Just finished watching the DVR'd version of Democratic presidential debate from Philadelphia . . .
I promised myself I wouldn't read what the pundits thought before I gave my initial gut thoughts . . . Hillary came prepared to be assaulted. She had answers ready for Obama and Edwards, but she clearly remained evasive. It's not helpful to the voters, but politically, it's probably the safe bet for a frontrunner. One question that stood out: her answer on Charlie Rangel's tax plan. on specific policy. Perfect example of Clinton triangulation, (which made me wince) -- applaud Rep. Rangel's plan on reforming the Alternative Minimum Tax --- but not committing to it. She only pledged "to do something about it." Wow. Talk about presidential courage. Nothing specific, because Clinton doesn't play hypotheticals. And in politics, almost EVERYTHING is hypothetical.
Otherwise, despite all the hype, Obama didn't seem to land the memorable punch against Clinton the media was hoping for. Maybe he didn't want to; maybe it's just him. But to me, Edwards seemed to make the clearer argument against Clinton tonight. He was clear, concise and to his credit, more specific. Obama did engage Clinton, but still seemed reluctant to get really tough. Could it be Edwards that's left standing against Clinton?
I also thought Biden looked damn strong. He's got guts and he's got knowledge and any other year he'd be a bigger player. He talks specifics on foreign policy, nukes, Iran and Pakistan. He eats his veggies and lets you know it. He also landed the toughest charge against Republican Rudy Giuliani, calling him the "most unqualified candidate for president since George Bush."
Dodd was also good. He took on Clinton's nuanced stance on giving illegal immigrants driver's licenses. Clinton said she could see why New York Governor Spitzer proposed it (for safety reasons) but wouldn't specifically say she supported it. Her position, again was nuanced. Confusing to me, and probably to voters. Dodd was the first to take her on, then Edwards and Obama followed.
A Democratic-leaning friend called me after the debate (but before I saw it) to say he was disappointed. "I just don't like Hillary, but I think she just crushed Obama and Edwards again," he said.
Some Democrats are yearning for someone to take on and beat Clinton, but will they ever get their wish?