January 21, 2008

Another debate? Democrats... CNN...

Wolf Blitzer is still blabbing... 8 minutes into it! He's stumbling oddly. What the hell?

8:23 ET: Clinton sounds stressed and intense. When Obama speaks, she turns and faces him, as if her sheer presence might intimidate him. When it's her turn, she challenges him on multiple grounds, including his recent praise of Reagan.

8:26: Obama tries to respond, and Hillary interrupts him and denies that she referred to his statement about Reagan. She's trying to throw him off and make him lose his cool. He'd started out the debate seeming quite relaxed, maybe too relaxed. Now, he's sizzling. Edwards is begging to get a chance to speak. But Hillary has been attacked, so she has the right to respond. "We're just getting warmed up," she says with some relish. It gets very tense, but at some point both Hillary and Obama are saying that Reagan's ideas may have been distinctive and transformative, but they were bad ideas. Shaking things up, Hillary throws in the charge that Obama represented a "slum landlord" in Chicago. Obama fails to insist on his right to respond, and Blitzer picks this point to let Edwards in. Obama was wronged there, I think.

8:39: Lots of talk about the mortgage problems, and then Blitzer goes back to the "slum landlord" issue and gives Obama a chance to respond. (Not that he has much to say about it... which is perhaps why he didn't demand response time earlier.)

8:43: "You never take responsibility for any vote," says Hillary to Obama. She keeps up the pressure, accusing him of always having an "explanation" for his bad votes. There are all those "present" votes, she says, and we need a straight answer. Hillary came into this debate well-armed, and she's succeeding in throwing him off. Obama is sweating visibly.

9:04: "Of course, the surge was able to pacify some parts of Iraq" — Hillary slips in the concession that the surge worked, even as she is saying that there is no military solution. It just goes to show you can say everything if you really try.

9:07: Edwards wants to know if the others will commit — as he has — to removing all combat troops from Iraq in their first year. Obama goes first and blows a lot of smoke. I don't hear a "yes." Blitzer doesn't pin him down. Was that a yes or a no? Now, it's Hillary's turn, and she waffles too. But, to me, Edwards is the one with the worst substantive position here. Nevertheless, I must say that Obama and Hillary were asked a simple question, neither answered, and they got away with it.

9:11: After the break: Fisticuffs!

9:15: We return from commercials to see that they are rearranging the furniture. Wolf Blitzer informs us that they are rearranging the furniture. I'm annoyed. They had plenty of time to rearrange the furniture during the commercials. Why am I supposed to watch them rearrange furniture? Of course, the break isn't over. This was pure fakery. We're supposed to be titillated by Wolf's repeated assertions that after the break there will be no rules. So put up with some more break, will you?

9:23: Hillary says she's on a "mission." I think the other 2 said they were on a mission as well. This "no rules" part of the debate seems like squishy blather. Or is it me, losing my focus?

9:28: "A race where you've got an African American, a woman... and John."

9:31: "Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black President?" Funny to hear Obama asked that straight out. Bill Clinton had a great "affinity" for black people, he says. He goes on about white southern men, growing up through changing times in the south. Hillary nods knowingly in the background. Obama: "I would have to investigate more Bill's dancing abilities... before I could accurately judge whether he is in fact a brother."

9:40: Is Bill Clinton too big of a presence in Hillary's campaign? Blah, blah, blah, "at the end of the day," blah, blah, blah, she's the one who is running for President. And "ultimately, it's really not about any of us"... it's about people... and their stories... Total non-answer. Ridiculous.

9:47: Edwards: Who will be tough enough and strong enough? Who can go everywhere in America and compete — head to head — with John McCain? I give him credit for trying. In this context, how is he supposed to say the white man is the best bet?

9:51: Obama says he can beat John McCain too. He can "attract independents and some Republicans." Yeah! Obama is the one of the 3 who's most likely to interest non-Democrats, because he's a different kind of candidate. And Hillary can get some because she's more of a centrist. Edwards is the least likely to get them, I think. For some reason, Obama announces that he's "a proud Christian" and gets big applause. "A proud Christian" — is that a good phrase? I thought "pride" was a sin.

10:00: Doesn't this thing end after 2 hours? One more question... "on this important day." Why would Martin Luther King — if he were alive today, and unfortunately he's not — vote for you? Edwards: poverty, poverty, poverty. This question provided on more opportunity for Edwards to say "poverty." Obama: "I don't think Dr. King would endorse any of us." I like that. Hillary: change, values, blah, blah... And it's over.

POST-DEBATE UPDATE: Here's video — via Instapundit — of that first big interchange between Hillary and Obama:



Obama quote I noticed this time: "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." This was after Hillary claimed she never mentioned Ronald Reagan and brushed off whatever Bill may have said.

45 comments:

Lindsay said...

Obama seems a little distracted.

michaele said...

I agree that Obama seemed to lack forcefulness. He just seemed to hem and haw into his opening answer.

Dewb said...

The first part of Obama's answer on the subprime lending question was smart, on topic, and demonstrated an actual understanding of the issue. Edwards and Hillary just rolled off standard issue populist demagoguery. I don't know enough about the history of this Hillary/bankruptcy bill to comment on the second half of that answer.

Ahh, nuts; later, Obama falls into the populism trap too.

I don't think the audience is following this financial numbers stuff at all. They applauded Edwards for his "gotcha" line even though it didn't make any sense. Maybe I didn't hear it right.

W. Elephant said...

Apparently the famous Althouse fear of writing something boring is not saving you tonight.

Lindsay said...

It's very interesting to watch Edwards in this debate. He can't possibly think he can really win this election (can he?). That said, I can't tell - at all - whether he prefers Obama or Clinton. At first, he seemed to join Obama in attacking Hillary but then on health care and that credit card amendment, he took her side. What's he doing? Does he have a strategy?

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

This debate is intense. Can anyone really win such a dirty debate?

Hey, there's Chelsea.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can anyone really win such a dirty debate?"

I'm guessing Hillary can win a dirty debate.

Revenant said...

What's he doing? Does he have a strategy?

Running as Hillary's VP candidate, I'd imagine.

AlphaLiberal said...

Althouse:
"Hillary slips in the concession that the surge worked, even as she is saying that there is no military solution. It just goes to show you can say everything if you really try."

Oh, bullshit. There are other explanations besides the one you leap to. The right-wing (Drudge) version.

The surge hasn't actually met the goals laid out when it was launched, but goalposts keep moving in Iraq policy. Bush is never held responsible for his deeds and promises by the CW.

Many Iraqi's have been killed or driven from their homes and country under the surge. Ethnic cleansing on our watch and Ann Althouse calls that a "success".

As goes the surge, some Iraqi's have been literally bought off, but what happens when we stop paying off the militias? With all the resources from the surge why isn't there more civic activity?

And when will the Iraqi Parliament take a vote on the presence of US troops in their country? Shouldn't they authorize that?

George said...

As for Clinton's dancing skills, Andrew Young said, "After [Mandela's] inauguration, there was a party. [Bill] Clinton was the one who said, "Let's start a Soul Train line!" All these middle class, bourgie folks looked around ... and Bill did the moon walk down the Soul Train line. And Hillary pulled her skirt up above her knees and she got down and went on through, too."

rcocean said...

Is Hillary on a mission from... God?
Or just on a mission to live rent free.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

In this context, how is he supposed to say the white man is the best bet?

Sounds like he just did.

rcocean said...

I just turned it on. "Rearranging the furniture"?! Its 4 chairs. Talk about exaggeration. Althouse, you should be in sales.

Ann Althouse said...

rcocean: I'm commenting on Blitzer making a big show of it and talking about rearranging the furniture. It's his phrase. I'm mocking them for making a big show of what is nothing.

ricpic said...

Is it possible, just possible, that ordinary whites who aren't already heavily invested in the Democratic Party, in other words non-academics, will come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party is the Black Party -- and vote accordingly? Or have they been so brainwashed that they can't see, or bring themselves to see, the obvious? Stay tuned.

rcocean said...

Now, Hillary's dropping her "g's" - "...everyone had lobbyists workin for them".

I love it when Yale law school graduates talk like us little people.

George said...

Any word on Fred's mother?

If she's not sick enough, this debate will push her over the edge.

rcocean said...

Althouse: Please mock harder - CNN deserves it.

Revenant said...

Obama: "I don't think Dr. King would endorse any of us."

Nice answer. Obama's definitely got an ear for political speech.

PatCA said...

Two questions: (1) Why do we says "President Clinton but "Mr." Bush? (2) If tax rebates (tax cuts) are good now to stimulate the economy, why aren't they good all the time?

Note to Obama on foreign policy: The Clinton administration talked to the Taliban numerous times all over the world, wherever they chose, and they still bombed the crap out of the WTC. This negates your foreign policy stance, doesn't it?

Bumsurf said...

Rather than address the issues (immigration reform, education, national security, etc.), the candidates and CNN wasted two hours of my precious time. In response, I've begun work on a bingo card to use during the next debate. I'll scatter the standard talking points on the cards and my wife and I will pay close attention playing the game. The winner gets to switch to a channel of his or her choice, or turn the TV off. When we hit the ground running on day one will we stop hearing the story about working in a mill for 30 years?

rohan nelson said...

There are plenty of questions that could be posed to Hillary Clinton regarding her senatorial career, her votes, her record as first lady, there is a lot there that raises doubts. But Obama appears unable to attack. He did appear a little upset with Hillary. Perhaps President Clinton's persistent attack and the good cop-bad cop routine adopted by the husband and wife team got to him. I really liked the line by Obama when he said he doesnt know who he is running against.

Middle Class Guy said...

Alphaliberal said:
Many Iraqi's have been killed or driven from their homes and country under the surge. Ethnic cleansing on our watch and Ann Althouse calls that a "success".


To call it ethnic cleansing is a bald faced lie. They are not being killed or driven out because of their race or ethnicity. They are being killed or driven out as a consequence of living in an active combat zone.

In all wars people are killed, driven from their homes and country. It is a fact of war. It is not pleasant, not is it right or wrong. It is a consequence.

Middle Class Guy said...

"Can anyone really win such a dirty debate?"




Maybe Trooper can help me out here. Wasn't there a movie a while back called Dirty Debating?

P. Rich said...

Hildebitch in full flower.

Meade said...

Angry, ugly, and mean.

No wonder her husband, addiction notwithstanding, doesn't want to have sex with her.

antiphone said...

POST-DEBATE UPDATE: Here's video — via Instapundit — of that first big interchange between Hillary and Obama:


Via Instapundit? The video is from TPM but neither Althouse or Reynolds will give credit. Lame.

Palladian said...

"The video is from TPM but neither Althouse or Reynolds will give credit. Lame."

Yes, that evil Ann, never giving credit to TPM!

Must be a conspiracy!

Middle Class Guy said...

rohan nelson said...
There are plenty of questions that could be posed to Hillary Clinton regarding her senatorial career, her votes, her record as first lady, there is a lot there that raises doubts.



True, and very few people are asking. She has received what she accuses Obama of receiving- a free pass or ride from scrutiny of her record by the major media. Her voting record can be easily determined, but the rest- the thirty five years- is just her word. So far, the media is taking her at it.

LonewackoDotCom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LonewackoDotCom said...

bumsurf and others: please don't count on the MSM or mainstream bloggers to cover issues like immigration, we need to do it ourselves.

Please go to campaign appearances, ask the candidates the questions the MSM is afraid to ask, and then upload their responses to video sharing sites. That's the only way we're going to have actual discussions about policy.

P.S. On the other hand, my $10 offer to Althouse if she asks John McCain this question and then relays the response still stands.

Revenant said...

Via Instapundit? The video is from TPM but neither Althouse or Reynolds will give credit.

Reynolds' entire post consists of a link to TPM Election Central. You're whining that the link he provided to TPM wasn't "attributed" to TPM.

Here's a hint: you can find out which site a link goes to by clicking on the link. Anyone clueless enough to need extra text saying "by the way, this link goes to TPM Election Central" needs to step away from the computer right now before they accidentally strangle themselves with the mouse cord or choke to death on a dislodged Windows key.

Maggie45 said...

OMG, Revenant, that's hilarious! LOL

Ann Althouse said...

I said "via Instapundit" because that's where I saw it first. It's the standard blogging etiquette.

And the video itself credits TPM.

And I use TPM videos nearly every day. They're great. I don't also link to TPM because I get the videos straight from my subscription in YouTube. This happened to be a case where I saw the link first in Instapundit, so I owed the usual courtesy of a link.

Sheesh!

George said...

In the video, Sen. Clinton seemed to be enjoying herself, and though Sen. Obama got one or two hits in, he seemed steamed.

And when he said "I don't know who I'm running against," that means the Clinton strategy is working.

The WSJ has this today on his problems reaching poor blacks...

"While 75% of blacks who went to college had a favorable or very favorable view of the candidate -- rising to 88% among blacks who went to graduate or professional school -- support dipped to 62% among those with just a high-school degree and to 42% among blacks who haven't finished high school."

I see more Tyra in our future.

Pogo said...

Ann:
1. re: TPM
Sheesh! is insufficient. Clearly, you must atone for citing a link the way most normal people understand it, rather than the super-secret way antiphone demands.

Capitulate, or antiphone will stamp his feet and maybe even hold his breath.

2. I couldn't even watch a full minute of Hillary talking before feeling a creepy sense that the librarian was hovering nearby, ready to crack me over the head with a ruler and take my lunch money.

Eat your vegetables! says Hillary. I will buy them with your money, and fix them The Correct Way As Determined By Me and you will Like It and thank me for it.
Now bow to my poster.
And finish your State-Mandated Calisthenics before I taze you.

MPH said...

This debate was like a bad joke, played over and over. Edwards is out -- but the C&O machine did their best to mop up his voter spill off. Sickening feeling watching these clowns on stage above America.

EnigmatiCore said...

"But, to me, Edwards is the one with the worst substantive position here."

Big shock there!

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

"Proud Christian" is a code word for "I"M NOT A MUSLIM! REALLY".

cokaygne said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry really. Didn't watch the debate (I have a life) but read media accounts, including this one. It looks as if the "first black president" and the media have successfully painted Obama as the black candidate. If Obama wins SC they'll downplay it because only the votes of white people in IA and NH count in the media's eyes.

If the Republicans can get over their inherent stupidity and nominate McCain, he'll beat Hillary in a walk. Lucky for her (and Bill, if you think she'll be the real president calling the shots in 2009, you're even dumber than a Huckabee supporter), the Republican yahoos will nominate a wackjob and hand the general election to the Clintons.

Ralph said...

Obama: "I would have to investigate more Bill's dancing abilities... before I could accurately judge whether he is in fact a brother."
A charming answer to a silly question, but could a white person have said that without being condemned? He might also have referenced Bill's famous Arkansas watermelon infatuation.

former law student said...

Hillary argues like a bickering wife: You never do this, you always do that.

Bruce Hayden said...

Many Iraqi's have been killed or driven from their homes and country under the surge. Ethnic cleansing on our watch and Ann Althouse calls that a "success".

As goes the surge, some Iraqi's have been literally bought off, but what happens when we stop paying off the militias? With all the resources from the surge why isn't there more civic activity?


AL pushes the same meme over and over again, to little avail. The problem is that the ethnic cleansing that he is talking about was before offensive operations began. Since then, the flight of, in particular, Sunni Arab Iraqis has reversed, with them returning to the country, and, even more, returning to mixed neighborhoods.

Ethnic cleansing was going on, primarily in the form of Sunni Arab Iraqis being pushed out of mixed neighborhoods and many fleeing the country. Indeed, probably half of them had fled the country by the time that offensive operations began in early summer. And they only had themselves to blame, giving comfort and support to terrorists who were randomly killing significant numbers of Shi'a civilians. And this trend hit its peak about a year ago, with the expectation that another 1/4 of the remaining Iraqi Sunni Arabs would flee the country by the end of 2007.

What AL doesn't tell you though is that the trend started to turn around last summer, after offensive operations had begun, and their return is now accelerating as the level of violence has plummeted throughout much of the country, thanks to the "Surge" that he continually discredits. And, of course, he does this my concentrating on the period of time when many of the Surged troops were being emplaced as blocking forces, which was a required precursor to the offensive operations that commenced in early summer.

Of course, AL may not understand that is denigration of the effectiveness of the "Surge" is due to misuse of statistics and not looking very closely at what was actually going on on the ground throughout much of 2007. He may be excused here, because we hear the same sort of misinformation and misdirection being repeated by major Democratic party politicians, including their three remaining presidential hopefuls (including, notably, Hillary!, who at least should know better).

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me correct my previous post. Approximately half the Sunni Arab Iraqis had fled the country by this time last year, and a significant number of the rest who lived in mixed neighborhoods had fled to safer areas in which to live. This trend was increasing a year ago, with the expectation that half of the remaining Sunni Arab Iraqis would would flee the country by the end of 2007 (and, thus, that 3/4 would have fled). The trend did not reverse until after offensive operations started early last summer, and has been accelerating ever since.

Middle Class Guy said...

former law student said:
Hillary argues like a bickering wife: You never do this, you always do that.



Correction:

You never do me, you always do them.