Friday, February 22, 2008

That's Debatable

The best and worst moments of last night's Democratic debate:

Responding to Hillary's charge that Obama and his campaign need to "get real," Obama said:
The implication is that the people who have been voting for me or have been involved in my campaign are somehow delusional. And that, you know, the 20 million people who've been paying attention to 19 debates and the editorial boards all across the country at newspapers who have given me endorsements, including every major newspaper here in the state of Texas. You know, the thinking is that somehow, they're being duped, and eventually they're going to see the reality of things. Well, I think they perceive reality of what's going on in Washington very clearly. What they see is that if we don't bring the country together, stop the endless bickering, actually focus on solutions and reduce the special interests that have dominated Washington, then we will not get anything done.
Clinton could only smile, with a look on her face that seemed to say, "Damn he's good."

Criticizing Obama for "plagiarizing" the words of his friend and campaign ally Duval Patrick, Clinton said, "Lifting whole passages is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

This whole line of criticism from from Clinton's camp has been horribly stupid (by all accounts, Patrick suggested that Obama use the lines in a speech) and it seems especially lame to accuse someone of using repeated lines and then attacking that person with a line like the "Xerox" one, which came off as tacky and rehearsed. When she continued to press Obama on the subject, the crowd started booing Hillary.

With all that said, I will give Clinton due credit. Her final piece, coming in response to a question about challenging moments that have tested the candidates, was engrossing and compelling. Here is the full transcription:
Well, I think everybody here knows I've lived through some crises and some challenging moments in my life. ... And I am grateful for the support and the prayers of countless Americans. ... I resolved at a very young age that I'd been blessed and that I was called by my faith and by my upbringing to do what I could to give others the same opportunities and blessings that I took for granted. That's what gets me up in the morning. That's what motivates me in this campaign. And, you know, no matter what happens in this contest — and I am honored, I am honored to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honored. Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and that's what this election should be about.
I did think that Hillary seemed more resigned to defeat than ever before during last night's debate, and it does seem like she might be preparing herself for a defeat that is become increasingly inevitable. However, I don't know if I'd agree with the political pundits who have opined that the above statements were "valedictory" and that they signal that she's ready to give up. I think she will continue to work hard for the next couple weeks. But if she doesn't win both Ohio and Texas on March 4, I do think she'll withdraw from the race.

1 comment:

Nick M. said...

Clinton surely isn't giving up on her campaign, but I think its definitely fair to take her words as a hint that she realizes she is likely to lose and needs to save some of her dignity. The strange thing, of course, is that despite those words of concession, she had the lame attacks against Obama going at the same time. So maybe that's a hint that she is still trying, but it also shows that the effort is not really quite there. "Xeroxing change?" Come on.