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Friday, November 16, 2007

Last Night’s Democratic Debate

posted by on November 16 at 9:00 AM

The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton is back on her game. I tend to agree. The debate last night was really heated, but Clinton joked about having brought an asbestos pant-suit at the beginning and then proceeded to knock back John Edwards and Barack Obama every time they trained their fire on her.

The crowd was also a factor in this debate (it was Las Vegas, after all). There were shouts that interrupted Obama and boos at Edwards for attacking Clinton after a question on the “gender card” and the “boys club.” You can read a bunch of reviews on the “That’s Why the Lady is a Champ” theme here. You can see a roundup of the television talking heads’ reaction here. And you can watch a “replay” of my liveblogging here, or, heck, with this cool new application we’re using I can just drop it in… here:

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Posted by Mr. Poe | November 16, 2007 9:07 AM

The idea that Hillary was on the ropes and staged a big comeback last night is purely media-manufactured BS. She did fine, but there was hardly ever a dent in her polling and her performance in the previous debate was fine.

Last night she did well, but mostly she let Obama do her work for her. He was awful. Particularly on the reshashed driver's license question, but his speaking in general was just very stilted and awkward.

The crowd was kind of strange and unruly, and it was obvious that that threw Obama off at at least one point too. They seemed particularly upset that Clinton and Obama were getting so much time at the expense of the others. That may be telling, but then again it's a small sample size for an audience.

Posted by Gabriel | November 16, 2007 9:32 AM

So Fox just did a poll...

...that basically says only McCain matches up with Hillary in a general election (though the spread for Giuliani is only 4 points). Mr. Special Underpants (who I think is most likely to get the R nod) is down by 13 points!

What's exciting about this is that Hillary is a candidate who has been vetted by the national press, and the Scaffe right wing conspiracy, for fifteen years. There isn't anything shitty to say about her that hasn't already been said. Whereas there's all the time in the world to bore holes into her opponent.

Yes, yes, yes, negative campaigning is wrong yada yada yada. I still can't wait to see her tear those douchebags new assholes in the general election.

Posted by Big Sven | November 16, 2007 9:36 AM

Biden kicked ass in last night's debate. He was funny, poised, forthright, and shot from the hip. I wish he was in Edward's place, statistically speaking, because he's a great man. I'd love to see him as VP on the winner's ticket.

Obama was abysmal. The way he crumpled under pressure from the crowd was embarrassing. We can't have a president who can't handle a little heckling without getting all shaky and freaked.

Edwards made himself look like a dick... again. I wish he would fuck off already. He had one or two slick lines, but mostly he just dodged and weaved and didn't land any punches. He's all dance and no hits. It's really hard to pay attention to what he says, because none of it sounds sincere or important coming out of his mouth. He became white noise after a short time.

Dodd was quite eloquent, and I was left with the feeling that he would be a remarkable president. He seemed quite comfortable speaking on a host of issues, didn't whine and bitch about not getting enough time like Kuninich and Biden, and came across as very strong and confident.

Kucinich is my favorite underdog in this race. He is just SO outspoken, SO forthright, SO direct, SO tree-huggy, and SO short and cute. He landed some really hard hits last night, and I'm glad he's in the race to at least be the extreme whistle blower to the other political players. I love that little guy. He keeps it real, for sure.

Richardson is obviously trying to not alienate the other candidates in the hopes of being the next VP. He did well on the nuclear power topic. He went on a tirade that stopped making sense or being relevant the longer he spoke, but his presence was commanding for a brief moment. I think he chose to be mexican to have an edge in this election. He shouldn't receive any of the same rights afforded to people who were born mexican.

and of course...

Clinton was strong, kept her nose clean, but definitely defended herself when attacked, and had obviously come up with firm views on the topics she's been charged with flip-flopping on. It was a good move for sure, because it made her look steadfast even as they sited her recent flip-flopping, and it made her opponents look weak and childish.

After watching all of the debates I'm getting a little weary of hearing the same sound bytes from all the candidates that they pull out at every appearance. Richardson, we know you're a diplomat. Clinton, we know you've worked hard for universal healthcare. Kucinich, we know you voted against the war when the others didn't. Edwards, we know you're a prick. Dodd, you can keep talking. Biden, you're hilarious, you can keep talking too. Obama, you talk about collaborating to get things done but you don't seem to be able to actually DO it, so get off your high horse.

Posted by Carollani | November 16, 2007 10:04 AM

Loved the shots of Edwards face everytime he was called on his muck flinging. He really came off as the smarmy creep he is. When he pulled the "I grew up in the segregated south" card again I just wanted to barf. He was called out and certainly didn't look prepared for it. Biden made some great points, but again came across as being very "issue" oriented which would make him a very good VP or cabinet candidate, but not presidential material at all. Dodd was Dodd and came off pretty well throughout I thought, but poor Richardson..... Obama didn't come off as "thoughtful" as so many posters on here call him, but more slow to come up with an answer. Hillary just truly hosed down Obama and Edwards! Loved it.

Posted by Josh | November 16, 2007 10:05 AM

Yea, it's really "mud-slinging" to contrast yourself with other candidates on issues. I'm really confused by all the faux-outrage of the Hillary supporters. What are Obama and Edwards supposed to do at a DEBATE? Get down and kiss her ring (one presumably encrusted with both diamonds and pearls... blech).

From TPM: Hillary Clinton said she was not playing the gender card or running because she is a woman — and then skillfully played the gender card to great applause. "And I have to tell you, as I travel around the country, you know, fathers drive hours to bring their daughters to my events And so many women in their 90s wait to shake my hand," she said, "And they say something like: I'm 95 years old, I was born before women could vote, and I want to live long enough to see a woman in the White House."

Please do not elect this woman unless you want four more years of decision-by-polling leadership and centrist politics.

Posted by Edwards Voter | November 16, 2007 10:29 AM

I like Biden when he's angry about the war or is insulting Republicans, but in general he's an egomaniacal, blustering tool. Besides, his policy on Iraq is dead wrong. Partition is a disaster and will only lead to more killings as each part is ethnically purified.

Richardson's the guy who's got the right position on the war and the right way to help stabilize Iraq after we end our occupation. Richardson for Secretary of State, Biden for DOD, Obama for VP. That leaves Edwards, Kucinich, Dodd, and Clinton for the top slot. Clinton's probably the only one with a chance, but even the least charismatic of those four (Dodd, in my view) would wipe the floor against any Republican. I'm voting Kucinich in the caucus.

Posted by Cascadian | November 16, 2007 10:42 AM

Edwards Voter: Is it really "playing the gender card" to acknowledge that there is a difference in gender and that it's a huge fucking deal for this country to have the possibility of a female president? It IS a big fucking deal, and I don't see anything underhanded or dishonest about bringing it up (which, by the way, she didn't... she answered a question posed to her). You're just upset because your sniveling little candidate got spanked (again... and again) and was repeatedly booed by the audience for his ass-hattery. I think he was too busy picking out a tie that matched his eyes than preparing for the debate, so he resorted to dogging Hillary and then saying, "it's not personal," as if we couldn't see through his song and dance.

Posted by Carollani | November 16, 2007 11:06 AM

@ 8

So in your warped world anyone who disagrees with Hilldogg is "sniveling" and uses "ass-hattery." Nice. You belong in the Clinton camp.

The point is Clinton claims gender is not centrally important but uses it whenever it's politically expedient. In contrast, look at Obama, who somehow manages not to bring up the fact that he is black at every debate. Or to accuse people of attacking him because he is black.

Again, you really think that Obama and Edwards should not point out their differences with Clinton during a debate? Seriously? Should we even have debates? Elections? Just give Clinton the presidency?

And if they dare disagree with her I'm sure you'd be the first to start booing. Pathetic. You'll notice that supporters of all the other candidates had the respect to not boo other candidates. It's called having tact.

It's going to be a tough day for you when Edwards wins the Iowa caucus.

Posted by Edwards Voter | November 16, 2007 11:22 AM

Actually Edwards Voter you have some really good points, but compare Obama using someone like McClurkin which was clearly hi-liting his "blackness" for votes and then Clinton's relationship with the pastor of a church like Glide Memorial in SF. You'll see that there is a big difference in the way these candidates play cards and it just really comes down to experience. I just think that last night Edwards showed some cracks that almost looked like desperation. He has to stop running on this "I grew up in the segregated South, my wife has cancer, my son died, I'm not an oily attorny" thing and instead be prepared. Oddly enough I found myself finding James Carville more appealing during the critique afterwards than I did Edwards. Here's the strange thing about that; Edwards and Carville both have accents (strong accents) that can really turn people off at times and I think that is what happens a lot of times with Edwards. I really liked Edwards when he was running with Kerry, but this time around he's just coming up smarmy and kind of knife in the back good old boy.

Posted by Josh | November 16, 2007 11:36 AM

Eli you sound like a sports reporter.

Posted by Trevor | November 16, 2007 12:08 PM

Edwards Voter: No, not any opponent to Hillary (Hilldogg? wtf) is sniveling and an asshat, just Edwards.

Look, I booed at Hillary last night when I thought she was being a shithead too (in front of my tv, not in front of the live candidates—are you really blaming me for the rude audience members?). I'm not a blind supporter of Hillary and haven't picked who I'm going to vote for yet; I've been very seriously watching the debates and reading up on their opinions.

If you don't think Obama is using his "blackness" or whatever, you're wrong. What other candidate could pull off a Southern Gospel tour? He brings up his difference in race quite often (just as Edwards likes to spew that he grew up in the segregated south); I just think he's more subtle about it. These differences SHOULD be talked about, I wouldn't think less of Obama if he brought it up more or more bluntly.

It's retarded of you to read what I wrote and get the impression that I don't think that the candidates should point out their differences to the other candidates at the debates... that's what debates are for. The difference between that and what Edwards has been doing is talking down Clinton's statements instead of elevating his own on their own merits. He can't say anything good about himself without trying to take someone else down. It's "pathetic," to use your terminology.

Posted by Carollani | November 16, 2007 12:16 PM

@ Yea, I'm sure you haven't made up your mind. Your assessment of the only two candidates who dared to take on Hillary (Edwards the "dick" and Obama as "abysmal") sort of lays your cards on the table. Unless your planning to vote for Kucinich...

I'm curious, how is Edwards delineating his policy differences with Clinton (e.g. Iraq, Iran, health care) any different than Obama taking on Hillary for their differences over social security reform? Obama compared Clinton to Romney, but he isn't an "asshat" to you as well? Clinton is the national front runner, both Edwards and Obama need to draw distinctions between themselves and her. I hope Edwards keeps it up. This is what campaigns are about. Get over it.

The tragedy of this campaign is that Edwards and Obama are splitting the progressive vote and thus Clinton will likely get the nomination and our country will be fucked for at least another four years.

Posted by Edwards Voter | November 16, 2007 1:01 PM

Once again, I am amazed that writers such as "Edwards Voter" manage to make out some gigantic political difference between Clinton and Edwards and Obama- as if Edwards and Obama would lead America towards the Age of Aquarius, and Clinton will hand the keys to Cheney.

There's no difference between the three candidates on policy. They revealed that two debates ago when all three refused to rule out still being in Iraq at the end of one term. They're all centrists.

What we're left with, then, is political competence, intestinal fortitude, and organization. In all three of these, I'm a big Clinton/Biden fan. Would I support Edwards or Obama? Of course. But all you "anyone but Hillary" people are embarrassing yourselves.

Posted by Big Sven | November 16, 2007 1:28 PM

admittedly, i entered this debate a hillary supporter, and left it a hillary supporter. notice the dead silence in the room when she trumped obama on the very issue all his stumping is based upon: uniting the country. that was pretty classic.

meanwhile, i also left feeling a new admiration for biden. while very issue-oriented and less of an overarchingly glowing candidate, i felt good knowing that he's in the world working on his issues. i still disagree with separating iraq into its factions, but the guy gave some strong answers and showed some personal and professional integrity, which is more than i can say for blathering edwards who never seemed to answer a single question pointedly.

he came out of the last debate making some actual legitimate biting jabs at hillary and then left this one looking like his only issue of concern was that he doesn't have qualms apologizing for his trespasses and he grew up in the segregated south. boring, i don't care. tell me how you're better than hillary, not how much she sucks.

and finally, obama still can't deliver. we saw how he'll be in the face of hecklers: shaking in his boots and unable to complete a sentence. it's ridiculous to think that you'll be president and the next day, there will be technology for storing nuclear waste. i would've liked to hear his plan for what to do in the interim, rather than watch him get all defensive about it and act like acknowledging "the interim" is defeatist. what was that bullshit?

i like kucinich, he gave a solid performance and made an excellent point that he's the one candidate who has voted for the right thing on every issue at hand last night. bam! that said, i'm still interested in voting for the person who will win and best motivate congress.

go on hillary! woot!

Posted by kim | November 16, 2007 1:32 PM

@13: Get over what? I love debates. I cheer when any candidate says something I think is important or well put. I also boo when any candidate is evasive or dirty. I really just want a candidate who represents me and my hopes for America, whomever that should be (on a given day, heh).

1. I honestly haven't decided who I will vote for; I'm definitely leaning toward a couple candidates, but I'm watching them all to see how they handle things leading up to the vote. Even if I had decided who I would vote for I don't understand how that would disqualify my opinion of the candidates. I feel as though I'm able to remain pretty objective.

2. I'm a big fan of Obama's, but I honestly thought that he was "abysmal." Clinton had some low moments, definitely, but I think she came out looking pretty good over all. Obama was very disappointing with how he handled the debate and the hecklers. He did not come off as presidential to me last night, as he has in the past.

3. No, I don't think Obama is an asshat, even if he has used some of the same cheap tactics as Edwards. He is consistently less of a shithead than Edwards.

4. And if you think that Obama and Edwards were the only two that "dared [take] on Hillary" last night, you obviously didn't actually watch the debate. You're just spewing what you've read that supports your already formed opinions.

5. "The tragedy of this campaign is that Edwards and Obama are splitting the progressive vote and thus Clinton will likely get the nomination and our country will be fucked for at least another four years." —That's retarded.

Posted by Carollani | November 16, 2007 1:58 PM

Well, next up is this You Tube debate for the Republicans. My question for Mitt Romney is this, "Mitt Romney, as President of the United States will you tithe a portion of your taxpayer funded salary to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?"

Posted by Josh | November 16, 2007 2:48 PM

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