Politics What Obama Should Do
posted by June 6 at 12:22 PMon
Looks like a lot of people had the same thought after watching the Democratic debate in New Hampshire: Barack Obama needs to figure out a better way to take on Hillary Clinton.
For my part, I noticed, when I was at the debate, that Obama seemed overly gentle with Clinton, passing up several opportunities to take her on while not hesitating to slap down John Edwards.
What’s he scared of?
Obama scored one of the biggest sound-bite coups of the night when he turned to Edwards and told him that he was “about four and a half years late” in speaking out against the Iraq war. He could have said something similar to Clinton, and had several opportunities to do so, but didn’t. I write about one of Obama’s missed opportunities, briefly, in the issue of the Stranger that’s coming out later today.
Today in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd devotes her whole column to this issue. It’s behind the TimesSelect firewall, so you can’t read the whole thing unless you pay, but here’s an excerpt:
In the New Hampshire debate Sunday night, Mr. Obama again missed his chances. Hillary is the one he needs to unseat, but he treads gingerly around her. He seems afraid of a repeat of that moment last December, as the clamor for him to run was building, when he touched her elbow and winked at her on the Senate floor, and she kept walking. He called a friend afterwards, stunned at her icy behavior.
Instead, he wasted his time tangling with Dennis Kucinich in the first debate and slapping back John Edwards in the second.
When Hillary admitted that she had not read the National Intelligence Estimate before voting to authorize the president to go to war, Senator Obama had a clear shot… He missed another chance when Hillary said at the beginning of the debate that she believed “we are safer than we were” before 9/11, even though the Democrats won Congress with the opposite argument last fall, and even though the Iraq war has clearly made the world more dangerous than ever…
The Boy Wonder cannot take over the country unless he can take on Wonder Woman.
A TIME blogger finds Dowd’s advice ironic. Sullivan thinks he should largely dismiss it, but that Obama needs to “play down the seminar and pump up the sermon.” But both seem to agree that Obama’s debate delivery could use some tweaking, and the general consensus in the political world seems to be that Clinton won the last debate—and that this, sent out by the Obama camp the day after the debate, was too little too late.