Update: Check out this link which provides the video of 2 of Hillary’s best moments from last night. The video provides an overlay of how the focus group watching the debate reacted to Hillary. Watch those lines go up and up.
The Democratic Party debates are turning into pleasant affairs for Hillary supporters. We come out whistling and repeating Hillary’s best moments, of which there are many. It’s like watching The Sound Of Music. Sure, there are moments of trouble when we get nervous for our plucky heroine. But we know from the first shot of the Salzberg mountains that everything will turn out all right.
Last night’s debate was fraught with peril. It was after all held in an African-American college, with many supporters of a very serious African-American contender. Shouts of “Obama” were heard throughout the hall when Obama entered. He was the home team favorite. But strangely, on the two questions that Obama should have done the best — he did the worst. The questions were on Africa and Hurricane Katrina. He meandered so, it was evident he did not know what to say. Hillary, we were confident, knew what to do about these issues right now. Dare we say it? She’s READY!
And, once again, Hillary, as her campaign officially refers to her, looked like she was in charge, with a command of the issues and even some soaring rhetoric now and again: “Yes, we have come a long way. But, yes, we have a long way to go. The march is not finished.”
But time and again, she spoke clearly and compellingly. At the beginning of this campaign, her opponents had hoped she was going to turn out to be Humpty Dumpty, just waiting to fall and shatter into a million pieces. Instead, she has turned out to be King of the Hill. If anybody is going to really challenge her, they better find a way to do it in these debates.
Traditional home of the Hillary bashers (The New York Post):
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the runaway winner over the race’s lone black candidate in the Democratic debate, according to groups of African-American voters in Harlem and Washington, D.C.
In the nation’s capital, 33 undecided voters who identified themselves as people of color and who supported John Kerry in 2004 scored last night’s face-off an overwhelming victory for Clinton.
Twenty-seven participants gave the former first lady the nod, compared to just two who went with Barack Obama.
Obama, the only black running for the White House, came into a debate Thursday night at predominantly black Howard University with the crowd on his side, chanting his name as all eight Democratic candidates posed for pictures on stage. But Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared to win many of them over in an impassioned performance that addressed their anger over inequality.
She set the tone from the first question about whether race was still an “intractable problem” in America. While agreeing with the question, she noted that the diversity of the Democratic field (including herself) showed how far America had come.
She did her homework in mentioning a line from the best seller that moderator Tavis Smiley edited, “A Covenant With Black America,” and dovetailed that with a reference to the failures shown in Hurricane Katrina.
She was prepared for every question with precise responses that rarely went over the one-minute time limit – even while squeezing in a Paris Hilton joke.
As the debate drew to a close, she got this nearly all-black, very anti-war audience to applaud heartily when she called for an enforceable no-fly zone to stop the genocide in Darfur: “We will shoot down [Sudanese government planes]! It is the only way to get their attention!”
In making that statement, she accomplished two things:
(1) She told the audience about her commitment to an issue in Africa, and (2) more importantly, for a broader audience, she demonstrated – as in other debates – that this woman is not afraid to use military force.
Other candidates had their moments, but none that came close to Clinton.
Barack Obama obviously connected with the audience when he reminded them that without Brown vs. Board of Education, he wouldn’t have been on the stage.
But, after that, his answers were boilerplate.
Iowa’s Des Moines Register:
The New York senator turned in the single most impressive performance during a debate among the Democratic presidential candidates Thursday night in Washington, D.C.
Clinton was crisp, cogent and methodical in her answers. She understood better than any of the other candidates the need for terse answers when so many candidates are given so little time in which to answer questions.
It’s more than just a debating skill. American presidents lead the nation through television appearances, and Clinton’s performance Thursday night suggests she can do that. She showed she has mastered the ability to put a lot of information into a few seconds on the tube.
She did that by talking more about solutions instead of yammering about how bad the problems are. Some of her opponents, who’ve had careers in the U.S. Senate or House, didn’t get to the point before their time was up.