Live Coverage of the Obama-Clinton Debate
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By Lee Nichols, Wells Dunbar, Richard Whittaker, and Jordan Smith,
7:00PM, Thu. Feb. 21, 2008
This is a live post that will be continually updated throughout the debate. Hit "refresh" to see updates.
Lee Nichols: The candidates just took the stage. Did I detect louder applause for Obama?
That stage looks pretty good doesn't it? This whole operation, from the debate hall up above us to the media room down below, seems very well run. Amazingly, they pulled this together in only 10 days.
Wells Dunbar: The candidates start off with Austin-pandering statements. Waiting for Obama or Clinton to declare themselves the definitive breakfast taco candidate.
Jordan Smith: Candidates, shamidates. War, shmar. Predatory lending, shmediatory lending. Where the fuck is Matt Taibbi? That's the only reason I'm here, to find Rolling Stone's Road Rage columnist. My hero. That, and the free food. And swag.
Richard Whittaker: Obama, in his opening statement, managed a twofer. While Clinton talked about her links to Austin and Barbara Jordan, he got in a quick swipe in at the Clinton inheritance by talking about jobs lost in Youngstown, OH, (next week's other big primary) because of NAFTA (signed by Pres. Bill Clinton.) Who says being strong on rhetoric doesn't pay off?
Richard: BING BING BING! If you had Barack Obama at 18 minutes for the first JFK reference, you win!
Wells: Clinton wants a "trade time out." You, stevedores – nose in the corner, pronto!
Lee: Hey, I wonder if we could get CNN to leave this setup here for a few more days so we can arrange a Nelda Spears/Glen Maxey debate?
Jordan: Okay, so I went and scanned all the balding pates in Press Room No. 1 and...no Matt Taibbi. Where the hell is he? For the record, he's not in the bathroom either. At least not now. Maybe I should check again.
Jordan: Score one for Clinton: She thinks the border fence is idiotic. Thank god. Suggests it might be nice to consult with those living on border about how best to secure the border. How refreshing. Unfortunately, she calls this "Smart Fence." Sheesh.
Wells: Is it just me, or does it feel like Obama's spoken all of three minutes tonight? I know it's old-hat, but Clinton really does excel in the debate format. Obama does indeed speak far more inspiringly (and I fear we'll still get some hopelessly lame 'speeches vs. solutions' bullshit later), but Clinton is exceptional at staying on-message, seemingly extemporaneously.
Commercial break. We're going to close out this entry and start a new post above.
Richard: Little post-script. When it came to immigration, both struck varieties of a middle line: both tap-danced a little on English as the official language, but came down on it being the majority language. Both talked about paths to legalization. Clinton, as Jordan noted, made talked "smart fence," whatever that means. Obama talked specifics about the DREAM act (still a liberal touchstone) and also talked about making sure that applicants already coming through legal channels don't get shoved down the cue any more. That will play well with a lot of big firms that hate the fact that hiring foreign staff can take most of a decade.