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Did Hillary Blow It?

Up until this point in the campaign, Hillary Clinton has been steamrolling the field and succeeded in building an aura of invincibility about her quest to receive the Democratic nomination for president. Last night, everything may have changed with her faltering and uninspiring performance in the Drexel University debate hosted by MSNBC. Lee Ward posted some choice video of the debate earlier today.

The debate began with Hillary receiving a fearful bludgeoning over her vote cast in favor of the dangerous Kyl-Lieberman amendment which could be interpreted as providing Senate approval for war with Iran. John Edwards nailed her to the wall on this one, and provided an eloquent dissent to the insane Bush/Cheney march to war with Iran.

Clinton became increasingly angry and defensive as the debate wore on. Then, came Tim Russert's question about whether she would support New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to give illegal immigrants driver licenses and Hillary's bewildering, rambling and contradictory responses.

Does anyone even know where Hillary truly stands on this issue? It seems she is trying to be just a bit too smart and straddle the fence on this issue just as she has done successfully on so many others. But there's no talking around this one, because it's a simple question: do you favor allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses or not? Just answer yes or no. Please.

Last night's debate may have marked a turning point in the campaign. It's certainly got a lot of us progressives wondering if Hillary has the right stuff after all. And the dust-up over the Kyl-Lieberman amendment may be just beginning. To be honest, I hadn't read the amendment before today and I don't much like what I read. It seems to me that anyone who wants to prevent a ruinous and unnecessary war with Iran would have voted against it. Hillary's going to be in damage control about that vote for the rest of the campaign.


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Comments (6)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I don't think she fared badly at all. She held her poise, didn't lose her cool, defended her position, etc.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Kyl-Lieberman is nothing more than sabre-rattling.

Do you think for a second that defeating Kyl-Lieberman would have prevented Bush from attacking Iran? Not for a second.

I see Iran as a threat to the long-term stability of Iraq, and of course a threat to Israel as well. Sanctions and sabre-rattling is all we can do short of war as long as Bush is in office. Hopefully Democrats won't defeat themselves in the 2008 election and let Giuliani rule the roost.

The vote for Kyl-Lieberman was 76-22. Are the 76 who voted in favor of it, which obviously includes the majority of the democrats, all neocons?

You've ipsofacto'ed yourself into Republican't-ville, Larkin, walk towards the blue light... and whatever you do don't drunk the kool-aid.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Here is the long admendment contained in this post of Josh Marshall . I'm going to reserve judgement on the portents of this amendment, but Hillary also said in the debate "We've got to do everything we can to prevent George Bush and the Republicans from doing something on their own to take offensive military action against Iran." As usual, she tries to cover all sides of the argument.

With the caveat, that I only heard and saw less half the debate considering the vehemence of the attack and considering that she hardy ever asked the questions posed directly at her, I concede that she withstood the slings and arrows better than I expected. What struck me most is that Obama is clearly uncomfortable in this 'rough and tumble' type of debate. Perhaps it is not surprising since he doesn't even seem particularly comfortable attacking Bush. If Hillary stumbles, a big if, Edwards is looking like a better option. There are some areas he could drub Hillary on, most of them to do with with her evocation of her '35 years of accomplishments or as she says being a 'change agent', but as long a the candidates continually talk about what votes he or she made or missed (a sure sign that the top 3 are senators) I don't think Edwards or Obama are going to make much headway.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I agree that Edwards is the stronger campaigner compared to Obama, and Obama is still riding on his 'rock star" status -- and all that money.

By Republicans AND Democrats going on the Hillary attack they are setting her up as the defacto queen - the fait acompli. It's as if she was the incumbent, which in turn makes her look like that much more 'presidential'. All she needs to do, in my opinion, is act as if she's the incumbent president and if enough Americans like what they see she will be elected the president come 11/08.

I think all of these attacks may chip away at some of her popularity, but I think she is smart enough to not lose the nomination, and it's hers to lose.

I remembered the Kyl-Liebermann was watered down... form Steve's link above:

The bill's backers had tried to mollify its critics by taking out some of its most incendiary language, particularly the idea that "it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies."

Also removed from the measure was a provision "to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments" in support of the above.

Had those portions of the bill been left intact would Hillary have voted for it? Well, the whole purpose of removing those sections was to win the approval of the liberals, so I wouldn't be surprised is her influence caused their removal, so I'll guess no...

But don't ask HIllary - she'll probably just act like a President and avoid a direct answer.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Lee, I think you and digby": George W. Bush is being disappeared from the presidential campaign and everyone's running against incumbent Hillary Clinton" are quite right.

Rasmussen's startling polls confirm this. "Most polling on general election match-ups involving Clinton look like a referendum (on Clinton) rather than a choice between Clinton and a particular candidate"...It is if the Bush disastrous years are being wiped away as if they never happened ..Maybe thats the best stategy for the GOP. The election will be a referendum not on Bush and neo-con years in the White House but on the Clinton years 1992-2000, and then its possible (but not likely)that a barking madman,like Giuliani will enter the oval office..What a thought!

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

It's as if the Bush years never happened?

So Giuliani's platform will be "I'm not a Clinton" and that will get him elected? Look at Hillary's huge popularity now, and Dems - who are the majority now -- will vote for Giuliani because he's not a Clinton?

I don't see it. Let the barking Repugnant hypocrites attack, which they will undoubtedly do no matter who the Dem nominee is - it's exactly what we need to clinch the election.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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