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.
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