January 21, 2008


Clinton, Obama clash at South Carolina debate (Associated Press, January 21, 2008)

Even in the superheated atmosphere of their fight for the party's nomination, the statements and exchanges between Clinton and Obama were unusually acrimonious and personal.

As Obama tried to defend his recent comments about Republican ideas and Ronald Reagan, Clinton interrupted and said she has never criticized his remarks on Reagan.

"Your husband did," said Obama, who has accused the former president of misrepresenting his record.

"I'm here. He's not," she snapped.

Obama persisted, suggesting the Clintons were both practicing the kind of political tactics that had alienated voters.

"There was a set of assertions made by Senator Clinton as well as her husband that are not factually accurate," Obama said. "I think that part of what people are looking right now is someone who is going to solve problems and not resort to the same typical politics that we've seen in Washington."

Clinton countered: "I believe your record and what you say should matter."

In the absence of ideas, they're stuck fighting over minutiae.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2008 9:39 PM

While Hillary is probably going to win, it is just ducky to see the Clintons called on being.....the Clintons. Obama is pretty good at getting his jabs inside Hillary's (to paraphrase Carville).

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 21, 2008 9:59 PM

I think it's weird that Dems are campaigning against one Clinton and in eality they should really start calling her out somehow for having Bill attacking them too.

Posted by: KRS at January 21, 2008 10:35 PM

If this keeps up after CA and NY, there will be some serious repercussions to Bill's image within the party.

In fact, he may become the first ex-black President.

Obama can keep on smiling, while putting Bill down with grace and style. By March, Bill may look like a redneck bigot with a bulbous nose and a bad complexion. And what will Hillary be? The long-suffering wife? That's so 90s. She should have divorced him early last year - it would have guaranteed her an unchallenged road to the nomination.

Posted by: ratbert at January 22, 2008 12:39 AM

So a Clinton/Obama ticket is probably out of the question now....

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 22, 2008 12:55 AM

There isn't an absence of ideas, they just have the exact same ones. There really aren't any policy differences between Clinton and Obama.

Posted by: Brandon at January 22, 2008 7:44 AM

She'll have to add Obama just to mend fences.

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2008 8:12 AM

Adding Obama is a good way to max out at about 43%.

Not to mention that a whole lot of Democrats will fume that the obvious best candidate is #2 - there are a lot of states where Hillary will cause major losses down the ticket.

Besides, the fight is going to only get nastier after Obama wins SC. It seems he has decided not to put up with the Clinton playbook. But they only have one frequency. I wonder what tripe Carville and Begala are spewing about Obama on CNN.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 22, 2008 8:30 AM

What does she get without maximal black turnout?

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2008 9:19 AM

What's in it for Obama to take the VP? Hillary's going to get crushed by McCain without him, and that would finish off her and Bill as forces in the party.

Posted by: b at January 22, 2008 12:35 PM

Not to mention that Obama doesn't do anything to increase Hillary's chances with elderly voters or white men.

Posted by: b at January 22, 2008 1:12 PM

In the absence of ideas, they're stuck fighting over minutiae.

It's worse than that, Mr. Judd. In the absence of policy disagreements, perhaps. But both are doing their best to paint themselves as more liberal to appeal to the Democratic base. It has to hurt Sen. Obama more, as Hillary's attacks are forcing him to drop his strategic ambiguity.

If it goes on too much longer, the Democratic race may entirely cede the field of Third Way policies to McCain, as Mr. Judd has predicted.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 22, 2008 3:59 PM

The Democrats--the opposite of the GOP--almost never nominate someone who's run before, so VP is his last best shot.

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2008 4:00 PM

VP is almost never offered to a "bitter" opponent. The only ones I can rememeber are Kennedy/Johnson, which was Kennedy's hail mary attempt to balance the ticket, and possibly Reagan/Bush, where things were not as bitter (at least between the two).

The problem is that Hillary (and more to the point, Bill) are accusing Obama of being an affirmative action candidate. Which is laughable, considering the 'vast depth' of her experience. And the raison d'etre of her status.

Had she been running against an 'experienced' office holder, such as John Lewis, most black voters would be saying that she should step aside to make room for the deserving black man. Obama isn't part of that generation, and his ethnic background actually appeals more to rich whites, so she is basically reduced to calling him a do-nothing, which is harder to take for many African-Americans (those who aren't sold on the Clintons as messiah-figures).

It's an interesting fissure, although entirely predictable and entirely self-inflicted. But it won't heal easily, especially for the younger black voters who don't buy all the 1st black President junk, and many older black voters, who see Obama as the first serious black candidate.

The other problem is that the Clintons look ugly in fighting this battle. Winning it is a phyrric victory. Last night on Glenn Beck's show, he had on a guy from The Nation who was supposedly there to express shock from the 'liberal' community that Bill Clinton could be a liar and a cad. Glenn was into the schadenfreude a bit too much, but the piece was funny (although he didn't really give the guy a chance to whine).

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 22, 2008 10:26 PM