MANCHESTER, N.H.—Some post-debate musings …..
*When the conversation in a debate turns into a long cordial exchange on what Bill Clinton will do if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) were president, it only helps her. (click below for segment).
*Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) started strong—accusing his chief rivals Clinton and Obama of not leading on the Iraq war funding vote. That was his best—and only moment.
*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is at his best in talking about what unites, not divides the nation--his push-back on whether English should be the official language (see previous post). Overall, workmanlike, very cautious.
*When it comes to what to do with the genocide in Darfur Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson were most forceful. Biden was just there. “We should impose a no fly zone.” Richardson disagrees.
*For a marginal candidate, Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is just getting to answer too many questions, even if his over the top responses are sometimes funny soundbites. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) complained about not getting much chance. He was short-changed.
ON BILL CLINTON’S ROLE
BLITZER: Governor Richardson, if you were president of the
United States, the question is, what would you do with former
President Bill Clinton?
RICHARDSON: Well, the ideal job for President Clinton would be
secretary general of the United States. But that's probably not
What I would do is -- President Clinton gave me, although I don't
think he's very happy with me now -- President Clinton gave me two
great jobs. He gave me ambassador to the United Nations, secretary of
RICHARDSON: I believe he is needed in the Middle East. This
administration has not had a Middle East peace envoy as other
bipartisan administrations have had.
We have serious problems in the Middle East. Our great ally
Israel, which I think needs buttressing, right now is less safe than
it was when President Bush came in.
We need a constant Middle East peace process. President Clinton
gave me two good jobs. I want to pay him back and make a Middle East
BLITZER: What about you, Senator Obama?
Arguably, Bill Clinton might be the most popular Democrat out
there among Democrats. If you were elected president, what would you
have him do?
OBAMA: Well, I think both answers reflect one of the former
president's enormous strengths. And that was his capacity to build
alliances and relationships around the world. And I have no doubt
that Hillary played an enormous role in helping that happen.
But what we've seen over the last six years is the effort to
replace bluster and belligerence and saber-rattling for solid
diplomacy and strategy and foresight.
OBAMA: One of the things that we're going to have to do is to
return to that recognition that we can't simply lead with our
military. The strength of our military has to be matched with the
power of our diplomacy, the strength of our alliances.
That's how we are going to deal with the crisis in the Middle
East. That's how we're going to end a genocide in Darfur, and I think
that President Clinton's vision of our interdependence globally is
something, and obviously Senator Clinton may have something to say
about how I use Bill Clinton, so in fairness she should be able to
BLITZER: Let her tell us -- if you were president, Senator
Clinton, what would your husband do?
CLINTON: This is a fascinating question.
CLINTON: They asked the Republicans, they asked the Democrats.
And I think from -- respective (ph) of what you've already heard, I
believe in using former presidents.
I think we should have everybody helping us to repair the damage
of the last, by then, eight years. And when I...
CLINTON: ... when I become president, Bill Clinton, my dear
husband, will be one of the people who will be sent around the world
as a roving ambassador to make it very clear to the rest of the world
that we're back to a policy of reaching out and working and trying to
make friends and allies and stopping the alienation of the rest of the