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Analyzing the Las Vegas Democratic Debate

The attacks from her opponents continued as expected, and Hillary Clinton let it be known from the start that she was better prepared and ready for the attack, explaining "this pantsuit is made of asbestos tonight."

So began last night's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, televised on CNN, with a question directed at Hillary regarding her performance in the previous debate specifically, and her pattern in general of avoiding direct statements on controversial issues -- which we've described here on Wizbang Blue as her "frontrunner" strategy of trying to play it safe and avoid losing votes through the careful parsing of her responses.

The media spin this morning is that she succeeded last night in blunting her opponents attacks and began to unveil a tougher, more aggressive stance against her opponents -- and that the debate was able eventually to move above and beyond the in-fighting and bickering brought on by Barack Obama and John Edwards over the last several weeks.

If Hillary has succeeded in (1) answering the allegation that she's afraid of tackling the tough issues publicly (2) while at the same time putting her campaign back on track by derailing Obama's and Edwards' attacks, then she's accomplished a lot. I'll wait to see if her recent downward bump in the polls continues that trends, stabilizes or reverses before declaring Clinton back on top of her game, but the scoring of last night's debate at Time.com declares Clinton on top of last night's debate at least, and she won by a large margin.

Time.com's Las Vegas Democratic Debate Report Card

  • Hillary Clinton - B+
  • Joe Biden - B
  • Barack Obama - C+
  • John Edwards - C+
  • Bill Richardson - C+
  • Dennis Kucinich - C+
  • Chris Dodd - C

I was impressed by Biden at several key points in the debate, and if weren't for the fact that Biden seems to me to be stronger on foreign-relations issues than domestic issues I'd suggest him as a viable Vice-Presidential choice, but I suspect as VP he would clash with either Clinton, Obama or Edwards on matters relating to foreign policy, and rather than bringing strength to the White House team he'd bring discord instead.

We've seen the result of a tenacious, agenda-pushing VP in Cheney's constant coattail tugging of Bush for several years now, and the extent to which the State department had to take a back seat to Cheney as a result of having a strong-willed Veep pushing his own foreign-relations agenda, and we now need to allow the diplomatic professionals in State to do their jobs and not hinder them for another four years.. or just put Biden in charge as Secretary of State.

While I agree with Time's assessment that Clinton came out on top with the win by a fairly large margin that's just my view of the debate. The New York Times is offering a very interesting interactive means of reviewing the transcript in concert with video footage of the debate, and you can use the menu (on the right at the link above) to jump to specific topics of interest.

  • The Early Word: Clinton Back on Her Game - NYT
  • Analysis: Clinton makes a recovery in Las Vegas debate - CNN
  • That's Why The Lady is the Champ - ABC News

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Rating: 2.8/5 (9 votes cast)

Comments (3)

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks, and a great link Lee..I am listening to and reading it now..Yes Hillary by all her accounts edged ahead, but the Las Vegas audience was definitely a home audience for her. I still think she is little too scripted, and since there is not much variation, I am disappointed Obama and company always give her a free pass whenever Hillary answers with either for "35 years the American peple know I have fought for them. (half of that was presumably was her executive experience as first lady in Arkansas?) ..That is an opening as big as a truck yet he never goes for it? I suppose he is too much of a gentleman. But what can you do when the big issue of the campaign is turning out to be state driver's licenses for illegals. Who would have believed it?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Unfortunately, judging from last night's performance by Obama, he's proving to be a better orator than debater, and he will ultimately be judged in comparison to the Republican candidate in situations such as the presidential debates.

It's playing to the meme that Obama is glitz and charisma, but no meat and potatoes. Some may like the fact that he's inexperienced and naive - and that makes him different than the hard-core politicians -- but I'm not sure that makes him better - and it certainly doesn't make him more electable for the electorate that chose George W Bush twice.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Well said, Lee..I'm about to send a post on why I think we still need Obama as our first choice nominee, but he is not really making his case yet. As Edwards said after his campaign as losing 2004 campign as vice-president nominee, he admitted he needed more 'seasoning'. That is probably Barack's problem too.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

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

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