Hillary Clinton – Lion Tamer

Update: AFSCME Endorses Hillary:

This is no time to take chances. We need someone who knows how to fight and knows how to win. Sisters and Brothers, Senator Clinton is a seasoned fighter. Believe me, she knows how to fight and she knows how to win.
Some of you may have seen last night’s debate.

Six guys against Hillary.

I’d call that a fair fight.

This is one strong woman.

This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to make change happen.

This is the Democrat with the strength and experience who will always stand up for working Americans.

This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to take on the Republicans in the fall.

This is the Democrat who can win the White House in 2008.


The circus came to town last night. There was an overweight clown and some toothless lions chasing a plucky blond lady around the circus tent. The plucky blond lady took her belt off and used it as a whip. Soon the lions were jumping through hoops for the plucky blond lady. The audience loved her. The audience booed the overweight clown.

* * *


As we predicted, Hillary was under attack last night by all her opponents, which included half of the debate moderating team. Politico posted a play by play article last night:

Republican loathing for Hillary Clinton used to be viewed as her Achilles’ heel.

But Tuesday night in Philadelphia, she wore Republican hate as a badge of honor, fending off her Democratic rivals’ sharpest attacks yet by casting herself as a kind of partisan warrior queen.

Barack Obama, pressed for weeks by his donors and by the media to take on Clinton more directly, came out swinging against her, moving from uncertainty to a more confident criticism.

Obama joined his Ripublican buddies and attacked Hillary on the basis that — Ripublicans attack Hillary, therefore she is to blame for partisan bickering:

“Part of the reason Republicans are obsessed with you, Hillary, is I think that’s a fight they’re very comfortable having,” he responded, adding that “what we don’t need is another eight years of bickering.”

John Edwards joined Obama in attacking Hillary:

John Edwards kept up the pressure most skillfully on Clinton, putting his courtroom skills to use to build a case, at times mockingly, against the New York senator.

After almost two hours of largely fruitless sparring with Clinton, accusing her of “double-talk,” Edwards drove his point home when she refused to say whether she supports New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.

“Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No,” Clinton said.

“But do I understand the sense of real desperation of trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York, we want to know who is in New York, we want people to come out of the shadows.”

Edwards pounced.

“Unless I missed something, Sen. Clinton said two different things in the course of two minutes,” he said.

Obama said he supports the plan. An Edwards aide, Mark Kornblau, said after the debate that Edwards also supported the plan.

Was Hillary obtuse or fudging or lying or unclear on the drivers license issue? Let’s go to the videotape:

Hillary, after a back and forth with Dodd, explained that there is a problem with having people driving on American roads who cannot legally now get licensed to drive. Hillary explained the 3 tiered system Governor Spitzer will implement to try to get a solution to a difficult problem. Did Hillary think the original Spitzer plan to provide outright licenses was a good idea – No, but she understood Governor Spitzer’s motivation for trying to do something about a problem the federal government has failed to address. Edwards had the vapors with Hillary’s reply.


Clinton, positioned in the middle of the stage with a row of men in suits on each side, turned to her left to listen to Edwards and her right to hear Obama.

She largely responded calmly, diminishing the policy differences between the candidates.

When Edwards tried to draw a difference between his plan to fight terror in the Middle East and hers to run combat missions against Al Qaeda in Iraq, she dismissed the gap as “semantic.”

The constant attacks on Hillary drew Governor Richardson to disgust:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, for his part, came to Clinton’s defense.

“You know what I’m hearing here — I’m hearing this holier-than-thou attitude toward Sen. Clinton … close to personal attacks that we don’t need,” he said. “I think it’s important that we save the ammunition for the Republicans.”

The “holier-than-thou” attitude was also lampooned by Dennis Kucinich who mocked hedge fund Edwards for daring to attack Hillary on taking lobbyist money.

The New York Times also noted the attacks on plucky Hillary:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York came under withering attack from the rest of the Democratic presidential field last night in a pitched two-hour debate that her opponents used to challenge her candor and electability and to portray her as enabling President Bush to prepare for an invasion of Iran.

It was the seventh time the candidates had met and it was strikingly different in tone from any of the prior debates. At times, it seemed that Mrs. Clinton was parrying criticism from every corner of the stage, reflecting the vulnerabilities that come from being a high-visibility candidate who has built large leads in national polls with just two months to go until the first vote.

Mrs. Clinton was attacked for not offering specific plans on what she might do with Social Security. She was challenged for voting to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organization. She was assailed at one moment as being disingenuous, the next as a symbol of tired Washington establishment and the next for being unelectable.

Obama, for all his promises, did not manage to eclipse Edwards in being the most vicious in attacking Hillary:

But for all the attention Mr. Obama drew to himself coming into the debate, he was frequently overshadowed by former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who — speaking more intensely — repeatedly challenged Mrs. Clinton’s credentials and credibility, and frequently seemed to make the case against Mrs. Clinton that Mr. Obama had promised to make.

The Times even managed to notice the ugly role of the moderators:

Mrs. Clinton walked into the debate expecting to be the target of attacks but as the night went on, she appeared surprised by the intensity as she was challenged not only by her opponents but by the moderators, Brian Williams and Tim Russert of NBC. [snip]

In an exchange with Mr. Russert, arguably her third toughest opponent on the stage, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly declined to say whether she would push the National Archives to release correspondence from Mrs. Clinton to Mr. Clinton in the White House when he was president. Mr. Russert held up a copy of a letter from Mr. Clinton asking the Archives not to release any of those documents until 2012.

“Well, that’s not my decision to make,” she said. “And I don’t believe that any president or first lady has. But certainly we’ll move as quickly as our circumstances and the processes of the National Archives permits.”

Hillary crushed Obama on his much trumpeted Social Security attacks. At one point Hillary pointedly noted that “Republican Talking Points” would not be parroted by her – a clear allusion to Ripublican loving Obama.

The L.A. Times sums up the results of the debate. Before the debate, the consensus was that Obama needed to salvage his sunken campaign with a clear win and strong damage inducing attacks on Hillary. Obama proved himself a failure yet again. Even the petulant John Edwards outshone Obama in assertiveness:

Trailing in national polls and with supporters growing restless, Barack Obama challenged Hillary Rodham Clinton’s electability and candor in a spirited Tuesday night debate. But he failed to rattle the front-runner or do much, it seemed, to shake up the Democratic race.

Under fire from the first question — an invitation for Obama to take a shot at Clinton — the New York senator smiled through most of the two-hour session, often seconding the views of others on stage and joining the laughter during an attack on Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The toothless lions and the clown were unhappy last night. The plucky blonde lady was amazing on the flying trapeze.


72 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton – Lion Tamer

  1. The pundits want a horserace and writes countless pieces on how Edwards/Obama tried to trip up Clinton, Clinton stumbled etc, no more ‘evitability’ etc.

    I think polls in following days will stun those clueless pundits. I predict a backlash and a rally to Clinton side phenomenon especially from base voters, especially women.

  2. “no more ‘evitability’ Who said that? If anything, the only one who performed better than Hillary was Biden. Obama bombed. And, Edwards came off as a snakeoil salesman. The whole debate was a joke. It was set up as an opportunity for everyone to beat on Hillary.

  3. The 1.4 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) just sent out word that it will make a “major political announcement” at 1:30 p.m. ET.

    Last week, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman wrote that he had been told by “labor sources” that the announcement would be an endorsement by the influential labor union of Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid. Presciently, Fineman said that the news could be a “pick-me-up” for Clinton if she had a rough time at the MSNBC debate in Philadelphia.
    You KNOW she’s got it! Another brilliantly timed endorsement!

  4. Although there were several openings where Hillary could have divested and stripped Obama of his pseudo confidence (read: well rehearsed) she chose to stay silent. I’m referring to the comment made by Obama when he looked at her and said :

    ““Part of the reason Republicans are obsessed with you, Hillary, is I think that’s a fight they’re very comfortable having,” he responded, adding that “what we don’t need is another eight years of bickering.”

    She could have said something like: “You mean like what is going on now?”

    Yes, there would have been a “gasp” followed by a cry of castratation at the feedback segment following the debate. The media would have had a field day painting Hillary as a Amazonian castrator of men, drawing sympathy for Obama and forgetting more quickly the debacle last weekend of his failed Gospel Tour and the travesty of a presidential candidate allowing and promoting a Constitutional rape to occur on his watch.

    Hillary was brilliant keeping her cool and we’re proud of her going 15 rounds and leaving the stage with her integrity and honor intact.

    Mrs. S.

  5. I think Edwards’ support, especially among women will plunge. Hopefully it’s Clinton, not Obama will reap the benefit.

    I fully expect Edwards’ support among women drop to below 10% after his bully performance.

  6. Kostner, I thought Obam sucked last night. I find it hard to believe he’ll pick up support after that performance.

  7. The Democrats are determined to force Clinton into positions that will hurt the Democrats against the Republicans in the general election.

    Outside of Clinton and Biden, I don’t think there was a whiff of general election political instincts on that stage last night.

  8. hwc,

    you’re right, that’s why they keep on losing… I won’t shed a tear if a democratic candidate other than Clinton loses againt to GOPer in the general. I don’t like wimps and losers. I think Biden and Richardson are decent. But Richardson is a gaffe machine, Biden is just another sure-to-lose senator. All the other candidates on stage are pretty much unacceptable to me…

    Just my two cents.

  9. Yes, Kostner, we know. But most of us share the philosophy of the Democrat’s and we will shed a tear if we are subjected to another Republican presidency.

  10. I don’t think Edwards has much support among women to begin with, lol. But the whole idea of Dems attacking other Dems (re: Hillary) with Repub talking points ticks me off no end.

  11. Edwards took on his petulant lawyer persona, a number of thing he said were blatanty untrue. The whole debate was set up to attack Hillary..I though moderators were supposed to be “moderating” not debating…like Russert does. He is such a jackass. And Hardball was like a Hillary attack machine all day lone. Mathews was trying to spin something with the driver’s license question which I thought was clear. He and Russert ought to go get a room.

  12. Newest press release from Hillary’s campaign:

    What happens when the “politics of pile-on” replaces the “politics of hope?”

    Hillary comes out on top.

    Despite the best efforts of her six fellow candidates to trip her up, Senator Clinton stood strong and made her case on critical issues like Iran, Iraq and Social Security. She kept her focus on the real target in this election: Republicans and the Bush Administration. Instead of going after the other Democrats, Hillary made the argument for why change is needed and why she has the strength and experience to lead the Democratic Party in its efforts to make that change happen.

    Sadly, Senator Obama caved to the pressure of the pundits and fundraisers who demanded that he go negative and abandoned the “politics of hope” message that sparked so much interest in him early in the campaign. Meanwhile, Senator Edwards doubled down in his effort to become the guy best known for attacking other Democrats. Not to be outdone, the rest of the pack followed suit and piled on in the hope that they’d get some media attention.

    But with each attack, Senators Obama and Edwards undermined the central premises of their own candidacies. The sunny speeches and rosy rhetoric that once characterized their remarks has now been replaced by the kinds of jabs one typically sees from candidates desperate to gain traction in the polls.

    The American people are looking for a President who can stand strong and come out ahead under any circumstances.

    Last night, once again, that person was Hillary Clinton.

    One strong woman.

  13. hwc, This is a great point you make:

    “The Democrats are determined to force Clinton into positions that will hurt the Democrats against the Republicans in the general election.”

  14. mj,

    it may matter to you, but it won’t matter to me. Democratic party is going to win senate and congress by even larger margin. So Rudy or Romney will appoint those right wingers to the bench.

    Barring a Clinton nominee, I really don’t care for a democratic president. Some of those democratic candidates’ positions on national security, for instance, Iran scare me to death..

  15. Kostner:

    Last night convinced me, for the first time, that a centrist third party is the only good long term solution.

    The racism, bigotry, bible-thumping, and elitism of the Republicans turns my stomach. But, the Democrats are too politically incompetent to win national elections and govern the country.

  16. hwc, you are right about Dems, Hillary and the general election.

    Last night Hillary came out clean providing no ammunition to Rips. Obama gave fodder to Ripublicans with the Muslim leaders meeting, which Dems might not object to, but Ripublicans will use to push the “secret Muslim” narrative against Obama.

    Edwards is irrelevant as to the actual nomination fight because he does not have proper financing and is only waging a campaign in one state. Edwards looked like the tougher Hillary opponent and that’s bad for Obama and good for Hillary. Recent articles we have quoted have Obama’s campaign afraid of this very phenomenon developing. Obama does not want Edwards to become the non-Hillary candidate.

    Last night was supposed to be Obama’s big night – it wasn’t. All Obama’s issues, from Social Security to Iran, to Iraq were turned on him. Edwards tried the lobbyist issue and Kucinich stopped that attack.

    The backlash against the attacks on Hillary and Russert as the biggest opponent are future issues to employ. Russert was made a fool on Social Security, the issue he prides himself on most. Hopefully Hillary’s template on the issue will be taken up by all Democrats as a standard response.

    Obama actually harmed himself gravely, which we will write about at some point – on Social Security. AARP and Iowa seniors will hear much more about last night’s exchange on Social Security and Obama will live to regret even more so what transpired. BTW, even TPM, went after Russert on Social Security. Obama agrees with Russert so TPM by extension attacked Obama too, although Josh Marshall just can’t bring himself to say anything truthful about Obama.

    Today, Big Media will make the attacks on Hillary the big story. But Obama hurt himself further last night and voters will hear of his stumbles. Once Big Media gets over the dramatic atmospherics, the blood trickling down Obama’s chest will become evident.

  17. Russert holding up that letter was shades of Joe McCarthy waving his “List” in the air.

    And this nonsense about Hillary uniting the Republicans against her is laughable. Those who self-identify as Republicans has dropped down to 25%, and the Independents are leaning heavily Democrat.

    Let the RightWing howl at the moon ’till they go hoarse. They just cause more and more people to run the other way, away from Republicans.

  18. From NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum
    Less than 10 hours after last night’s MSNBC debate, Clinton joined First Lady Laura Bush and other leaders to discuss bipartisan legislation to ensure the continuation of historic preservation.

    As First Lady, Clinton served as the founding chair of Save America Treasures. When the administration changed, First Lady Laura Bush continued the program while also creating Preserve America. Now, both the House and the Senate are working to turn the executive orders into permanent legislation. Clinton said the effort “represents the very best Washington can achieve.”

    Sen. Pete Domenici was optimistic, saying the bill will go through congress “rather quickly” and challenged the House to a race. Rep. Turner agreed to the race and said if the Senate beat the House, “That would be historic.”

    Although Clinton made no mention of the debate, co-sponsor Domenici did discuss it. “I watched the debate last night, and I wasn’t sure you were going to get here today,” the New Mexico Senator said to Clinton, eliciting laughter from the audience. “Because it was all about you, and you were teriffic.”

    Clinton later responded to the quick turn around. “It may have been a little difficult for me to get here,” she said, “but I wouldn’t have missed it. I look forward to passing the legislation, getting it to the President’s desk, and passing it into law.”

  19. Driver’s licenses is the new ‘hot button’ issue? Maybe in the Republican Party where they hate immigrants. I don’t think Democrats rank driver’s licenses above health care and Iraq as the most important issues.

  20. Luntz’s focus group finds Obama the overwhelming winner? You notice his focus groups always think Obama won. Where does he get these people? I thought Obama bombed.

  21. admin:

    I agree that the stronger Edwards becomes as the “anti-Hillary” candidate, the better it is for Clinton. In the final analysis, Edwards is competing with Kucinich for the lunatic vote. His whole 1960s style attack-the-establishment narrative makes mainstream voters shudder at the thought of him as commander-in-chief and puts a hard ceiling on his support well below that necessary to gain the nomination, even in a kooky party like the Democratic Party. He would get crushed, as in Dukakis crushed, in a general election.

    Having Edwards solidify his 10% to 15% and keep it from consolidating behind Obama benefits Hillary.

  22. MSNBC’s site poll in which Hillary NEVER does well, has her neck and neck with Obama and ahead in the more important catagory;

    Who stood out from the pack? * 60226 responses Clinton-26 Obama-26

    Who showed the most leadership qualities? * 59695 responses

    Clinton-30 Obama-27

    It’s a debate, kids, with the shelf-life of sushi… AFSCME is more important

  23. admin, You mentioned on the other thread about anecdotal evidence about a postdebate backlash. Could you explain that a little more? I was wondering where you were getting that from. I’d love for it to be true, and I’m not surprised at all if that’s the case.

    BTW, does anyone have any idea why Russert goes after Hillary at these debates, dating all the way back to her first race for the Senate?

    What happened last night also reminds me of what Bill Clinton has said a number of times: That he thinks winning the nomination will be tougher than the GE.

  24. He’s a repub and was involved in the attorney firings, so I don’t think he would endorse a dem. He was just being nice to a colleague.

  25. celiff,

    gosh, I messed up badly, i thought he’s a dem… hehe.

    Russert is just an egomaniac, I don’t believe he has any particular hatred towards Clinton. He just wants to show he’s smarter than all the other democratic candidates. When he felt the other folks can’t trip up Clinton, he completely crossed the line to jump into a presidential debate himself.

  26. It’s official:
    It’s official: As expected, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the country’s largest and most politically influential unions, has decided to endorse Hillary, union officials tell us.

    Strong words from AFSCME president Gerald McEntee:

    This is no time to take chances. We need someone who knows how to fight and knows how to win. Sisters and Brothers, Senator Clinton is a seasoned fighter. Believe me, she knows how to fight and she knows how to win.
    Some of you may have seen last night’s debate.

    Six guys against Hillary.

    I’d call that a fair fight.

    This is one strong woman.

    This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to make change happen.

    This is the Democrat with the strength and experience who will always stand up for working Americans.

    This is the Democrat with the strength and experience to take on the Republicans in the fall.

    This is the Democrat who can win the White House in 2008.

  27. Paula, regarding our anecdotal evidence – between parties, family member phone calls, bars and other non-obtrusive ways – we try to gauge reaction to big events. Again non-scientific and we do rely on reports from others. We try to gauge reactions from people who do not know our position in the presidential race. We don’t want to fool ourselves as to what is going on.

    Luntz and his ilk pollute their sample voters because the sample voters know what it is that Luntz wants to hear – that is why Obama always wins Luntz focus group surveys.

    We have an extensive network and get make calls to determine what is being seen and felt out there. Yesterday, the consensus of our gatherers was that men were unknowingly open-mouthed watching the debate and the attacks on Hillary; while women displayed very little reaction except for a slight closing in of the eyebrows as they watched closely.

    However, once the women were asked in whatever manner, what they thought – they looked at the questioner quickly to see if there was hostility in the question – then the women would get very animated and angry. Slow or quick boils was the most frequent metaphors used by questioners.

  28. Great news on McEntee.

    McEntee wants the AFSCME vote operation in Iowa in November. Those state, county and municipal employees know how to get out the vote are are powerful in Iowa especially when teamed up with a smart campaign organization and the Villsack team.

  29. Last night we witnessed a mugging, not a debate.
    Why have none of the pundits noticed that Obama has not one negative thing to say about Edwards or vice versa? Evidently the only candidate on that stage with a downside was Hillary.

    Doubletalk? Obama’s explanation of the gospel tour wasn’t doubletalk pandering? Obama made clear what the policy differences between himself and Hillary are? Obama is electable? His attack on Hillary about Republicans attacking her is, I think, a sure sign of his naivete. Does he think that his “ability to bring people together” will keep Republicans from attacking him?

    His “I will talk to Muslims” would be translated by Republicans into “I will meet with Islamofascists and turn over the keys to the U.S.”

    As for Edwards (and Obama’s) insistence that Bush be stopped from atacking Iran, nobody bothered to ask how that could be accomplished. If Bush wants to attack, how would they stop him? Only Hillary noted that Bush can do it if he wants without the non-binding resolution that they took such objection to — an objection that Obama didn’t feel strongly enough about to show up for the vote.

    As for Tim Russert and his letter from Bill Clinton (again — how many times will he pull this stunt?), are Obama and Edwards for publicizing husband-wife communications? After dragging them through public hearings about Monica, are we looking for a note that Hill wrote Bill about that? Nauseating!

  30. who is Reid Wilson, here’s his article on debate …. I hate the put up the link, it always sucks…

    Edwards Shines, But Clinton Still Leads

    Clinton, for the first time, was forced to play defense virtually the entire night. She handled the broadsides from other candidates, hoping to prove to primary voters that she can weather the coming Republican storm. But her opponents’ focus on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, Clinton backers suggested, were based on false premises. “They’ve drawn a false alternative,” said retired General Wesley Clark, who is backing Clinton. “And that shows their inexperience in foreign policy.” Clark compared other candidates’ answers to “Little League baseball,” while Clinton, he said, was in the Major Leagues.

    The attacks were something her campaign clearly saw coming: Instead of holding public events, Clinton’s campaign kept her out of the public eye, hunkering down in debate preparation. That preparation, it seems, paid off.

    The debate, though, focused primarily on the scuffle between front-runners Clinton, Obama and Edwards. And while Obama seemed to find his voice against Clinton late in the evening, it was Edwards who stood out, offering the clearest distinctions and the sharpest rhetoric in order to distinguish himself.

    In the end, that outcome could benefit Clinton. With Obama in solid second place in most of the polls and suffused with enough cash to outlast at least a month of early contests, Edwards still will help himself to a sizable chunk of the Anybody-But-Clinton crowd. That constituency remains fractured, and by the end of the day, that’s good news for Hillary Clinton.

    Philadelphia, home more than 200 years ago to America’s first angry political debates when framers of the Constitution haggled over the founding language, saw another contentious brawl this evening, the hottest of the 2008 Democratic campaign. But the scrum did little to shake up the race, and Clinton’s rivals will now have to wait to find the next opportunity to make their case to the electorate.

  31. great news about thsi afscme union…

    kostner: I agree; except for hillary and biden this dem team is poor….

    Edwards is the worst…..while he may not get the nomination, he is trying to skew the party so much to the left in all positions that a middle party would be something…. I do not mind “being left” per se, but he has got some personal agenda here…definitely not a team player!!!!

    As for the DL issue, most dems will lose gops..

    And for edwards and his poverty program ….how much is he doing to help the illegal community in his centers…..that should be telling of how supportive he is in…worse for him to defend against the gop!!!

  32. From NBC’s Domenico Montanaro
    The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reports that the New Hampshire SEIU voted 9-8 to endorse Edwards over Obama, “meaning the vote was very contentious and there [are] many angry folks.”

  33. Big Media’s bible, The Hotline, has this:

    The CW in early ’07 held that Dems who wanted to beat Clinton would have to rally around one anti-Hillary. Months later, the “ABC” field remains scattered and disorganized. Can one debate change this? If so, what message(s) will break though in Philly that hasn’t worked so far?

    — The more WH’08ers train fire on Clinton, the stronger she looks. If Obama’s biggest liability is his gun-shyness, a fight w/Edwards may be just what he needs to prove his mettle. Of course, it also lets HRC stay above the fray. Iran looks like her weakest point. But does Obama raise the issue knowing that it could encourage a double/triple-team attack for his missed vote (and similar stances)?

  34. Regarding the SEIU New Hampshire endorsement: It would have been best if Hillary got the endorsement. Second best is Edwards getting the endorsement and keeping in close to Obama.

    Edwards is moving in on Obama and Obama is getting weaker and weaker. When Edwards loses Iowa, SEIU New Hampshire will look foolish and will be left without a candidate in the primary.

  35. Great commentary and synthesis, Admin. Wonderful news about the endorsement today and Hillarys high profile public appearance this morning. She is one tough cookie, smart too. The debate is history. You are right, Admin, it is pile on politics replacin’ the politics of hope but all the boys got “outed” last night in the sense of who they are. Everybody’s true colors…dishonesty, incompetence, statesment, opportunist, chauvanist (you can guess who’s who) etc…came out in the open for the world to see, and that applies to the interrogators as well as the politicians. Hillary deflected the hits like wonder woman with her magic shield. Very few can survive such a brutal game of pile on. So it’s a new day and Hillary is still 44 and in my mind more viable than ever. In the words of our own, theRealist, a quote I love, “It’s a debate, kids, with the shelf-life of sushi… AFSCME is more important.” I love that “with the shelf-life of sushi”! mollyj

  36. Today’s fresh from the presses Hotline has this which confirms our analysis on Obama weakness:

    It may have been “over hyped,” but the Philly phracas sure lived up to its billing. Obama, Edwards, Russert and Williams all trained their fire on HRC. And for the first time, she let the boys see her sweat.

    — Dems tried to make HRC the issue; she tried to focus on Bush/Cheney/GOPers. (It’s no accident she said “Bush” a total of 25 times, more than all 6 of her rivals, combined). Her redirect strategy’s nothing new, it’s worked for months letting her respond to attacks w/out sinking her Dem support. But it’s now a key part of her survival.

    — Edwards and Obama pre-divulged their gloves-off strategy. But only Edwards delivered. Obama was more direct than usual, but if he wasn’t ready for the fight, why beat the drum w/the NYT?

    — Will Edwards’ performance move his #s? Or can Obama reap those rewards? (see: Dean v. Gephardt, IA ’04).

    — For Dems looking for an HRC alternative, many worry Edwards/Obama lack the experience and/or ruthlessness to give (and take) the punches they’d receive vs. GOPers. Edwards challenged that perception last p.m. Obama pulled his punches. Again.

  37. Great line about Edwards from;
    Campus Voices on the Debate

    By Kate Phillips

    Katie McCabe, 20, of Nebraska:

    I don’t think any candidate will receive a significant jump in the polls from this debate. I would summarize the debate this way:

    Barack Obama: I may not know all about the AMT, but let’s look at the broader discussion … (code for: I don’t really know what I am talking about here, so I’ll tell a touching anecdote?)

    John Edwards: Let’s just work together. If you want [insert something really horrible], vote for Hillary.


  38. BTW, Hotline today refers to Barack as “O-Blah-Ma”

    Hotline also quote David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register and others this way:

    “But Obama also “seemed disjointed, unable to give good sound bits and did himself no good.” His “lackluster performance is additional evidence he is having trouble balancing his image as a nice guy who wants to practice a different, consensus politics of hope with the more immediate and pragmatic need to slow Clinton’s momentum by cleaving some differences with her” (Yepsen, Des Moines Register, 10/31).

    Obama’s attacks “were mild,” and he was “clearly uncomfortable with the tack, speaking haltingly several times when he took the offensive” (Cooper/Calmes, Wall Street Journal, 10/31).

    Obama “delivered his charges in subdued fashion, as though he were back in the classroom teaching one of his courses on constitutional law” (Barabak/Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 10/31). He was “frequently overshadowed by” Edwards (Nagourney/Bumiller, New York Times, 10/31).

    CNN’s Crowley: “Anyone expecting a full frontal assault against Hillary Clinton by Barack Obama did come away disappointed. It was not the brawl a lot of people anticipated” (“American Morning,” 10/31).

  39. More Hotline reaction summaries which jibe with our analysis:

    While Obama “seemed to find his voice against Clinton late in the evening,” Edwards “stood out,” writes RealClearPolitics’Wilson . “In the end, that outcome could benefit Clinton. With Obama in solid second place in most of the polls and suffused with enough cash to outlast at least a month of early contests, Edwards still will help himself to a sizable chunk of the Anybody-But-Clinton crowd. That constituency remains fractured, and by the end of the day, that’s good news for Hillary Clinton” (10/31).

  40. Thank you, admin, for your explanation on the anecdotal stuff.

    BTW, I’d prefer Edwards as Hillary’s main opponent. He has a lot less money than Obama, and I think he’s a weaker candidate than Obama, too.

  41. Two debates, according to the helpful link on this page:

    Nov. 15: CNN/Nevada Democratic Party, Las Vegas (Democrats) UNLV [DNC sanctioned]

    Dec. 10: CBS, Los Angeles (Democrats) [DNC sanctioned]

  42. MP, I think the next one is on Nov 15th and I think there is one in early December. I don’t know where they are to be held. Good reminder to get my nerve pills filled and the bar stocked back up.

  43. Taylor Marsh smartly notes the ‘driver’s license for illegal immigrants’ question was a death trap. To Repubs, it’s amnesty (worse than gay marriage or abortion) — they even rose up against Bush over amnesty. Edwards and Obama were so distracted by their need to attack Hillary that they both stepped into the death trap.

  44. Tim Russert stepped outside his role as an impartial moderator and became the instigator. I’m furious by how MSNBC and Tim Russert conducted this debate. It was clearly a set-up. Obama got all the softball questions. No mention of McClurkin or grilling him on supporting the D.L. for illegal immigrants.

    I thought Hillary is a fantastic job answering the Iran and Social Security questions. She nailed it.

    This debate was just stacked against her. If you’ve ever been gained up on, you know the feeling. It’s difficult to keep your cool when everything you say is picked apart.

    No way Obama or Edwards would have done as well as Hillary if the table was turned.

  45. Analyst Charlie Cook just came out with an article making the case for Hillary’s excellent change of getting the nominee…

    The Clinton inevitability issue
    Iowa could lessen overwhelming likelihood she’ll winning nomination

    WASHINGTON – There’s a vigorous debate going on these days over whether national polls that suggest Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is running away with the Democratic presidential nomination are correct or even relevant.

    Much of the conversation was triggered by a Gallup Organization analysis from Oct. 22, which said that “Democrats have rarely had a front-runner as dominant as Clinton.”

    As is so often the case, most of the arguments appear to center around the validity of the polls and critics not agreeing with what the polls actually show. But among others, for example veteran Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, the argument lies in the fact that these national polls do not necessarily reflect what is going on in the early states, where the nomination is more likely to be settled.

    Additionally, these critics argue that because Iowa has a caucus system and New Hampshire voters can choose to vote in either primary, these states are notoriously difficult to accurately survey.

    While Mellman and others are absolutely correct that this isn’t one national primary, two caveats should be added.

    First, there will be a national primary on Feb. 5, or “Tsunami Tuesday,” when more than 20 states will vote in every corner of the country. This reflects what can be considered a pretty accurate microcosm of the nation. To this extent, it is not illogical to think the national polls are a reflection of reality at the time the poll is taken.

    Second, these aren’t polls of voters on a different continent than the voters in the early states. There is an interconnectedness in the reactions to various candidates and in who is moving up or down.

    There are of course limits to this. For example, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is doing great in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, but is barely moving up in the national polls. However, on the Democratic side, the national polls have been pretty accurate measurements of which candidates have and don’t have momentum and they haven’t been disconnected from the Iowa and New Hampshire surveys.

    Finally and most importantly, what is happening in the national polls is not contradicted by any other aspect of the race.

    Clearly the race is closest in Iowa, where former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., led pretty consistently in the polls until the second half of the summer. Now, Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., are on roughly parallel tracks.

    Iowa is about the only important state where Clinton does not have a formidable lead. Most analysts and strategists agree that if Clinton wins Iowa, the nomination will almost certainly be hers. However, even if Clinton loses Iowa, she can survive and probably have better than an even shot at the nomination.

    This conclusion can be drawn based on her strong advantages in polls, organization and money

    My hunch is that if Clinton wins Iowa, she will have an overwhelmingly likely shot at winning the nomination. If she loses the Hawkeye State, her odds drop, but she will still have better-than-even odds of securing the Democratic spot. Basically, she appears to be the only candidate at this point who can sustain a loss in Iowa, and her double-digit leads in many national polls suggest that she has a pretty formidable firewall behind Iowa.

    What is working against Obama in Iowa is that his support is found mainly among young, college-educated people and blacks. He runs evenly with Clinton on the national level in each of these groups, but she beats him among virtually every other constituency.

    While Iowa is a relatively highly educated state, the demographics do skew toward an older population, and there is not a large black population. The caucus balloting is also weighted heavily for rural and small-town areas and less so for the cities, another factor that works against Obama

    To be sure, if Clinton is stopped, it has to begin in Iowa, but that no longer appears to be as likely as it once was.

    Some argue that former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s formidable standing in the polls, including national ones, going into the closing days before the Iowa Caucus in 2004 is good reason to ignore them now. However, these critics forget that Dean’s downfall began when the polls started to reflect doubts about his electability.

    Those same polls do not show similar electability arguments working against Clinton. In fact, most Democrats see her as more electable than Obama.

  46. Keeping with the boxing analogies surrounding last night’s Democratic debate, AFSCME members presented Clinton with a pair of boxing gloves — as well as their official endorsement — today in Washington.

    Later, asked by NBC News if she felt she was ganged up on in Philadelphia last night, she laughed and said, “Well, I got my boxing gloves. I’m ready; I’ll go 10 rounds.”

  47. admin,

    I was referring to the latest brief interview with Clinton.

    Later, asked by NBC News if she felt she was ganged up on in Philadelphia last night, she laughed and said, “Well, I got my boxing gloves. I’m ready; I’ll go 10 rounds.”

  48. That’s a great answer by Hillary. Classy as always. But was that a laugh or a “cackle”? Just kidding. 🙂

    If you AFSCME, I’d say she was ganged up on. Sorry, that was really corny.

  49. an msnbc guest said hillary has a great video on her web site showing sound bites of yesterdays candidates saying “HILLARY” “HILLARY”…

    the guest its great go see it, then the moderator got rid of her.

  50. Kostner, Brian Williams and Tim Russert will make sure unflattering references to themselves do not get played.

    United 12, check our new article.

  51. guy, noticed how the edwards camp downplayed the latest union endoresement? right, if they got it they would be jumping for joy.

  52. MIN,

    that would be admin, i am happy she is getting union votes, we work hard walking precincts and phone banking, and passing out brochures at stores all day long, we write letters, we sign people up to vote, we do work for candidates, all volunteer army.

    i love the work you do as well, and really really appreciate the time you spend. its nice to know there is such talent for a good cause.

  53. Thanks United 12.

    Here is more from AFSCME’s press release with a bit about what resources they bring:

    AFSCME endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying she “clearly emerged as the best candidate.” The union vowed to activate a 40K-member “volunteer army” and “launch an unprecedented GOTV effort” in IA

  54. thx min,

    about the whole strategic, attack hillary thing, at the debate last night, i would like to see a video showing all the sights of tim russert foaming at the mouth as well as pictures of chris mathews spewing twisted lov at hillary, people should see what she’s up again…

  55. some guy named beattie on mtv said that, edwards and obama will not say anything to personal to hillary, such as ‘you are a bad person’.
    because they are looking to the general election.

    but he said look to see outside interests, saying everything they wont.
    the same swiftboat tactics that were used against kerry…

    so what is the plan, do you know what hillary has planned for this assault?

  56. jack cafferty on cnn keeps reading ugly hate letters about hillary, and lou dobbs says she just sunk herself, and americans wont see anyone president that makes her stand on illigals

  57. Is Edwards trying to suppress the vote in Iowa? He has nothing to lose since he is losing anyway, so he’s not worried about his attack backfiring. His only chance is to demobilize mainstream voters in Iowa by making the campaign ugly. That is the goal of negative campaigning when you are losing. Clinton is too smart to go down the ugly path, so Edwards can take his potshots safely. It’s pretty chickenshit to attack a candidate from a losing position, knowing it would be stupid for her to retaliate. If he was actually in the race, Hillary would deck his ass easy.

    If the message gets out that Edwards/Obama attack strategy is designed to suppress voter turnout in Iowa, so only the anti-Hillary cult turns out, they could bomb miserably, a fitting end to Edwards. It would be sad if Obama destroyed his political future in this way.

    Link to political attack stategies: http://pcl.stanford.edu/common/docs/research/iyengar/1996/goingneg.html

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