 26%
Edwards: 19%

shirt size XL

Posted by: DROSE1 | January 8, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

To the Congress persons running for POTUS I ask this question. What have you done for the American people lately? Most of the candidates have been on the trail for almost two years (save Thompson). Exactly WHEN are the elected officials in the race EVER at work in their elected offices? In my opinion, you should have to resign your seat in Congress to run for POTUS. It's obvious that the candidates stopped worry about actually DOING the peoples work after Obama announced his candidacy. Unlike the real POTUS, who ostensibly takes the White House with him when he travels, these Congress persons do not! So, I ask again, what have they done for the people lately?

Posted by: garybeamon | January 7, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Time for everyone to have a reality check here. None of these candidates are perfect. None of them has all the answers...some may not have any. We've got some real problems here and some of them may not even be fixable.

The Republicans have followed the Milton Friedman Doctrine of Economics. "Free market" economy (meaning no holds barred for business - and we've already seen what that's done to our middle class jobs), privatization of government services (now we have a private military in Blackwater), "personal responsibility" (no more social security), and the list goes on and on.

All these goals set out by Friedman result in the total destruction of the middle class, leaving only Bush's "haves and haves more" and the rest of us, who will end up living in poverty.

And don't look to the Republicans to take care of the poor. The poor will need to take "personal responsibility" to care of themselves.

When I look back through court records of the late 1700's and early 1800's, I find time after time where citizens were paid by their local governments to take care of the infirm and the poor and the orphans. All of this, of course, was before "poor houses" and orphanages.

But the point is, we were a society of dedicated to social responsibility. We took care of those less fortunate than we were.

When I hear Republicans debate their issues and what they would like to do, I wonder where do the poor and disenfranchised fit into their plan?

When I grew up in America, I cannot recall ever seeing a homeless person sitting on a corner begging for change or walking down the street with a shopping cart holding all their earthly belongings. Now these are familiar even in the smaller communities in our country. (Please note, I'm skipping a whole lot of history between the 1800's and the 1950's where there were some really bad times.)

A word about privatization. We now have Blackwater, along with a long list of other services involving the military that the military formerly handled themselves (at much less pay). Yes, the military is smaller and some of these services may now need to be provided (but certainly, not with no bid contracts). And let's be clear. Bush I started downsizing the military long before Clinton continued it. It was thought with the fall of the Soviet Union, the vast military complex was no longer needed.

School vouchers for private schools, when not too long ago our schools were providing a good education for our children. Soon, only those too poor for private education will be the only ones attending public schools...for which there will be less and less money provided. Schools have been seriously gutted already.

But enough, we all know the laundry list of failures and encroachments made by this administration.

The question now is whether or not those in the Republican Presidential race will continue with those plans their PARTY (not just this administration) has for the rest of us.

From what I've heard from these candidates (other than perhaps Huckabee - the jury is still out on him in my opinion), they will continue working for the special interests (big business) and not for the working man who sweats the daily grind to make the profits for that business.

I have no confidence or trust in them any longer. They have gutted every department within the government (and added a political advisor to those departments to make sure they tow the party line) that provides a consumer oversight function to protect we the citizens, who pay their salaries.

So while all of you are taking your swipes at the Democratic candidates, keep in mind that any one of them (yes, even Hillary, even though I would not personally vote for her) are better than the options available on the other side.

I will vote for Obama. I think we need hope, even if he cannot accomplish all that he would like to. But, let's face facts...not one of them will be able to accomplish everything they want to accomplish. There a little matter of money and the Republicans.

I recall hearing on the news a few months ago about a woman who, even though she didn't have a great paying job and even though she had been told she would never be able to follow through with her promise, that she promised a group of students early in their education that if they worked hard and got the grades, she would pay their college tuition. She gave them HOPE. We wonder why our children drop out of school. Think about this. We have taken away their HOPE. College (which we know everyone needs to get ahead - or at the least a vocational school) is no longer affordable. Many parents cannot afford it. There isn't a grant or a scholarship for everyone. That leaves acquiring massive amounts of debt. A very dicey risk, if you find yourself not able to make the cut in college. So, when you have no hope of going, why bother applying yourself. You can get a low paying job without a high school education. Why set yourself up for failure. And those kids who were promised a college education. ALL of them are getting one. She gave them hope, they worked hard and she delivered. Just imagine!

The Dems have made their mistakes in the past (not just the Republicans). If all the money spent on welfare had been spent on education and helping people set up small businesses, we'd be in better shape in this country.

Hindsight is always 20-20. All we can ask our candidates to do is to do the best they can. Again, not all of them have the answers and none will accomplish all they would like, but that's reality.

I just want some hope that we can truly get our country back on the right track and come together and to be better than we have been in the past. In bringing Independents and the under thirty crowd, who usually ignore this process, as well as a few renegade Republicans into the fold, Obama seems to be that person. There are two many Dems who will not vote for Hillary. And the Republicans are already getting their swift boat attacks ready. Whether it's her fault or not, Hillary will only prolong the division between the citizens of our country. And I want this to be a landslide election, not one that will end up in the Supreme Court for Bush's extension of the executive office to decide.

Posted by: treetracker1 | January 7, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

It's very disappointing to see the Democrats deciding to go the route of "all style, no substance". Obama has style, there is no doubt. But he is lacking in so many areas, and his resume is so thin, it's hard to know where to begin to discuss the reasons he should not be the candidate.
With his lack of credentials, and lack of any real plans that are based in hard realities, there is no doubt that we are going to elect another Republican to the White House. He has not been thoroughly vetted by those who are blindly flocking to him as the celebrity candidate, but be assured, the Republicans and their affilated groups WILL vet him! THEY will not subscribe to the cult of personality that is surrounding him.

Posted by: amadeus56 | January 7, 2008 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm an Illinoisan who excitedly cast my first Presidential vote for John Kennedy 47 years ago. I worked hard to help elect Mr. Obama to the Senate though it wasn't really all that difficult given his opponent was the certifiable Allan Keyes. I wonder if the fact that so many independents and Republicans voted for him then, since Keyes was so completely extreme, has led him a little astray. I wonder if he thinks he can get that same proportion nationwide, with a massive GOP machine opposing him. And I wonder if therefore he and his followers mistakenly believe they can discount and treat with contempt the solid base of the Democratic party with impunity. You who continue to so viciously attack Senator Clinton, when a majority of actual Democrats believe in her, like her, and admire her, are taking one hell of a risk. When/if Mr. Obama does win the nomination, he will find it surprisingly difficult to get the millions of us who have been so insulted and trashed, to forgive and forget and work for him. Remember, even in Iowa, Clinton beat Obama in the voters who were already registered Democrats, by almost four points. He needs to have the balls and the civility to tell his rampaging backers to stop the divisiveness, stop booing a fellow Democrat when she tries to speak, stop permitting his campaign leaders to lie about other candidates, because we are going to remember. You're going to need us real Democrats, fogies though you may think we are, and you better get a clue. BTW, try learning some actual facts about Mrs. Clinton; a lot of lies and misinformation fills dozens of posts right here today. Look at her record, don't just repeat mindlessly things you've heard. ONE place to start is www.ontheissues.org where actual, objective, lists of votes and quotes for all the candidates will halp the honest ones among you--however few or many that may be--to find out how mistaken some of your charges really are.

I wish Mrs. Clinton had decided not to run. I wish Mr. Obama had decided to wait until he had worked hard in the Senate and learned a whole lot more about the country, the political system, and the world before he ran. I just hope we can, working together with far more comity than I see today, elect a Democrat. NOT sure we can.

Posted by: donald169 | January 6, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Sad to see desperate Clinton campaign staffers having to post messages in her defense in a desperate attempt to make it look like anyone's excited for the tired, nasty, entitled majesty.

Clinton's negatives are too high to win a general election. The Repubs would love to run against her. She is too unlikeable and her power is based on her hold on the Dem party (and their hold on her).

The grass-roots Dems have clearly abandoned this tired, nasty, (entitled) president-elect who has nothing but negativity and fear to offer.

People are seeing through every attack she makes, displaying her truly nasty nature. She should realize that her striking resemblance to Nurse Ratchet, isn't helping her when she does this. She even introduced a new word into the language: http://www.shaheened.com/

Long live the queen.

Posted by: tonyhs | January 6, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to chime in with other red/purple state residents on the Obama vs. Hillary electability discussion. Here in very rural Arkansas (50 miles to a liquor store) I have seen signs for 2 candidates, Ron Paul and HRC. The hand-scrawled HRC sign reads " Hell no to Hillary unless you're a commie." I don't agree with that but people really don't like her. Also, I have friends that voted for GWB twice and friends that have never voted before who will for vote for Obama on Feb.5

And who is this Huckabee guy? Wait till you see our next governor...he plays banjo!

Posted by: rclouds2000 | January 6, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Very strange, post Zinger, but I can't say I didn't like it! (smile)

Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 6, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

mnjam, you are right on:

politics mostly are about sex.

that's why obama girl ruled youtube during the summer and dennis kucinich and fred thompson have trophy wives.

power turns people on

hell, so many women threw themselves at rudy he couldn't keep up with how to cover their security details.

anybody else think the angry hillary was hot?
oh, baby, where has that anger been? has bill seen it?

and the sexiest pol of all? edwards, of course -- elizabeth as much as john.

she's dying. hell, we all are, but her cause of death is already determined.

she's driving the edwards express. he's living out their dream.

there's nothing more human than that.

not even sex.

edwards has the drive.

can't you feel it?


Posted by: zinger1 | January 6, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"Commercials: It seemed like every time The Fix looked up from his computer screen a commercial for "male enhancement" pills or women's undergarments was being aired. What does that say about the demographics of people watching ABC between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Saturday night?"

Elections are only for those healthy enough for political activity.
If you experience an election lasting longer than four hours, seek medical attention immediately.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 6, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I am a woman from Kentucky where our state is not in play. I have watched every debate and read everything. I am a die-hard Hillary Clinton fan and feel she did well last night, but obviously not good enough to knock out Obama. Although I admire Obama, I will not vote for him for president. He is simply not ready. Please, voters of New Hampshire, use your heads and vote for someone who can clean up the mess in the world that George Bush has made. That person is Hillary Clinton (and her sidekick, Bill).

Posted by: kgroob | January 6, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

bondjedi, I hope that you are not as dumb as you, and most of the young voters of America, sound right now. Tell me one thing of substance that Obama, the front runner according to Mr. Cizilla, said in the debate, one remark meant to illustrate the "depth of his foreign policy experience".

Posted by: benkalinsky | January 6, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

THAT DEBATE WAS PURE OBAMA GOLD, BAYBEEEEEE! FILE HILLARY UNDER DUBYA, FOR "WHERE ARE THEY NOW?"

Posted by: bondjedi | January 6, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

OK folks, I have a problem with two groups of folks:

1)...the ones who say Clinton obviously can't be elected because of her many and varied well-know shortcomings so Obama is the only choice for anyone who's not a brain-dead racist.

2)...the ones who say Obama obviously can't be elected because of his many and varied well-known shortcoming so Clinton is the only choice for anyone who isn't a brain-dead woman-hater.

I don't believe either of you. I've discussed the 2008 Presidential election with several hundred folks of all political leanings, all across the country and and only a limited obsessive few are willing to boldly state either Clinton or Obama have no chance. It's my best guess that you're either purposefully stating a position you don't actually believe (in the mis-guided notion that this will help your candidate); or you've fallen into the not uncommon trap of seeing only the evidence that tends to support your already decided position (a common failing of "Intelligent Design" advocates, some of both the advocates and nay-sayers of Global warming).

The least trustworthy preachers are those who claim to have the one and only true message direct from God. In the same way The folks on this board who claim to know--with an almost theological fervor--that the leading opponent of their favored candidate has no chance and will be slaughtered, are the least credible and least qualified to offer any kind of comment.

2008 has all the signs of a Democratic cycle. The Ds have two very attractive candidates (albeit both with significant strength and weaknesses), either of whom will be strongly favored against any of the current leading Rs (prohibitively favored if the R is Huckabee). I'm a radical centrist, leaning slightly to the left, and am anticipating the thrill of being able to participate in history by having my vote be a part of electing either the first woman, or first black President of the United States.

p.s., yes, I do have a favorite for whom I plan to vote, but it doesn't seem necessary to mention who in this post.

Posted by: malis | January 6, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

As I am from Sweden the only part of the democrates debate that I saw was the ten minute part on healthcare and change.
Senator Obama definatley came out as the winner and the candidate that most resembles the next American president due to both his delivary and interaction with Edwards, who came off looking like Obamas vice President rather than a presidential candidate however I disagree on Senator Clinton being a loser. She definatley had an impossible task at hand however she was effective in challenging the subject of change as something that she has accomplished rather than mere rhetoric. She might have very well put that in the heads of the New hampshire voters as they go in to vote on Tuesday; questioning Obama and being somewhat more reassured on where Clinton stands.

Posted by: hibo88 | January 6, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess we really were all watching different debates because I'm utterly baffled as to why anyone thinks that Obama lacks policy specifics as compared to the other candidates. He tried to draw Hillary into a discussion of the real differences between their healthcare plans (primarily mandates--Clinton/no mandates-- Obama) but she refused the request to talk about the underlying reasons for their different policy approaches (and subsequently had her worst moment in the debate).

Posted by: illinois2 | January 6, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting debate last night.

I was surprised that both Obama and Edwards allowed Hillary Clinton to continually assert that she had "delivered change" for "35 years."

It seems to me the reason that "change" is a hot topic is not solely because of the Bush presidency, but also because the Clinton presidency didn't deliver what so many Democrats had hoped. Health care was dropped after '94 (an example where Hillary cleared didn't deliver), there was no real effort on global warming and energy policy, NAFTA and GATT moved forward leading to job losses through outsourcing, no significant progress on reducing nuclear arsenals, and an incredible amount of energy wasted on scandals, investigations, and personal attacks.

The other people who have "experience" in this election are the voters and most us remember all too well that instead of standing up for principle, the Clinton presidency was about careful calculationn geared toward the Clintons' own political survival. This is what they "delivered" and the positive changes that resulted were small and incremental compared with problems facing the world and the country. The core argument for Obama and Edwards should be that the world can no longer wait for such incremental, poll-tested and ultimately cynical policy proposals. We have "experience" with the Clinton approach, and we have to move faster than that.

Posted by: mvrenner | January 6, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

As someone watching from Canada - I say go Obama go.

Posted by: gordlehmann | January 6, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTcyMTM5YzRiMzVjMjA3MGEwMjUwM2Y3NGJiMzM1YWY =

The Story Mike Huckabee Dreads
With his new success comes new attention to an old Arkansas crime.

By Byron York


In August, I interviewed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee about the case of Wayne Dumond, the convicted rapist who was freed under Huckabee's administration, only to rape and kill a woman in neighboring Missouri. The crime attracted enormous attention in Arkansas, but at the time of our interview, it had not made its way into much coverage of Huckabee's presidential bid. "If [Huckabee] continues to rise in the polls," I wrote, "it's likely he'll be talking about it a lot more."

Now Huckabee is rising in the polls, and sure enough, the Dumond case is attracting more attention. This morning, ABC News ran a report featuring the mother of the woman Dumond murdered, who blames Huckabee for her daughter's death and vows to do everything she can to stop his campaign. "I can't imagine anybody wanting somebody like that running the country," the woman told ABC.

For many people, the report is the first they've heard of the Dumond case. Once they learn about it, however, they are unlikely to forget its bizarre details and the strange turn of events that led to Dumond's final crime. The case is the wild card in Mike Huckabee's record, the single most controversial event during his time in the Arkansas governor's office. And it is a potential threat to his now-soaring candidacy.

It began in September 1984, when Dumond, a 35-year-old handyman, kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old high-school cheerleader in the small eastern-Arkansas town of Forrest City. Dumond was allowed to remain free on bond while awaiting trial, and in March 1985 two masked men entered his house, tied him up with fishing line, and castrated him. People were stunned; the case, already notorious, became much more so. And that was before the local sheriff, a rather colorful man named Coolidge Conlee, displayed Dumond's severed testicles in a jar of formaldehyde on his desk in the St. Francis County building. Amid tons of publicity, Dumond was found guilty and sentenced to life plus 20 years.

The case took on a political coloring when it became known that the victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton. After conviction, Dumond, who claimed he was innocent, asked Clinton for clemency. Clinton declined.

Dumond also argued that even if he were guilty his sentence was excessive, and his position won him some sympathy, not least on the grounds that he had suffered terribly at the hands of those unknown assailants. In April 1992, when Dumond had served just seven years, Lt. Gov. Tucker, acting as governor while Clinton was out of state campaigning for president, commuted Dumond's sentence to a level where he would be eligible for parole. That didn't mean Dumond would go free, only that the state parole board would consider the question. The board declined to free Dumond.

That's where things stood when Huckabee took office on July 15, 1996. Last August, Huckabee told me he had his doubts about Dumond's guilt, and also felt sorry for him over the castration attack. On September 20, just weeks after taking office, Huckabee announced that he intended to set Dumond free, saying that there were "serious questions as to the legitimacy of his guilt." On October 31, Huckabee met with the parole board. Not long after, the board voted to free Dumond, but on the condition he move to another state. Huckabee was pleased, in part because -- given that the board had voted to free Dumond -- there was no need for Huckabee to commute the sentence or pardon him. So Huckabee denied Dumond's now-irrelevant pardon application while at the same time congratulating him on his soon-to-come freedom. "Dear Wayne," Huckabee wrote in a letter to Dumond. "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel that parole is the best way for your reintroduction to society to take place."

But no state would take Dumond. He remained behind bars for two and a half more years, until the board voted to free him in Arkansas. He was released in October 1999 and returned home. The next year, Dumond left the state, moving to a small town near Kansas City, Mo. Within weeks of arriving, he sexually assaulted and murdered a 39-year-old woman at an apartment complex near his home. The day that happened, everyone knew that freeing Wayne Dumond had been a very, very bad idea.

A political storm erupted. Huckabee sought cover by saying that all he had done was to deny Dumond's pardon application. But some Democrats claimed that Huckabee had pressured the parole board to free Dumond. What actually happened between Huckabee and the board remains unclear to this day, but there is no doubt that Huckabee wanted Wayne Dumond set free. And today, he knows he was terribly wrong, but he still defends his actions. "My only official action was to deny his clemency," Huckabee told me in Iowa. As we talked, Huckabee spread the blame around, not only to Tucker, who originally commuted Dumond's sentence, but to Bill Clinton as well. "Tucker could not have done that without Clinton's full knowledge and approval," Huckabee said.

I asked about the "Dear Wayne" letter. Didn't Huckabee want Dumond to go free? "I thought he would, you know, be clean," Huckabee told me. "And he had a job, he had sponsors lined up, so at the time, I did not have this apprehension that something horrible like that would happen. I did want him to report in [to parole authorities], because I just didn't know -- you never know about a guy like that."

As he talked, Huckabee looked down. "I hate it like crazy," he said. "It's one of the most horrible things ever that he went off and did what he did. It's just terrible. There's nothing you can say, but my gosh, it's the thing you pray never happens. And it did."

The Dumond case followed Huckabee around for the rest of his time in the governor's office. In his 2002 reelection bid, his Democratic opponent based virtually her entire campaign on the issue. And beyond the narrow issue of Dumond, Huckabee's actions raise larger questions about his views on crime and punishment. Critics, and some friends, too, have said Huckabee's position was deeply influenced by his Christian faith. "When I first met him, I was going through his positions on issues and I said, 'You're a conservative, so I'm sure you oppose granting parole for violent felons,'" Dick Morris, the campaign consultant who ran Huckabee's first run for lieutenant governor, told me. "And he said, 'Oh no, I would never take that position, because the concept of Christian duty requires that there is a possibility of forgiveness. The concept of Christian forgiveness requires that we keep open the process of parole -- use it sparingly, but keep it open.'"

When I asked Huckabee about that, he reminded me that he was tough on a lot of criminals, too. "Heck, I executed more people than any governor in the history of the state," Huckabee told me. "It's not something I'm bragging about, I'm just saying that if it had been simply a matter of my Christian conscience saying I don't believe in capital punishment, then I was pretty lousy in my conscience."

Huckabee doesn't duck talking about Dumond or the larger clemency issue. But he doesn't enjoy it, either, given that it was unquestionably the worst thing that happened while he was governor. Now, with the press spotlight shining on him, he has no choice but to explain himself.


--

Byron York, NR's White House correspondent, is the author of the book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President -- and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time .

Posted by: mawt | January 6, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what debate Chris watched, but it wasn't what I saw. This was the best format I've seen. McCain did not do well at all. He kept making snide remarks that are really beneath him. Romney unfortunately spent half his time defending himself (and it wasn't pretty). Thompson looked ok. Guliani did ok. I also do not think Hillary was as angry as she is being portrayed (and I'm no supporter). She stayed on point.

I think in general governors and business men do better in campaigns that senators.

Remember you can win Iowa (big deal) and New Hampshire and still lose the election.

Posted by: Hjohns3rd | January 6, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

TO: ZJAZJA

You can't be as dumb as you sound in your comment. Of course Hillary embodies change. When was there ever a woman as President.

But if you actually listened to her whole comment she talked about all the things she did and in addition talked about the change it would represent by having a woman as President.

And if you have ever traveled the world you would realize what a statement that would make to the rest of the world to say nothing of what it would say to all our daughters.

If you were serious about selecting a candidate then you would look at the records of all the candidates and see what their positions are and who has the best record. If you decided then to vote for someone else thats fine, but to use this statement as your determinant makes you one of the people who keep women from breaking the glass ceiling. You are the kind of person who apparently doesn't understand what it means to lend support to a woman who is at the least equally competent to her competitors. I would say that she is more ntelligent and stands head and shoulders above her competitors.

Had you listened to the entire debate you would have heard Edwards and Obama go on about telling the truth to the American people and then repeat their fight against lobbyists and Edwards talk about the patients rights bill- his proudest moment in the Senate. It then was left to Hillary to do what Charlie Gibson should have done and that is to remind people that Edwards bill never got passed the House and was never signed into law, and Obama Campaign Chair in NH is a lobbyist for a drug company. In essence Edwards did nothing in his six years in the Senate and Obama doen't clearly know what the truth is.

They are really the ones telling people only what they want to hear not the truth.

I am always amazed when women say things like you did in your column,and when men say them they are pure chauvanists.

It is time for the women in New Hampshire to stand up and vote for Hillary. Let's make a statement that we truly want change in this country not just another President like George Bush who won a contest, as Hillary pointed out, because more people thought it would be great to have a beer with him.

Look where that got us today.

Posted by: peterdc | January 6, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Cilezza-DID JOHN EDWARDS DISAPPEAR FROM THE DEBATE? WAS HE NOT THERE? OR DID YOU THROUGH THE POST'S TYPICAL RETARD REPORTING, DEEM HIM TOO INSIGNFICANT TO REPORT UPON, GIVEN THAT HE BEAT HILARY CLINTON IN IOWA, AND RICHARDSON DIDN'T EVEN PLACE, IT'S STRANGE TO ME THAT YOU WOULD REPORT ON RICHARDSON, WHO CLEARLY IS NOT IN THE RACE, INSTEAD OF SOMEONE WHO IS!

I know now, who the Post is going to endorse for President: Barack Obama. And then, when the election is held, Obama will lose.

Posted by: Spring_Rain | January 6, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

to my mind, obama looked tired, Thompson was dead dull, Huckabee came across as fresh and Clinton was diligent and OK, and in the words of obama, good enough. I think that's where she'll end up, as good enough for the nomination and the presidency

matvox

Posted by: matvox | January 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama looked tired and off his mark. I'm surprised The Post calls him the winner.

Clinton articulated her definitions of Change, and defended them.

Edwards showed his passion; the only downside was that he came off a bit narrow against special interests in the name of the "middle class".

My view: Clinton won the debate, followed by Edwards then Obama.

jason

Posted by: jjasongoodman | January 6, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

This proves it- You really aren't trying. Outside of NH McCain did very poorly. How on earth...

Posted by: jsu8233n | January 6, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I've been split between Obama and Clinton for most of the buildup, but her comment about being a woman meaning that she is an agent for change has sealed the deal for me. Yes, she's a woman, and as a woman I am pleased to see a woman as a front runner. But being a woman does not mean she is inherently advocating for the kind of changes I believe are necessary to turn this country off the path the Bush Administration has put it on. By suggesting that simply because she is a woman means that she is clearly an agent for change, she has attempted to link together two things that are not related. I'm not voting for a woman, a man, white, black or Hispanic. I'm voting for the best candidate and at this point I feel that Senator Clinton no longer meets that criteria.

Posted by: zjazja | January 6, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a clear winner in my eyes last night. The fire in her belly! At 60, who can match that fire and passion? It is really inspirational to see her fights back at those two empty suits!

Posted by: lhong_99 | January 6, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I do not agree with Chris's analysis of who won. I am an independent with no axe to grind and believe that Obama said nothing of substance. I challenge you to outline what he said that was substantive and factual. He did not counter when she said his campaign manager in N.H. is a lobbyist. He did not refute that he once said he was against the Patriot Act and funding for troops in Iraq, yet, he voted for both. He did not refute the moderator's charge that his policy on attacking enemies in Pakistan was no different than Bush's preventative war. Moreover, he kept keeping his finger on his mouth as if to say "be careful what you say, you are ahead."
Quite frankly, I would gladly vote for him just because he is young and fresh, but I am very concerned that he is "too young and fresh." In these troubled times, I want someone who has been tested, not just with potholes and traffic problems in the Illinnos Senate.

Posted by: migli3x | January 6, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Re: "The Republicans can't say anything about Hillary they haven't already said. She's bulletproof from Rove tactics."

I disagree, largely because of who Hillary is married to. Bill's affair with Monica Lewinsky will continue to be the sub rosa issue with Bill Clinton, as long as he lives. Fair or not, it's simply too tempting and too easy for the right to make hay out of.

The polls pretty much say the same thing, while Hillary is admired by many people, she also has by far, the highest negatives.

Obama showed a lot of poise last night. He's shown that he know how to defend of himself, and do it with dignity.

BTW - Even though I like Obama and intend to vote for him, I'm not "one of his people," in the sense that I'm not working for his campaign.

Posted by: amym2 | January 6, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I liked the "you're nice enough, Hillary" comment. The truth is that Hillary has never been nice to Obama. She resents the hell out of him. Obama's deadpan acknowledged all that without whining.

My own assessment is that the election was over about a month ago. Of course, it will be a while more before I can offer evidence that will persuade the skeptics, but I think Hillary's been done for at least a month, and probably was never genuinely viable to begin with.

Posted by: AgathaX | January 6, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Half the country HATES Hilary. If she became president we would suffer through 4 more long years of horrible divisiveness and partisan finger pointing, stonewalling and viciousness.

Hilary claims to be the best candidate to withstand Republican attacks, which is certainly true given her long history as the right wing radio's favorite punching bag. However, America is ready for a candidate who will end the internal strife, not one who seeks to prolong it.

Obie '08

Posted by: ppl1158 | January 6, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Five people have said to me after I start questioning them this race "I don't like Obama, and I don't like Hillary, so I guess I'm going to have to go with Edwards."


OK


How many people are thinking like that, seeing the wounded Hillary? This is going to be a very interesting next 5 weeks.

Posted by: Miata7 | January 6, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse


It's really sort of imaginary to bring together the Bush Republicans and Democrats to change the way we run a government. That's why Obama is short on specifics, other than kumbaya let's hold hands type stuff. Republicans don't want anything to do with what Obama and Democrats represent, so the whole bring everybody together thing falls apart when you get specific.

Which like I say, you haven't for good reason.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

THE OBAMA OPPOSERS JUST DON'T GET IT!!!

Obama ISN'T just words. Obama has the record to back it up. Hillary's attacks on Obama fall short because they're UNTRUE.

Obama is NOT young- he's the same age Bill Clinton was. Obama is NOT INEXPERIENCED! He's held office for 11 years, learning to work with other lawmakers to get things done, without getting soiled by being in Washington. Obama has a GREAT record. Obama, a former community organizer, has organized a massive and successful campaign network. Obama is MORE ELECTABLE than Hillary! Obama is RIGHT ON HEALTHCARE (no to forcing americans to buy insurance) and right about social security. Obama has realistic, pragmatic plans, AND Obama was RIGHT ON IRAQ, Iran, AND Pakistan!
A junior senator, Hillary has a very thin resume, has shown no leadership, had no other political experience, and therefore, she doesn't even measure up to her OWN campaign message of "experience".


Obama inspires, yes.
But even after you look deeper, and look past the inspirational orator, Obama wins, hands down.

Posted by: julieds | January 6, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Look,
Vision Smision, what we need is a friggin lawyer that knows how to get the Corporate thugs "LEGALLY" and that ain't no "STARBUCK STYLING PIE IN THE SKY KID", who has yet to be kicked in the crotch by Herr Rove!
The NEOCONS are licking their chops with the possibility of being thrown a tender piece of raw meat!

Posted by: harried | January 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The only thing the debate made me do was look into Obama's record more closely. Then I came across a San Diego paper's analysis of his record, some thing the good ole east coast media should be doing, and it really opened my eyes to his inconsistancy both in voting, avoiding voting and between how he positions himself and how he actually votes. For all interested it can be gotten through www.realclearpolitics.com. He never answered the campaign manager as lobbyist question, he switched his position on Pakistan from going after him to consulting with Pakistan first, and he looked a little foolish defending his weak lobbyist bill.

Posted by: BJLeone | January 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't the media or Americans pick up on the fact that the ONLY proven dem candidate is Gov Richardson? Althought the Senators are ok, NONE of them have executive experience whatsoever... I ask, IF YOU WERE HIRING A CEO FOR YOUR COMPANY would you hire any of the inexperienced candidates? Plus, history tells us that we elect executives, not senators...

Posted by: gwebbslinger | January 6, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I Feel Hillary did hold her own in the debate. She may have even taken a bit of shine away from Obama. But it just seems to me that she lacks something. What she lacks is what Obama possesses and she attacks. Its charisma. An Obama quote that you mentioned seemed to sum it up. ..."But there have been periods of times in our history where a president inspired the American people to do better." A good leader makes you want to follow him/her. Inspires. Hillary may have Washington experience but Hillary just doesn't appeal to enough people in that way. More so, she comes across as a 35 year politician who is more concerned with fulfilling her and Bill's own political aspirations and attacking whomever stands in the way rather than bringing this country together, which is exactly what we need.

Posted by: lovetthines | January 6, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I think Barack has positioned himself well with Edwards to the left of him (politically as well as during the debate) and Hilary to his right. Hilary claims she is the agent of change yet she has a similar problem to those Vice Presidents or machine candidates of the past. How can she say she is for change when what she is saying is let's go back to the 90s when Bill was president rather than let's go forward into the future? It is the same problem that longtime Senators like Dodd and Biden had. They have been in Washington so long and haven't affected change. How do they expect people to think they can do it as President? Which is why so few Presidents have come from the ranks of the Congress. Barack is also a Senator but with less than 3 years there he can more legitimately claim the role as an outsider. On the experience question, since most Presidents have been Governors before coming to office, none of them have had much foreign policy experience, yet many do quite well so that argument doesn't hold much water. Hilary talks about her experience being a change agent and having been "vetted" by the attacks on her, but in fact those attacks worked. She (or Bill) dropped her health care initiative in the face of the industry lobbying effort. So what can she point to as a success other than to say she has learned form that experience. All in all I think Obama is well positioned to take this nomination and go on to win. It will be interesting to see a 46 year old black man debating a 70+ year old white Senator (if McCain gets it) on who can best be a change agent. In the end this election is about trust. Who do you trust to make changes and turn around the horrible policies of the past 7 years? Obama has the sincerity and trust thing down pat and for that reason is attracting even Republicans and Independents. He has a lot going for him and seems likely to succeed.

Posted by: ScottSchneider | January 6, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

frothtales hallucinated: "Her body language portrayed somebody who was extremely angry. At several different times, I thought she was going to leave her chair and physically attack the other candidates."

Sounds like you made up the name frothtales just to spin lies like this. No, you're not going to be successful stopping Hillary in the primaries, Republicans. Good imagination though.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I am mystified as to why when Hillary fires back she is called shrill and combative. I think she did very well last night and took on Edwards who was sucking up to Obama. Edwards repeats the same old song at every debate. Obama looks like he was half asleep. He was very disrespectful to Hillary. The media has beat up on her and left the other two alone. Matthews and Russert are big time Clinton haters.

I never thought I would be a Hillary defender. But seeing the way this is going has turned me around. I can see the Democrats heading for defeat now. The Republicans are frothing at the mouth!!

Posted by: swannrl | January 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Complaints, concern, apprehension expressed in previous comments about Obama's inexperience are typical reactions garnered by "outsider" candidates who dare to enter national politics without completing the inside-the-beltway hazing required to cut the true passion out of otherwise viable candidates for true change.

That's what happened to the passion John Kerry had when he fought to end the slaughter of American soldiers lives in Vietnam. He started out with a passionate voice for change and his position on the issue was dead right. But then a funny thing happened on his way to running for political office. He realized that to win he would have to change his rhetoric, personality, tone down the passion, accept that change is made in baby-steps to appease the establishment grandfathers/lack-luster-thinkers/fat-cats/sit-on-your-fat-butts-and-do-nothing-washington-insiders who run for office in perpetuity for the perks from lobbyists and lifelong governmental employee benefits that most Americans could never conceive of receiving from the corporate employers they slave for years to help make executives richer and richer. The end result? A failed presidential campaign that lacked the passion required to garner support from the American electorate in a time of an idiotic, disastrous Bush presidency.

The same complaints of inexperience were made about Bill Clinton during his first run for office and he turned out to be one of the most talented politicians we have ever had in office. He and Al Gore had new ideas that the establishment of the time would never have pushed to implement and the result was incredible growth in industry that made America the envy of the world. I believe Obama has the same kind of "vision" for change that could take us to the next level.

We have been stunted for the last 8 years by a president that comes from the "old school" of thinking that "war" is the best means of political survival for a presidential second term, and that "war" is a means of economical growth for your fat-cat corporate friends in the business of defense contracting and oil production. Can we get out of the "war" mentality as a means of political and economic sustainability? It hasn't worked. It has brought economic devastation in terms of a national deficit that has doubled over the last 8 years and our respect in the world is in the toilet. Thanks G.W !

Hillary is more of the same regarding wartime politics. She has consistently supported Bush's hawkishness on the war with her voting record. What vision does she have beyond healthcare? War with Iran? She voted for it. What is her plan to restore America's respect to our international friends and foes. Her voting record will not garner concessions from our enemies or support from our teetering friendships with European nations. Even her rhetoric around "we can't give a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq because it will embolden the terrorists" is straight from Bush's playbook.

All that said, I do think Hillary performs better in the debates than Obama and I think she is immensely qualified to be president. I just think with her sheepish follow-Bush's-lead-on-wartime-rhetoric she has caused me to lose some respect for her as a politician. If you disagree with decisions made by Bush and you are as strong a politician as you say you are, then stand up strong and at least vote against the decision to declare the Iranian national guard a terrorist organization, which was just another vote to give Bush the authority to slump us into more war minutia. An independent thinking, qualified politician with 35 years of experience should have had the "judgment" to see through the fakery of that resolution and vote it down faster than her finger could hit the "No" button. Say what you want about experience but Obama's stance on this Iraqi mess was dead right from the beginning and it was right and contrary to popular opinion of the time. Yet he went with his best judgment and he is the better for it at this point in this race.

But let's not forget Hillary's attacks on Obama's "experience" regarding his statements that he would meet with friends and foes (i.e. dictators). Then she had to retract that rhetoric with statements that talking to our enemies is necessary sometimes when a real life situation presented itself a few months after her unfounded attacks on Obama's "inexperience" turned out to be incorrect. Obama's judgment in foreign policy diplomacy proved right, YET AGAIN! Don't you get it?! She could learn from him, if she could get off her high horse and listen with an intent for REAL CHANGE. Her attacks came from the same old school thinking that Bush follows in that "we do not talk to our enemies." So stupid! Come on Hillary! Public opinion does not want more anger, disrespect in the world due to our unilateral cowboy international tactics. Stop reading Bush's playbook on international diplomacy and look at the reality of the world through your own unfiltered eyes. Obama has gotten that right twice now in his short tenure in office. HELLO??!!!! I'm willing to vote for you Hillary, but I don't want more G. W. Bush ignorance on any scale, domestically or internationally!!!! OK??!!!

Experience is not the issue here. It's vision. It's judgment.

Obama seems to have enough "experience" to understand that you have to work within the systems of government and corporate influence to affect change and that blasting your position loudly and being un-presidential will not get you the movement required on these complicated issues. For all of Edwards' rhetoric to beat the corporations, we must remember that corporations provide real jobs to Americans, even with the dwindling landscape of jobs going overseas. What we need is to enact policies that provide incentives to keep those jobs here. We want and need our corporations to be successful, but that success needs to be achieved with responsible American interests in mind and with an eye towards relative independence from foreign interests. Our time in history is seeing the world increasingly become a global community and international cooperation is inevitable for any successful nation; but our elected officials must understand that they are elected to represent "American" interests "first" within that global change.

Within the global context, we must also remember that there are bad things happening around the world and if we can restore our respect in the world we can affect change in areas of political unrest (i.e. Darfur and Kenya) without a single American soldier having to put their lives on the line. Respect means that other countries will start to listen and act when America weighs in on international issues. We had that kind of power and we can have it again with the right president.

If Hillary is the nominee, I will of course support her because I feel she can do this job well. If Obama is the nominee, I will be thrilled to support his candidacy and subsequent presidency because he has a vision for where this country and the world needs to go that should have been the natural progression after the Clinton/Gore years in office. We were broadsided and derailed from our 90's forward momentum by ignorance and shortsightedness in G.W.'s administration. He took us back to old, stale "wartime" politics as usual where the top 1-2% benefit and the middle-class works harder for less, but we have a chance with Obama to correct that path and get back on track. Hillary will be an effective president as well, but I don't believe we will move as quickly to a new frontier in our history with her at the helm because her vision is too limited. She is practical and old-school. I believe we need a broader vision to shoot for with the kind of wisdom required to realize that vision within the framework available for real change.

Posted by: bahbii | January 6, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

With 99.6 percent of the precincts reporting, John McCain finished in fourth place, having persuaded a mere 13 percent of Republican caucus voters to support him.

Fourth place. Thirteen percent of the vote. He failed to meet even the low target of a 15-to-18 point, third-place finish that the media set for a McCain victory. And yet journalists spun it as a "perfect result for McCain" anyway.

In case you're wondering, no candidate, Democrat or Republican, has ever won his or her party's nomination after finishing fourth in a contested Iowa caucus, or after winning as little as 13 percent of the vote. Yet this is "very good news for John McCain," according to some of the nation's most powerful journalists, ignoring the fact that the only way in which this is good news for McCain is that they keep saying it is good news for McCain.

Posted by: pedjr336 | January 6, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I felt that Hillary came across as overly aggressive and desperate at times when she spoke. Her body language portrayed somebody who was extremely angry. At several different times, I thought she was going to leave her chair and physically attack the other candidates. Whether man or woman, people do not want to see a candidate as an angry person. Unlike Hillary, Obama and Edwards never lost his cool when the attacks came. Hillary also seemed devoid of any hope or promise. This nation was built on hopes, dreams, and promises. And people, words are important. They can inspire people to action. Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan were presidents who used words to inspire faith in our country and action in some tough times. If Hillary doesn't get this, she has no business running for a city council let alone president.

Posted by: frothtales | January 6, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary also has the burden of dealing with a right wing noise machine that will obsess about Bill and his past indiscretions, ad nauseum, as soon as she wins the nomination."

This is what you Obama people are pretty clueless about. The Republicans can't say anything about Hillary they haven't already said. She's bulletproof from Rove tactics.

Obama on the other hand is fertile territory. There's a black church thing going around about him now that's not even a dirty trick, it's just his church's web site. And it's not pretty.

You have no earthly clue what it's like to end up like McGovern as Democratic anti-war candidate against Nixon/Rove/etc. Republican dirty tricks. But you would find out if Obama is nominated, and it also won't be pretty.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Let me begin by stating that I did not see the debate last night (I was watching my Steelers choke to the Jaguars), so any comments I could add to that would be limited in nature.

However, I feel I am able to add something to the discourse (or lack of it) that I see here.

To those who say that Obama has no substance: I'm sorry, but you are wrong. A simple check of the news media articles BEFORE his Iowa win will reveal someone who is already highly regarded for his ability to transcend party lines. He is also known to have sponsored a substantial number of bills while in the Illinois Senate (823), many of which were enacted into law. He has also had more bills that he sponsored enacted in his 4 years in the U.S. Senate than Ms. Clinton has in her 7 years. He has introduced (and gotten enacted into law) legislation to curb lobbyist influence and corruption in Illinois, long regarded as one of the most corrupt legislatures in the nation. His foreign policy statements, such as his assertion that we talk to our enemies first have consistently been backed up by military leaders, who have quietly stated that this is, in fact current U.S. policy despite appearances and actions to the contrary.

To those who say that Hillary was shrill and angry: Have some pity on the lady. She is in a nearly impossible position. After an unexpected and debilitating third place finish in Iowa she somehow has to find a way to check the rising Obama momentum, AND change her own public perception, AND do so in only 96 hours time when she never expected to find herself in such a predicament. She is a very capable policitian, but that's an inordinately tough spot for anyone to be in.

To those who feel that Obama is more vulnerable to attack ads than Hillary: Ummmm, how? Consider that anytime I have ever turned on conservative talk radio it usually is not more than 15 minutes at any point before I hear some reference to Hillary Clinton. This is a fight that the Republican right has spent YEARS gearing up for. They have more mud to sling at her than you would find at a tractor pull. Obama, by contrast, has already conceded much of the dirt that could have been dug up on him. Regardless of which church he attends and whether or not you agree with its tenets, he has shown himself to be a much bigger person than what many are willing to admit. And I have to admit that it's kind of nice to see a GOP attack machine that is actually afraid to attack someone.

To those who cry out in fear of inexperience: People will only want change if the devil they know becomes more fearful than the devil they don't. After 20+ years of cravenly calculating politics, it seems obvious to me that people are stating through their votes and caucusing that they want to see something new. The cries of fear with regards to inexperience are being drowned out by people who are looking for honesty and integrity and are willing to accept fallibility and inexperience as a price for that.

Rick Beaule'
Indiana, PA

Posted by: loudguy | January 6, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama came over last night like a Zombie- somewhere in the twilight zone.
uttering nothing of substance- he seemed lazy and somnolent. If he gets the nomination- the Democrats will loose again in November for their sheer stupidity, lack of pragmatism for nominating an amateur like Mr. Obama for President in a crucial turning point in American history.

As for Mr Cillizza-you are fool of it- it amazes me how a writer and pundit like you gets paid.

As a lifetime Democrat here in Connecticut- if Mrs Clinton continues to falter- I will route for Mr. Romney- and vote for him in the fall against Mr. Obama.

Posted by: vercingetorex | January 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"It seemed like every time The Fix looked up from his computer screen a commercial for "male enhancement" pills or women's undergarments was being aired. What does that say about the demographics of people watching ABC between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Saturday night?"

The most acute observation of this entire piece.

People care a lot more about sex than about politics.

Indeed, politics is primarily about sex.

Posted by: mnjam | January 6, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is trying to play the "Where's the Beef" card that Walter Mondale used to blunt Gary Hart's almost successful insurgent campaign of 1984. It worked for Fritz, who had the entire labor movement and democratic establishment lined up against the uppity young senator from Colorado. Of course we all know how Fritz faired in November.

24 years later, the union movement is weaker and divided between Edwards and Hillary, and the Democratic establishment does not have the same clout it once did.

But more importantly, Barrack Obama has the finances, movement energy and political skills that Gary Hart never had. Hillary will be sure to spend all the money she has raised through 2/5, but as a practical matter this will be over after South Carolina.

Posted by: dmooney | January 6, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

How can some of you people say we don't really know Hillary? Good heavens! Do you think we've been living in a cave? I liked her husband (except for his womanizing) but I don't think Hillary Clinton would be where she is without Bill. As a woman, I'd rather have the first woman president be someone who makes it on her own. It's time to turn the page on BUSH/CLINTON/BUSH and I pick OBAMA.

Posted by: joy2 | January 6, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me HRC is sensing a different concept about real change. Isn't she talking about achievements or about getting things done? For me, real and deep change has to do with transformation, with ordinary people involved (¡not following!), with people coming together to create their future, with values not compromised (all these attributes together). I agree with her on the record' issue: just Obama's one is clearly much more aligned with making politicians/officials accountable and with the kind of change he is proposing since Springfield's kick-off. Another thing in his record is that he has changed the attitude of many young Americans who were naturally skeptical before his quite fresh entrance in the national political landscape: ¡huge and strategic change! In my view, Obama has also a different kind of leadership (for this type, words do count and inspire -he meant that yesterday night- ). Many changes that disregard inspiration and involvement are later not sustainable. Yes, it's important to compare records but not mainly in terms of quantity (years, bills, etc.)...

Posted by: pggowland | January 6, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The "Crimson wave" has reached America's shores - finally! It's time that we as a nation demanded that our elected officials pass on the shady legalese, smokey back room horse-trading deals, polarization, and call up the citizens to marshal their collective strengths and innovative American prowess to move this country in a positive direction. I agree with Mrs. Clinton that words are meaningless -- at least those spoken by her -- she changes positions as often as the Northerly winds! I am a lifelong registered Arizona Republican - No, I did not vote for Bush. Voting for any Republican this time is foolish and insane. Mr. Edwards was my first choice until I watched Mr. Obama's Iowa victory speech - The Crimson Wave moved my heart and hope was again placed inside. Naivete? No, reality. True leaders are purveyors of hope and merchants of dreams. If we can think it we can achieve it. No matter what happens during this contest - 3 January 2008 in Iowa a monumental movement was engaged. If Mr. Obama does not win the nomination of his party - it is obvious all things will not be the same again. This you can believe a new day in America is dawning and we're merely on the cusp of that wave.

'Live Free or Die'

Lee GIABENELLI

Posted by: LAGCII | January 6, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

vpwaren: I am glad you admitted you are a Repub, but I would suggest you get your stats from somewhere else, because they are off by something other than your imagination ie-- Blacks [AA] make up approx 13% not 25% of the US population. Get your FACTS straight or at least in the ballpark.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Attacking Barack? For what? What has he done?
Give Da Kid a break. He's just doing some "STARBUCK STYLIN"----No reason to doubt that Da Kid is gonna bring humanity together with grabber-words, a toothy smile, and the shear force of his exquisite mind! Just wait and see. Chris Cillizza thinks so, that should be a good enough endorsement, no?

Posted by: harried | January 6, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

there is a little motif that has come up a lot in discussions about the race at this point. people are amazed that voters care more about whether they like a candidate than his/her resume.

i think people vote for candidates based on 4 things:
1. do they like him/her
2. do they trust him/her
3. do they think their experience is adequate
4. do they agree on their policy positions

we have to choose a candidate for this reality. history has shown that we can't predict who will be a successful president based on experience. lincoln was the greatest ever with almost no experience. roosevelt was great with great experience. and if people really valued experience even on the democratic side. biden, dodd and richardson would be battling for the top spot right now.

Posted by: stpaulsage | January 6, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I only watched the dem debate and I agree with Chris'analysis. I am glad Bill Richardson was there. He added substance and intelligent comments even if he doesn't come off as polished as the other candidates.

I think "likability" shouldn't be discounted as unimportant if it means you think the candidate is someone who will listen to voters and other politicians and work with people. That is important, especially now, when we are having some international difficulties because we haven't listened and worked with others as well as we could. Being hard-nosed and sticking to a solid policy isn't always advantageous, if it means it affects your ability to bring others on board to get the job done.

One disappointment about the dem debate, I am sorry none of the candidates mentioned that "the surge" was not for the most part "new troops" but rather meant soldiers stayed longer and went back sooner to Iraq. In my opinion, that something that is wrong with the surge.

Posted by: jferrigan | January 6, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Gibson was the biggest loser when he revealed that he thought that a couple of St. Anselm's professors (and, then, did I hear him right--a couple of New York City Public School teachers?!) would have a household income of 200,000+. This from a 'newsman'. Hillary did not look good yelling about how much she values 'change'. That was about all that stood out for me.

Posted by: threehegemons | January 6, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

What about facts? Hillary says she has 35 years experience. As what, How many as a senator(6 ?) the rest as Bill's wife?
Richardson did what about nuclear weapons in Korea? What about the meltdown at Los Alamos under hsi watch?
Maybe the Fix is under informed.

Posted by: jim | January 6, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

My prediction was posted at 10:42AM for those of you that would like to check me out.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama did what he had to do. No major gaffes, kept himself reserved, explained his policy positions with poise and substance.

Clinton did a good job, too, but it wasn't enough. She wasn't able to rattle Obama or trap him into making a mistake. I think she was expecting Edwards to take shots at him, too, but he seems content to play for second.

I like Bill Richardson, I just think he's overmatched on the national stage.

The Republicans looked as disorganized and out of touch as the Democrats looked in '04. Huckabee is their only chance to win, because the other five candidates look like tired old men, though I think that Fred Thompson did a very good job, too.

And is it me, or does Mitt Romney sound eerily like Brent Musberger?

Posted by: cam8 | January 6, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to remember that Hillary doesn't "have time" in NH to change her political schtick because her campaign manager, Terry MacAuliffe, was instrumental in frontloading the primaries so that she could breeze in as the inevitable. It was all done to help her, and now she and Bill are whining about how they don't have time to shift gears after her trouncing in Iowa. You know what they say about karma....

Her lame attempts to portray Obama as a piece of fluff are going to backfire. The truth is that he has years more legislative experience than her. He has shown much better judgment on foreign policy votes. Just recently, Obama voted in the Senate to support a bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs near heavily populated areas. Clinton voted in favor of using those cluster bombs near innocent civilians. She has also refused to ban the use of landmines. So much for her reputation as an advocate for children and women.

That's not the kind of "experience" I am looking for in my President. The Clintons need to realize that it's 2008, not 1992. They had their 8 years in power -- now they need to graciously step back and allow the Democratic party to move forward in the future. If they really want to help their party, they will move into the 21st century and help Obama win the election in 2008. He has the potential to bring in the Independents and transform the Democratic party.

Posted by: elscott | January 6, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Can't remember one thing Obama said, except the word "change" and Edwards drowned him out on that word. He's a mine of lack of information. Hillary, on the other hand, got a little mad, got friendly, spoke up for what she wants to do. That I like.

Posted by: donaldmatson1 | January 6, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

My "Crystal Ball" is working fine again today. Earlier today I predicted how the spin machines would be. I just checked my E-Mail and no less than the WaPost had it almost word for word what I predicted.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hilary Clinton needs to provide more specifics about her alleged "35 years of experience." What are the accomplishments she allegedly achieved that could be considered as beneficial to the American people who are now wanting an era of change.

The biggest negative about Hilary Clinton has been her support for an immoral war in Iraq that the majority of Americans oppose.
If I (with no intelligence briefings) could see the pattern of deceit that led up to George Bush's war of choice, why couldn't the "experienced" Mrs. Clinton?

Posted by: lavinsr | January 6, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hillary seemed shrill and desperate at times, while Obama was more relaxed and above it all. While she was able to get a grip, later in the evening, there were times when her performance was embarrassing.

If knowledge and experience equalled wisdom, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, would not have led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in this nation's history. While Hillary may be one of the smartest women in US political history, she lacks the ability to connect and inspire. She's all left-brain and no right brain. If having mere facts at one's finger tips was a qualification for the presidency, we could have Steve Jobs design a computer to do the job.

Obama is appealing precisely because he transcends the mundane. While policy wonkishness, isn't necessarily a bad thing in itself, Hillary also has the burden of dealing with a right wing noise machine that will obsess about Bill and his past indiscretions, ad nauseum, as soon as she wins the nomination. While the issue is somewhat sub rosa, deep down, a lot of Dems are concerned that a vote for Hillary is a vote for all of the accompanying insanity that the right wing unleashed during bill's term of office.

Posted by: amym2 | January 6, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary Haters" are out in force? How odd, I see a remarkable number of new people posting attacking Obama today, not Hillary.

To me, John Edwards' line sums it all up: You didn't see Hillary backers doing all this attacking when she was ahead. Now that she is behind, SUDDENLY all of these attacks are coming at Obama.

Look folks, so far this election season Democrats have, finally, after decades, done an admirable job of not eating their own. Hillary backers are coming off sounding like pouty whiners here with all of this "Obama is unelectable" stuff. It sounds remarkably like the same arguments that were made between Kerry and Dean back in 2004:

Vote for John Kerry because he is electable and Dean is not.

We all know how that turned out.

Posted by: thechilidragon | January 6, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I disagree that Sen. Clinton is classified as one of the losers of last night's debate.

She did well. She reinforced her platform and brought up some very interesting points that resonate with people.

I watched the debate with several southern republicans and when she said that the economy is falling into recession they all agreed; afterwards they all said she came off well.

The two front attack by Obama and Edwards was bad for her but she pulled out of it. By the end of the debate she came off very personal and showed us all the Clinton that we know, love and support. Obama on the other hand I don't think faired as well, his comment "you're nice enough" I don't think went over that well.

Clinton 08!!!

Posted by: mcaste2 | January 6, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If Hillary is elected every decision she makes will be compromised with an eye to getting reelected in 2012. She makes her decisions based on what is politically expedient and that won't change. Edwards is not getting the press he deserves. Why? He is fearless in his aggressive stance against corruption and his support of the middle class. When will the press take notice?

Posted by: marycampbellf | January 6, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

People - could we try to keep in mind that we're choosing the Leader of the Free World here? All this talk about likability and looks (Hilary is a "hag" and Romney looks "presidential") is simply irrelevant. meadowlark's post is spot-on.
In choosing the next president, we need to consider 2 things - What is the candidate's position on important issues, such as the economy, health care and a realistic plan for getting out of Viet - oops, I mean Iraq. Second, what training/experience does the candidate have for the position? This doesn't have to be Washington experience, but it should definitely include good problem-solving skills and the ability to analyze complex situations and weigh competing opinions/demands. And Bush's dismal records shows how important it is to work with political opponents and treat them with respect.
Taking all this into account, an informed electorate would nominate McCain and Richardson. I don't completely agree with either of them, but they come closest to being prepared for the job.
Don't be fooled by the packaging - if we're going to get this one right, we have to use our brain cells.

Posted by: pralbee | January 6, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey this Obama kid is a "STARBUCK'S SPECIAL". Go BARACK, you've got that "PRESIDENTIAL" look, just ask Chris Cillizza!

Posted by: harried | January 6, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

New Hampshire Democratic Debate Winner

Who won the ABC Democratic Debate in New Hampshire?

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

-------------------------------------------------------------

New Hampshire Republican Debate Winner

Who won the ABC Republican Debate in New Hampshire?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1450

.

Posted by: PollM | January 6, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is the best debater. But debates do not necessarily win elections: ask John Kerry.

Posted by: rjoff | January 6, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

JD: The "Hillary Haters" are out in force as usual. I've noticed in the past few days that a bunch of the Obama supporters are using the "There is no way in Hell I will vote for Hillary." as I called some of them on not being Dems. This is more proof that a lot of Repubs are changing their registration and voting for Obama in an all out effort to stop Hillary. Remember I have been Posting this for a long time as the Repub strategy because they KNOW they can beat Obama in the GE, but also KNOW there in no way in hades they can beat Hillary in the GE. What I am saying, and have said in the past, has been, and is being proven, every day to be 100% accurate.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that Sen. Clinton could really lose this thing?

Obama is rising in the NH polls and, by most accounts, did himself well in the debate.

What happened to the Clinton machine?

Some thoughts...

http://thepoliticalpost.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/is-the-clinton-machine-running-on-all-cylinders/

Posted by: thepoliticalpost | January 6, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

This guy Cillizza says:
"And the truth of the matter is that no one sitting in that media filing center last night really knows the answer. We won't get the final verdict until Tuesday, when New Hampshire voters actually head out and cast their ballots.
With all of that said, we now go once more into the breach with our take on the winners and the losers from last night's debates."
___________________________________

In other words, they don't know what's going on but that ain't gonna stop them from flinging the crap at us folks!

Posted by: harried | January 6, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Huckabee remind me of Jimmy Carter. By the time they learn where the levers of power in Washington are and how to use them, they will be running for their second term.

Edwards is right, the powers that be will never give up their influence and highly lucrative access to improve this American democracy. Hilary sought to change our health care system. Those same makers of public policy resisted her effort for change. They made her look naive and uninformed and dealth the Clinton administration a decisive defeat. Did we get a better health care system as a result? If you are a health care provider the answer is decisively yes. If you are a health care client/patient, the answer is definitively no. The system is more expensive, less accessible, less caring for the patient, and more protective of the health care professional to the detriment of the user.

Hillary offered change way back then and took the field against a powerful adversary. Her record speaks for itself. Her comments regarding her record and that of both Edwards and Obama are well taken. Point to Hillary.

Posted by: jimbob128 | January 6, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the concerns about and criticism of Obama. I was originally delighted he chose to run, because I believe an African American, woman, Latino, or Asian American president would provide badly needed, fresh perspective. However, I've come to believe Obama is not an electable candidate and would not be a desirable president.

I was an advertising executive for 15 years and learned how to persuade people to buy your product on the basis of rhetoric and image. I am now an attorney of more than 10 years and learned how to be critically analytical and objective.

I have seen nothing substantive from Obama. His campaign appears to be based entirely upon rhetoric and selling an image of "change," without even explaining what change he hopes to bring about, much less a plan to achieve those goals. As I helped accomplish repeatedly while an advertising exec, he is selling himself on the basis of rhetoric, image, and theatrics. Such tactics are particularly effective when targeting youth and relatively uneducated persons.

The Washington Post reports:
1) The consensus expert opinion is that Obama's health care plan is seriously flawed because it does not require universal participation. One notable expert originally embraced Obama's plan, but quickly reversed himself. Rather than openly debate why he believes his plan to be superior, Obama's response was to attack the expert who reversed himself, calling his opinion meaningless because he "flip-flopped." I.e., Obama entrenched himself in his flawed position, ignored the advice of experts, and adopted an "I'm right regardless, we'll do it my way" attitude. Does that remind you of someone you know? Hint: George W. Bush.

2) On several occasions (and perhaps still), Obama stirred predominately African American audiences by asserting "there are more young black men in prison than in college." The Post researched the claim and discovered, even including jails and youth detention centers, at least five times as many young black men are attending college as are incarcerated. Even after the Post informed Obama of his error, he continued to present the claim to African American audiences, and did not respond to the Post's request for the data upon which he based the claim. I.e., he continued to stand on a mis-truth because it served his purpose. Does that remind you of someone you know? Hint: George W. Bush.

The Republicans will unleash their attack machine upon any Democratic candidate. However, I submit Obama will be particularly vulnerable. Some Republicans show interest in Obama now, likely because the Republican candidates aren't especially attractive. Once Obama is run through the Rovian, SwiftBoatian shredder, I suspect any Republican candidate will appear much more desirable. I seriously doubt Obama can be elected.

Among the Republican candidates who are likely to be elected over Obama: 1) McCain -- okay if you want another warmongering imperialist; 2) Huckabee -- okay if you want another religion facilitating Evangelist; 3) Romney -- need I go further?

Anyone who failed to perceive Obama's lack of substance in last night's debate was apparently unable to pierce Obama's rose-colored veil of rhetorical imagery. He didn't even skirt the questions opaquely or gracefully.

I'm confident I could sell Obama to his supporters using the catch words "change" and "bring together." I've helped move a lot of merchandise using the empty catch phrases "limited time offer" and "new and improved."

I, as much as anyone, desperately hope for change. However, I, for one, will not vote for a rhetorical promise of change when not backed by any apparent substance.

Posted by: rodtanner | January 6, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse


No one should get knocked out by the first four primaries. Everyone in that debate should stay in until they've captured the nomination.

Even now, the delegate count is 16, 15, and 14 after Iowa.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The surround sound on my TV was fully functional and the consensus in our humble abode (none of vote party lines) was Edwards and Clinton were neck and neck winners... they answered the questions. Obama was last in this verbal race.
On the Republican's McCain is just another Bush, with some changes on the War, but nothing else.
If everyone in the room had to vote today, the candidates are Edwards, Clinton and "I like Mike."
Two major disappointments - ABC leveraged their "infomercial reports" as questions; and whatever happened to deep dives on how the candidates would address the American economy... we heard enough about the Foreign policies.


Posted by: chrishawver | January 6, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

It struck me last night that while we've all heard that the various Democrats were trying to emerge as the alternative to Hillary, it seemed that Edwards is now trying to emerge as the alternative to Obama. It seems JE is banking on her getting knocked out by getting beat in Iowa, NH, Nevada, and SC, and he can live with Obama winning the first two. On TV, Edwards seemed to come across too hot for the medium. If last night were scored on substance, Clinton and Richardson clearly had more to say, but if it is scored on effectiveness of presentation, Obama (as Chris says) wins, with Richardson perhaps helping himself by getting equal time.

Now backed to those of you who are affiliated with campaigns and spinning.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse


I posted yesterday that I had just received on one of those conservative emails that make the rounds, this one being take a look at Obama's religion and church. It was pretty bad, and it wasn't even made up. Just wait till they start making stuff up.

You Obama advocates are so naive Republicans must be salivating at the prospect of what they're going to do you.

One thing for sure, you'll lose your naivete along with the election.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

My name is Ven Parameswaran from Scarsdale, N.Y.
Obama has started a political revolution or you may call it "CHANGE REVOLUTION". The CHANGE applies to all individuals, and every constituency including the traditional political parties -Republican and Democratic.
There is a reason why 50% of eligible voters do not participate in the general election. Unless the people are inspired and motivated they are going to settle for the status quo, business as usual (Hillary "Clinton represents).
Obama has succeeded in igniting the fire and the americans are really moved going by the results in Iowa and what we are seeing in New Hampshire. Obama has successfully challenged the establishment and the so called Washington experience. Senators Biden and Dodd had also experience. Experience by itself even if it is real wont sell. You need LEADERSHIP. Mahathma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Frandklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy were successful leaders because thru "words" they inspired the masses. Obama is doing exactly the same. Obama has performed on the stage at the Democratic Convention, in Iowa, and now in New Heampshire. He has been consistent and he has the gift of the right words - God sent. His i.q. is very high compared to Bill and Hillary Clinton and all candidates from both parties. He has charisma. He organized and delivered success in Iowa, the media thought impossible. The media has been currying favour with the clintons and others till the Iowa results came out. Even now, the CNN seems to be bought by Clintons. For Clinton it is a do or die in NH. So clintons are doing everything possible that money can buy to influence the media. But this wont work. I believe in honest journalism. I respect american journalism and I am sure we will get the true story.

African Americans represent 25% (?)and other minorities may be 15% of the USA. So far, Obama has been supported by the white in Iowa. If the blacks unite and support Obama, he will be unstoppable. He can win the nomination and win the presidency. Republicans have been jumping ship to become independents. Some without changing party voting for Obama as in Iowa.

SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT, SANITATION: African Americans are indispensable. African americans keep america physically clean, entertain us thru sports and entertainment. Can you think what will happen if all african american leaders in all the fields including the business support Obama. We cannot live without sports and entertainment. African Americans are underdogs and we must lift them. HERE COMES OBAMA TO UPLIFT THE UNDERDOGS OF AMERICA. He is a highly educated and most knowledgeable and therefore he will be balanced in his political decision making satisfying business community. He will be a strong Commander In Chief and Chief Diplomat for the world. He will be most likeable and acceptable to the world at large.
I have been a republican but I support Obama's ideas and strategies. I predict he will win NH, SC, and win big on Feb.5. I appeal to the black leaders to wake up and smell the coffee and realign with Obama.

Posted by: vpwaren | January 6, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

dwood4, you make an excellent point that I'd like to expound upon:

"What we are seeing is a revolution, like minded Americans everywhere are saying that the politics and rhetoric of division are 'so nineties' and we are looking for a new way forward."

Going a step further: I'm a card-carrying member of the so-called post-9/11 Facebook generation who is voting for the second time in a presidential election. And yes, I support Obama.

Hillary Clinton has overlooked our demographic, as have the other major candidates on the Democratic side. Many like-minded Democrats and even Republicans in my age group are sick of hearing the same battles played out year after year; the battles of our parents' and grandparents' generations. The partisan nature of Hillary Clinton is not just "so 90's," it's also so "60's." She is the warrior, on the Democratic side, of the baby-boomer generation... she is not ours. She is a throwback to every single dinner conversation I've ever had with my extended family about "long-haired hippies" and "the importance of unions" and "social security" - topics that reflect more the priorities and battles of past generations than our own. She (along with many others) just don't understand that the political paradigm has shifted: we want a leader who will inspire us, the way that the Kennedys did for our grandparents in the 60's, the way that Reagan did for our parents in the 80's. We're sick of hearing about how awful a president George W. Bush turned out to be - we know! Our friends are in Iraq paying for his (and her) mistakes with THEIR lives!

Regardless of her policies (which, honestly, are mostly standard rank-and-file Democratic stances), Hillary would have been a great candidate in the 60's or 90's. I personally want a candidate for this millennium... it would seem that many Democrats in Iowa do as well.

Posted by: mtp456 | January 6, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"...and Rep. Dennis Kucinich didn't qualify to "participate under the parameters laid out by ABC."

And thus truly progressive thought in the Democratic Party was dismissed. The nation was given a line of thinking that went from Libertarian to liberal but was deprived of the good left hand of the Democratic Party.

As a result of their cavalier dismissal of Congressman Kucinich, I notified ABC News that they would never sell me another product on their news programs, since I was going to the network that didn't have Katie Couric for national and local news. Of course, I usually watch McNeil-Lehrer, so mine was an empty threat.

Although I am not a supporter, I don't see that anyone can deny that Senator Clinton did very well last night.

Posted by: tgronner | January 6, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

calece asks what Obama has to show for his years of political experience. It took me about a minute to find this:

"In the Illinois State Senate, this meant working with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

In the U.S. Senate, he has focused on tackling the challenges of a globalized, 21st century world with fresh thinking and a politics that no longer settles for the lowest common denominator. His first law was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent. He has also been the lead voice in championing ethics reform that would root out Jack Abramoff-style corruption in Congress.

As a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama has fought to help Illinois veterans get the disability pay they were promised, while working to prepare the VA for the return of the thousands of veterans who will need care after Iraq and Afghanistan. Recognizing the terrorist threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, he traveled to Russia with Republican Dick Lugar to begin a new generation of non-proliferation efforts designed to find and secure deadly weapons around the world. And knowing the threat we face to our economy and our security from America's addiction to oil, he's working to bring auto companies, unions, farmers, businesses and politicians of both parties together to promote the greater use of alternative fuels and higher fuel standards in our cars."

And that's an incomplete list, from his website. Those who worry that he has no stand on various issues can get some information here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/.

Yes, it's his campaign website, but the statements it makes are checkable easily enough.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 6, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

kurtrk wrote: "Again with Hillary, WHAT changes has she made? What has she done? I would particularly want to know what she was doing "35 years ago.""

Hillary mentioned it in the debate last night, work she did on a legal challenge that established rights for some people, etc. That was early in her career. She then mentioned other work throughout her career, challenging the establishment for change.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Chris did we watch the same debate?
Hilary was aggressive and very specific in asking for a reality check.
To me it will stick.

Posted by: henryvu | January 6, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

All the democrats are running on a socalist agenda. It will come down to do you want America to become a socalist country or do you not. I do not, so I can not vote for any democrat in this election.

Posted by: DocWright | January 6, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

As an lifetime independent Republican, I have always supported the best candidate at local, state and federal levels of government. I am one of many Americans who believe government in Washington is broken and if it were up to me, I would fire every politician from both parties. Having said that, the dilemma is now who is the best candidate for President.

I have not been overly impressed with any of the Republican candidates. I am watching Huckabee closely, since he seems to understand the dysfunctional nature of government in Washington and supports wholesale change. I also like his moral courage and a willingness to look at the unfair tax system. I am guessing however, as the campaign moves along, big money and special interests may very well cancel his ticket.

Looking at the Democratic candidates in the debate last night, I was wondering why Richardson is even there. He clearly is a minor leagure player trying to play in a big league game. Forget about Hillary and her imagined experience. With her zero minus personality, she would make George Bush look like Mr. Nice guy internationally. I liked the passion and common man roots seen in John Edwards, but he lines up too far to the left for me. With his enthusiasm for change, he might make a good Vice-President. Lastly, the more I see of Barack Obama, the more I start to like the guy. I find his attitude toward broken government and special interests to be most refreshing. I will be watching him closely as the campign moves on.

I suspect there may be a number of independent minded folks who like me, are sick and tired of business as usual and are ready for change. Might be an interesting election.

Posted by: Lpar | January 6, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

To me Mrs. Clinton's comment about "I think having the first woman president is a HUGE change." says it all. How 1950's-60s.

Sorry but most people have spent decades working under bosses of a different gender by now and a woman in charge is not that land mark is once would have been. So she is angling for people whose views are still stuck in that era - before the fall of Communism, before Reganism, before the fall of Vietnam. Not exactly a strong claim to changing the status quo. She handled herself nicely but if that's her idea of change I do as much with fresh under ware every morning.

Posted by: djn | January 6, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Just save us from Mitt Romney, please, New Hampshire. The rest of us will sort out the rest.

Posted by: kevincostello | January 6, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It occurrs to me that the vitriol being spewed here by HRC supporters is the very reason why BHO's message is so appealing to Americans.

What we are seeing is a revolution, like minded Americans everywhere are saying that the politics and rhetoric of division are "so nineties" and we are looking for a new way forward.

I am willing to "roll the dice" and vote for a man who is smart, decent, honorable, and yes, inspirational, so he has my vote.

When Bill Clinton decided to throw out that little bon mot it was over for me and for any respect I had for Hillary. I have had it with the playing of the fear card - we have endured seven years of it with this administration and are sure to hear it again with Guliani and the rest of those tired old men on the republican side.
Maybe I am being too idealistic, time will tell. But if what we have seen so far in Iowa is any indication, there are a lot of idealists out there with me.


Posted by: dwood4444 | January 6, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Like several folks who posted comments earlier today, I wonder if I saw the same debate that you did last night. John McCain did not appear to me to be either relaxed or affable. I've been a McCain fan for a long time. When he's on his game, he dominates the stage like a force of nature. At those times, watching him is like watching Larry Bird in his prime play basketball -- controlling the tempo, forcing his opponents to constantly adjust and react, and denying them the ability to find their own rhythm. Last night, though, it looked to me as if McCain was forcing his shots --his ad lib about Romney being the clear "change" candidate was so clearly scripted (and unfunny) that I winced in embarrassment for him -- and watching them bounce off the rim. I thought the clear winner was the one candidate you barely mentioned -- Fred Thompson. I've been underwhelmed by his past appearances, but I found him last night to be straightforward, thoughtful and (dare I say it?) statesmanlike. He offered a soothing reasonableness that stood in sharp contrast to the shrill tone that otherwise characterized the discussion.

Posted by: riedford | January 6, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Clinton looked like a prune and you could tell that she was desperate. They had a focus group watch the debate and comment on it afterwards. Almost everyone in the room was a Clinton supporter and after the debate they are supporting Obama. Edwards is a loser and will be gone shortly. He is to angry all the time and I think he appeals to that classs of dems who are never happy about anything. Obama will beat Hillary big in Tuesday election and McCain will win be in the GOP race. I think before long the media and pudnits are going to have to wake up to the fact that even dems are sick of the Clinton's. Bill look haggard and Hillary looks like a hag.

Posted by: sque1 | January 6, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

as usual, hrc was the most substantive and most knowledgeable...but the media overlooks all of that as they have fallen into the obama craze...and that is exactly what it is...there is very little substance underneath. he was arrogant in his response to the comment regarding hillary's likeability....what a kid! and oh yes...the repubs will eat him alive with their swift-boat type ads about his cocaine use....you think not?? is he going to remain 'nice' then? does he honestly think that he will be able to stay above the fray then? hrc can still slap him down effectively except the media chooses to overlook that. hrc practically had to scream that talking and feeling is not the same as doing and still, others choose to follow that irresistable 'bandwagon'...style over substance....the repubs saw that too late by choosing the likeable guy over gore and kerry...we all know now that was a mistake.

Posted by: ogdeeds | January 6, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be a lot of new posters here all harping on the same Clinton talking points.

I will second p_seshadri - I live in a bright red part of a purple state (Florida). NOTHING will bring out a generally dispirited Republican base like Hillary Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket. For all this prattle about Obama's supposed "unelectability", consistently out-performs Hillary Clinton in all the head to head polls against Republicans.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 6, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse


I don't think Obama is a winner. He failed to answer a critical question: What changes will he deliver?

It's ironic that he's talking about changes all the time, but he does not know what changes really are.

Bush also taked about changes, but what changes he brought to the country??

Posted by: caiece | January 6, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama got an easy, noncompetitive win in Illinois for state office. He has one year (prior to taking off to run for President) in the U.S. Senate. He has accomplished nothing. Yet, he wants to sit down with terrorist leaders (Iran, etc.) and "make his stance known." As if that will make the U.S. enemies just fall over in their haste to accommodate the 'likeable' Obama. Affability will not play in the world political arena. He simply has no clue of the real world and how it works. We need a President, not a "beer buddy."

Posted by: vienna12 | January 6, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

My husband commented on the whole visual set-up of the Democratic debate. Edwards and Obama (change) were on one side, the moderators' heads served as a dividing line, and Richardson and Clinton (status quo, old Clinton administration) were on the other side.

It seems like more people would comment on Obama's response to Clinton's list of her husband's achievements. He thanked BILL for them. As a woman and a feminist, I don't want to vote for the first female President if she is only running on her HUSBAND'S record and name.

If Hillary wants to take credit, she needs to release the records and show it. Otherwise, all we know is that she failed at her healthcare initiative (in an ideal environment) because of her secrecy.

The second thing that stuck with me was Obama's response to Hillary's "empty words" accusation...that words have power to motivate people. He should also have gone into his real efforts to walk the walk as a community organizer, with results.

Again with Hillary, WHAT changes has she made? What has she done? I would particularly want to know what she was doing "35 years ago."

Posted by: kurtrk | January 6, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

GENEPOOL Hit the accusations about Obama's drug past as compared to the current administrations (bush) leaders inability to face up to and handle his own life failings without daddy deep pockets getting him out of troubles his drugs, alcohol, reserve irresponsibilitis, and worst of all his involvement with a sadistic spiritualistic group blamed for human sacrifices down in texas and Mexico. Several of his compadre's were killed while (he (bush) was missing, but couldn't explain where he was) daddy deep pockets through the CIA apparently made this problem go away too. When asked about this by two reporters, during bush's 2000 campaign, bush wouldn't touch the subject, but apparently daddy deep pockets "touched" base with some people who threatened the two reporters, they were afraid for their lives from what I read and "WENT AWAY" Read from the site prisonplanet.tv/articles/september2004/290904mentalillness.htm -- then read http//portland.indymedia.org --- and check out Konformist.com/2000/henry.htm there's too many facts, and too much documentation to ignore. YOU REPUBLIC-O-N-ed got a HELLUFA good christian conservative leading you sheep, you better be praying for his SOUL !!! I'm praying that the truth comes out about his whole administration debacle so he'll go to jail where daddy deep pockets can't save his azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz this time ~!!!!!!

Posted by: dhoover1272 | January 6, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The central dynamic here appeared to be Clinton's effort to goad Obama into error by distorted claims. She failed, it seems to me, even though everyone (including Obama) seemed weary.

I doubt that anger is an apt proxy for strength. Nor is manifest vulnerability to having one's feelings hurt by someone's reference to poll data a happy augury for a would-be President of the United States.

Posted by: FirstMouse | January 6, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Agreed thecrisis.

Voting for Hillary Clinton is nothing more than voting the fact you're afraid of the Republicans. Hillary is, even as Bill Clinton acknowledges, the "safe" choice.

But in my opinion she has much less potential upside than either Obama or Edwards. In both 2000 and 2004 we went with the safe, boring choices over the inspiring ones. This time around I'll take the inspiring, charismatic choice over the establishment preferred one.

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but a big pile of you guys are awefully dim.

Do you think the Republicans are sitting around talking about how their candidates will be eaten alive by the Democrats? Do you think they're scared of Democrats? Scared of their advertisements?

This is the reason why Democrats lose. You sit around crying about what the mean Republicans might say instead of standing up for your candidate. So what if Republicans attack Obama for his past drug use? The fact is that just as many Republicans have used drugs as Democrats and when you realize the fluent hypocrisy in the GOP, you'll realize there's nothing to be afraid of.

Posted by: thecrisis | January 6, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Why shouldn't the Republicans have a visceral dislike for flip flop Mitt. All of the sudden, this moderate to liberal Governor who once ran to the left of Ted Kennedy has an ephiphany and decides he is a conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan? He is phony and disingenuous who is trying to buy votes with is millions.

Posted by: delt97 | January 6, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm posting this wherever I can. The NY Times is reporting that Hillary is running around NH reiterating her "Words are not Action" line. She is quoted as saying: "There's a big difference between talking and acting, between promising and performing...."

Does anyone else see the IRONY of this? She certainly did a lot of "talking" in Iowa about how she was the obvious choice. But does she really think she tranlated that talk into ACTION? She didn't just lose to Obama, she came in THIRD. Hmmm.

Posted by: zebra3 | January 6, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

this was well said above: "So Clinton was "angry" but Edwards was passionate. I think the bias against women is obvious in your analysis (and that of many others)."

CC appears on Hardball with Chris Matthews, and they are clearly Clinton haters. They will have their dreams realized when Hillary is elected President. Biased journalism is so much more fun and gets better ratings.

rd

Posted by: ralphdaugherty | January 6, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris,
I guess you are so afraid of John Edwards that you couldn't even note his amazingly strong performance. He was articulate, passionate, presidential, and shored up Obama as he has done before (with Obama getting all the credit). Shame on you for blindly following the two-person narrative and shaping the story for your convenience rather than doing your job as a reporter!

BevM in Seattle

Posted by: bevmar3 | January 6, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

'The WP fronts a story on the ambitions of a Chinese telecom firm to penetrate the U.S. market. The company, Huawei Technologies, has teamed up with investment firm Bain Capital Partners in a $2.2 billion bid to takeover 3Com Corp., a Massachusetts-based IT company. U.S. lawmakers are uneasy about the deal, citing ties between Huawei and the Chinese government, and one House Republican has asked President Bush to block it. The story does not remind readers that Bain is the company Mitt Romney founded in 1984.'

Gee, funny thing for the WaPo to overlook... was it purposeful, or incompetent? Our enemies don't need to attack us, they are already buying us out. They know our defense secrets. How long before Saudi Arabia and China own the etnire USA?

Posted by: drindl | January 6, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse


Do you have any reporters that aren't hearing impaired? During the debate,Romney,Huckabee,Juliani,and Mc Cain each stated,at least once that they agreed with statements made by Fred Yhompson. In my opinion that shows that Fred Thompson was prepared and they were not;making Fred the winner of the debate.If the voters of New Hampshire are foolish enough to want any of these other candidates for President who do they expect them to call to supply a reasonable response to an emergency situation, FRED THOMPSON ? How long would it take to locate him ? Wouldn't it be better to have him in the oval office to handle the situation IMMEDIATELY ?

Posted by: REASON-1 | January 6, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

druid73:

Oh of course. It was all intentional! Riiight.

I listen perfectly clearly too and am more than capable of doing research. For example, if you weren't lazy you could go to his website where it has a dropdown menu titled "issues" to check out.

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

I'm quite clear on where he stands on the issues. Anyone who isn't lazy and/or more interested in "gotcha" posting can find out where a candidate stands on anything of any significance with five minutes of effort.

"The GOP has already thrown everything they can at Hillary. Will more rehashing of the 90's help them?"

Yes, it will. The 90s were a long time ago. The GOP will make absolutely sure that they remind everyone of exactly why so many people disliked Hillary. If Hillary wasn't capable before of deflecting their attacks, and judging by her Unfavorable scores even 10 years later she wasn't very capable, then why should she be any better at deflecting them a second time around?

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse


Do you have any reporters that aren't hearing impaired? During the debate,Romney,Huckabee,Juliani,and Mc Cain each stated,at least once that they agreed with statements made by Fred Yhompson. In my opinion that shows that Fred Thompson was prepared and they were not;making Fred the winner of the debate.If the voters of New Hampshire are foolish enough to want any of these other candidates for President who do they expect them to call to supply a reasonable response to an emergency situation, FRED THOMPSON ? How long would it take to locate him ? Wouldn't it be better to have him in the oval office to handle the situation IMMEDIATELY ?

Posted by: REASON-1 | January 6, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Chris, even though I truly like you I believe you fell just like so many other people in our Country do. We run with the winner. Maybe New Hampshire will go for Obama. I am partially a New Englander and live in New York State and only hope that the people from New Hampshire will open their minds and see that Hillary is the leader to pick. Last nights debate was most interest. Edwards was a real SNAKE and Obama was at his height of True Arrogance. People see and hear only what they want to. The look on Obama face when that idiot commentator told Hillary that she isn't likable just put many of us over the edge of watching these debates. Hillary was execellent and actually was truthful about what she commented on about Obama's voting record. So Chris it looks like you fell into to melting pot of people that hang out with only the "winners". How Common. Dr.George J.Corella

Posted by: drgcorellaindependent | January 6, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for someone to bring up the sorry truth about "Mr. Change." Obama is as tied into K Street as anyone else in Washington, despite his rhetoric. While he may not take money from lobbyists, he will take money from lobbyists' wives. While he may not take actual cash from lobbyists, he's happy to depend on their networks and expertise. If the lobbyists didn't give him those things, he'd have to pay for it. In other words, Obama takes contributions from lobbyists, whether in monetary form or not. Clinton needs to get the word out that Mr. Clean has dirty hands, and Edwards needs to get straight on where his priorties lie as a Democratic candidate. The Republicans, as other posters have noted, will have a hay day with Obama.

Also, if we regard Obama as an agent of change, and we can concede that he has little experience that directly translates into being president, then how will he off-set his inexperience? By surrounding himself with advisors who have the experience--advisors who are an absolute part of the Washington experience. Isn't seven years enough time for us to understand that we need a president ready to assume leadership rather than depend upon others to take the reins?

When historians look back at the Bush presidency, will they regard it as primarily the Cheney presidency?

Posted by: hoeya | January 6, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Do you have any reporters that aren't hearing impaired? During the debate,Romney,Huckabee,Juliani,and Mc Cain each stated,at least once that they agreed with statements made by Fred Yhompson. In my opinion that shows that Fred Thompson was prepared and they were not;making Fred the winner of the debate.If the voters of New Hampshire are foolish enough to want any of these other candidates for President who do they expect them to call to supply a reasonable response to an emergency situation, FRED THOMPSON ? How long would it take to locate him ? Wouldn't it be better to have him in the oval office to handle the situation IMMEDIATELY ?

Posted by: REASON-1 | January 6, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

nocoolnamejim writes:

"...My "boy" (nice way to refer to a black man there btw)..."

Thanks for falling for the bait: this reaction of yours proves my point perfectly. Obama, as a black man, has been handled with kid gloves by the media and other democrats out of fear of offending the PC elements of the nation that are hypersensitive to even the slightest hint of racism. The Republicans will have no such restraint.

The GOP has already thrown everything they can at Hillary. Will more rehashing of the 90's help them?

BTW, I'm not a Hillary supporter, but I intensely dislike Obama for his dishonesty when it comes to specifics about his policies. I can't figure out where he stands (other than wherever the wind blows him) so I can't support him.

I think anyone who supports a candidate who has virtually zero policy specifics deserves the title "Obama-Nut"

Have a good day.

Posted by: druid73 | January 6, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hillary IS the status quo. She is a carpet bagging senator from NY who is in bed with every imaginable corporate interest just like her huckster husband was. Her votes on both Iraq and recently Iran show that she will go along with the neocons and put Israeli security, Big Oil, and the military-industrial-complex interests ahead of American interests. If she were to serve two terms, that would be 34 years of two families running the U.S. (if you include Bush Sr.'s stint as head of the CIA and VP). We simply would no longer be a representative democracy (and we complain about Putin?). Go Obama!

Posted by: mschwalm44 | January 6, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I agree with your assessment of the debate, but I really got a chuckle about the nature of the ads aired on ABC during prime time.

The endless run of "ask your doctor if (insert drug name here) is right for you" ads really made me want one of the candidates - a Dem, no doubt - to say something like, "You know one way we could really bring down the cost of health care? Let's ban or sharply curtail prescription drug advertising on TV, and watch prescription drug prices fall." (Howard Dean actually proposed this during his 03-04 campaign, but I haven't heard anything like it since.)

BTW, the debates were tape delayed here in Boise, ID, by the local affiliate, which used the ruse to effectively sandwich the three hours of debate between their early and late local news.

Posted by: julie | January 6, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Full disclosure, I am an Obama supporter. But I also think Hillary would make a very effective President, and I do agree that some of Obama's supporters seem to like him only because they like him (Re: the "Obama Girl" on MSNBC this morning). Nevertheless, here's why I will not vote for Hillary:

1) Yes, she's more experienced than Obama. Yes, she has had a hand in some effective pieces of legislation (the CHIP, for example, which she was right to point out). But I am tired of her citing her 35 years of experience, as if that somehow makes her any different than any other professional politician in Washington. Biden and Dodd both have gotten much more accomplished in terms of legislation than she has, and yet the Dems have essentially written them off as irrelevant dinosaurs. She will soon join them. Seniority does not make you special. Strom Thurmond was a senator until he was in his 90's; by her logic, he'd be a better president than her. Experience isn't everything. Plus, in his short time in the Illinois and US Senates, Obama has gotten quite a few things done, for example a health care plan for Illinois and reducing the influence of lobbyists.

2) Hillary is a great technocrat. But the President is not a technocrat. He/she does not sit at a desk all day drafting legislation. The President is a leader. All of our greatest presidents have been people who had a vision for the country and were able to convince Congress and the American people of that vision. On the questions of vision and leadership, Obama far outshines Clinton. He is the only candidate on either side laying out a clear and inspiring vision of America, where the common American values of progress and optimism can defeat the partisanship and fear that, frankly, Clinton started with the Lewinsky scandal. As a Democrat whose pride in his country has been wounded by Iraq and Guantanamo, his vision and passion make me believe in my country again. If he can motivate all these young people to come out and vote, he surely will be able to convince Congress of his vision. At the very least, I'd rather have a leader who has a vision, even if that vision fails to come to fruition, than a mere technocrat who thinks that all you have to do is sit at a desk and "work hard," and all our problems will be solved. Hillary should start a think tank. She should not be President.

3) Obama is much more electable than Hillary, because of the passion with which Republicans hate her. As the only Democrat in a family of Republicans who lives in a red state, I think that many Dems (and many of the Dems on this post) spend too much time among themselves and do not understand the political realities in red America. I cannot fathom how you people think Hillary could win a general election when most Republicans I know say that they might vote for Obama, depending on the Republican nominee, but if Hillary were the Dem candidate they would turn out just to vote against her, no matter who the Republican nominee was. Projections right now are that the Dems will have much better turnout in the general election, but I can assure you that if Hillary is the nominee, the Republicans will come out in hordes. Just because they're not enthused by their nominees doesn't mean they won't come out just to vote against Hillary.

Posted by: p_seshadri | January 6, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

So, now that I've yanked you back to talking about actual substance druid73, what is your response to the actual content of my arguments re:

1. Obama polls better in head-to-head matchups than either Edwards or Hillary against all the major Republicans, which speaks volumes to his electability

2. Republicans will run vicious attack ads against any Democrat we nominate so voting for one Democrat over another because of this is pointless

Do you have any meaningful logic to contribute or are you only good at tossing out witty one-liners?

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I can read perfectly well druid73. Your argument was that Obama would be blasted in the general election by attack ads. My rebuttal was that so would Hillary, only moreso.

Being pro-Obama doesn't automatically make me an idiot, no matter how much you would like to throw out slimes like "learn to read Obama-nut" in place of legitimate rebuttals of my point.

How does the fact that you didn't mention Hillary by name make my point less valid? My point was, and is, that Republicans would attack ANY Democrat we nominate and, in fact, would attack Hillary more than anyone else, and therefore it is pointless for Democrats to base our votes in the primary based on this.

My "boy" (nice way to refer to a black man there btw) has been elected to office repeatedly. He's run and won more elections than Hillary has.

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Chris. Regarding Richardson, especially when the discussion was about the international situation, it was funny to see how the others candidates were listening to him. The scene looked like a lecture. As I have always said, no matter who gets the nomination, the guy has to be on the ticket. He really has executive and international experience which the top three democratic candidates seriously lack.
Regarding the republican debate, I didn't like the way the candidates attacked Romney. It's not that he doesn't deserve it but because he could appear like a victim, which would be everything but fair.

Posted by: bastookak | January 6, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

nocoolnamejim (aka Obama-nut):

BTW, I'm from NY and outside of NYC it's nowhere near as blue as you think. As a state it's comparable to IL.

Also, Hillary got elected twice. Your boy only just figured out where the bathrooms are.

Posted by: druid73 | January 6, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Quoting you: "It seemed like every time The Fix looked up from his computer screen a commercial for "male enhancement" pills or women's undergarments was being aired. What does that say about the demographics of people watching ABC between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Saturday night?"


Yeah, they talking to you Chris gotta get that "thang" up once and a while man, if you don't get all cranky and stuff. ROFLMAO!

I agree on your assessment, Hillary sounded like a "Screaming MeMe" after a while.

Posted by: hardline | January 6, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

nocoolnamejim:

When did I mention Hillary? Learn to read you Obama-nut.

Posted by: druid73 | January 6, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

druid73:

Oh please. Like the Republican attack ads will be less brutal if we nominate Hillary? A.K.A. "The Devil Incarnate" where the Republicans are concerned? False logic.

As for never having been in a tough election, when was Hillary ever in a tough election? She ran for her Senate seat in NEW YORK for crying out loud. It's one of the bluest states in the entire country. Lazio shot himself in the foot so many times that Hillary would have gotten less votes if she ran unopposed.

Stop trying to come up with Republican attack ads for them. He can, and WILL win a general election. Have you even bothered to look at any of the head to head polls? Obama does better than any Democrat in the field in head to head matchups against all of the probable Republican nominees than Hillary does.

The only thing I see Hillary supporters in this thread doing is trying to scare me into supporting Hillary with the specter of her somehow being better equipped to handle Republican attacks in the general election.

If she cannot even win a primary full of Democratic and Independent voters, the very voters that she will have to have to win the general election, then what does that say about her electability?

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Also, never have I seen the MSM do a rectal examine like they have done with Gov Romney..."

No, they pulled that scope out the day after he grubbed up all that neocon cash, and they've been enamored with his image ever since. This is, above all else, a blow to all the MSM publications and their misguided poundits, their profits and prognostications are both questionable.

Seriously, what are all you media-types going to do when the media no longer calls the shots, because millions of new voters are willing to actually seek out information, and network for knowledge, instead of letting you trickle it down to them in spoonfed batches and handmade soundbites.

This self-empowering act of seeking after knowledge, especially relating to politics, is best fed by the internet and it's blogospheric offspring. At least on this you are in many ways leading the pack, Chris.

In historical retrospective, you may represent one of the notable transitional "transmedia" journalists at some point in the future.

Now that Yepsen's got his own blog, he may join you in that distinction.

The information age is becoming the instant-information age... and we are all smarter for it.

Viva la Blogs!

Posted by: JEP7 | January 6, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I cannot help feeling that Mrs Clinton's experience as First "Lady" was more about flower arranging, scattering scatter cushions and desinging juicy menus for visiting dignitaries, all in the name of being a perfect hostess, than it was about learning to shape US policy in the world. To latch onto her time in the White House as number two (and sometimes three) to the then President as a measure of "experience" designed to lead the USA is pretty thin. I should think, then, that Monica Lewinsky should also be running for office - that blue dress would be a perfect Democratic uniform for a start.

Posted by: jjd123 | January 6, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

slbk:

You are exactly right. The republicans will eat Obama ALIVE in a general election. The attack ads will be brutal.

To all the Obama supporters: take a good look at the elections your candidate has won. He's NEVER had a hard fight. He only has his Senate seat thanks to Jeri Ryan's divorce/custody papers. He only won Iowa (his neighboring state) by spending 9.5 MILLION DOLLARS more than anyone else!

Obama can't win a general election, but he can make sure a republican does win. Maybe that's why he's getting so many contributions from people who previously gave money to George W. Bush?

Posted by: druid73 | January 6, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton did well in introducing substance over cosmetics. The worst exchange of the night involved Obama and Charlie Gibson, the moderator. Gibson called Obama on his claim that his efforts led to ethics reform (Obama: the most significant since Watergate). Put aside the question of whether the new legislation is really any good at doing what was intended. Obama said last night that lobbyists couldn't pay for lunch for the politicians, but that was not really true. Gibson kept pushing, and eventually Edwards quipped, well, they can lunch when they stand up, and they don't eat as much as when they sit down. Obama looked like he didn't know what he was talking about. Did anyone else have that reaction?

Posted by: erickoe | January 6, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

CC-- what about Edwards in your list of losers and winners? You even gave Richardson a win, but you ignored Edwards like most of the media seems to have been doing. What is this fear of populist politics going on this year? You even decided to comment on the debate format and the commercials, but declined to really give any note to Edwards.

Posted by: jtt3e | January 6, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

As I said last night, Chris, Romney is winning in the recent polls. To hype McCain, you have to be reading from the same MSM script as everone else and it just does not pass the smell test. Also, I think Charlie Gibson was a big loser: another MSM moderator with unintelligent questions. Go figure. I am glad the Dem candidates nearly revolted.

Posted by: havok26 | January 6, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The analysis on Huckabee is off, he did really good last night, he got some really good shots in at Romney (which was probably done so that McCain will win NH and Romney will have a dead campaign). But when the question was asked about the difference between Obama and the republicans everyone one them answered with some partisan quip about how he's a dreamer, etc... But Huckabee instead talked about the issues, how he and Obama differ on their take on Abortion (thankfully a topic that wasn't brought up), taxes, social programs, etc. It just shows that Huckabee cares more about the people than the others. It was a great line that McCain said about Romney and his fortune, it again went back to what happen in Iowa where they said you can't buy our vote, and I think NH will do the same thing.

Hillary came off angry, I will agree with that, and I think its really going to hurt her because in the end what people will take away from this debate is that Obama and Edwards are for change and can work together and Hillary is trying to stop them. And you can't look that angry on stage and the expect people to vote for you. Her joke about people not liking her was OK, but I think she went too far, and so did Obama with it, he should have kept his mouth shut. But again it's Hillary playing the victim, something she loves to do. She used the gender card, which is OK to a point but I think using that as your biggest example of change is a mistake. I think Obama could have done better, but he did line out a lot of his plans for people and he was able to stay cool and calm during the debate while still defending himself. Edwards is just trying to keep in the game, he put all his eggs in Iowa and he only got 2nd, so really NH is a make or break for him, he has to get 2nd or 1st to stay in the game. Obama, Huckabee, and McCain came off very presidential but what was funny is that Ron Paul came off the most grounded. All the other Republications talked about the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, even quoting it. But Ron Paul really put everything in perspective about how far off from the Constitution we really are. Guliani looked like Bush 2.0, and I think despite what his campaign is telling him, thats going to hurt him because even most republicans want change.

I'll be interested to see what the Hillary and Romney camps do in these last two days before NH, it's going to get desperate.

Posted by: Ander517 | January 6, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why it is, that the MSM is so against Gov. Romney. On Meet the Press, Russert said the Romney will be dead, if he did lose two in a row. Never mentioning however, that Gov Romney won Wyo. Granted its a small state, but a Win is a Win. Also, never have I seen the MSM do a rectal examine like they have done with Gov Romney, but no other candidate. What is it that the MSM see in Romney thats a threat to the Demos??? I thought Gov Romney held up pretty good considering the negative personal attacks by Huckabee an McCain, of course, they are hoping to be the Repub ticket. Also, for CNN to reshow the CBS debates at the same time as Fox News has their Republican Forum, is poor judgement an unfair Journalism. Why not run it on Monday nite??

Posted by: eafcat | January 6, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

nocoolnamejim, My thoughts exactly. Now Hillary's taking credit for the tough decisions to right the economy that Bill made.

She didn't even have a top secret security clearance. She never sat in on a cabinet meeting. She had tea with some international leaders and met with others on womens issues. If that is experience, then Rosalynn Carter should be president.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | January 6, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

When they come to take you down when they bring that wagon round
When they come to call on you and drag your poor body down

Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me
Please forget you know my name, my darling Hillary
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me

You thought you was the cool fool and never could do no wrong
Had everything sewed up tight. how come you lay awake all night long

Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me
Please forget you know my name, my darling Hillary
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me

Well in spite of all you gained you still had to stand out in the pouring rain
One last voice is calling you and I guess its time you go

Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me
Please forget you know my name, my darling Hillary
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me

Well shake it up now Hillary, Ill meet you at the jubilee

Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me
Please forget you know my name, my darling Hillary
Shake it, shake it Hillary, just dont tell them that you know me

Posted by: larry_cowan | January 6, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I thought that McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani's attacks on Romney were over the top...especially McCain. He ought to know better than that. That said, he does have a track record of letting his temper get the best of him. Not very presidential I'd say.

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/7/5/00548.shtml

Posted by: ThePrincipalChair | January 6, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again. Iowa picks another Democrat that can't beat the Republicans(no experience) and the rest of the states fall in line, no matter what their earlier choices were. What a system! Obama showed up last night...that's about all. Hillary talked policy, details, plans, substance, and no one (especially the media) can see that because Iowa has spoken. Why don't we forego the rest of the campaign and just let Iowa select our candidates every four years? That should make the Republicans happy.

Posted by: emily2 | January 6, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Obama won, but Edwards did well as well. Clinton is Toast.

Posted by: sjxylib | January 6, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Thus far the only "accomplishment" that I can think of for Hillary Clinton is voting to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq without bothering to read the National Intelligence Estimate, a mistake that she still, in her arrogance, has not apologized for. Was it her 35 years of experience that gave her such great judgment on that itty, bitty issue?

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

vienna said:
"I truly would like to know the answer to two questions. Why are the voters in this country so persuaded by "likeability" over competence and experience? It is like people think we are electing a high school prom king. I just don't get it.
Second, why has the media been so vicious towards Hillary and have let Obama get by with no real evaluation of his readiness to serve in the most important position in the world for the next 4 years?"

Okay, I've had just about as much of this BS as I can take. Would you explain to me please exactly what Hillary Clinton's accomplishments are?

So far every single time a Hillary supporter speaks up in this thread, or any other thread for the last several months, it is to patronize people who are supporting Obama or Edwards, people whose support YOU WILL NEED in the event that Hillary does manage to right the ship and win the nomination, by calling them stupid and misguided for not recognizing the "obvious superiority" of her accomplishments and experience.

Hillary claims, over and over again, "35 years" of experience and "35 years of change". Since when does deciding to marry the most gifted politician of our lifetime automatically give you accomplishments of your own? What legislation has she passed? What changes has she made? If she's done such a good job of change over the last 35 years then why in the world is our country in such a spot where they are desperate for change now?

If she had accomplished all the change that she is suddenly eager to take credit for now that the polls declare that is what the voters in the Democratic primary want, then people wouldn't be so unhappy with the country right now and we wouldn't be talking about how change is now needed.

I outright reject Hillary's claim of 35 years of experience and I'm damned sick and tired of her supporters talking down to me for not rushing to immediately recognize her as my personal savior.

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

So Clinton was "angry" but Edwards was passionate. I think the bias against women is obvious in your analysis (and that of many others).

I agree with the way Edwards describes the problem facing any agent of change. Obama is very naive to think that rhetoric will overcome the combination of money, media influence and Republican congressional allies enabling corporate interests to frame any policy debate on their terms. Even if elected(a big assumption, given the Republican slime machine), Obama may find it impossible to advance meaningful change through reconciliation. Why would Big Business agree to something not in its interest?

And once again, progressives will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Posted by: russciandra | January 6, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

*
Bravo, Edwards... Too bad the camera was off the lizard queen when he pointed out that she is an attack machine and we don't need any more of the likes of her.

The idea that hillary is an agent for change... how absurd is that? She IS the Washington Back Room. She IS represented by every special interest group you can think of.

Hillary represents one thing and one thing only... HILLARY

*bert

*

Posted by: BERTCONVY | January 6, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The platforms of the democrats are nearly identical on the big issues, war, economy, healthcare, and are not too different elsewhere. The current choice Obama is winning not because he's that different, but because he is trusted to be more honest than Clinton or Edwards. Hillary attacking his positions is really attacking her own, especially considering both are senators without any major groundshaking legistlation. The democratic change being presented is not enough to correct the damage to this country by previous governments. Americans will not work for starvation wages in unsafe polluting facilities like our overseas competition. Unless the dollar drops to a third of its current value, labor intensive manufacturing here will not be competitive on the world market. Here is the solution.
A flat 5% redistribution of income tax should be levied on corporations and individuals. The money will be disbursed via a bank issued credit card with corresponding photo-id. Voting registration, additional security services (like airport pre-clearance with background check), census should all be available. A full share goes to Americans 18-65, a third share for seniors and dependents, a 2% share for wards of the state. The money can only be spent on American made goods, medical (incl cosmetic), education (incl parochial), public transportation, adoption, and funeral costs. The Reagan investment tax credit should be passed to quicken the rebuilding of our manufacturing base. No tax credits allowed against redistribution tax. This policy is not without problems of "washing", giving young people money that many will mis-spend, giving the lazy little incentive to strive, a hit on the bottom line of corp. profits. Republicans will incorrectly argue the economy will recess when the opposite will happen, the economy will boom. With the richest natural resources and economy of any nation on earth, we owe our children a country that provides for itself, and lets them live better than their parents. If we are willing to share earth's bounty, we can become again the light of the world.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 6, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's the third Republican attack ad;

"Would you elect a fromer cocaine user who calls it, "scoring some blow" to your childrens school board? then why would you elect him President?

Posted by: slbk | January 6, 2008 10:53 AM
___________________________

And if America falls for this type of Garbage then they get what you asked for.... We should stop allowing these Anti-American people to run our country....They only care about Corporations and their profits....And when you get distracted by this type of propaganda you only end-up hurting yourself...And by that time the damages would have already been done....And then you will be stuck with 4 more years of George Bush, even though it might be in different costume......Many looked the other way on George W. Bush twice and look what you have now; High Gas Prices, High Mortgage Payment, High Healthcare cost, MANY MANY SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRAQ and they are so many many more cost that have Americans suffering...... So you make your choice, are with Regular American or are you happy with the last 7 years....The Decision is yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: msadvice | January 6, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Once again, the MSM is penalizing Clinton for doing exactly what they encouraged and insisted Edwards and Obama to do.

Further, Clinton could have screamed at and tasered Obama and Edwards for the entire 90 minutes and still wouldn't be anywhere near as angry as what the Edwards' have been for their entire campaign.

The burden remains with you, Chris, to explain your double standard.


Posted by: JoeCHI | January 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I truly would like to know the answer to two questions. Why are the voters in this country so persuaded by "likeability" over competence and experience? It is like people think we are electing a high school prom king. I just don't get it.
Second, why has the media been so vicious towards Hillary and have let Obama get by with no real evaluation of his readiness to serve in the most important position in the world for the next 4 years? If Obama wins, we are not much better off than with Bush, who was also viewed as likeable. Inexperience can cause as many problems as evil. Shallow is the word for voters in this country.

Posted by: vienna12 | January 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It is fun to watch as Obama gets closer and closer to winning another early state, this time New Hampshire, just how desperate some of the Clinton supporters in this thread become to slime him and paint him as unelectable. Often this is done by using right-wing talking points. Slbk even went so far as to write up the first one for them. Way to take the high road sir/madam!

If you want an example of when someone took the high road, it was right there last night in the example of one John Edwards. Now, I'm for Obama so don't take this as an endorsement of Edwards, but when Hillary tried to get Edwards to help her misquote Obama and pile on, he declined and instead called the attack what it was, a cheap shot from an increasingly flailing, desperate former front-runner.

I watched both debates and the contrast could not have been more dramatic. In the Democratic debate, aside from a couple of moments, you saw four intelligent, substantive, strong candidates any of whom I would be proud to vote for.

In the Republican debate I saw a bunch of grumpy old white men who can't wait to try and trot out the same attack ads that they were using for the past two decades.

The real winner last night was the Democrats in general. I'm proud of the entire field of candidates we have and it does us absolutely zero good for obvious liberals in this own thread to pout when their first choice is losing.

Posted by: nocoolnamejim | January 6, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Clinton slapped obama by pointing out that Barry's campaign manager is a health insurance lobbyiest.
Edwards knocked Barry down with the "nice" comment.

Now we need someone to point out how Obama pretends to be from the middle class, while he's actually from the upper middle class.
He's just like George Bush.

Posted by: newagent99 | January 6, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I disagree on one point. You say that HRC raised doubts about whether there is anything behind Obama's words.
For Hillary words and words and she'll say whatever.
The record shows Obama has effectively made big changes and not just in politics.
He has a record to back up his words.

Posted by: vwcat | January 6, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

CC: I most humbly disagree with your take on McCain. Thought he was snarly and stuck in the yesterday's gear. (Sorry, Mark.)

Don't let the fumes from the Straight Talk bus make you fuzzy... the shots Romney took from McCain, Huckabee, Giuliani and Thompson were uncomfortable moments, unpresidential moments. The GOP winner might be Thompson... our man can speak!

Agree about Obama, Hillary's worst nightmare.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | January 6, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Agree generally with the comment, "eye of the beholder," but as a staunch Obama supporter, I will say that Clinton did better and that my favorite, Obama's eyelids looked a little heavy. Edwards snaked his way into a position of siding with Obama and that's sleazy though he did present forcefully the ideas he wants us to belive that he believes in. Still, both he and Clinton are untrustworthy because of their voting records. Richardson wants veep.
Hillary "won" and will get a bump.

Posted by: hrayovac | January 6, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Another thought on Feb. 5:

Mr. Obama had the political genius to get this far and after he wins S.C., he is supposed to sink like a heavy rock?

Will he run out of expertise and know-how and trip himself into oblivion?

After S.C., the wheeling and dealing will be in such high gear, people will not be able to sleep at night because of the shift-changing rumble. Pollsters will be on amphetamines to keep up with the new political earthquake all around the nation.

This "movement" spiel is a call for a changing of the guard. A new generation is taking over.

Let the 90's dynosaurs lay. The country is rising to the tune of a new band.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 6, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Debates grow fierce as hopefuls spar over records, likability

Do you elect a President Based on Likeability or Ability & Strength?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1459

.

Posted by: PollM | January 6, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that when a woman shows anger she's shrill and confrontational,but when a man shows anger at being attacked he's considered strong and courageous? All the candidates looked tired last night because of the really punishing schedule of these bunched up state events. I made up my mind to one thing last night. I could vote for Hillary or Richardson, but I will never vote for Obama or Edwards. Obama and Edwards are political naifs in Washington. Neither one of them was willing to put in the time and effort necessary to learn what they would need to know in the oval office. Hillary is right, words, no matter how inspiring, are not enough. I am amused that people compare Obama to JFK as if that were a compliment. I loved to watch Kennedy - he was witty and handsome, and I voted for him. I was 32 years old, and I was thrilled that a new generation would take over the reigns of power. But the truth is that JFK was not a good president. His inexperience led him to take on the Bay of Pigs fiasco. It was Kennedy, not LBJ, that upped the ante in Vietnam that made it our war. The revisionists still try to float the lie that before he died Kennedy was about to end our Vietnam involvement. Baloney. At the cabinet meeting where the final decision was made to send 50,000 new uniformed "advisers" to Vietnam all Kennedy's brilliant Irish mafia supported the increase except George Ball, who warned JFK that 50,000 new troops in Vietnam will end with 350,000 troops in a year of so. His inexperience showed at the meeting with Kruschev in Vienna which led to the Cuban missile crisis. He was in deep trouble as the time for reelection neared - he was not doing well in the polls at all. After his assassination, the heroic figure of Jackie Kennedy was indelibly imprinted on our national consciousness,and JFK became a mythical hero. I've been down this road when I was young - falling for a handsome guy with a glib tongue but no real political accomplishments to prepare him for the presidency. I'm a life-long Democrat who will not vote for Barack Obama. I will vote for John McCAin or for Mike Huckabee or not vote for president at all. If Obama is our candidate, the Democrats will once again go down to defeat in what should have been a year of victory. At that point I will change my registration to Independent. I am sick of donating about $2,000 every four years to incompetent candidates of a party that no longer seems to stand and fight for anything worthwhile.

Posted by: myskylark | January 6, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

My apolgies for repeating my post from yesterday, but it is relevant to some of today's comments.

Hmmm...wasn't there once another presidential candidate who had a little coke problem before he was reborn..

I think I would rather have a candidate who owns up to what everyone already knows, or will know, than one whose daddy has enough juice to strong-arm folks into committing perjury to keep his spoiled frat-boy spawn from having to stand up and tell the truth. Not to mention getting a brain-dead drunk with the IQ of cement into ivy league schools and out with a degree, and making reserve service records disappear. Imagine...a candidate who is candid about his past.

The contrast between how two once misguided young men handled the facts of their past after they grew up (well, one of them grew up) tells me everything I need to know about character and its role in political life today.

Let the mud fly. Obama won't sit around picking his nose for a couple of months while the godly sharpen their knives. I think he is going to jam it down their hypocritical throats.

Posted by: genepool | January 6, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

That's interesting. svreaders and other Hillary supporters are starting to forget the kind of negatives Hillary starts out the general election with against any of the GOP nominees. Just to remind you, they're the worst of any Dem candidate. I'm interested to see what strategy Mark Penn has cooked up for overcoming that small concern. Then again, the whole point may be moot in a month, so we'll see.

Posted by: elroy1 | January 6, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It is somewhat strange that a representative of corporate America has the power to decide "who can" and "who cannot" participate in the race for the Presidency (Kucinich).

Posted by: econ51gh | January 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton was strong, assured, and presented her experience and her message in very positive terms. She did appear angry at times, but being angry is part of being passionate.

The fact that Senator Obama preferred to "look magnanimous, rather than debate her on the finer points of her attacks" was, in my opinion, a weakness on his part. In typical political fashion, he avoided her direct points.

Posted by: gayle1701 | January 6, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Lylepink,

Female voters are deserting Hillary and going to Obama. Scary.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 6, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's the third Republican attack ad;

"Would you elect a fromer cocaine user who calls it, "scoring some blow" to your childrens school board? then why would you elect him President?

Posted by: slbk | January 6, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's the first Republican attack ad out of the gate. Distraught Latin/ American families talking about how many loved ones they lost to drug wars. Then the caption, "Obama calls it "scoring some blow", we call it supporting drug cartels" Wow that's just the start! He recently bought a 1.9 million dollar house while bragging that his grandmother lives in a tiny hut in Africa. How hard will it be for the Republican attack machine to find members of the Obama family living in destitute poverty with no water or electricity? Here's that ad, "Barack Obma lives in a 1.9 million dollar house. His grandmother lives in this hut with no medical care, no water and no electricity. If Obama wont get these things for his own grandmather, why would he get them for you?" Obama is suicide by independents and 17 year olds for the Democratic Party. He is the least electable candidate in any of the fields.

Posted by: slbk | January 6, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Another woman speaks, she is not amused:

It's huge. Even though people have been talking about this possibility for six weeks now, it's still huge. She had the money, she had the organization, the party's stars, she had Elvis behind her, and the Clinton name in a base that loved Bill. And she lost. There are always a lot of reasons for a loss, but the ur-reason in this case, the thing it all comes down to? There's something about her that makes you look, watch, think, look again, weigh and say: No.

http://opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110011083

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 6, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I think Guiliani should be added as a loser too. He was a non-factor at best not only from his position on the stage but also in the fact that he was taking on Ron Paul every other time I looked up.

I also think that Edwards did well too. I think Obama did better but Edwards looked like a strong VP last night to me. My take on the Dems is that they all did well, Hillary was good but it was too little too late. I see this solidifying obama for an over 40% victory on tuesday with Hillary coming in at 25% and Edwards at 24%.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 6, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I haven't checked the analysis of many yet this AM, but I would bet my last dollar it will be along this line--"Hillary supporters worried about her falling support in NH" This supporter has already written off NH as lost, same for SC. Super Dooper Tuesday is when we will know Hillary is the Dem nominee and well on her way to being elected our next POTUS.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I thought Hillary's reality check seemed to rouse the two guys from their trip down memory lane. She had the presence to cut through their chatter and bring in some clarity.

Posted by: rosiebrook | January 6, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

This election shows why other countries are beating us right and left.

Too many Americans are way too shallow.

Republicans are republicans because they think they'll save on taxes. They're wrong, because Republican administrations always spend more than Democratic ones, but there's a double-wammy, because Republicans also cut public services and force the consumer to pay for things out of pocket that used to be provided as a public service.

Democrats are Democrats because they believe in the middle class, but Democrats destroy each other, doing exactly what the Republicans want them to do, far too often.

The trashing of Hillary is the biggest example.

Too many Americans don't care that she has the best health care plan.

They're too busy trashing her, without knowing anything about her policies or what she's really like.

Remember Al Gore? Democrats turned on him, just like they turned on John Kerry, just like they're turing on Hillary.

How can Democrats ever win elections if they keep acting like giant guppies?

Is it any wonder that Gore said "forget it!"

Thanks to the Obama-nuts, we'll probably wind up with a Repubican president.

Thanks, Obama-nuts.

Thanks for nothing.

Posted by: svreader | January 6, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

And Edwards, Chris? Unless your TV screen is smaller than mine, he was the candidate sitting to the left of Barack... I felt he did an excellent job and most importantly for me, I think he will indeed work for us.

Barack as presidential? I don't hink so. Kevlar? I just didn't see it. I saw him get nervous, agitated and not answer questions (just like the others) and more importantly for me, I saw the lack of depth in his answers - I agree with Hillary in that actions do indeed speak louder than words. He has the talking points down but I don't believe he can follow through.

I hope that folks get over "new car smell" of his candidacy and realize that it's just a "car" that may not have a good warranty.
I just don't want to have to go through another 4 years of presidential OJT...

Posted by: wjaxon | January 6, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris did we watch the same debate/.Hillary won hands down . It was substance over pretty talk.

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

John Edwards says, referring to Obama, "you can't "nice" people to death. Life is a battle to be fought....you can't be philosophical about it!"

This is the old school of thought. They fight with only the weapons they know of. What this thinking fails to see is the power and force that 'comes through' an individual whose foundations are rooted in honesty. fact and for the benefit of all. No agenda but to 'be' the door for a greater change than a common mind could plan.

It's not being 'nice', it's being real! GO OBAMA!

Lee Burkins, Montrose, Colorado

Posted by: OneTao | January 6, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Disagree on the angry take on Hillary. She was aggressive and very specific in asking for a reality check. She showed humor, passion and a depth of knowledge. Realize this is a subjective, eye of the beholder impression that will be affected by the strong feelings one already holds for Clinton, but in as impossible position she successfully raised points against her opponents and asserted herself.Obama looked peevish and petty when he told Clinton she was likable "enough", and seemed flat and dialing it.

Posted by: rdklingus | January 6, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama as kevlar? There's an interesting angle. Yes, Obama was the default winner for the Dems. He looked more "presidential" than Hillary ever did.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | January 6, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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