Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hillary's last stand: tonight's Democratic debate

Well, it's Hillary's last stand. Which version of her will show up? The one who is proud to share the stage with Obama, or the one who cries "Shame on you!"? Let's find out...
  • Clinton says she's "disturbed" by Obama's tactics. Here will be a good test for Obama. Is he going to be playing prevent defense tonight, or is he going to counter attack? Yes and no. A good answer pointing out that Clinton has distributed plenty of negative literature, but he did it in the context of the differences between their plans. So now they are debating the differences in the plans, not the tactics.

  • Obama has a speech affect or something that causes him to say "Mass-a-too-setts." Tough on my ears.

  • We're in the same place we were last Thursday, arguing along the margins. I guess that's a good thing...at least they are debating the specifics. It makes the debate fairly yawn-inducing. I realize it's very important and that the audience may be different this time than the last and the last, but when you've watched all of the debates (as I have) it gets a bit repetitive.

  • Clinton complaining about her treatment by the moderators, bringing up the Saturday Night Live skit. It sounded like she got a couple of groans from the audience. She's got to stop whining. It didn't work with the Xerox line in the last debate, and it's not working here.

  • Obama has become a much better debater as the campaign has gone on. His demeanor is quite a stark contrast to Hillary's.

  • And just like that, Tim Russert makes Hillary look like a sympathetic figure. Russert is who he is, but when he goes on the attack it gives the candidate a great chance to play the victim.

  • Obama seems completely in control of the debate. And yes it seems like I'm swooning.

  • Russert playing the Buffalo card. The whole "gotcha" line of questioning works on "Meet the Press," but I don't think it works nearly as well in a debate.

  • "Senator Clinton equates experience with longevity in Washington." He is so good and so matter-of-fact when he attacks, it doesn't sound like an attack.

  • The whole "Senator Obama basically said he wanted to bomb Pakistan" is a Republican talking point. Clinton should be more original than that.

  • Man, Obama just hammered her on Iraq and Pakistan.

  • Russert is trying to win the debate. Good for Hillary for calling him out on his hypotheticals. And good for Obama that Hillary is the one to whine about it.
It's halftime, and Obama is winning, fairly handily. Clinton just can't lay a glove on him, and he has been quite aggressive in his own right, but with a calm, easy-going demeanor that masks his attacks.

Late edit: I've been watching the second half of the debate, but I just haven't been awake enough to blog it. Nothing I've seen has changed my mind that Obama is tonight's winner. Barring some unforseen event in the next week, this campaign should be over next Tuesday.

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