Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama Shines in CNN Debate with Clinton in Texas

Hillary Clinton needed a knock-out punch in the debate tonight with Barack Obama on CNN in Texas. Not only did she not do that, but Barack Obama gave the best debate he has given so far, with lots of specifics about his plans, experience, and policies, ranging from his work on "googling government" legislation to make government spending and programs more transparent and available to public scrutiny, to the reasons why his opposition to our going to war in Iraq was so important, and so significant an indicator of the kind of judgment he would bring to his Presidency.

Hillary Clinton spoke well and with specificity, as she usually does, and gave a moving final statement about how the crises in her life do not compare with those faced by many Americans. But her performance was also marred and diminished by cheap shots she took at Obama, including a line about Obama being for "hope we can xerox" - a reference to that nonsense about Obama using a line in his speech earlier used by Deval Patrick. (It's nonsense because all candidates and Presidents - including JFK - have speech writers, and all that happened here was a very minor lack of acknowledging that Obama's handful of words on the issue of the importance of words had been used in a speech by Patrick before.)

Obama's response to these jabs was also presidential. Rather than getting into an exchange of insult with his opponent, he chose to talk instead about issues. He spoke right on the money about immigration, health, and why he would have no problem meeting with the new leader of Cuba. (Hillary Clinton was not as clear on this important issue.)

I was for Obama before the debate. But seeing Obama's performance tonight makes me more confident than ever that he is on his way to becoming a great President.
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