Monday, January 21, 2008

Dems Rock Out on CNN in South Carolina: All Three Excellent, But Obama Scored Best

Well, all three of the Democratic candidates came out swinging in South Carolina on the CNN debate tonight, and it was a pleasure to see.

Especially for Barack Obama, who has needed to be more forceful in the debates. He took on Hillary about the attack on his statements that the Reagan Presidency was revolutionary - correctly pointing out that he didn't say he agreed with Reagan's ideas, but was pointing out that his Presidency had captured something in America which was "transformative". This is important for Democrats to understand, and Obama is right that he may be in the best position to do this. Obama also took on some of Bill Clinton's more outrageous attacks, saying he sometimes wasn't sure which Clinton he was running against.

But Hillary, for her part, gave another strong performance. Her finest moment came when she passionately said she wants all Americans to have health coverage. I actually agree with Obama's position on this more than Hillary's (Obama wants national-government health care to be voluntarily rather than mandatory on adults), but admire Hillary's passion on this issue.

And Edwards had one of his best nights, as well, pivoting from attacking Hillary to attacking Obama, and taking advantage of his not being party to their disagreements to appear the most statesmanlike.

So all three rose to the occasion tonight, and made me feel happy, once again, with the thought of any of the three in the White House.

But because a powerful debate from Obama was generally missing prior to tonight, and for the way he handled himself with grace and humor and style under attacks from both Clinton and Edwards, I'd give the debate tonight to Obama.
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