Hillary Clinton went out of her way to reference John Edwards a number of times, but it didn’t seem forced. One of her tasks tonight was apparently to position herself as the candidate carrying Edwards’s torch on economic issues. On that, she did a reasonably good job.
I was also glad to see Hillary discussing her readiness to be Commander-in-Chief without using the “dangerous world” frame.
Clinton’s takeaway line, referencing Obama’s use of a line first used by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, was: “That’s not change you can believe in; that’s change you can Xerox.” It felt like a cheap shot and was received by the audience as such.
Meanwhile, as I write this, CNN reports that the Obama people are circulating a comparison between a line from Clinton during the debate and a very similar line used by John Edwards. That seems contrary to the whole point of Obama’s rebuttal to the “plagiarism” charges, which is that people don’t care about or like this tit for tat stuff. I agree — and the Obama campaign should cut it out too. It doesn’t hurt Clinton at all and it undercuts Obama’s credibility on political change, which is central to his candidacy.
I do wish there were more substance in the foreign policy aspect of the discussion. Unfortunately, it seems the campaign only has room for Iraq, Iran, occasionally Israel/Palestine, and the hot region/country of the day (Cuba today, Pakistan last month). Sadly, there has been very little discussion of international institutions, approaches to failing states, peace operations and other critical topics. I’d like to see more attention paid to these issues — but I won’t hold my breath.
— Scott Paul