The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Friday, February 01, 2008
Debate Review
Here are my takeaways from last night's Clinton-Obama debate:

1. It was great for the Party. Watching a Democratic debate so soon after a Republican debate, it is so striking to me that the Democrats are the adults in the political landscape, talking about the real issues facing the country, and having substantive arguments on policy and vision, rather than sniping about people's records, etc. Last night both candidates showed they can talk smartly about policy. And gave the GOP nothing that can be used against them in the general.

2. I went in thinking Obama needed to do really well, and hope for some Clintonian ugliness, to really capture the momentum going into Tuesday. I think he did quite well - perhaps just slightly missing a few opportunities to be really likeable and Presidential - and Hillary was also good, not giving Obama many openings. So all in all it probably doesn't change much, but I think Obama should be helped by this performance.

3. I actually thought Obama won the argument on a number of issues: on healthcare, i think he hammered home a couple times that Clinton hasn't said (and still didn't say) how she would punish those who don't buy coverage. I think he very clearly won the Iraq issue, saying he would be "right from Day One", and Wolf helped him out by pressing Clinton to admit her vote was a mistake. And I thoguht he did excellently with the Obama/Clinton Clinton/Obama question.

4. Obama may suffer from the way he frames issues. He tends to not resort to the old talking points, instead framing things in a new way and putting a different spin on issues. That may be effective for the very educated and well-read Democrats, but those who don't spend as much time following the race may react better to the traditional party talking points that Hillary is much more likely to espouse.

5. Obama seems to me to already be articulating very good general election arguments against McCain. So not only does it seem to me that Obama's record and personality stack up much better against McCain, but he also seems to have already very adeptly crafted the message. The Straight Talk Express has lost some wheels remark was great. This shows he's no political novice.

6. I think there's a chance some people will vote for Clinton in hopes that she puts Obama on her ticket.

Going into Super Tuedsay, as I see it right now Hillary is ahead. But it seems clear that it's not going to be decided on Tuesday. Obama should hope to get 45-50% delegates to her 50-55%, and have that be spun as a major win having come from so far behind in many of the states.
posted by CB @ 8:00 AM  
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