Monday, January 07, 2008

Debate feedback

Re. the debate, I haven't watched it yet (it's Tivo'd but I'm still recoving from jet lag!), but all signs are good.  (Here's the transcript:  Very interesting to see Edwards join in the attack on Sen. Clinton (

As Mrs. Clinton attacked Mr. Obama as waffling on the Patriot Act and Iraq war funding, she sought to make an ally out of Mr. Edwards. She suggested that Mr. Obama had hypocritically tried to paint Mr. Edwards as inconsistent on the issues. All eyes turned to Mr. Edwards, and he delivered a coup de grace — siding dramatically with Mr. Obama instead of Mrs. Clinton.

"Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack," Mr. Edwards said, looking and gesturing toward Mrs. Clinton. Referring to himself and Mr. Obama, he added: "He believes deeply in change, and I believe deeply in change. And any time you're fighting for that, I mean, I didn't hear these kinds of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead."

Could he be angling to be Obama's VP?  ZERO chance of that -- I think Obama will choose a moderate with gravitas (read: much older) and lengthy foriegn policy experience -- a Sam Nunn type.

Mr. Obama basically followed the traditional strategy of the front-runner, or at least the winner in Iowa. He ducked. He kept his chatter to a minimum and did not go after his rivals. He certainly seemed more sure-footed on global warming than foreign policy.

We saw a scrappier Mrs. Clinton, whose Iowa loss put her on the defensive. She controlled a lot of face time to make her argument and went negative against Mr. Obama.

Her willingness to attack Mr. Obama might show a certain desperation; it could also show that New Hampshire ís tolerance for negativity is higher than Iowa's. (It makes you wonder whether, if she had understood how big her loss in Iowa would be, she would have taken on Mr. Obama more directly in Iowa.)

But will this aggressive approach to Mr. Obama matter? She said that when he ran for the Senate, he said he would vote against the Patriot Act and against the Iraq war but when he got to the Senate, he voted for the Patriot Act and for funding of the war. She also said his New Hampshire chairman is a lobbyist for the drug companies.

Is this the worst that she can say about him? Can this information — which is not new, just new for her to raise during a debate — really change the minds of those supporting him?

Finally what to make of her answer to the question about her likeability — that voters like her positions but not her?


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