Hillary Clinton's Mistake Moments in the Debate

by: Matt Stoller

Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 20:17


I'm watching the AFL-CIO debate, and Clinton has made some more major mistakes that open her up to charges of being an elitist and out-of-touch insider.  In the argument over Pakistan, Clinton just said that if you are running for President you "shouldn't say everything you think", and got booed.

Earlier, she had fleshed out her opinion on Iraq.  While outlining her plan for the country, most of it was focused on withdrawal, but there was an important caveat.

I have a three point plan to get out of Iraq, starting with redeploying our troops and doing it responsibly and carefully because as many of the veterans in this audience know taking troops out can be just as dangerous as bringing them in.  And we've got to get out of Iraq smarter than we got in. 

Secondly we've got to put more pressure on the Iraqi government including withholding aid from them if they don't begin to stabilize the country themselves.  And thirdly we need an intensive diplomatic effort regionally and internationally.

But if it is a possibility that Al Qaeda would stay in Iraq I think we need to stay focused on trying to keep them on the run as we currently are doing in Anbar province.

Anbar's key significance in the debate is that it is the core example used by liberal hawks to justify residual forces or a continuing surge.  Here's O'Hanlon and Pollack.

The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.

Anbar is tactically meaningless, as Al Qaeda has left the region and gone elsewhere in Iraq due to tribal pressure.  That Clinton is saying that Anbar province is an example of the success of the surge suggests a serious lapse in judgment.  She has learned nothing.  I have heard that O'Hanlon is an advisor of hers, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case.  She is making the liberal hawk argument for remaining in Iraq, or even, supporting the surge.

With this tidbit, the lobbyist defense, and the argument that candidates shouldn't say everything they think, Clinton has shown herself to be much sloppier and elitist than I thought possible.

Wow, this is a surprising turn.  Obama, Dodd, and Richardson are doing fairly well, Edwards is kind of silent, and Biden got booed.  I thought Clinton had more discipline than this.

The forum itself is very very good.  The AFL-CIO questioners are just wonderful.

Matt Stoller :: Hillary Clinton's Mistake Moments in the Debate

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Forum (0.00 / 0)
Strange that Biden gave a gushing opening statement video, then seemed to go out of his way to piss off the crowd.

But I concur, Matt, I thought it was very telling when Sen. Clinton stated "you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president." I think the American people deserve to know what our presidential candidates think about the most pressing issue of our time.


But Matt... (0.00 / 0)
Chris Mathews said she was majestic! Obviously she clearly won the debate...

Ugh.

I agree with you. Several times I thought I heard echos of the Bush administration in her answers.

So the question is: How do we get a Democrat elected when the media has clearly chosen the winner ahead of time?

If teaching is so easy, then by all means get your degree, pass your certification test(s), get your license, and see if you can last longer than the five years in the classroom 50% of those who enter the profession never make it to.


i'm sorry (0.00 / 0)
but it is impossible not to understand how much the MSM is against edwards after watching the post-debate coverage on MSNBC. edwards shined throughout the whole debate. and even if you will not admit that, there is little to no talk about anything but, surprise surprise, how well hillary did. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE! after the obama-dodd exchange (did anyone else catch her wink to dodd?), that it is actually acceptable for the american president to lie to the american public. i mean, isnt that how we got into the mess we are currently in? watching these debates makes me proud to be a democrat; watching the post debate analysis makes me sick to be an american. whatever happened to good journalism?

[ Parent ]
MSM bias against Edwards (0.00 / 0)
I'm sorry but this was about Edwards performance and not so much the MSM.  Biden really dealt Edwards a blow tonight.  Right after Edwards proudly talked about having walked the picket lines 200 times within the last two years and that the unions should think about who was with them during crunch time, Biden smacked him down.  He basically said Edwards had walked the picket line in the last two years only while he was running for POTUS.  He asked Edwards to tell the audience what he had done when it cost him something.  What he had done when he was in the senate for 6yrs.  What he had done when the corps in his won state was against him.  Edwards came back with the fact that he had walked the picket lines 200 times within the last 2yrs including this past Sat and Sun.  Biden in effect  called Edwards an opportunist and he didn't swing back hard enough. 

[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
I think it's gonna take more than 'Credit Card' Biden to knock Edwards off his stride.

Although folks like you certainly make for a discouraging view of the blogosphere.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Huh? (0.00 / 0)
What are you talking about.  I totally think that Biden sucked when he blew off the widow about the health and safety of mine workers, but he still dealt a body blow to Edwards that was not effectively countered.  This has nothing to do with supporting any particular candidate, but an actual assesment of a moment in time of time in the debate.  In my opinion, given that Edwards is running a Two Americas campaign, a war on poverty, and has very strong pro-union rhetoric, he should have done better tonight.  Now I certainly am not saying that tonight's debate derailed his campaign, but (IMO) he didn't make any converts.

[ Parent ]
Could fooled me... (0.00 / 0)
One thing to keep in mind.

It's still pretty early. And I'll take Edwards straight up on any of these corporate whores running against him any time.

Biden...a sick joke. 34 years in the Senate...know for his fealty to the banking industry.

The Hill....they say one picture is worth a thousand words....Here is mine....

Obama...Joey the Liarmann's protege...all hat no cattle...been there, done that...no thanks.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Please .. what has "Credit Card" Biden ever done? .. (0.00 / 0)
He has not done a damn thing for the working man ... And Biden couldn't even bother to answer the widow's question ... what a tool .. besides .. Biden is DLC

[ Parent ]
What happened to the "conversation"? (0.00 / 0)
Hillary Clinton, then: "I'm not just starting a campaign, though, I'm beginning a conversation -- with you, with America."

Hillary Clinton, now: 'you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president.' (anyone have the exact quote?)

That's some conversation. What are we supposed to talk about - the weather?

John McCain


Obama's Response to Hillary (4.00 / 2)
But Obama, who also drew fire from Senator Christopher Dodd over the Pakistan issue struck back, saying, "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism."

And drawing on a new line of attack he used against Clinton for not representing change, Obama said, "we're debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have the right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to how we're going to shift our foreign policy."

I thought that this was the response of the night.


[ Parent ]
Contrasts (0.00 / 0)
This is interesting.  Clinton is clearly embracing her status as the most inside of the Democratic Party insiders, more inside even than her helpmates (tonight at least) Sen. Chris Dodd & Sen. Joe Biden who have both been inside the Senate longer than many people reading this have been alive.  She is the ultimate insider. Obama & Edwards are candidates of change, they really seem to want to be different.  Hillary still harbors hope that the war will work.  She is like Hubert Humphrey in 1968.  Got hope that the surge might work?  Hillary does.  That is why she cited Anbar Province.

Hillary Clinton is the defining figure in the presidential race.  Outsiders usually make a lot of noise.  Insiders usually win.  The smart money is on Clinton, the grassroots money is with her two challangers.  2008 just might be a year of change.


It was strange to see Dodd go after Obama (0.00 / 0)
I think something interesting was pointed out - for the first time, really, there was a gang-up of the long-time Washington insiders (Biden, Clinton, and Dodd) against the relative newcomers (Edwards and Obama). Don't know if it was coordinated, but I got pissed off at Dodd for it.

Biden was just dead awful, and Clinton laid another dud right after her poor performance at yKos.


Biden (0.00 / 0)
I thought Biden was aligning with Obama.  He had that odd comment in defense of Obama's Pakistan position that what Barack was advocating was actually official US Policy and Law, just Bush hasn't followed it.  It was kind of mumbled and I'm not sure the audience caught that he was actually slapping down Clinton's comments - or at least that's how I interpreted it.  The second putdown of Edwards was pretty surprising when he stuck in the part of ask him what he did in the Senate in '97, ask him about '99.  Dodd clearly was backing up Clinton although he set up Barack for the best line of the night that the people of the country deserved to hear this debate.

[ Parent ]
Biden's comment (0.00 / 0)
Biden made the same statement after Obama's Pakistan speech, and it definitely came across as a swipe that Sen. Obama didn't know what he was talking about, for the U.S. had the policies which Sen. Obama was proposing, thus playing up the naive angle.

In my mind, there are two different dynamics at play - the campaign for the Democratic Nomination, and the campaign to be in Clinton's cabinet.


[ Parent ]
Reading The Nation (0.00 / 0)
I got the impression that it was Kucinich who turned on the audience at this debate.

On actual labor-related issues.

Who would have known it?


What is a "liberal hawk" (0.00 / 0)
>>Anbar's key significance in the debate is that it is the core example used by liberal hawks to justify residual forces or a continuing surge.  Here's O'Hanlon and Pollack.<<

When can a liberal be a hawk?  Isn't this an oxymoron?  Perhaps that is what Hillary is - an oxymoron.


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