2. Hillary is asked if she "parses" her positions. Obama is drawn in: Does he think HC "triangulates." Answer: They have different health care plans. There's some testy argument about who's for universal health care. Hillary looks stressed and angry — and quite bright pink. She's yelling hoarsely. My ears! The audience is heckling and cheering alternately, and Wolf Blitzer is waving his arms about making things seem chaotic. It seems like a free for all. It's so abrasive. Hillary starts laughing — as if to say she's feeling loose and comfortable.
3. "Hell, no, I wouldn't support any of these guys," says Joe Biden, making me laugh, after all the others say they'll support the Democratic nominee, whoever it is.
4. Obama says he supports driver's licenses for illegal aliens. Or... did he? That was garbled. Later, he gets to yes. Edwards? No. Hillary: no. Richardson: yes. Most of them chew Wolf out for asking the question forcing them to answer without the condition of comprehensive immigration reform.
5. Did Wolf hear him right? Did Richardson say human rights are more important than American security? Richardson pauses and there's a look of fear. Will this be used against me? But he's already said it. He says it again: yes. Obama is asked the same question, and he tries to say there's not necessarily a conflict. Wolf doesn't pin him down. Dodd is clear: national security is obviously first. Hillary too puts national security first. Kucinich is all: "Hello? Hello?" They still don't call on him.
6. Is Hillary playing the gender card? That's the question. Of course, she denies it. Follow up: What did you mean by "the boys' club"? She refers grandly and vaguely to the "impediments" there may have been along the way to progress. Wolf asks if anyone thinks she is playing the gender card. Edwards takes over, but totally fails to talk about gender. When he says HC takes money from lobbyists, the audience boos him loudly. Who knew the pro-lobbyist sentiment was so strong? Anyway, no one wants to talk about gender.
7. After the break, the candidates are sitting now, and the questions come from the audience.... I'm not going to summarize all the talk about policy. I found this part pretty dull, which I suppose means it was a big victory for Hillary. The final question was from a UNLV student who asked Hillary: "Diamonds or pearls?" — a twist on the old "Boxers or briefs?" question famously asked of Bill Clinton in '92. She says — smiling — that people accuse her of not making up her mind, but here she can be clear: "Both." Which is mildly amusing, but then Biden goes "I want diamonds." And that — with a big laugh — happens to be the end. Goodnight, everybody!
IN THE COMMENTS: Enigmaticore wrote:
I have changed my vote intentions. I was not going to vote in the Democratic primary in my state, although I can.Reader I_am writes (after many, many comments on the subject of merit pay for teachers):
But I am going to, and I will vote for Biden, even if he has no shot of getting the nomination. I had written him off because of his slim-to-none-nomination chance, but damnit, he's fun and he's right on a lot of things.
Wow. A thread on a national politics, specifically a presidential-candidate debate, has turned into one relating to the public schools in our own communities.Blake responds:
1. This is the second night in the row I've seen positively civil debates here between people who hold polarized viewpoints. It's "best of Althouse commentary".
2. I would humbly suggest that the President of the United States is a virtually trivial role compared to the problems of education. A society survives on the quality of its education, and ours has been dismal for several generations now. It's not only more important than any short-term issue, it's also more important than any long-term issue, because those being mis-educated today will be trying to handle those long-term problems tomorrow.