The debate is on. Again, I will try to capture what is happening as it happens- sometimes this works – sometimes I should just go to bed.
The commentators – Senator Clinton must reassert her self as the leader. They have to clarify their positions on Iraq and Iran. Campbell Brown – It will be interesting to watch Senator Clinton, should she go after her opponents – or will she try to take the high road and posture herself as the frontrunner. Can Barack Obama and John Edwards crack her armor. It feels to me like the commentators are biasing the audience before it happens – perhaps they think we can’t listen for ourselves – they have to tell us what to listen for. The talking heads can be really irritating.
Wolf Blitzer is giving the rules. Candidates must stay on the topic of the question – or Wolf will ‘gently ‘ move them back.
To Senator Clinton – You were not at your best in last debate – your opponents say this is typical. Senator Clinton “My suit is asbestos tonight. I think the American people know where I stand from my 35 year record. I have put forth very specific policies.” She is good – she stayed out of the fray.
Wolf to Obama – You say she is triangulating, running a text book campaign. Obama – “Senator Clinton is a capable politician but the people are looking for straight answers…. I am absolutely convinced that we need a different kind of politics … Washington is not listening to the people.”
Senator Clinton – “Obama talks a lot… but he does not step up with a comprehensive health plan… We can have a different politics but the Republicans are going to give up the White House voluntarily.”
Senator Obama -“The only difference is that she think that no one has mandated the people to have health care… I suggest that people cannot afford health care.”
Senator Clinton comes back – several minutes into this and only two have spoken. Obama is insisting on a comeback – Wolf caves in, lets Obama talk.
Wolf to Edwards, talk about your charges of parsing. “Edwards – ” The issues is can the new President restore trust in the people…goes on about Hillary confusion on issues… She defends a system that does not work, a system that is corrupt.”
Clinton responds to Edwards -“We’re democrats and we are trying to elect the best person – but when somebody starts throwing mud it should be accurate and not out of the Republican play book…. We need to put forth a positive agenda for America.”
Wolf addresses Biden – Biden -“The American people don’t care about us – they care about their mortgage, child care, jobs, and their son in the National Guard. This is not about experience, it is about action… Who among us know what they are doing and can take action.”
John King addresses John Edwards – “If Hillary flip flops, it is ok for you to do the same.” Edwards “this is not about us – this is about the American people.”
Wolf to Chris Dodd, “How has Senator Edwards changed?” Dodd “It is going to take more than just people in our party to elect one of us… People are wondering if anyone is paying attention… If we yell at each other we turn the people off.”
Governor Richardson “It seems that John Edwards wants to start a class war, Barack want to start a generation war, All I want is to get peace for our country. Are we resolving the real problems, let’s stop this mudslinging.”
The debate is cooling off. The mudslinging has subsided. The candidates are just talking about issues – just when I was getting fired up and ready to open a soda and pop some popcorn. Hillary is churning up yards with her running game. Obama kicked a field goal. Edwards threw for seventy-seven yards and an interception. Governor Richardson, Senator Biden, and Senator Dodd are running the field as referees. Denis Kucinich, is storming the sidelines like Buddy Ryan.
They have stopped playing smash mouth football and are now dressed in white to finish a game of badminton. They are back to the country club brunch.
See Also: On Government and politics