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Sweet: Clinton mostly hit her marks. But emotional end may not change the trend. Austin Dem debate 4 UPDATED


AUSTIN, TEXAS---Hillary Rodham Clinton, now facing an uphill battle with Barack Obama, did most everything she had to do at the debate, even ending on an aspirational, unifying note that “I am absolutely honored to be here with Barack Obama. Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine."

It was an emotional moment. But it suggested she realized how tough it may now be for her to become the Democratic nominee and seemed she was bracing for the end.

Clinton's campaign sent out the video clip of her closer.

Spokesman Howard Wolfson on tonight’s debate said in a statement sent with the clip,

“What we saw in the final moments in that debate is why Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States. Her strength, her life experience, her compassion. She's tested and ready. It was the moment she retook the reins of this race and showed women and men why she is the best choice.”

If one of the things Clinton needed to do was to get more personal, she used a question—name a single crisis—to say “I think everyone knows I have lived through some challenging moments” and said nothing she is going through—alluding perhaps to the prospects now she may lose-can compare to injured soldiers.

She may have some second thoughts about that “change you can Xerox” line.


I am an undecided independent who has voted equally Democratic as Republican, even once Independent.

Tonight all I heard was two people telling me how NOT BUSH they are, not differentiating why we should choose one over the other.

This was not a debate of choice and distinction it was an Obama-nation of Hillary-faire indifference!

The Clinton campaign made several strategic mistakes, but none greater than showcasing her meanness instead of her intelligence. Now that they're so far behind they don't know which Hillary to show--the good Hillary or the bad Hillary.

I suggest that a President Obama should consider her for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Xerox? Xerox? Aren't we text-messaging now? Do people under 28 even know what a Xerox is?

I thought Hillary delivered one of the more memorable, albeit boo-inducing lines tonight. On the topic of Obama's alleged plagiarism, she bitingly said, "If your campaign is going to be about words, they should be your own words. Lifting whole passages isn't change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox." That line may be remembered by many, negatively, but it will be remembered nevertheless. And if (a BIG IF) Hillary wins Texas and Ohio, and steal the nomination from Obama, that line would even become more notable. But as they say, winners write history, and if Obama wins, that Xerox line will be remembered in ignominy.

Hillary also delivered a very good closing argument about her candidacy. While many observers said that it sounded like a farewell speech, I think it in fact hit the emotional core of many voters, and fairly or not, it could sway the undecideds and women voters to go for her. Then again, it would depend on how she would carry herself in the next two weeks until March 4, when the next voting occurs. If she reverts into her nasty-looking attack, say-anything-do-anything mode, then those arguments would lose their luster. But if she can hit just the right tone, then she can still mount a winning battle.

Just as they did before the surprising New Hampshire win by Hillary, pundits are again predicting that she's headed for defeat. They are also one in saying that Obama won tonight. And they may be right. I think Obama's performance really soared when tackling about the very sensitive immigration issue. He also showed some presidential mettle when talking about Iraq. But it's when Hillary's at a very vulnerable position, when she's at her best element as a candidate. You'll have to give it to her as well that she's very tenacious. So I say never, ever discount her staying power until Obama gets the 2025 delegates to seal the nomination. If I were Obama, I'll refrain from cocky tendencies and re-double my effort to reach out to even more voters. I'll also keep the lessons from New Hampshire even closer to my chest.

From now until March 4, many dramatic things could still happen. In this day and age of Internet, even a day can be a lifetime in politics. And for a political observer like me, it's becoming more and more exciting.

Hillary Clinton came out ahead in this debate. She actually talked about serving the people of the United States, especially at the conclusion of the debate. Barack Obama talked about his childhood as a challenging time and his years as a community organizer. Hillary Clinton spoke about her very public and challenging time. However, she went a step further and said her challenging time seems little in comparison to what many, especially veterans, are going through.

To me she is very realistic about the problems our country faces and is very eager to get started on Day One to solve these problems. She recognizes that leading the people is being a public servant and not an American Idol. I don't get that message from our junior Senator, Barack Obama.

I really believe that Obama was superior to Hillary on all points: emotionally and mentally. At the very end, Hillary put on another Staged Performance, borrowing lines from Edwards and her Husband to emotionally sway the people to think that, that is the real Hillary coming through. The real Hillary is the one who, time after time, after Obama wins a primary or caucus, comes out on stage and does not Congratulate him at all. That is the real Hillary!

To make light of a crime by a possible future president is the worst farce a country could be faced with. What does it need to raise consciousness of people in a trance, in a stupor? To wake up from being seduced, worse, duped by con man tactics is a hard nut to crack for a big country full of hope and need for change. Only Hillary is fighting this criminal action publicly, shoulders it alone, only she has the decency and guts to face the reality of a criminal. How cruel for a country to not support her!!! How cruel for reality to dawn upon it when the fool's bluff has evaporated and they are faced with the disaster! We should listen to the warnings of Massachusetts stuck with Patrick.

The real change all Americans have to hope for and depend on is that Hillary's warnings are heard throughout the states that can still save the country from a make believe bombastic fairy tale like Obama. I hope that Ohio and Texas save this country from the worst decision it will have ever made. I hope they select wisely, because Hillary is the best president the States will have ever had.
The maturity and depth of devotion and human concern for her fellow men only equals Hillary's brilliance and intellectual greatness. America needs an educated distinguished scholar who can lead it to progress and new heights. The lowest common denominator is not the standard we want in a president. That is CHANGE.
To dance around issues like around a bonfire as Obama does without real solutions to offer except stealing Hillary's is not only making a joke of the highest office in the country. Since this theft of intellectual property has happened at such a high level, it should be judged by the highest of standards. It should be judged without tolerance. No excuses of any kind allowed! Don't be fooled.
The KKK supports Obama ! because they do not want a woman in office. Do not take their lead!
Texans and Ohio-ians, give us back honor and dignity. Give us Hillary.

Julie--I mean really. You feel you can read into someone's heart when they're on television? I doubt that. Anymore than I can read that Obama looked at HIlary's hand like it was a bug needing to be smashed when she said she was proud to be on stage with him. All candidates' comments are 'staged'--in that they had to not only remember policy points, but how the other candidate would use it like a tennis ball back at them. And then there's the media--always willing to play a misogyny card against Hilary, and, less likely, a race card against Barack. The real point is--which candidate has been vetted enough to go up against the Repuglican spin and distort machine? I'm leaning toward Hilary at this point.

Oh Please Hillary Is A Fake Let Her Release Her Tax Returns
And Why She Don't Think Of The Other States That Voted For Her But Obama Won Them And Just Say Oh They Don't Matter All States Matter Just Not The Ones She Wins.

Wake Up People

When is somebody going to ask Obama and Clinton exactly how they plan on accomplishing everything that they say that they are going to accomplish? The fact that nobody does proves the adage that The more things change, the more they remain the same.

I am also curious as to how long of a honeymoon period the supporters of each of the candidates (including McCain) plan on giving their man or woman if that individual is elected president.

In reply to Feral; well said. The entire primary campaign has been a contest against Bush, who is not in the running. I haven't seen anything unique or enlightening coming out of the mouths of any candidate. These two are no exception. All of the young people salivating for these two in their respective rallies will someday join the multitudes of us that have totally lost faith in the American electoral process. Vote for the one you dislike the least! That should be the rallying cry for this election. Remember to hold your nose first. Alas, maybe someday we will actually have term limitation and REAL campaign finance laws that allow unaffiliated candidates to show the American people the real solutions to our problems.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 21, 2008 8:54 PM.

Sweet Austin debate 3: Clinton tells Obama on lifted speech lines. "It's change you can Xerox.” was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Complete transcript of Democratic Debate. Austin, Feb. 21, 2008. is the next entry in this blog.

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