Lazio, Come Forth

[Note: We will have our usual live coverage of tonight’s debate. The debate will be on MSNBC starting at 9:00 p.m. EST. The debate will also be streamed live on the web.]

On September 14, 2000, Rick Lazio attacked now SENATOR Hillary Clinton in a televised debate in the New York Senate Race. Tim Russert was the moderator.

Tonight, there will be a mugging debate with the Democratic candidates for president. Tim Russert will be a co-moderator. Hillary Clinton will once again be under attack.

The desperate Barack Obama and the equally desperate John Edwards will be impersonating Ripublican Rick Lazio.

For Obama the stakes are high. Obama has promised his dwindling group of discouraged supporters that this time he will attack Hillary ferociously.

If Obama fails to attack, his dwindling group of discouraged supporters will be reduced to Michelle Obama and the Obama paid staff. Obama had promised a “new politics” campaign, but as this past weekend’s gay bashing tour demonstrates, Obama’s “new politics” is the old Ripublican attack politics of division.

But Obama, in both a speech last week in New York and one today in Chicago, is now moving past his earlier strategy, which was to distinguish himself from Clinton by arguing that she voted for the war and suggesting that she is more divisive than he because Republicans have spent years targeting her. He’s not using Clinton’s name or talking about Whitewater or scandals from the 1990’s, but Obama is in an area some of his advisers had suggested earlier he would not go: a critique that moves beyond policy toward her character.

Obama wants to blame Democrats for Ripublican and Bush failures, “That is why it is not enough to change parties,” Obama says. And in light of this past weekend’s gay bashing tour in South Carolina, Obama’s other promises sound hollow too: “I will always tell the American people the truth. I will always tell you where I stand. It’s what I’m doing in this campaign. It’s what I’ll do as President.

Attack politics is not what Barack Obama had promised. Barack Obama lied. Cynicism.

“Talking to a friend the other day, Obama stated the obvious about Tuesday night’s debate … “I’ve got to do something in Philly.” Whatever happened to Obama’s politics of hope?

Remember this, Barack?:

John Edwards will be Rick Lazio tonight as well. John Edwards in the past promised not to attack other candidates. John Edwards attacked the “politics of cynicism” and was against attacking other candidates and “tearing other people apart”. That was then, this is the desperate now.

Rick Lazio John Edwards is now desperately practicing the politics of cynicism:

The argument marks a shift in a race where Edwards and Clinton’s other Democratic opponents have criticized her stance on policy but usually have avoided taking on her character directly. In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Edwards said Clinton is part of a corrupt Washington system. [snip]

Edwards is a former trial lawyer with a penchant for making effective closing arguments that are strong on emotion, and he is likely to press his case when the Democrats meet for a debate Tuesday night in Philadelphia. His shift against Clinton comes as she is leading in every national and state poll.

Clinton leads even though a study out Monday found that she got some of the most negative media coverage of the White House field. And she’s in front even though Edwards has been ramping up his criticism of her since the summer, particularly on her ties to lobbyists.

Barack Obama and John Edwards should remember Rick Lazio and his failed attacks on Hillary:

“Character issues are the most powerful attack lines in a general election, but they are risky in a primary, especially when questioning the honesty of someone like Hillary Clinton who remains among the most popular in the party,” Cutter said. “It can backfire. At the same time, the Clinton campaign would be wrong to ignore it.”

Personal attack is John Edwards version of “new politics” too:

Edwards suggested Clinton is mostly running for president out of personal ambition.

Is Edwards ambitious?

He acknowledged that personal ambition played a role in his 2004 presidential campaign, but he said it is less so in this bid.

Being honest, you can never say personal ambition doesn’t play a role,” Edwards said. “But I do think that I’m driven by something different. I’m driven by making this country work for the kind of people I grew up with.”

Clinton’s campaign responded by pointing to what it said are differences between Edwards’ first and second White House bids.

Senator Edwards’ entire campaign has devolved into a daily routine of negative personal attacks against Senator Clinton,” said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. “He’s a far cry from the John Edwards of 2004 who rose to prominence by decrying personal attacks against other Democrats.”

Obama has already promised relentless attacks against Hillary:

Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia will be the first test on the national stage for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) to carry through on his pledge to engage rival and Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) more directly and forcefully.

In a weekend interview with The New York Times, Obama said “now is the time” for him to step up his efforts to knock Clinton off the top spot.

Obama has implicitly criticized Clinton and her policies repeatedly, mostly recently in an ad released over the weekend that contained indirect references to the senator. The ad, entitled “Winds,” is an apparent attempt to hit Clinton for her reluctance to commit to an answer in a question about Social Security posed during the last Democratic debate. [snip]

Elmendorf said that by announcing the campaign’s strategy to step up confrontations with Clinton, Obama basically acknowledges that he knows he’s in trouble.

“He certainly telegraphed that punch, which isn’t always the best way to do this,” Elmendorf said. “Time is running out, and they clearly know that.”

The New York Times reported that several Obama supporters have been critical of the Illinois senator’s apparent reluctance to criticize Clinton aggressively.

Edwards, on the other hand, has been more outspoken by far in going after the front-runner, and he indicated Monday that he might be capable of moving that criticism into a higher gear.

Tim Russert will assist Rick Lazio John Edwards and Barack Obama as much as he can in their attacks against Hillary, as he did in the last debate and seven years ago.

But perhaps the most striking moment of the evening came not with Mr. Lazio and Mrs. Clinton, but with the first lady and the moderator of the debate, Tim Russert, the host of NBC’s Sunday program ”Meet the Press.” He showed a videotape from the ”Today” program of Jan. 27, 1998, in which Mrs. Clinton, just after the Lewinsky scandal broke, defended her husband and denied the allegations that he had had an affair with a White House intern. Mr. Russert asked Mrs. Clinton if she regretted ”misleading the American people” and if she would ”now apologize for branding people as part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Hillary with a commanding presence faced down Rick Lazio and Tim Russert seven years ago.

Tonight Hillary will have to face down Tim Russert and all the other men surrounding her on the stage, again.


43 thoughts on “Lazio, Come Forth

  1. I had just posted this on yesterdays site. I believe it is worth

    I hope Hillary is in the middle between BO and JE. Her calm
    demeanor will set her off from the others. While BO, JE and
    the gang are furiously going after Hillary they will have to
    look her in the eyeand say the crap they have been spouting.
    It takes more guts do it infront of her and in front of the Party
    that has high regards for Bill. I see them waffling and not
    rising to their potential. Another, point, this is a Philly audience,
    not an Iowa or NH audiance. In the Delaware Valley, we have
    different priorities. Many of those priorities are directly
    related to jobs, health care, protery tax stability especially big in
    south Jersey. Military strength, in particular, in Joe Sestaks,
    district is very important. The last round of base closures was
    designed to demilitariz bases from the northeast. So while
    the moderators spout about Iran, Iraq, Social Security, the audience and the local viewership will be looking at trade, jobs,
    job security, education (nclb) and higher education. In Delaware,
    the housing crush is coming home to roost. An issues that has
    reared up between Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Feds, is
    potatable water and the federal government responsibilty.

    Just before the recent rains Delaware was preparing to joint
    with other states in drought declaration.

    So let BO, JE and the other dwafs rant on, Hillary needs to
    talk to the audience at Drexell and link policy whereever she
    can locally.

  2. Well, y’all, I love Bill Clinton, though not as much as Hillary, and I am sure that there are many people who would like to emulate his magnetism. But there are a couple of things that I would say to lookin’ a Bill’s tapes from 1992: 1) this is 2007, a post-911 world, and you don’t study for tonight’s game with the wrong playbook. 2) does he really think he’s as smart as Bill Clinton? Does he really think he “is” a Bill Clinton? Does he really think he can get it by watching tapes of him? This is not practicing for a campaign speech as student body president. This is being prepared enough, mature enough, experienced enough to hit the ground running as President of the United States. You got to do more than practice an impersonation in front of the mirror. Kostner brings up important, relevant points. Hillary has a calm, but firm demeanor which set her apart from the derailers and knee cappers. We don’t need another hysterical President and Obama and Edwards are running well in the hysteria poll. Also, the focus of a debate should be made relevant to the constituency, as Kostner said. Go Hillary, you know what to do, gal. mollyj

  3. MollyJ and Ra, Haven’t you heard? To know him is to love him, says Obama.

    Kegs, it will be interesting to see what Hillary does tonight. In the Lazio debate Hillary hit back hard. But that was only a 2 person debate. A lot will depend on who speaks first and what the positioning is.

  4. mollyj:

    BO comes across as one of the most arrogant politicians I have seen in the democratic stage in last four primary cycles. He is so full of himself and very condescending.

  5. Hillary should be very focussed on discussing her agenda and not get sidetracked with the distractions these two are going to cause. They will constantly try to knock her off the message and put her on the defensive aided and abetted ofcourse by Russert. Russert has been particularly tough on her since the NY senate race in 2000.

    After the debate you will have Matthews as usual spouting venom on Hillary.

  6. Admin: I guess I missed that day in class. LOL. Ra you are right, he is the most arrogant politician I have ever seen, and I remember back to JFK. I can’t even think who tops him in arrogance in the democratic party. Lately, though, it’s that dourness that’s gettin’ to me. The arrogance though, when he gets called on abandonin’ the politics of hope, what does he do: he redefines it! He says, “that’s not what it means!” This guy flip flops on hope! mollyj

  7. You are so right, admin! Completely hopeless, I’m sad to say. Not only now, but for a good long while in the future, perhaps forever, due to his own lack of discipline and experience. I think he would’ve done well to remember, when in doubt, don’t abandon (or redefine) your core principles (or at least what you say your core principles are.)

  8. John Edwards is starting to embarrass himself. Why is he viciously attacking Hillary personally. John Edwards is a phoney, I agree. I see that now. He has embraced every lunatic position of the Daily Kos kooks to try and please that extreme left wing. It won’t work. He has flipped on almost every issue just to move to the far left. This guy was a co-sponsor of the Iraq war resolution and now he says he is sorry and that is good enough? I don’t think so. John Edwards was one of the biggest cheerleaders on the Democratic side for the Iraq war.

  9. Admin, I think Hillary will be fighting the moderators as well
    the boys. The moderators will allow JE, BO take “long” swipes
    at Hillary but limit her responses. This is an old Russert/
    Matthews trick. I think Hillary will have at least one Reaganesque
    moment, when she demands to respond un-interrupted.
    This may happen more than once.

    BTW, her 401K idea along with SS is working its way through think tanks. I hear it is getting some good responses from some economist.

  10. The sleeper question of the night will not be about sports. The question is which cheesesteak sandwich is the best.

    A. Geno’s
    B. Pat’s
    C. Tony Luke’s
    D. The White House in Atlantic City.

    The correct answer is: all of the above

  11. anyone read the DAILY HOWLER?, today?

    todays article is just great, if not depressing, at least it spells sh– out…

    anyone ever thought about doing a blitz against chris mathews, tim russert and others? i mean they are doing it to hillary, how do we do it to them?
    the howler talks about what kind of crap they use against us. for the future they need to be downgraded…

  12. Obama isn’t studying old Bill Clinton debates for style. He’s looking for quotes to use in a Timmy Russert style gothcha attack: “Well, Hillary…the candidate who said that was William Jefferson Clinton in 1992.

    Clinton will probably say something about how inexperienced and naive she and Bill were when they came to Washington in 1992 and how, if they had only been more experienced, they could have avoided some setbacks in the first two years in office.

  13. good point hwc – Though it is doubtful that the Obama campaign is organized enough to be able to find anything let alone old debate tapes. They are probably just saying they have debate tapes to show how organized and campaigny they are. It is doubtful the Obama campaign at full force could find last Sunday’s New York Times.

    Of course they could call Tim and get anything they want from him.

    Hopefully your intelligent theory is correct. It would be great for Hillary to say “I know Bill Clinton, and Senator, you are no Bill Clinton.”

  14. How many past presidents is this guy going to channel? He’s done Lincoln, FDR, Robert Kennedy, JFK, Reagan, and now he’s going full circle to Bill Clinton. Amazing. He’s going to channel the guy he faults for the politics he supposedly despises.

  15. United 12, I just read the “Howler” and you are correct. It is
    depressing. But let me add this, democrats allow themselves
    be ridiculed bacause as a party they have too many divergent
    views. They don’t speak and act in unity. The republicans
    get away with it.

    About the Yankees and Hillary. Ask Joe Biden who his sport
    team was when he was growing up in Scranton, Pa. In those
    days, it was a New York because that is where all the action
    was. Yankees, Giants and Dodgers. He would not say it was
    the Phillies or the Philadelphia A’s. Likewise, Hillary spent her
    summers in the woods near Scranton. The radio signals
    they picked up were from New York, not Chicago or Philadelpia.
    So it is easy to see why she supports the Yankees. It was
    the team of her youth.

    Democrats of late only give light answers to complex questions.
    Republicans answer every question as if it was national security
    and duck the question. That is why it Democrats rediculed
    and the neocons get away with the crap they foist on
    American. Our candidates rather beat up each other that
    take aim like Hillary does on Bush, Guilliani and the Republicans.
    Remember the press follows the horserace, not the issues.

  16. Obama is so hostile. He doesn’t even know how to attack. His attacks are dull and long-winded. What a sourpuss.

  17. And her boxong gloves, lol.

    BTW, united 12, the Daily Howler is an amazing site. Bob Somersby cuts to the heart of the matter on media bias as well as or better than anybody.

  18. Our girl was a genius to focus her campaign on the important battle–the one with the repubs and their sick ideology. That’s because she knows that that is the most important thing. Getting that group of people out of office and out of town. There’s a lot of cleanin’ up to do, as she says, bring your broom. Hope she brings it to the debate tonight, too.

  19. HWC: I am sure he is takin’ notes watching those films lookin’ for quotes and gotcha. I just can’t shake the image of him sittin’ in some darkened locker room with an oldtimey projector runnin’ looking for key plays and players. Then I have to LOL. But as everybody’ here knows, the whole culture reinforces this kind of thing around the election and the debates. MSNBC is talkin’ about “pre game strategy.” It’s ain’t the super bowl, y’all, it’s the most important election in my lifetime. Let’s focus on defeatin’ the repugs and gettin’ things on the right track again. mollyj

  20. hmmm….

    The only one he’s not channeling is Barack Obama!


    nobody knows…

    Mrs. S.

  21. MSNBC keeps touting Obama watching the Bill Clinton debate tapes…

    you know why don’t you?

    They’re looking for “QUOTES” like the trick Timmy Russert pulled in the last debate, “trying” to trip Hillary UP on previous policy statements made by BC during his tenure in the WH!!!

    Good Luck and Godspeed, Hillary!

    Mrs. S.

  22. Yeah, I think you are right about what Obama is doing, Mrs. S. Isn’t that just what we need in the Presidential debates, “Sucker punch” politics. It’s great for he who wants to be Pres to be setting such a fine example for our young people. mollyj

  23. 2 questions! Why is Obama showing up at this debate? Didn’t he announce he would bow out of any future debate, except those where the candidates would appear in order, not all at the stage at the same time? Or was that just the AARP debate?

    Obama and the gay bash thing is bound to enter the debate tonight. Do you think perhaps Hillary has waited to speak out about this until tonight? To get more attention and also counter attack what is destined to come from B.O and J.E?

  24. Hillaryisthegodess I love your name!! 😉

    I must admit people! I have always been nervous before every debate so long. Fearing whatever may come. HOWEVER, tonight, and all day for that matter, I am as calm as the ocean with no breeze!
    I have this feeling deep down in my gut! That there is (to paraphrase U2) ‘Nothing they could throw at her’ that she couldn’t handle.
    I just hope gut is not wrong! 🙂

    I believe any attack will backfire. She can easily take the highroad and come out winning! But I also believe strongly in her ability to think fast on her feet and pull a fast right and a left and a right and a … get it.

    Anyone know the arrangement on stage yet?

    I’m off to bed to sleep for almost 3 hours, the alarm is set, and I’ll be back ready to watch!!

  25. If Obama trots out Social Security as an attack line against Hillary, he’ll have to debate Paul Krugman too:

    As a policy matter, I don’t understand why Obama would choose to make a big deal of the small Social Security funding shortfall — which may not even exist.

    As a political matter, I don’t understand why he would essentially try to undermine the first big victory progressives won against the Bush administration and the rightward tilt of the Beltway consensus.

    This isn’t 1992. The DLC isn’t the Democratic party’s leading edge. The center isn’t somewhere between Joe Lieberman and Jon McCain. I can’t understand how Obama can be this out of touch.

  26. i just woke up from my nap. i have to leave the house for work around 9:40 pm, so i will miss a lot of the debate. i hope hillary just stay focused above the fray. she will get ganged on but im confindent she will do well. GO HILLARY GO!!! btw mathews is attacking hillary as i speak and goating the others to attack hillary the same. a**hole!!!

  27. We’ll keep watch until you come back Terrondt.

    MSNBC – Democratic Hopefuls Sure To Target Clinton

    For the second presidential debate in a row, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton can expect to be everyone’s punching bag. This time she will be on the stage to defend herself.

    Republicans ganged up on Clinton, D-N.Y., during their debate last week in Florida, knowing that was a good way to energize the Republican base. Democrats are criticizing Clinton because she’s the candidate to beat in their own bid to secure their party’s nomination for the presidency.

    Seven Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to participate in a two-hour debate at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday (0100 GMT Wednesday), which will be telecast on MSNBC and streamed live on

  28. terrondt I hope your night will be good!

    That Chris Matthews!!! Punkhead, has he never heard of journalism? Professional neutral (just reporting the news) journalist?
    Has he no integrity?

    Wheres Olbermans sane voice when we need it?

  29. Hillary will be in the center, surrounded by Edwards and Obama at the debate.

    The order from left to right is Dodd, Biden, Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Kuchinich, Richardson.

  30. i dont know about you but im SCARED!…

    were getting close. i am feeling worried for our girl, personally, for myself when i’m getting tag teamed, i have no problem telling people where to stick it. but hillary has to be better than that, without sounding like she is refusing to answer, cause she is avoiding the question.

    honestly, i am almost more worried about, russert, than the other debaters. no maybe not…

    anyway watching these GUYS on chris mathews, they are all laughing wanting a fight, thats all they are talking about… and ofcourse, they all want everyone to bring it to hillary.

    again poor hillary…

  31. Hillary does well when she is positioned in the middle. She is in a good place and she won’t have to raise her voice at all adressing Obama or Edwards.

    She’s cool and won’t be bullied by anyone. They placed her between her two rivals as an intimidation tactic..not her, won’t work. Hillary will use it to her advantage!

    GO HILL!

    Mrs. S.

  32. Hey United: Had I the time I would tell ya some stories about how strong Hillary is–how brave she is and how damn smart she is. I am sure you know all a that and part of me is climbing the walls. But the other part knows how good Hillary is and we just have to trust that she’s gonna do her best and that’s quite extraordinary. Hillary is one of those truly great leaders who come along in scarcity, because most of us just don’t develop the combination of mind and heart that she has. She’s human, too, but I have to say, on those few occasions that I actually have said, “What did she just do?” it turns out to work in her favor. mollyj

  33. mrs smith,

    good, i’ll just have a DRINK, and control myself, i’m like a kid, i still cover my eyes, when it gets to the scary part…

  34. U12..

    toast to you.. (clinking glasses)

    Uncover your eyes.. 🙂 Hillary is doing well, she’s holding her own. The boys are acting macho, probably because of the hype surrounding the event.. Obama is still as weak as a kitten. He begins to answer the question, rambles, then forgets what the question was..(sigh)

    back to reality politics..

    Mrs. S.

  35. OMG- Dodd just stuck a pin in Edwards pompous purity balloon. POP!

    Squeaky clean Edwards just got called out by Dodd, after belittling Hillary’s donor base, for taking money from the Bar campaign donations and Richardson just called ‘sqeaky” out for trashing Clinton with the honesty meme.. Basicaly telling him we don’t need to be eating our own, we want a democrat in the WH in 09’..

    YAY! Those 2 vultures “sqeaky” Edwards and “Not Ready for Prime Time” Obama just got their asses handed to them by….”experience” from other field runners sick and tired of the back stabbing politics of their campaigns.

    Mrs. S.

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