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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clinton - Obama Debate Live Blogging

The debate starts at 8:00 PM - Share your thoughts as you watch the debate. Just click on "Comment" at the end of this Post. This is an important debate for it comes right before super Tuesday when voters will weigh in from 22 states with over 2000 delegates at stake. As always in debates, it will not necessarily be what is said tonight but what the spin over the next several days will be.

The Obama campaign announced today they had raised a record amount of 32 million in the month of January and were planning to have media buys in almost every state holding primaries on Tuesday. In addition, they announced they are making buys in the states who hold primaries after February 5th. Maryland is on the 12th and I have already seen his spots on TV - the one with Caroline Kennedy speaking is powerful.

Here are a few teaser polls - not very relevant - were before Edwards dropped out and the Kennedy endorsements of Obama: nationwide Gallup poll -1-31 Clinton-43%, Obama-39%California - 441 delegates Rasmussen 1-29 Clinton -43% Obama-40% Edwards - 10.5%, Georgia - 103 delegates Insider/Advantage 1-30 Obama-52%, Clinton - 36%, Mass. - 121 delegates 1-30 Survey USA Clinton - 57%, Obama-33%, Alabama - 60 delegates 1-28-30 AEA/Capital Survey Obama-40%. Clinton-35%

Will this debate be a continuation of the fiery exchanges between the two exhibited in the last debate or will it be one that is calmer, more refined and focused on the issues?

opening remarks - Obama thanked Edwards, time to move forward not dwell in the past - clinton- stayed with theme of president ready to lead on day one.

policy differences between the two question - Clinton-universal health care, 90 day moritorium on forclosures, 5yr freeze on interest rates - disagreed with Obama about meeting with the five worst dictators around the world.

Obama discussed his health care plan - received applause, talked about how a 5 yr interest rate freeze would hurt people in the long run, need to reduce influence of lobbyists in D.C., was opposed to Iraq from the start, he does want to elevate diplomacy

Health care differences was next - obama -invoked Ted Kennedy who said we can get universal health care with Obama, he doesn't want to cap preminums as Clinton's plan - he wants to lower the premiums, wants to battle the health care service providers and their lobbyists.

Question on how the dem candidate would respond to repub question on tax and spend. Obama began with a great answer about the repubs were in no position to talk when they have run up a multi trillion dollar national debt, roll back the taxes to the upper income earners.

Clinton roll back the tax cuts on those making more than 250K - move to electronic medical records

Interesting side note - the candidates are sitting down right next to each other - looking at the expressions of the one who is not talking is telling

Jeannine asked question of impact on african american unemployment due to immigration - Obama-good answer here, blacks were dealing with high unemployment levels before any issue sof immigration came up -he did not believe in scape goating - huge appause here, should not use the issue of immigration to divide our country, instead focus on how to bring people together Clinton - a comprehensive immigration reform program needed.

Blitzer trying to pick a fight between the two over immigration and who is doing more and continues follow up questions aimed to agitate-this is ridiculous questioning on his part. Wolf succeeded in finally in getting Obama to talk about Hillary's flip flop on drivers licenses in NY -he said he supported position of Bill Richardson on this. Clinton came back with a smack on Obama about him not being able to answer the same question in regard to his Governor. Hardly professional questions to Presidential candidates.

McManus asking Clinton about Kennedy endorsemnts of Obama and that was best in bringing about the needed change- she went with gender card - electing a woman would be the biggest change

Obama - we are bringing in more people participating in the voting process - who can inspire people to become engage in government again - record numbers-doubling in dem voters going to the polls

Clinton gave a good answer in reagrd to clinton-bush dynasties - it took a clinton to clean up the mess from the first bush and it will take another clinton to clean up after the second Bush mess.

Wolf trying to pick a fight between the two on their positions on Iraq - the candidates did not bite. Both gave good answers - Obama - I have always been opposed from the start. Wolf still at it - asking Clinton if she was naive when she supported Bush in the war with Iraq. Obama - the authorization was for the use of force - he made the point about Clinton saying she was ready to lead from day one - he said it was more important to be right on day one.

Question about the two on the same ticket - Obama-long road ahead and it is premature to discuss this. Clinton - I agree with what obama said. another ridiculous question from Wolf

Thankfully, it is now over. Although the questioners tried to bait the candidates, they both performed well. I would call it a draw. Next Tuesday will be very telling as to if one of them breaks away - right now, I will predict it will still be close after super Tuesday.

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