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Democrats Get Personal

Debate Rebate: Democrats Get Personal

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got feisty at last night’s debate. On Dr. King’s holiday, the issue of race, previously dogging the candidates, provided fewer fireworks than the onslaught of some brand new personal attacks.
Some highlights — Obama challenged Clinton's dedication to the poor:

While I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.

Next, he went after Bill Clinton, implying that the Clinton machine has been dishonest, and venting that he “can’t tell who [he's] running against sometimes.”

Hillary took some swipes, too, accusing Obama of representing a "slumlord" when he was a lawyer in Chicago, and accused the Illinois senator of not answering for his record. The Clinton-Obama exchanges let Edwards appear as an issue-focused candidate:

This kind of squabbling — how many children is this going to get health care? We have got to understand this is not about us personally.

Amen, John! For more on the democratic heat in South Carolina,


The candidates also pointed to a few policy differences. Hillary charged Obama with straying from a central democratic tenant — universal health care. Together, Hillary and John, claimed that Barack’s plan fails to cover all Americans, which Barack hotly denied (check out powerful video of that exchange below). Obama's plan guarantees affordable health care without requiring everyone to buy it.

As for who won the debate, it’s tough to say, but Obama may have more to lose by turning negative and personal. If Hillary can get him off his positive message of hope, he will begin to look like any other politician. When given a chance to speak, Edwards stayed on message, this time hounding Obama more than Hillary. As for Hillary, she continues to demonstrate that she is a wizard for policy and details; but, I’m not sure if her personal attacks come off as shrill or dishonest.

Who do you think won?


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
O how i love to see them fight and get personal. because they act like they are so above the mud slinging. Hate both of them
pequeña pequeña 9 years
What I don't like about Hillary is that she just goes with the flow. Now she plays the strong, unsinkable woman, days ago she was playing the victim. She changes her mind about important issues like the war in Irak (don't forget she voted in favour of it) and she is not completely clear about other issues, like abortion. Of course Edwards criticises both candidates, but let's be honest, he knows what his odds are, and he knows that his chance to be a part of the Government is Hillary, not Obama. Both Clinton and Edwards belong to the democrat establishment. Let's face it, they are all where they are because they want power.
piper23 piper23 9 years
I thought the debate showed Hilllary's true nature and it also showed that Obama can't stand up to her. She talked all over him. She barely let him get a word in to defend himself before she was back on him. I've read where this is all a game plan of the Clintons to bring Obama down to their level. I don't think it has done that but it did showcase some of his weaknesses. The really disappointing thing was that John Edwards ended up looking like the sane, reasonable candidate.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
If you actually watch the debate, the mudslinging is started by the COMMENTATOR. She asks Obama a question that starts off by quoting a piece of mud HIlary slung earlier in the week, "Hilary said...". So IMO, it is the commentator's fault for bringing down the respectability of the debate. Obama supporters are not using "fear". There are several that have commented on this board, and they all have different ideas about this debate. The fact that you lump everyone in together is sad. Can we focus on the issues and the candidates, please?
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I think he definitely wants the #2 spot..
pequeña pequeña 9 years
I hate how Hillary distorts what Obama says all the time. I know she is desperate to win, but that's not ethic at all. Obama is the only one who doesn't interrupt others all the time. I don't know, he's the most convincing of all. Edwards is fine, but he always puts hilmself on Hillay's side. I think that he has hopes to be number two if she wins. Maybe neither of them thought that Obama would get that much support.
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
Oh, this mud slinging is no surprising. They're trying to hide because neither of them are good candidates. They don't have great records and they both keep switching sides. And the health care issue, yeah it's corrupt but do people really want the government in control of something so important? Look how well they've handled everything else, do you really want them to have MORE control? And people don't understand what universal health care will be like. More taxes, which people don't want to pay and having to make an appointment months out to see a doctor. I'm against the idea of government controlled health care. BAD IDEA.
Arthur Arthur 9 years
looking at just that clip, I think Hillary came out on top. Obama is learning how the Clintons play politics. He better be a quick study. Hillary can come off above the fray while Bill is in the background saying that Obama's claim to have been against the Iraq war since the beginning is a "fairy tale". That this gets reported without a mention that Hillary voted for the Iraq War and has since changed her position numerous times is amazing. If he doesn't confront them, and more articulately than he's done so far, there wont be much hope for Obama in '08. There's a big difference between (falsely) accusing Obama of lying, and Obama's calling out the lies. Time to learn what is is if he wants to stay in the race.
jennajen jennajen 9 years
I watched this last night with my mom. While I do care to know what they have done in the past, I also want to know what they plan to do in the future. But like I said to my mom, and once again it's not necessarily right, but in a debate there are going to be some punches at the other opponents. I did enjoy seeing John Edwards look like he was going to cry when Obama was going at him. :D
janneth janneth 9 years
"Can't we all just get along?" -Rodney King
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Ah, it seems I said 'seems' twice, lol
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
What a mess those two were! Is it me, or does it seem that Hillary seems far more competent and capable in these debates?
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I'm not afraid, sorry! I accept the fact that I might disagree with a lot of people on this cause, and I hope for your sake that you do to. Funny though that you say that it's Obama has a fear tactic going on...
remedios remedios 9 years
While it certainly looks to be between Obama and Clinton here, I think that saying Edwards needs to drop out is a bit premature. For one thing, if he did, then we wouldn't have had this reality check comment in the debate. Secondly, only a few states have voted thus far. And while things aren't looking great for him, wait until the next primary, or preferably super Tuesday. He has something to say and I think he should say it as long as he can and people are listening.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
I didn't hear any outrage when Elizabeth Edwards were making oersonal attacks on Hillary :OY: and now Obama has to defend the fact that his not Muslim, I didn't knoe being a Muslim was a bad thing.
Kaysnowboarder Kaysnowboarder 9 years
Yes, that is the same old message that the Obama supporters like to throw out there - if Hillary is the nominee the republicans and independents will go to McCain - that is such bologne. Bush has been using fear tactics and I find it amazing that Obama supporters fall to the same old Bush tactic - fear. I guess Obama supporters do this because they have no experience or real record to fall back on. I lost a lot of respect for Obama last night and the victim mentality they are trying to throw out that he is so overpowered by the Clintons. give me a break.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
Go McCain
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
The Clinton campaign is a destructive force in the democratic party at the moment, and I find it hard to understand how so many think that Obama "went negative" in this debate. They've been plotting this to the very last detail, lying about just about anything and putting emails saying that Obama is muslim. The former president should keep a lower profile, or at least they should stop this good cop/bad cop show. I hope Obama can keep up the good work and shut out the crap the Clintons keep throwing at him. Hillary Clinton is the most polarizing candidate and it is not because she is a woman. It is because they play dirty and lie with such ease it's unsettling. A lot of democrats and independents would rather have McCain as president than her, and the republicans can end up with another term in office if she wins the nominations.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
our economy is in deep problems, the people of NOLA still haven't recovered yet... but yet the frist 30 minutes of the debate was spent on personal attack even though both camps called a truce.
Kaysnowboarder Kaysnowboarder 9 years
I think Obama should take full accountability for his record which has been many times not voting so he does not have to take a stance. He should have never started the mud-slinging - he can not win and it makes him look like a school boy. It really lower the standards of the debate. If he wants to fight the so-called Clinton machine then do it in his speeches and rebuttals - not at the debate. John Edwards really was on top of his game and I agree looked the best.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
what hapened to the politics of hope... oh well he win win SC and on to Super Tuesday...what incorrect facts were said... the media over hyped the race and gender issue... Obama should have to answer to his record...all politician do...The Republicans will have a field day with him if he get the nom... then the real fire works will begin
Jillness Jillness 9 years
".I think the fallacies thrown at him drove him to fight back, and I still think he was civil about it in a sense." I agree. I don't think it helps anyone to let unfactual information go unchallenged.
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 9 years
This debate came on the heels of several weeks of the Clinton PR machine distorting Obama's record. Their misrepresentation of his record deserves to be called out by him, and I hardly think it's mudslinging to point that out. It's difficult to respond to attacks and not look like you're stooping to the level of the mudslingers, but if you don't get Kerry and the Swift Boat situation.
blondie01 blondie01 9 years
I still like Obama...I think the fallacies thrown at him drove him to fight back, and I still think he was civil about it in a sense. Hilary and Bill are pratically asking for it, or even possibly trying to get him to that point of desperation...I'm not quite sure
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I dont' think he has the right to distort facts. If you call that "calling him out", go for it. But I don't think there is anything nobel about distorting another person's record.
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