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FixCam: Week in Preview

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The Democratic presidential race turns west this week as the candidates prepare for Thursday's debate in Sin City. It's the first time the candidates will all appear on stage together since the Philadelphia debate where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) came under withering attack from her Democratic rivals and made an unusual stumble when asked whether she supported granting drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants.

It's hard to imagine Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) changing their aggressive tactics on Thursday night. The real question is whether Clinton will continue to ignore the charges thrown at her or hit back. Either way, she could lose. If she ignores her rivals, she runs the risk of having their attacks stick while if she engages, it could be read as a sign that she is nervous about her standing.

In short, this debate, like the entirety of the Democratic race, revolves around Clinton and how she interacts with those seeking to knock off her frontrunner label.

It's not just the presidential race that has a western tinge to it this week. The big news on the Senate front is that Rep. Tom Udall (D) has decided to run for the open seat of Sen. Pete Domenici (R). Udall, who had ruled out a candidacy just a week ago, is regarded by national strategists as their strongest possible candidate. More on Udall and this race on The Fix later this week....

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 12, 2007; 4:04 PM ET
Categories:  FixCam  
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Next: According to Polls, Fred Thompson Foundering

Comments

"By why should I vote for them if they don't tell me what problems they'll fix?"

The number of politicians that say what they are going to do, are elected and then do what they said are close to zero. Many times they don't mean what they say. Many times the the solutions look quite different after they have been through the process. Most of the time other situations pop up and either become the new focus or change the landscape. The other party and politics come into play also. They are 14 months from being elected - a lifetime in politics. So much can change. They are making promises and formulating policies based on the situation today for things that would likely not even be started for a year and a half. Domestic policy for any candidate would change if, in Jan 2009, the price of oil was $500 a barrel. Or $15. That is why most presidents get elected based on things closer to likability quotient and perceived competency than policy or qualifications. People tend to want someone that comes across like they will do a good job more than someone that has a resume that suggests they would do a good job.

HRC has a likability for many people (I can't explain why) and she is perceived as competent based on her Senate experience, her 1st lady experience and most of her debate performances. John Edwards ran for Vice President - it seems to me that he should have name recognition. Along with Obama, they have been in the news constantly for the last year or so. We are several weeks away from beginning primaries. If name recogition is the issue of if they don't have name recognition by now, they probably never will.

Posted by: dave | November 13, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

dave asks
"How can you fix any problems if you don't get elected?"

True enough. By why should I vote for them if they don't tell me what problems they'll fix? In HRC's case, Edwards compared her to GWB for taking planted questions in screened audiences. Her response was to compare Edwards to GWB for practicing the politics of antagonism. Should I pick one of these over the other because they're playing politics better? Or should I hold out for a candidate that actually tells me what they'll try to accomplish & how they'll do it once they're elected?

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

bsimon,
"Do we really want a President who's focused more on winning the political battles than on actually solving problems?" Chicken and egg. How can you fix any problems if you don't get elected? The fact of the matter is that problems don't get solved by candidates talking about them during campaigns. During campaigns, candidates need and should be doing things that they think are in their best interest to get them elected. One might argue that if you run a nasty campaign, then it will be harder to work with people afterwords. I think there is some little truth to that (at least initially after getting elected) but do you really think that it will get more acrimonious then the current environment afterwards regardless of the way a person will get elected?

Posted by: dave | November 13, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought that HRC and Bush have very similar personalities. HRC doesn't like to answer questions, she is a control freak, secrecy is big for her, she doesn't admit making mistakes (I guess she doesn't believe it is possible that she made a mistake), she blames other people when she displays what many consider a lack of good judgement, when criticism is leveled against her she attacks the critic instead of addressing the issue, and so on, and so on.

Those personality traits remind me a LOT of good ol' GW himself. To me, that is the exact OPPOSITE of what we need in the White House.

PG

Posted by: PeixeGato | November 13, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

In an interesting display of Rovian tactics, the Clinton campaign is now accusing the Edwards campaign of 'acting like George Bush':

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/12/clinton.questions/?iref=mpstoryview

The Clinton campaign, to my (admittedly biased) view, is certainly living up to the expectation that it will play hardball. The question is: is this what America needs? Do we really want a President who's focused more on winning the political battles than on actually solving problems? Rather than addressing the criticisms raised by Edwards, the Clinton campaign chooses to counter-attack. They seem uninterested in a substantive policy debate & instead get into a catfight about who is more Bushlike.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

bokonon13-- Koz actually admitted that he is paid by the RNC. What a waste of money!

Posted by: urban4 | November 12, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

actually, drindl, I think he referred at one point to being a mathematician or scientist or sth.

Posted by: bokonon13 | November 12, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

'what makes you think I would miss an opportunity to make money? gotta put gas in the motoryacht, you know'

and I'm sure he has a pool, too. But yet he keeps refusing to say what he actualy does....funny, isn't it?

Posted by: drindl | November 12, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

roo: that's because zouk IS weak. The only thing he can attack are strawmen.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 12, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--Heh, it is funny how you seem to think that chiding Clinton you are dealing devastating blows to the evil liberals. Not one of the regulars here, save for lylepink, seem to be Clinton supporters.

Attacking easy targets just makes you look weak.

Posted by: roo_P | November 12, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"He's missing a golden opportunity to make good $$$ advising wavering GOP incumbents."


what makes you think I would miss an opportunity to make money? gotta put gas in the motoryacht, you know.

you really are a clueless clown, so foolish you can't even conceive of it. Like most big mouths, your feeble attempt at humor illuminates how ignorant you really are. I will muse at your shortcomings and allow you to remain happy and dumb.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 12, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

claudia: zouk must know something these incumbents don't know about the GOP chances for regaining control of Congress in 2008. He's missing a golden opportunity to make good $$$ advising wavering GOP incumbents.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 12, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse


"Anyone up for a pool on how many Republican incumbents will announce this week that they won't be running for reelection in 2008?'

I heard 15 as of this weekend. I'm all for it. How would you set it up? ow many R's drop out altogether before November?

Posted by: drindl | November 12, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Thurs debate preview:

Edwards: must continue attacking Clinton. The question is whether & how hard he also attacks Obama.

Obama: sittin' in the catbird seat. Well positioned to focus less on pointing out Clinton's flaws & more on his own approach - building on Sat night's speech in Iowa.

Clinton: Stuck in reactive mode; either has to start defending herself against attacks of being non-specific, or remain open to those allegations - thus looking out of touch and/or unprincipled. I wouldn't be surprised if she has another bad night. Will we see a return of 'the cackle'? (its amazing how quickly that disappeared)

The rest of the field: They'll generate a couple laughs with clever one-liners and probably have a couple insightful comments (particularly Biden). None will be the 'story of the night.'

Posted by: bsimon | November 12, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

anyone up for a pool on how many hard questions hillary will answer this week. I'll take both sides doesn't count and planted questions don't count.

I therefore predict, based on past performance - zero.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 12, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone up for a pool on how many Republican incumbents will announce this week that they won't be running for reelection in 2008?

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 12, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

'In short, this debate, like the entirety of the Democratic race, revolves around Clinton and how she interacts with those seeking to knock off her frontrunner label.'

NO. Only to the Beltway Ignorati, CC. Try to talk to some real people once in a while.

By the way, polls show Udall will easily crush any Republican...

Posted by: drindl | November 12, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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