ELECTION ’08: Clinton’s Free Publicity Junket*

*Heretofore mentioned as “the debate”.

Well, CNN hosted Clinton’s Free Publicity Junket tonight and it was really no different than the last 18 debates. Clinton, for once, didn’t offer up a different position than previously stated, though she did spent an inordinate amount of time giving John Edwards a tongue bath. Even going so far as to use the same words Edwards did in a debate last December:

Several readers, and Obama’s staff, heard an echo in Clinton’s closing line, that the candidates on stage would be “fine.”Clinton Tonight:

You know, whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people. And that’s what this election should be about.

Edwards the December 13 debate:

What’s not at stake are any of us. All of us are going to be just fine no matter what happens in this election. But what’s at stake is whether America is going to be fine.

Naturally, the Clinton campaign says that IOKIYAHC** and gave us a full list of people she also plagiarized.
The point on this is that, Clinton delivered a line that will, no doubt with our soundbite media, become one of the most misrepresented lines in this campaign:

Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words. That’s I think a very simple proposition. And you know, lifting whole passages from someone else’s speeches is not change you can believe in — it’s change you can Xerox…

The reason I say it will be misrepresented, is that I’ve notice in watching the synopses no one is mentioned that she got booed loudly from the audience after saying this. It’s one of those things where you almost expect CNN to come in later and change the audience reaction just so it fits in their narrative (believe me, they do that a lot). But it wasn’t just boos. The audience meter on the CNN.com stream plummeted when she said that. I think she thought it was going to be a zinger, but it was exceedingly petty and mean-spirited. Of course, it didn’t help that right before she said that, Obama just gave her a smackdown and had the audience on his side. He was charming, engaging and humorous. He left it light, making fun of the plagiarism charge from the Clinton camp. Her line was literally a turd in the punchbowl.

Tonight, Clinton had to come out on top and it was all Obama’s to lose. I thought that not only did he slap away her “style over substance” charge that the uneducated and lazy eat up and regurgitate, but he came off as more presidential. His answers on immigration, health care, Iraq and the campaign in general were great. They were the answers he should have been giving all along, instead of the stemwinders he had been giving. CNN lobbed Clinton some serious softballs and even the harder questions, she managed (as usual) to ignore and do her stump speech. There was nothing new there and I can’t believe that the Obama campaign and these infotainment channels are participating in this charade.

Clinton sounded defeated, especially after the crowd booed her. From that point on, it was the softer, dejected New Hampshire/Connecticut/Maine tearful Clinton. I noticed the talking heads either thought it was very nice or something of a concession speech. I thought it rang hollow, but I watched it over and over again, like 5 times in row. On the first hearing, it sounds sincere, but really watching and listening, it came off contrived.

“But that’s like your opinion, man.”

True, but that’s all I have and in my opinion, one of the best moments of the debates was this:

Now, we just need to find some people who know how to moderate for CNN. I thought Campbell Brown was even more useless than Anderson Cooper, if that’s even possible.

**It’s okay if you’re a Hillary Clinton

Morning After Update:

~All the Politics sections of infotainment channels agree that Clinton didn’t get the knockout punch she needed.

~Best inside baseball comment from Humanities Grad‘s post at TPM:

Last night reinforced my opinon that Mark Penn is an idiot who has done more than any single individual not named “Barack Obama” to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic nomination.

~Last night’s debates gave Obama the prime opportunity to showcase why he’s the frontrunner.  Despite their similarities on paper, when Obama tells you his plans, there’s a sense that it will and can get done.  When Clinton says her plans, there’s a sense that she plans on fighting for them instead of working on them.

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4 thoughts on “ELECTION ’08: Clinton’s Free Publicity Junket*

  1. I think that’s why I like Obama. He treats his audience as if they are educated enough to see past the sound bites and petty character attacks. Now he’ll have to deal with the 527’s that are being set up in Ohio and Texas. If she falls in Texas it’s over for her. Texas is a bit strange. They can vote across party lines in the primary there. Keep your eyes on the polls.

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  2. “turd in a punch bowl”? I prefer “fart in church”, or at least that is the quote I use.

    I saw the debate in the morning news and made a beeline to the office and fired up the ‘puter to get your take. You bring such interesting thoughts and the comments are equally good.

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  3. OH, it was both a turd and a fart IMHO!! Of course, many people were talking about HRC’s final statement and focusing on that as the high point, but I thought that her turd/fart was the most significant moment and came off as a lower low than her high at the end (does that make ANY sense?!) Anyhow, I think the debate showed his even keel and showed her more erratic persona.

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  4. Thanks for the responses. I’m shocked you all were able to follow it. I wrote that sleepy (yep, nodded off halfway through typing it) and with a full bottle of wine in me. Reading it this morning, it barely makes sense to me! Time to do some grammatical editing.

    Looking around the internet, it seems that a lot of people watched it and no matter how much CNN and crazy-assed Mark Penn try to spin the debate in her favor, everyone is talking about how she got booed and the Edwards line she used. Just the fact that she used an Edwards line at that close, makes all her other points and the sincerity of that statement in doubt.

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