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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Democratic Debate: The Gloves are Off

The Republican transcript and commentary will be done as the next article.

While going through the transcripts of both debates and few things stuck out. First off, on the Democratic side, (here is the transcript to the Democratic debate) the candidates were no longer careful and went right for Clinton's throat, as they should have been doing this whole time, calling her on the issues and at one point she became so shrill and angry and defensive that she let her guard drop, the mask fall and let the world see what was underneath, and it wasn't pretty.

Here is the video of that moment (1:06 minutes) (YouTube link here for those getting this by email subscription)

Then Obama's response (YouTube link here)

The media once again portrays it with headlines like "Obama and Edwards Tag Team Clinton" from ABC News, or the new York Times headline "Two Rivals Go After Defiant Clinton".

The media may wish to porrtay her as the poor picked on candidate, but I found it refreshing that they finally were willing to call a spade a spade.

Something struck me on page four that I haven't seen discussed yet (though I have not gone through my daily read yet, so I am sure someone else caught this, they had to) and that is Hillary Clinton's "change", about Pakistan.

Hillary Clinton: "Real quickly, thirdly, so far as we know right now, the nuclear technology is considered secure, but there isn't any guarantee, especially given the political turmoil going on inside Pakistan. I would work very hard to try to get Musharraf, who is the elected president -- these elections are about parliamentary positions."

(Emphasis mine)

Now, lets go back to her previous comments that were noted here and elsewhere, where she didn't understand, on two separate occasions how the Pakistan elections worked.

Keep that in mind that statement in emphasis above when you read Hillary Clinton's statements, one to WolfBlitzer, on CNN's "Situation room" (Link is to PDF file of that transcript), on December 28th, 2007, and the other to ABC's George Stephanopolous, on December 30, 2007.

Hillary's comment on The Situation room to Wolf Blitzer:"If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow."

Hillary's statement to George Stephanopolous: "Well, I think it will be very difficult to have a real election. You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he’s not going to compete. The PPP is in disarray with Benazir’s assassination. He could be the only person on the ballot. I don’t think that’s a real election."

So, without acknowledging that she got it wrong twice, less than two weeks ago, she now deliberately tries to make people believe she knows exactly how those elections work.

Note also that not one of the candidates on stage with her called her on it as Joe Biden did right after she made those foolish comments originally.

On Page #7 of the transcript Charlie Gibson, stirring the pot, brought up this concept of "change", which I dealt with yesterday and my problem with this particular annoying mantra was explained, but on Page # 16 that Hillary made the worse comment she could by playing the woman card, yet again.

But I think I am an agent of change. I embody change. I think having the first woman president is a huge change -- (applause) -- with consequences across our country and the world.

After Obama so successfully took the "woman" vote from Hillary in Iowa, one would think this supposedly smart woman would understand that being a woman is fine and dandy but no one with any brains is going to vote for a woman simply because she is a woman.

Something else I am going to mention because I took the time to go through the transcript from page #7 to page #11 when Gibson left the question of "change" and went to Iraq, Hillary Clinton mentioned the word change 13 times in those pages, John Edwards 11 times, Bill Richardson 5 times and Barack Obama, the man who won the "change" vote in New Hampshire for the Democrats, only mentioned that word, 2 times.

Then of course to the paragraph I mentioned above on page #16, Hillary actually used the word "change" 6 more times in that one short paragraph... talking about trying to attach yourself to Obama's coattails...sheeeesh.

There is the difference between being for some type of change and talking about it.....

Obama and Edwards did make one thing clear last night, without a doubt and that is, over the next months, until the Democratic nominee is chosen, both Obama and Edwards will be the framing the debates as them being agents for change and Hillary being the agent of status quo and the more Hillary uses that word "change", the more she looks like she is simply trying to emulate Obama and all voters, Democrat, Independents and Republicans want a leader as their party nominee, not someone that simply emulates the one in the lead.

“Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack,” Mr. Edwards said, looking and gesturing toward Mrs. Clinton. Referring to himself and Mr. Obama, he added: “He believes deeply in change, and I believe deeply in change. And any time you’re fighting for that, I mean, I didn’t hear these kinds of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead.” (Source)

That is going to be difficult for Clinton to get around because no matter how many times she uses the word, as Obama has already shown, the left wants someone they believe will actually bring change far more than someone that feels the need to talk about it.

Which brings me to a couple of the latest polls.

January 5, 2007, Suffolk University:

Hillary Clinton 36%
Barack Obama 29%
John Edwards 13%
Undecided 12%

January 6, 2007, Suffolk University:

Hillary Clinton 35%
Barack Obama 33%
John Edwards 14%
Undecided 11%

In just one day, Hillary clinton has gone from a 7 point lead to just 2 points, where the 1,000-respondent margin of error is +/- 3.10 percent.

January 6, 2007, MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon poll of New Hampshire:

Obama 33%
Clinton 31%
Edwards 17%
Richardson 7%

Last month:

Clinton 30%
Obama 27%
Edwards 10%
Richardson 7%

January 5, 2007, Zogby:

Clinton 32%
Obama 28%
Edwards 20%
Everyone else in single digits

January 6, 2007, Zogby:

Clinton 31%
Obama 30%
Edwards 20%
Everyone else single digits.

Once again, Obama went from a 4 percentage point disadvantage to a 1 point difference in just one day.

January 5, 2007, Rasmussen:

Obama 39%
Clinton 27%
Edwards 18%

January 5, 2007, ARG:

Obama 38%
Clinton 26%
Edwards 20%

The polls go on and on, each a few percentage points different from the other, but one trend is undeniable, when it comes to Democratic voters, or Independents that lean towards Democrats, Obama is on the rise and Clinton is falling and fading.

I have often said that polls are not the be all end all of politics, but when polls done from different organizations show one specific trend, it is something to be aware of and to watch closely and the Obama "movement" as I am seeing it called around the blogosphere, seems to be one such trend.

Next stop will be the Republican debate, transcript and commentary will be written as the next post.