Update 10:55pm Eastern. I agree with every word of this:
RNC Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan released the following statement tonight:
“For once, I found myself agreeing with Senators Clinton and Obama: Senator Clinton is right that Obama doesn’t have enough experience to lead, and Senator Obama is correct that Clinton cannot be trusted. Tonight’s debate was further evidence that Senators Clinton and Obama would lead America toward higher taxes and less security. With America’s economy facing challenges, the Democrats’ tax-and-spend policies would be catastrophic. The Democrats’ liberal plans are a stark contrast to the Republican candidates’ commitment to winning the War on Terror and keeping taxes low for hard-working families.”
As I noted below, Hillary’s answer to the question about whether she wants to end the war or win it (she channeled Cindy Sheehan’s “Bring the Troops Home Now” bumper sticker propaganda) was one of the most damning, telling, clarifying moments of the night.
Update 10:45pm Eastern. I put together a little Hillary-Barack photo album here with a few misty, water-colored images and scattered pictures of the snarls they left behind.
Update 10:30pm Eastern. Here’s the vid of the “Was Clinton the first black president?” question.
What Obama should have said: “It depends on what the meaning of ‘black’ is.”
Update 10:10pm Eastern. Post-debate thoughts…
That was quite a change from the Democrat debate snooze-fest in Nevada last week. Total 180. Obama showed he can stand up to Shrillary face-to-face while remaining fairly unflappable and maintaining good humor. Shrillary, on the other hand, can’t keep a straight face and even voice despite “finding her voice” in New Hampshire. They both have The Glare. Edwards relishes his White Male Candidate label way too much.
Bill Clinton probably stayed awake for the whole thing.
And finally: I really, really don’t want any of these Big Government surrendercrats sitting in the White House.
Update 10:02pm Eastern. Last question: Why would MLK endorse you, if he were alive today?
Shorter Edwards: I talked to his family members. I’m against poverty. I’m for equality.
Shorter Obama: I don’t think Dr. King would endorse any of us. Change happens from the bottom-up.
Shorter Clinton: Screw Obama. I understand King better than him. I have better black supporters than him.
Debate is over. Obama moves as far away from Clinton as possible. Mingling on stage: Chelsea, Howard Dean, and John Edwards.
Update 9:55pm Eastern. Hillary argues that she is better positioned than anyone else to take on John McCain on national security. If it’s a typical GOP campaign: “I’ve been there, I’ve done that.” Edwards bloviates about campaign finance, “corporate lobbyists,” attacks Hillary. Hillary says she’ll have “honest people” in the White House.
Hillary attacks Obama for employing lobbyists in SC. Obama shakes his head. Obambi: “No one’s hands are perfectly clean in politics.” Challenges her national security self-crowning. Obama mocks Hillary’s vote for the war, with reservations, John McCain-lite approach. “We have to describe a new foreign policy I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies.”
Shorter Obama: No more fear-mongering. Lots more enemy-embracing.
Update 9:47pm Eastern. Interesting. John Edwards asserts that the likely GOP nominee will be John McCain. Silky asks: “Who will be best able to compete, strongest, against McCain? Are we competitive in the rural areas?” Edwards apologizes against for being the “white guy.” Ack. Blechh. “We need to be able to have a candidate…anywhere in America…I can win.”
Well, I suppose that’s his VP pitch. And self-delusional pipe dream.
Update 9:41pm Eastern. Malveaux asks Hillary if Bill is overshadowing her. HRC: He’s “passionate.” Standard talking points about experience, being ready from day one, blahblah. Attacks Bush.
Obama: All of us have smart and effective advocates in our spouses. I would expect Clinton would campaign vigorously on your behalf. I have been troubled [by] my record not being accurately portrayed…shifts to the need to redraw the political map…the truth is that we as Democrats have not had a working majority in a very long time…that can push through the bold initiatives we have all proposed.
Ack. Where’s my wallet?
Update 9:39pm Eastern. The liberal kumbaya continues. Hillary recycles the old feminst canard about unequal pay (women making 77 cents for every dollar a man makes).
Update 9:32pm Eastern. Joe Johns quotes Toni Morrison’s infamous black president praise for Bill Clinton and asks Obama: “Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black president?”
Obama chuckles, pauses. He had an affinity with the black community. This I’m serious about. I’m always inspired by young men and women who grew up in the South, when segregation was still taking place…and to see that transformation in their own lives…powerful, hopeful…people can change…each successive generation can create a different vision of how we treat each other…he deserves credit for that (smattering of applause)…I would have to investigate more Bill’s dancing abilities…before I accurately judge whether in fact he was a brother…
Hillary: “I’m sure that can be arranged.” Launches into a bogus kumbuya speech.
Obama: “I’m especially appreciate that Hillary and Edwards are giving me a tough time, because it shows I’m doing pretty good. Don’t want too much civility.”
Obama then cautions against ignoring racism. Differential sentencing, civil rights.
Update 9:29pm Eastern. Obama challenges the race obsession of the MSM. Says it undersells the American people. Wants to move beyond race. Jokes that he can understand why media focuses on a black candidate, a woman, “and John” (laughter) — reaches out and touches Edwards — but people want to move on.
Edwards goes back to talking about poverty and brags about “being in a fight with Bill O’Reilly” over homeless veterans. Poverty anecdote time.
Update 9:20pm Eastern. We’re back. Blitzer goes to Obama to raise Hillary supporter Charlie Rangel’s remarks that black people shouldn’t vote for a black candidate just to feel good. Obama says Rangel has miscalculated who’s the best candidate and looks forward to working with him when he’s president. Edwards pats himself on the back for working hardest for black voters. Hillary name-drops Marian Wright Edelman. Limited applause.
Remember when I noted below that John Edwards’ Southern accent seems super-Southernized tonight? I swear Hillary’s starting to slide into her Selma accent, too.
Obama challenges Edwards’ claim that he doesn’t have a poverty plan. Ewww. Edwards just touched Obama.
Update 9:12pm Eastern. Time for a commercial break and set change. They’re going to have them seated instead of standing. It’ll be a bonanza for the “body language experts.”
Meantime, here’s the vid of the first mud-slinging exchange I blogged below (thanks to Bryan for clipping):
Update 9:04pm Eastern. Topic switch to Iraq. Johns to Hillary: “Are you looking to end this war or win it?” Hillary: “I’m looking to bring the troops home.”
Bad, bad answer in a general election. She’s asked whether she wants America to win and she responds with Code Pink pabulum–at a time when anti-war groups themselves have retreated from their agenda?
Edwards demands withdrawal in one year. Obama gives a careful answer about leaving safely and making sure the troops are safe. Hillary bashes Bush.
Update 8:53pm Eastern. Joe Johns asks if Obama’s health plan covers 12 million illegal aliens? “No, it does not.” Why not? “Because we have limited resources…Americans first…”
Straightforward. Refreshing to hear in a donkey debate.
Okay, is Joe Johns going to ask Hillary the same question? Or give her a pass?
Edwards says “none of our plans would cover” illegal aliens. Turns to attack Obama’s plan for not mandating coverage for everyone. (Background here.) Edwards pats himself on the back for not taking lobbying money.
Still waiting for Hillary to get the illegal alien question…
She gets to talk universal health care. “It’s a core Democrat principle…I’m not giving in. I’m not giving up.” She’s shouting. Red meat for liberals. Or blue meat, rather. Hillary’s on the attack against Obama again. “I’m not running for president to put band-aids for our problems!!!!”
Obama is calm and sticks to defending his plan.
Edwards tries to interrupt. Down, Silky Pony, down.
Update 8:51pm Eastern. Suzanne Agenda-Pusher Malveaux asks Hillary a softball question about AIDS and black women. Why doesn’t she just quit CNN and join her campaign already?
Update 8:48pm Eastern. Edwards piles on Obama about his present votes in Illinois. Obama turns the attack into an opportunity to talk about votes he took “because it was the right thing to do…I haven’t simply followed. I have led.”
Update 8:36pm Eastern. Barf. John Edwards panders to the race demagogues and bemoans predatory lenders. Wait a minute. Didn’t John Edwards have investing ties to subprime lenders? Why, yes. Yes, he did. Did CNN’s bright bulbs bother to mention this? Why, no. No, they didn’t.
Obama crusades against predatory lending, too. Here’s a reminder from Thomas Sowell debunking the racial profiling propaganda.
Obama gets to respond to Rezko attack. He answers straightforwardly and hammers on the trust issue again. (Applause)
Hillary attacks Obama on health care work in Illinois. “You can’t expect to have a hands-off attitude about your record.” Hillary’s voice goes up.
Hillary says Obama doesn’t take responsibility for his votes. (BOOS! from audience)
Hillary slams Obama for voting “present” during Illinois state terms.
Obama challenges Hillary’s characterization of his state legislative record.
Obama to Hillary: “People are not just willing to say anything to get elected.” (Applause.) Your criticism are not accurate.
Update 8:23pm Eastern. Malveaux asks Obama to respond to charge from Hillary that he’s not as fiscally responsible.
***Obama attacks Hillary and her husband for saying things that are not true.***
When Sen. Clinton or Bill Clinton attacks his record, it’s not true.
Hillary smiles: “Your record and what you say does matter.” They are glaring at each other. He has said that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10-15 years. “I personally think they had ideas and that they were bad ideas.”
No evidence about how you would pay for programs. I want to be explicit about this. We are not- neither I nor my campaign – saying that you didn’t oppose the war in Iraq…it’s after…the next year, that you agreed with Bush on conduct of the war…more about the distinction between words and action…
Obama gets to respond:
Hillary, I will be happy to give you all the information.
Obama defends his Reagan remarks. While I was fighting fatcats on the streets, you were a corporate lawyer. (Applause). I wasn’t talking about their policies. Talking about transformative agenda. Appeal to independents and Republicans. Let me finish. (Applause).
You provided much more fulsome praise of Reagan in a book my Tom Brokaw, as did your husband.
Hillary’s head is going to explode. “We’re just geting warmed up.”
I think we both have passionate and committed spouses and I’m proud of that…
Hillary tries to frame Obama’s GOP/Reagan comments…She slams Obama for his connection to Chicago developer Tony Rezko. Audience boos.
Edwards interrupts. “There’s three people in this debate.” Edwards attacks Hillary on fiscal responsibility.
Update 8:18pm Eastern. Edwards bashes NAFTA. Obama joins in, defends the trade deal with Peru, attacks Edwards on trade agreement with China.
Blitzer cuts off that discussion to throw back to Hillary on the stimulus. Rescues her from answering the trade challenge. Calls the world markets fall-off today a “wake-up call.” Attacks Bush again for not doling out enough money.
Give young people jobs “putting solar panels in.”
Solar panel installation work for all!
John Edwards promises to create “green collar jobs” in 30 days.
Solar panel installation work for all…faster!
Update 8:09pm Eastern. Joe Johns asks Clinton the first question on the economy. “How much would your stimulus plan put in the pockets of the average American?”
Housing czarina Hillary jumps right in attacking Bush for “not taking it seriously enough.” She reiterates vow to freeze interest rates for five years, pay for people’s energy bills, “jump start” jobs, and create “green collar” jobs.
Obama’s turn to attack Bush. He points out that Clinton did not originally propose tax rebates like he did. Repeats Dem line that rebates should go to those who don’t pay income taxes.
Pay attention, folks. The fiscal stimulus is being transmogrified into a straight redistribution plan.
Edwards’ plan does not include tax rebates. He repeats the Dem line pushing expansion of the rebates a la Clinton and Obama and Schumer.
Is it me or does Edwards’ accent sound more Southern than usual? He segues into a protectionist rant.
Update 8:03pm. The three donkeys have just been introduced. CNN is doing that weirdo thing again with the paparazzi clustered up at the stage for a contrived photo-op. Oh, no: Suzanne Stage Mother Malveaux is commenting and will be asking questions (pushing her liberal agenda).
7:21pm Eastern. We begin again with another Democrat “debate,” conversation, passive-aggressive snipefest, talking points regurgitation, what have you, at 8pm Eastern tonight. Hopefully, they’ll have more energy than sleepy Bill dozing behind the pulpit. His purple fits seem to have exhausted him.
Will any of the CNN debate moderators have the guts to bring up The Big He’s role in The Big She’s campaign?
Snort-worthy food for thought from the NYPost cover art crew as we wait for the circus to commence: