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Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

DEBATE UPDATE....Did Hillary Clinton really just complain that she always has to respond to questions before Barack Obama? Yes she did! Followed by a lame reference to Saturday Night Live. Weird.

Kevin Drum 9:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Why doesn't someone offer her a pillow?

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yoinks. I second that "weird." It struck me like a ton of bricks... bricks made in 'merica?!!?!?

Posted by: Zachary Lauritzen on February 26, 2008 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I kind of pissed that Tina Fey got to make basically a commercial for HRC on SNL but complaining about will get you no where.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 26, 2008 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bitch is the new black!

Posted by: asdf on February 26, 2008 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

And I'd given up White Whine for Lent....

Posted by: DanZo on February 26, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Now that you've seen what folded out, Kev...next post...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

And I'd given up White Whine for Lent...

Yeah, ... It's that continued use of mysogynistic undertones that rubs me the wrong way with him.

Posted by: tang on February 26, 2008 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

You sound like a Heather, Kevin. She made an observation, and one which happened to be true at that moment. An observation offered without expressing a corresponding opinion is not a complaint.

If you're going to critique the debate, then by all means, do so. For instance, what do you think about the superficial and condescending tone of the moerators, Brian Williams and Tim Russert, toward both candidates?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think it may have come from a comment in response Dan Balz's article today in which he wrote the Obama hasn't had as much scrutiny:

"I'd like them to ask him any questions Hillary is asked - but for the FIRST TIME - ask him first. He likes to take her answers or just agree with them, then repeat the question back and tell you why these things are a problem. Like we don't already freaking know that.

He's talks in circles and says nothing of importance.

Ask him first. She got all the questions put to her first in the last debate. And all he said all night long was, "I agree with everything Hillary just said", "This is another area in which I agree with Hillary", "Hillary and I aren't that far apart on this issue". "

Posted by: maxine on February 26, 2008 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Is it really true that Hillary answers EVERY question first? Are the coin flips fixed or something?

Posted by: PE on February 26, 2008 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Maxine ... thank you for putting it in the precise and accurate form of description I have seen yet ...

Posted by: tang on February 26, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Did Tim Russert just cry?

What I notice is the frequency of interruption the the emphasis with which it is done.

Posted by: B on February 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

maxine have you look to see if this is actually true?

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, how many time can they interrupt her?
It's like they don't her to answer.
And all kidding aside, her questions are much tougher than his.

Posted by: tang on February 26, 2008 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

At least they put Hillary in the "King" chair tonight. Obama sitting in the queen seat is quit cute, though. It highlights his ears...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a big fan of Tina Fey. I like her support for Hillary Clinton. But the jab at Obama supporters on SNL by suggesting that they were simply and mindlessly swayed by Oprah's endorsement against their self interest is somewhat insulting. Anyway, I'm sure Clinton and Fey would have appreciated Oprah's support.

Posted by: leszek on February 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Holy Crap ... they played the wrong segment ???
Really? Are they just parodying the parody of themselves?

Posted by: tang on February 26, 2008 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

leszek, that was fucking lame, dude...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

elmo

I'll bite. Please explain why it's lame.

Posted by: leszek on February 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Why is that weird? Every question starts out with an attack question on her. On health care, on Nafta, she gets the attack question, gives a wonky thoroughly intelligent and well thought out answer, fighting through Russerts interruptions, and Obama comes along as says thats right and blah blah blah I met this guy in Youngstown and he lacks insurance and he is worried blah blah blah.

I am looking at many sites this debate, and Kevin you are the only one who was mystified by what she said there.

Posted by: Jammer on February 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand what was weird about her observation.

Is she wrong? If so, that would be bad for her
Is she right? If so, that would be a weird way to run a debate and a weird criticism for you to make of her.

Posted by: jerry on February 26, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, I'm sure Clinton and Fey would have appreciated Oprah's support.

Like her actual fans did? Lame...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Terribly politically incorrect comment about Brian Williams and Tim Russert to follow:

If those two boobs were attached to Lindsay Lohan's chest, she'd doubtless be in Cedars-Sinai undergoing breast reduction surgery.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jammer ,
Would you care to prove that she always gets asked question first.

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

She is starting to look like Dr. Strangelove in drag.

Posted by: dan on February 26, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Notice, when he is not asked the question first, he stumbles a lot more ... which I always find very unnerving.

When he is able to follow her answer, he speaks much more smoothly ...

Posted by: tang on February 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tina Fey is toast, she just dosen't know it yet... but she will

Posted by: NBC Producers on February 26, 2008 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Would you care to prove that she always gets asked question first.

Would you care to prove that your dick is NOT shorter than an inch? That would be a safer question...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that has been Obama's strategy from the beginning. Not a bad strategy, actually. If you are a more eloquent speaker then your opponent, and you both have the same answers, who are people going to pick? And your opponent will have very little to attack you with. It's got to be frustrating for her.

Posted by: DR on February 26, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

What was with the denounce/reject debate that just happened? Next thing you know, HRC will be arguing that Obama isn't pro-education because his slogan "we are the change we've been waiting for" ends in a preposition.

Posted by: shawn on February 26, 2008 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Tina Fey is the new bitch

Posted by: LeBrain on February 26, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

elmo,
I'll take it that your just making shit up. Very nice reply, though.

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

bjd, I'm too stupid to make shit up...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

It started out with Obama saying that it was impossible to reject the support of someone you don't like. Some where after that the subject shifted to whether he denounced LF's positions. And then they all got confused about what they were rejecting and denouncing or not rejecting or whatever. Hopefully whoever wins will have a clearer head in the white house.

Posted by: B on February 26, 2008 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, I thought it was a bit off the wall, too. Seriously, it's a presidential debate, not sorority rush.

elmo, you're bringing tons of value to the thread. Please keep posting. Please.

Posted by: Banks on February 26, 2008 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

hillary has helped hereself with the sewer rat vote tonight.

what a thug!!

Posted by: gino on February 26, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

shawn.. :-D

Posted by: nimh on February 26, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

bjd: "Would you care to prove that she always gets asked question first."

Here's the transcript to the Houston debate on CNN.

Sen. Clinton was asked the lead question on the subjects of the Cuba trade embargo, meeting with foriegn leaders, immigration, health care, and twice on Iraq. Sen. Obama was questioned first on the questions of managing the economy and earmarks, and was the first to make closing remarks.

All told, she answered questions first about 75% of the time in both the L.A. and Houston debates.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

elmo, you're bringing tons of value to the thread. Please keep posting. Please.

Your wish is my command...princess...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

elmo! elmo! elmo! elmo!

Posted by: Princess on February 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

She has lost her mind.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 26, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,
I already read the CNN transcript, that's why I knew the claim was bogus.
You gave 3 examples, but did not bother to site the examples where Obama was asked a question first.
Is she always asked the first question. No.
Does Obama alwaya say yes I agree, no. Does Hillary sometimes say yes I agree, yes.
It's a stupid , silly, petty point.

Posted by: on February 26, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

So? Does she or doesn't she?

Might help with the "weird" part.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on February 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Can I get more of what princess has for me? Please? She's got them skillz...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

And what is so bad about getting asked questions first. That could easily be an advantage, she gets to state her policy, set the tone, if the other candidate says I agree then it makes her look good.
It's just a strange complaint. You get the feeling she would complain just as much if she didn't get the first question.

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

And what is so bad about getting asked questions first.

Well, if you are Obama...it makes all the difference in the world. You see, he doesn't know the answer to the questions...so he needs Hillary to give him the heads up on his response....

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

How is she "ready on day one" if she can't answer the question first?

Posted by: duh on February 26, 2008 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, Tim Russert is God-awful.

The Farrakhan exchange was beyond ridiculous, and his attempt to read some classic Farrakhan hate-mongering quotes for effect was disgusting.

His pop-quiz on Russia was cheap, and even though Hillary mangled Medvedev's name, she was close enough and deserves credit there. I doubt Obama would have got it.

The complaining about the first question probably wasn't wise. I think Hillary's embracing the victim role a bit too much.

Posted by: Joe on February 26, 2008 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows the race is over but it might be edifying to have some charts. First/second, softball/hardball, interruptions, total time, etc.

It might be much harder to judge the moderation on McCain vs. Obama debates and we might as well start developing some metrics.

Posted by: B on February 26, 2008 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

elmo,
Like this from last weeks debate.
CLINTON: Well, I would agree with a lot that Senator Obama just said, because it is the Democratic agenda.
BROWN: Senator Clinton, do you want a quick response? CLINTON: Well, I agree, absolutely

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The complaining about the first question probably wasn't wise. I think Hillary's embracing the victim role a bit too much.

ie...she's a bitch...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

B: "And then they all got confused about what they were rejecting and denouncing or not rejecting or whatever."

"They all got confused"? Speak for yourself. Sen. Clinton got Sen. Obama to not just denounce Louis Farrakhan's incindiary rhetoric about Jews, but to also public reject his support and endorsement. I was impressed with bot his maturity in conceding that particular point to her, and her graciousness in leading him there.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

bj-d ? What the fuck is your point? Words mean a lot to you, I know, but there is much much more in life worth looking stupid for...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

bjd: "elmo, Like this from last weeks debate."

Give it up, djb. You sound like a fool, taking two snippets from the transcript I linked, and then offering them to readers here, completely devoid of any context.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,

Please explain how you viewed Sen. Clinton's addendum to the Farrahkan discussion as gracious? I thought Obama diffused the situation nicely, and politely brushed away a disgusting topic by presenting it instead as an area that he could lend his influence as President.

Her addition to that conversation was unprovoked and not something that she would need to distinguish with Obama. And yet, her desperation provoked her to draw a distinction without a difference.

Sen. Clinton can shine in these formats, but she is often her own worst enemy.

Posted by: WHK on February 26, 2008 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

WHK is right. What was Clinton trying to prove by piling on to the Farrahkan question? It wasn't addressed to her, had nothing to do with her, and wasn't something that she needed to fight about. It was clear that half way through her response, she realized the futility of what she was saying, but had gone too far to backtrack. She wasted 2 minutes of my life, and I want them back...

Posted by: shawn on February 26, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

(Anonymous poster - bjd?): "Donald from Hawaii, I already read the CNN transcript, that's why I knew the claim was bogus. You gave 3 examples, but did not bother to site the examples where Obama was asked a question first."

Oh, really? Here's my 10:25 PM post:

"Sen. Clinton was asked the lead question on the subjects of the Cuba trade embargo, meeting with foriegn leaders, immigration, health care, and twice on Iraq. Sen. Obama was questioned first on the questions of managing the economy and earmarks, and was the first to make closing remarks.

"All told, she answered questions first about 75% of the time in both the L.A. and Houston debates."

(Emphasis added.)

Now, what part of that did you not understand?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

"They all got confused"? Speak for yourself.

I guess we can disagree. But I'm pretty sure Obama denounced and rejected Louis Farrakhan's rhetoric and accused Hillary of making an unusual distinction between the words

Posted by: B on February 26, 2008 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Obama responded very well to her talking points, and scored major hits by pointing out she had driven the metaphorical Iraq invasion truck into the ditch; and the point about actually taking the fight to Al Qaeda in Pakistan in a reasoned and effective way (like last week). But the pillow and whine opening segment will be the Hillary take-away--maybe forever. Who can be giving her this advice?


Posted by: Sparko on February 26, 2008 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton tried to score some points during the Farrakhan bit, but it seemed kinda weak to me. I guess Obama could have used stronger language to "reject" Farrakhan's support, though I'm not really sure how one rejects someone's support....if they're telling crowds of folks to support you, are you supposed to deliver a speech of your own afterward telling them not to? Seemed like a semantic game to me.

Posted by: Joe on February 26, 2008 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

If one candidate is getting much more than half first questions, that says we have a really screwed up press! But, I guess we already knew that. IMO, it is more often the advantage to go second, although if your opponent said everything you were planning to -you'll look like both a bore, and a plagerist if you repeat his/her points. But it gives you something to criticize -and time to collect your thoughts.

Posted by: bigTom on February 26, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,
She looked stupid complainingly about the burden of answering the first question. Your candidate has lost, the game is over, Obama will be the nominee.

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

WHK and shawn, you both suck at spinning. Go walk a precinct for Obama instead. It would be far more productive to him than you sitting here pulling stuff out of your rears.

B: "I guess we can disagree."

I guess we can, at that. I thought both candidates handled the controversial point with aplomb. She led him to the obvious conclusion, which thus provided him the opportunity to diffuse a potentially incindiary issue with moderate-to-conservative white voters. In other words, she set the screen that allowed his breakaway and slam-dunk of Louis Farrakhan.

Posted by: on February 26, 2008 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

he looked stupid complainingly about the burden of answering the first question. Your candidate has lost, the game is over, Obama will be the nominee.

Or what, mother fucker? I mean, what if she wins? Let me guess...your panties will be in a wad?

Posted by: on February 26, 2008 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

the above post was me...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Her addition to that conversation was unprovoked... "

which pretty much sums up the Obamaniac/Timmy point of view that Sen. Clinton's real crimes are 1) attempting to speak during the debate and 2) daring to run against Sen. Obama.

FYI- although 3 of the 4 parties attempted to make it a conversation between Obama and his admirers, it was actually supposed to be a debate.

Posted by: solar on February 26, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the thing that saddens me about Hillary has been her handlers over the past six years. She is intelligent enough to make progressive decisions if left to her own designs (the vote on the war was designed to counteract "soft on national defense" attacks, for example). But she has been handled to death. It made her seem craven--everything was over-analyzed and less than genuine in the Senate. And her campaign has been a disaster. The one thing she had to do was shoot down the sexist idea that she was a mean-spirited control freak. And when they went negative, they reinforced these feelings in people who would love to vote for the Democratic candidate for the first time (owing to the W disasters). She scared off independents and alienated natural constituents. I had fond feelings for her prior to the campaign. First I got angry at her, then angry at her staff and surrogates here and elsewhere. Now I just feel embarrassed for her. That high-priced advice was abysmal! I cannot trust her judgment. She has fallen so far since 2000. And the sad thing is that I don't think she was listening to her own voice. If she was, well good riddance I guess. Obama was gracious, and gave her a nice send-off tonight with his last statement.

Posted by: Sparko on February 26, 2008 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

There is a difference between denouncing someone and rejecting them. Democrats denounce Bill Clinton daily but they don't reject him. I thought the way Obama answered the question about Farrakhan showsed his greatest strength and weakness. He always try to smooth around the rough edges. He is a born diplomat He can make you think you have a definitive yes and he really isn't quite nailed down one way or the other. Its an extraordinary gift until one day you meet an issue where there is no gray, like Farrakhan and the Jewish community.

Posted by: aline on February 26, 2008 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

What if she wins
Hillary has to win Texas , Ohio and Pennsylvania by at least 15%. That is not going to happen, Obama will be the nominee.

Posted by: bjd on February 26, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm in the Obama camp, but I have to say, I think the moderators showed clear bias against Hillary, with the interruptions and cutting her off. Then there was the segment where they told her she could respond after the commercial break, and when they came back...didn't give her the chance to respond. On the other hand, Russert's attempts to read Farrakhan's most outrageous statements into the record, even after Obama had clearly denounced them was perhaps the most excrable moment of the debate, and in a functioning media, would cost Russert his job. I did notice the swiftness with which Obama interrupted him and derailed his attempts...which I think will serve both him and us well in the general election.

Posted by: Jennifer on February 26, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

bjd, please...hold your breath...

Posted by: elmo on February 26, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

bjd, you sound very immature. Obviously, it's a mistake for an adult to engage you in conversation. Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

A few new posts here, tonight, folks.

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Did Hillary Clinton really just complain that she always has to respond to questions before Barack Obama? Yes she did! Followed by a lame reference to Saturday Night Live. Weird.

Yeah, but what was she wearing? And was her voice shrill?

/jk

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

I have never debated, but I would think it would be an advantage to answer a question first, if you are prepared. It seems to me, going second would only give you a chance to give the 2nd best answer or attack the other person if they made a mistake. Both seem like loser positions to me.

In basketball, you want the guy who isn't afraid to take the shot. The guy who goes for the rebound and the put back is a valuable player, but you don't build a team around him.

Posted by: give me the ball on February 27, 2008 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Jesus, how many time can they interrupt her?"

Jesus, how many times can she run over her time and rebut the rebuttal? Maybe you aren't aware of debate protocol? Hillary is, she just chose to ignore it.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 27, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

If Hillary Clinton kept getting asked the questions first, that's obviously not fair, and her and her campaign people should have been on top of that before.

Anyway, it's not like Obama is the Manchurian candidate or anything- he's a good candidate we can be thankful for. But it just goes to show you that a lot of messed up stuff goes on in the media, and you shouldn't give these Republicans or these corporate bastards or a guy like Tim Russert who watches the whole thing going down, who has to know better, and who obviously doesn't give a damn, the benefit of the doubt at all. We've got to not forget that and we've got to be prepared to give every ounce of effort and wit to win these elections from now on.

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

There is a difference between denouncing someone and rejecting them.

Is there though? What does "rejecting" someone in the political sense actually mean? It doesn't matter how emphatically Clinton or Obama "rejects" Farrakhan, they aren't going to physically stop him from campaigning for them.

Posted by: Joe on February 27, 2008 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Some here think that who gets the first question is a big point, but I believe that most people watching were thinking, "What's bad about that? I thought it was good going first." Really. That's why her response was odd. It's like jumping on someone for offering you sugar with your tea or something. In short: it looks desperate. And that's how Hillary came off for the first half of the debate. Accuse, talk past your time, interrupt. It doesn't look confident, it looks desperate.

She was never able to flip a point on Obama; he was able to flip a few back on her. She got hissed once. She might have sown just enough doubt in bigots about his African American associations to dent him, but otherwise Obama wins a technical. Not a KO, definitely, but he wins modestly on points.

Posted by: J. Myers on February 27, 2008 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

She led him to the obvious conclusion, which thus provided him the opportunity to diffuse a potentially incindiary issue with moderate-to-conservative white voters.

And I'm the one who pulls things out of my rear? Obama diffused it. It was diffused. There was no need for anyone to say anything more on the subject, but Clinton clearly felt that she had to one-up him. Apparently, rejecting the Independence Party of New York makes you boldly pro-semitic. I'm neither an Obama nor a Clinton supporter, but I still found it to be a sign of desperation.

Posted by: shawn on February 27, 2008 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Swan: My thought was that MSNBC wanted to give Hillary maximum attacking leverage. She started, and got more air time. She really needed to not make the petty arguments about the refs. She got off-message and now will have to endure that clip for the rest of the news cycle at least. She surely knows better than that. "There you go again" would have sounded far better than her contrived complaint. It was weird. I think she might have snapped in anger for a minute. She just didn't have such a luxury. It is plain dumb that she was not the gracious and magnanimous candidate throughout the campaign. Real bad strategy--I think Mark Penn should return the millions. We all knew already Hillary was tough--she did not have to try to reverse stereotypes. We needed to see Hillary enjoy the campaign and show her gentle side. We got incoherent attacks and her strangely off-message. The whole "fighter" thing was a slam at the way they perceived Kerry's campaign to be too passive. But she is not running against Kerry. She is running against a profoundly likable and well-spoken man; a man who is the first African American to make it this far ever in the Presidential campaign. Never let the other guy be friendlier and more hopeful. A contest of positive imagery and laser-like attacks on Bush. Too late now.

Posted by: Sparko on February 27, 2008 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is a pretty good insider-type politician, so how about Obama for President and Clinton for majority leader?

Posted by: anandine on February 27, 2008 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

To me, the absolutely perfect -- to the point of being funny -- example of how Hillary gets the hard questions was the question she was asked about Putin's successor. I mean, she basically got the real quiz, and Obama just had to respond, "What Hillary said" -- effectively taking as much credit for Hillary's correct answer as Hillary deserved.

It seemed like a scenario played out in offices across the country, in which a highly competent woman has to handle a hard problem, and some male colleague is treated as equally competent because he can manage a "me too."

Posted by: frankly0 on February 27, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary's going first all the time gives Barack more time to think about the questions, and to take advantage of points or facts Hillary may know, but may forget when she is taking her turn. It's kind of like Hillary has to push through the defense to bring the ball to the basket every time, and Barack just has to try for an easy rebound every time. If Hillary is at the top of her game at every debate, it might be to her advantage to go first all the time, but if he is a weaker debater or at all weaker at thinking on his feet, going second could be a crutch for him. There are a lot of weaknesses getting to go second could compensate a lot for.

He probably doesn't even have to be as well-prepared for the debate as she does if he's always answering second. He gets a mini refresher course on the topic of each question from Hillary Clinton just by listening to her answer first.

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko wrote:

Swan: My thought was that MSNBC wanted to give Hillary maximum attacking leverage.

If you watch a lot of MSM, it's easy to see that they favor Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. See my last comment.

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is a pretty good insider-type politician, so how about Obama for President and Clinton for majority leader?

How about Obama learning a few things, you know, the way most of us gain our experience....

Posted by: elmo on February 27, 2008 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

The difference between rejection and denunciation is really easy to explain, exactly as Obama did tonight. Clinton jumped in with what she thought was an analogy to the Obama/Farrakhan (sp?) situation where she described the Independent Party in NY as a 'political party' who had thrown their support to her in her Senate race. She rejected that support. Obama answered by saying that he had received no 'formal' political party support from Farrakhan which could be 'rejected' in a political sense. Farrakhan endorsed him and he denunciated Farrakhan's antisemitism, thereby obviously rejecting any personal support that Farrakhan might offer. I certainly feel the word 'denounce' is much stronger than reject. Denunciation makes rejection implicit. The opposite is not necessarily true.

Posted by: nepeta on February 27, 2008 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary does fine when she goes first and sets a positive tone. Frankly0: I thought her discussion of Russia was good, but Obama's point linking our present difficulties to Bush the better presentation. Hillary jumped in first on that one because she felt confident and was well-prepared. The whole controversy is a non-issue someone in her campaign thought would work as an attack on the MSM. Bad idea.

Bottom line: This should have been brought up by surrogates after the debate as a way to praise their candidate. Hillary's campaign took a strength and marginalized it. Ouch.

Posted by: Sparko on February 27, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

How come I heard the whole Russia/Putin pile-on by both sides as reminiscent of the 80's and Reagan? Other countries have their own self-interests that often are diametrically opposed to US self-interests. So, somebody start talking rationally instead of always dividing the world into allies/enemies. I suppose if Putin's wife runs for the presidency in Russia in 5 years we wouldn't find anything 'hand-picked' about that.

Posted by: nepeta on February 27, 2008 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko,

You're missing the point.

Hillary got an important "pop quiz" from Russert. The evil little fucker even had the gall to ask her for the name of Putin's successor. Hillary acquitted herself admirably. Obama, in his "answer", said, "me too", then launched into what was very likely simply a canned response about how Bush had dealt with Russia.

Where was Obama's "pop quiz"? Answer: he didn't get one. Why didn't he get one? Answer: quite possibly because he has protectors in the media.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 27, 2008 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Well I'm actually agreeing with frankly0 about something (the Russian quiz), which probably indicates I'm on the wrong side of this one....

But seriously, Russert was obviously hoping Hillary couldn't name Putin's successor. She mangled the name but came close enough, and deserves credit. I don't think Obama would have got that one. I wonder if Russert would have gave it away or asked Obama to name him if Hillary got it wrong or couldn't answer.

But you know....I originally thought it was a cheap question designed solely to satisfy Russert's zombie-like need to play "Gotcha". While I still think that's why he asked it, Putin and Russia's desires are legitimate foreign policy issues, and I'm glad it opened that topic up for discussion. I'm not sure people realize how explosive and violent places like Abkhazia and South Ossetia have been and still are. And with Russia making noises about Abkhazia in response to countries recognizing Kosovo's independence, the stakes are higher than most think.

Posted by: Joe on February 27, 2008 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Where was Obama's "pop quiz"? Answer: he didn't get one.

I think trying to tie Obama to Farrakhan, anti-semitism, and Momar Khadafi, is on par with a pop quiz about Russia's successor.

I was impressed that she knew the answer, and not impressed with Obama's rejection of Farrakhan. But she had to go there and prove that she was a good likudnick. She lost liberal jews and won over right-wing, racist jews (i.e. republicans).

Bravo.

Posted by: enozinho on February 27, 2008 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

shawn: "And I'm the one who pulls things out of my rear?"

In a word, yes.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 27, 2008 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

enozinho: "But she had to go there and prove that she was a good likudnick. She lost liberal jews and won over right-wing, racist jews (i.e. republicans)."

C'mon, admit it -- you pulled that one out of shawn's rear, didn't you?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 27, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon, admit it -- you pulled that one out of shawn's rear, didn't you?

Um, no.

I'm just saying trying to capitalize on real issues between Jews and Blacks is kind of a low blow. Clinton kissed Soha Arafat after she gave some anti-Israel speech. Should Obama use that as an attempt to tie her to anti-antisemitism? Of course not.

That's a right-wing tactic. But she thinks it plays to her strengths, so she went there. And it was ugly.

Posted by: enozinho on February 27, 2008 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0,
Russert addressed the pop quiz question to both candidates. Russert said he deliberately offered the question as the equivalent of a jump ball.

Posted by: bjd on February 27, 2008 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

frankly0: I mean, she basically got the real quiz, and Obama just had to respond, "What Hillary said" -- effectively taking as much credit for Hillary's correct answer as Hillary deserved.

It seemed like a scenario played out in offices across the country, in which a highly competent woman has to handle a hard problem, and some male colleague is treated as equally competent because he can manage a "me too."

If Obama had been engaging in any sort of self-congratulation instead of freely and sincerely giving her credit, I'd likely agree. He wasn't, and having been the woman in the office on more than a couple of occasions, I didn't read it that way. I was struck last night by Obama's ability to give HRC due props--from saying she's got the right take on this or that to emphasizing that she's highly qualified for the job. Clinton, on the other hand, didn't once do the same for him, as I recall. Refusing to acknowledge the opposition's legitimacy is a handy tool for incumbents, but it doesn't work so well when the country doesn't recognize your incumbency.

As someone correctly noted in this or another thread, he looks like the more civil, reasonable and respectful candidate when he's able to give her credit. She loses points for coming off as the opposite. That's suicide when you're already dealing with a partly fair/partly unfair reputation for being nasty, condescending and unwilling to accept input from anyone outside the sacred circle of vetted supporters. I wish Clinton wouldn't keep emphasizing her weaknesses; I don't know why her "strategists" are pushing this line when it so effectively turns more voters against her.

It's all very interesting, but at the bottom line, when one is reduced to pretending that Democratic candidates don't often or shouldn't agree on major points of policy, one's pretty much broadcasting desperation. There's no question that if Obama had disagreed with Clinton's answers on those points, you'd be bitching about that.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2008 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Reporting results in scientific studies and especially from clinical trials is an art, little known to the world at large.

This study released one of the most honest announcements, that will hopefully shed light on the need for evaluation of individual patients--what is the growing endeavor or nouveau field of personalized medicine.
This study stated clearly in its body and its announcement that SSRIs work when they do. Duh!!!
It also confirmed that they work well....when they work. Uh, Duh!!!

But, not to be fooled: this is the crux of good medical tests! To know not only if a (new, already tested for safety) drug works, but to determine when it works to effect a positive difference and for whom.

As so many other clinical studies have reported, SSRIs are hightly effective for patients with more severe depression.

The iffy-wishy-washy art comes in where many studies do not even go: where and when does it work.
In fact, some would-be great new pharma breakthroughs have failed because the study design failed to recognize these differences in the patient population.

Here, the study noted that effectiveness of SSRIs in patients who are severely depressed are conclusive, but when patients are borderline depressed, the effectiveness of SSRIs may not manifest, or they may work differently in this neurophysiological landscape, and that behavioral therapy may be as effective.

So this study could be ringing the wake-up bell that is passing through health and medical approaches: recognize, admit and utilize differential diagnosis, patient and disease state differences, rather than throw out a good drug because it does not work on all patients at all times.

There are various bio-IT efforts to deal with this in a systematic manner. One advanced approach is that of Optimata (www.optimata.com) which has created a Virtual Patient -- the heart of which is a mathematical algorithm with predictive capabilities simulating, or mimicking, disease, patient-population, and the thousands of most relevant processes and their inter-relationships, to form the disease dynamics model for disease and physiological processes in the computer.

The future now .

Posted by: Dr K Adam on February 28, 2008 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

If any of you actually watched the CNN debate in Texas, you would realize that every question acked by the Univision guy was both a gotcha question, a hostile question , and directed at Senator 'Cleenton', and Obam was usually not asked for an answer. I was apalled at the time, and evidently Hillary was too. Wierd, not so much.

Posted by: Ron Cantrell on February 28, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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