It was Edwards' attempt at a joke (thnk John Kerry). They were supposed to say something good and something bad about the person to their left, and his point, I believe, was, that he couldn't really think of anything bad to say about her, so he pulled something out of the air.
Unfortunately, the joke didn't work.
It was a passing moment, though, and barely worth even discussing.
I thought Edwards performed very poorly throughout. It's not the smarminess, it's the inability to answer the question or to give a straight answer on anything. Obama also disappointed me terribly; I want to like him, but he sounded dishonest, unfocused, scripted yet oddly incoherent last night. Biden was typical Biden -- 50% absolutely right on, 50% completely idiotic. He gets points for not sounding afraid, though. My favorite, Bill Richardson, was only so-so.
I'm afraid Hillary mopped up the field last night. But she annoys and worries me, because she STILL SOUNDS AFRAID -- afraid to actually take a position on anything. Not all of the time, but that is the Democratic disease.
I'm also not hearing enough forward looking. Even in 2008 you're not going to win unless you have a vision for the future -- even if that vision is completely retarded, or a complete lie, you have to be about the future and not the past. That's why Bush is president now.
I like Edwards because he is scrappy. His book, Four Trials, left me with that impression.
joke gone bad. possibly one in poor taste, as well.
agree w/Duncan @1. Irrelevant little remark, it was such a stupid question to begin with.
Fnarf @2: Hillary is terrible, reminds me of our junior Senator, supposedly representing us. Voted for every Iraq-enabling item, and every PATRIOT Act item. Crap.
Have you figured out who Greg Palast is yet, Eli?
Or maybe it's a silly answer to a stupid question, Eli, and some things don't mean as much as you want to think they do.
This sort of overanalysis is a symptom of polarized political analysis.
I think Biden had the best response to this question: "I think this is a ridiculous exercise."
Sometimes it seems like he's the only grown-up onstage, and the only one answering questions like a human being and not a candidate-bot.
Well it was just an attempt at a joke so I'd be tempted to write it off, except that he has already proven (think: his debates in 04) that he can't really think quickly on his feet. This cements this. Obama, on the other hand, can.
I'm not sure that the "not sure about that coat" remark is any worse than "the best thing about Dennis Kucinich is his wife" especially if you know that Dennis's wife is a 20-something Amazonian supermodel-esque type.
@8: Biden came off as having no sense of humor, which is not something anyone wants in their president. :P
Hmmm... Edwards' joke didn't fly... that's all. He tried for a funny and failed. Well, at least Hillary laughed at it.
That said, I didn't like Biden's reply, or Hillary's. It wasn't a ridiculous exercise and it could have been an enlightening moment. The candidates mostly took it as a surface, popularity issue, when it was probably meant to be a "name something you like and dislike about their politics" question. Hillary replied to it as if it were required to be a negative comment. All she had to do was say something she liked about Obama's politics and something she would have done differently.
On another note, Bill Richardson's comments were funny... but didn't feel appropriate.
The whole question and its replies felt very much like I was watching a high school Associated Student Body election.
Edwards is hot, don't get me wrong, but he's also an asshole and an idiot. Just sayin'.
Oh whatever. It was "say something good, say something bad." So his bad thing was about the coat. Who gives a fuck besides right wing mouthpieces like Politico? Lighten up.
Why is it that people focus on these irrelevant frak ups instead of the issues?
John Edwards is the only candidate on either side who is seriously addressing our countryís severe and growing economic inequality which is a major threat to our socio-political integrity.
I would totally be an Edwards guy except for his position on marriage equality. Every time he addresses it heís just so insulting and patronizing. I know thatís but one issue out of many, but it totally turns me off his campaign and thereís no chance Iíll contribute money.
The correct answer to such a question is "Next question?"
Am I the only one who has enough of these stupid TV games?
I really think this is a non-issue, and agree with #1. These guys have been debating, and will be debating and giving the same speeches over and over during their campaigns, I can forgive a bad joke once in a while.
Why is Politico linked as a source on a Slog post? Am I the only one weirded out by that?
It's not really a debate. It's more of a question/answer. There is no actual debating going on yet.
a big problem with edwards joke is that it falls in line with all the other inappropriate/unnecessary commentary on hillary's wardrobe. it makes him look like just one of the boys, something he should be (and hopefully is) above.
Bill Richardson rocks! Glad to see someone else here likes him.
It's between Edwards and him for me.
Obama is too naive. Hillary says tons without saying anything.
I like where Edwards stands on most issues and has a strong, likeable personality.
Richardson seems to be realistic, optimistic, and genuine.
Don't think Kusunich has a chance even though I agree with almost everything he says...
And as for last night- come on people, it was a joke. Fell flat, but it was a joke.
I actually hate Edwards more and more. I am really sick of his "struggle" and "personal debate" about gay marriage.
Fuck him and his stuggle; anything other than support full and equal rights for all Americans makes him homophobic.
And THANK YOU Kucinic for answering that question with a YES, I support gay marriage!!
Agree with most here: A non-issue. If anything, it was just trash-talking.
Hillary should have made a swipe at his lovely locks and all would be even.
Sometimes politicians try to be funny. They usually fail.
The real question isn't about the coat, it's about how to answer stupid questions on the fly. The President has to answer billions of questions, smart and dumb, throughout the four year term so it's just a test.
As Sullivan points out, the problem with Edwards on gay marriage isn't that he's against it, or for it, or anything else. It's that when you ask him, he starts off on that little rap about his "personal journey". Nobody gives a fuck about his personal journey. Just answer the fucking question.
I mean, we all know WHY he won't answer the fucking question: because he's afraid, because he knows that taking a stand will alienate a lot of potential voters. But that is exactly what is wrong with Democrats; they are afraid to take a position because they're afraid to alienate some voters. The Democrats have traditionally been a "big tent" party, with a whole raft of various issues weirdos, which is cool, but if it drives you into a position where you have to agree with everybody on everything, you just look like a marshmallow. Republicans, until recently, have always managed this kind of thing much better, because they're unabashedly authoritarian. At a Republican debate, no one is going to be allowed to ask potentially divisive questions.
Democrats, on the other hand, are often ONLY interested in divisive questions.
Hillary understands this, which is good. I'm not a fan, but I think she's got the balls to slap the idiots down before they get too far along on their little raps. Which is good.
I don't know if commenting on Hillary's wardrobe makes Edwards sexist and "one of the boys." I think it makes him more of a gay boy. "Girlfriend, I don't know about that jacket, bitch pleaze" (snap)
This is a 'non-issue' the way Rick Lazio's marching over to Hillary in the 2000 senatorial debate and sticking his finger in her facing demanding she sign something was a 'non-issue'.
Even the NY Times didnít pick up on that act's inherent offensiveness to women. But the upstate, blue-haired, DAR Republican women sure did! Lazio lost the election that night.
Edwards isn't as close to winning as Lazio was, but being so dumb as to say a smarmy remark on camera isn't going to help this putz.
Blanchard at 26,
Can you really compare the two? They seem like two extremely different scenarios, Edwards was trying to be light-hearted, Lazio was not.
I thought the joke was funny.
It could have been a man there and he could have said "I don't know about that tie."
It was just a God damned joke. You people read so much into everything - sometimes it's just over the top.
It was a stupid question, and a good reason not to do this again.
BTW, Why is nobody getting on Biden's ass for talking about Kucinich's wife?
How has no one connected the joke with the WaPo furor over her cleavage on CSpan and the press's constant carping about her hair/wardrobe? He was being sarcastic and digging at the press, not at her. Unfortunately, if you make a joke like that in that format, you have to dumb it down (the comments on this thread being evidence, apparently) so no one's offended or has to use any of their brain capacity.
These candidates have gotten to know each other. Edwards' answer was an evasion of the request to criticize the person on his left. So he chose something trivial instead of a big issue. Dodd had already staked out his usual "no negatives" position.
What was telling was Hillary response.
She wasn't refering to the debate when she said it would be over soon but the Primaries.
Give me a break! Not a one of us can imagine the pressure that John Edwards was under in that moment: Anderson Cooper delivers the question, the first contender steals the golden retort, it's a flash round and he had to respond quickly with a critique of Hillary Clinton. He goes for the light-hearted joke so as to say nothing critical about Hillary. And it falls a little flat. Big fucking deal. Let it go.
Clinton can't even answer the question, just falls back on her script.
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