The Last National Debate By A Clinton Ends In Whimper
Opening shot of the last democrat party presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE) - via photo from computerscreen of MSNBC Video
Whining and whimpering her way through the questions posed by NBC’s Brian Williams and Tim Russert, Hillary Clinton played the victim card throughout the the ninety minute debate held on MSNBC. This may very well be the last appearance in a national political debate for political office by any Clinton (Bill or Hillary).
“I have a great deal of respect for Senator Obama, but we have differences, and in the last several days, some of those differences in tactics and choices that Senator Obama’s campaign has made ... have been very disturbing to me,” she said at the outset of the debate.
But the real whining started at the answer on the second subject question posed in the debate and both were first directed to Hillary Clinton. She pointed out through a question … why is it, that in these debates, I always get asked the questions first? - “I seem to get the first question, all the time!” she said.
As President, Hillary, you would always get the first question!
On a question from Tim Russert about providing financial disclosure and tax return documents before this next Tuesday’s Ohio and Texas primaries, she responded (paraphrased), “I will try but Tim, I am little busy right now, I barely have time to sleep.”
You know, Tim ... Hillary Clinton at the last democrat primary debate (Ohio). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE) - via photo from computerscreen of MSNBC Video
About the debate, this from Vodkapundit’s Steven Green posted up at Pajamas Media –
Final Face-Off: Clinton, Obama Spar in Ohio
by Stephen Green - Vodkapundit - 2-27-2008
During the lead-up to Saturday’s debate in Texas, all the pundits agreed that Hillary Clinton needed to come out swinging. But she played nice instead. So the big question before the Ohio debate was: Which Hillary Clinton would we see? Conciliatory Clinton or Pillory Hillary? Now, as any honestly greedy person will tell you, the answer to most either/or questions is… Both!
And that’s what we got in tonight’s debate — both Hillary Clintons.
Clinton was at great pains to make sure we knew where she and Barack Obama agreed. On NAFTA, on the need to get out of Iraq, on the necessity for universal health care… Clinton always made sure we understood exactly where she was in sync with the ever-more-popular junior senator from Illinois.
Clinton was also at great pains to make sure we knew where she disagreed with Obama. More often than not, their disagreements were over the minutia of policy details. Ann Althouse called the debate “an annoying combination of wonky and angry.” She got that right.
The debate opened with 16 minutes of discussion over whose mandatory health care plan was the most mandatory, and whose was slightly less intrusive. That part of the debate went on so long, in fact, that moderator Brian Williams even joked about it near the end. And what did we learn? That Clinton cares very deeply whether or not anyone, anywhere, might somehow be able to escape the clutches of HillaryCare. We also learned that Obama cares only very slightly less.
On NAFTA the candidates are agreed: Free trade sucks. Although Obama was quick enough to provide a little shout-out to American workers’ productivity, a smart move in blue-collar Ohio. In fact, that line could be seen as poaching on yet another of Clinton’s core constituencies. It could be seen that way because that’s exactly what Obama was doing. Neither candidate would be cornered into threatening to cut off NAFTA inside of six months, but both promised to “reexamine” or “renegotiate” the treaty. The fact that the original agreement took years, not months, to negotiate was left unmentioned. That NAFTA then took a determined President Clinton and a lot of willing Republican Senators to get ratified was left unmentioned, too.
The two candidates also disagreed on… well, mostly they disagreed on who would make the best president. Tonight’s telling detail was the Man Who Wasn’t There. Both candidates agreed that George Bush was terrible, awful, etc. But the name left virtually unmentioned was John McCain. One of these two potential nominees will almost certainly be squaring off against McCain next fall. Was their failure to frame themselves against him a sign of confidence or weakness?
If I had to summarize the debate with some clever sounding phrase, I’d call it the “Chinese Food Debate.” An hour later, I remember there being a lot of stuff on the table, but all I feel is empty inside.
My favorite Clinton-leaning blog, TalkLeft, summarized the debate like so:
NBC stinks. Tim Russert stinks. Brian Williams stinks. Keith Olbermann stinks. Chris Matthews stinks. Who won the debate? No one. Who lost? Everyone. [I guess facts DO matter, when it is "your girl" getting the short end of the media glow]
So who really won? My gut tells me that nobody won — which counts as a win for Obama. If you really want to know who won, don’t look at tomorrow’s poll numbers. Instead, wait until the weekend. If by then, Clinton is still sinking in Ohio, then chalk up one very big win for Obama. If Hillary holds steady, then score it as a minor win — again, for Obama. Clinton had too much to do tonight, and too little time to do it in. And with too little sympathy, I think, in middle America for her efforts.
Clinton was at great pains to separate herself from her husband’s trade legacy. She was at great pains to separate herself from her Iraq War vote. She was at great pains to draw distinctions between herself and Obama. Mostly what came across was, Hillary Clinton was in great pain.
Twin losses in Texas and Ohio next week might just put her out of her misery — but don’t count on it. The Clinton we saw tonight might not have fought well, but she certainly showed that, at long last, she’s willing to fight.
Hillary Clinton explains universal healthcare to Barack Obama. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE) - via photo from computerscreen of MSNBC Video
In order for the debate to be deemed a Chinese food debate … there would first have to be some food … any food.
No entitlements discussion (where was Social Security and Medi-Care?), no real immigration discussion, no discussion on the fact that there are six Supreme Court justices past the age of 68.
Did anyone notice Barack Obama’s answer on how he would handle a hypothetical, but plausible situation where Russia’s Vladimir Putin builds up his armies and decides to station them in Serbia … “As president, what would you do?”, queried Tim Russert.
“Well, first, I would contact the international community, many of whom have recognized Kosovo … “
When do the citizens of the United States get to hear a debate, and vote for the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?!
I do not know about the rest of you, but we, at MAXINE, are tired of watching discussions between politicians & potential leaders who believe they are doing the best job they can at running for Student Body President.
On this issue alone (Russia’s build-up), the sound of “President John McCain” is beginning to have a nice ring to it!
Entire Debate Here>>