Appearing Presidential, Obama Shines In Debate
By Milton Allimadi, The Black Star News
NEW YORK, (RUSHPRNEWS)February 27, 2008-Appearing poised and presidential, Senator Barack Obama scored a clear victory in the debate with Senator Hillary Clinton tonight. ClintonÂ initially was agitated and even accused a moderator Tim Russert of ambushing her by asking her the first question.
The debate was televised on MSNBC. In an informal poll, 70% of the 89,000 viewers who sent a text-message response believed Obama won, while 30% saw it in Clinton’s favor.Â
The debate was watched with keen interest by viewers and analysts, coming one day after the Clinton campaign was accused of dirty tricks after a picture showing Obama in Islamic attire was released on the high-traffic Drudge Report website. Drudge says the photo, clearly intended to falsely cast Obama as a Muslim and inflame anti-Islamic fears amongst potential voters, was provided by the Clinton campaign.
Obama took the picture when he visited with Somali traditional elders during his 2006 trip to Kenya. Clinton said â€œso far asâ€ she knew, the photo was not sent by her campaign.
When Obama was asked to respond, he said he accepted Clintonâ€™s explanation, and he quickly moved on with the debate. Obama’s deflection seemed to catch Clinton off guard; she had appeared ready for a confrontation over the issue, which while inflammatory, was inconsequential in terms of a substantive debate. Yet, by brushing aside the issue, Obama made a favorable impression to voters, with his calm demeanor, as opposed to Clinton’s excitable appearance and aggresive tone.
Obama scored strongly throughout the evening when he again deflected Clintonâ€™s assertion that her experience gave her the upperhand as a potential president. Obama said his judgement had proven superior to Clintonâ€™s in the past, pointing to his opposition to the Iraq war even before it was launched. His argument on the national security front trumped Clintonâ€™s experience claim.
Clinton claimed that while Obama might have opposed the war in a speech, when he came into the senate, he had voted to continue funding the war; she said she and Obama had voted in a similar pattern, to continue paying for the Iraq war. Obama said as a senator, he could not withhold money from American troops engaged in battle. But he called the Iraq war a â€œstrategic blunderâ€ of historical proportions and said Clinton had helped â€œdrive the bus into the ditchâ€ by voting for the war.
Later, when the candidates were asked if there is a vote on their record that they would take back, Clinton conceded it was her vote authorizing war against Iraq, the first time the New York senator has unequivocally admitted that the vote was a mistake. Her concession bolstered Obama’s position.
The two candidates also argued over their versions of a national health insurance plan. Clinton, as sheâ€™s been insisting for the past few months, said Obamaâ€™s plan would leave at least 15 million Americans uninsured.
Obama refuted Clintonâ€™s assertion, and countered by saying both of their plans were intended to cover every American and that the key difference was that his plan was not mandated. He said Clintonâ€™s plan would financially penalize people who failed to sign on to Clintonâ€™s health program.
Russert, the moderator, read past statements by Clinton, to show that she seemed more supportive of the North American Free Trade Agreement before she started running for the White House.
On a few occasions, when Clinton tried to ridicule Obama, he turned the tables around to his advantage. Again trying to portray him as naÃ¯ve, Clinton said Obama last summer even said he would be willing to â€œbomb Pakistanâ€ an American ally.
Obama countered by saying he never threatened to bomb Pakistan; he said he had said he would not wait for an approval from Pakistan, before striking at al Qaeda leaders, if as commander in chief he had precise intelligence on their whereabouts in remote parts of Pakistan.
Russert, in the debate, also asked Obama about a recent speech by Louis Farrakhan in which he praised Obama as a candidate who is uniting the country. Obama said he had in the past denounced anti-semitic statements by the Nation of Islam minister.
Senator Clinton, eager to snatch some points, jumped in and insisted that Obama should have instead â€œrejectedâ€ rather than just â€œdenouncedâ€ Farrakhan. Here again Obama seized the uppperhand, saying: â€œIf the word â€˜rejectâ€™ senator Clinton thinks is stronger than denounce, than Iâ€™m happy to concede the point–I both reject and denounce.â€
Obama closed superbly, praising Clinton as a worthy candidate for the presidency who would be a better president than John McCain, the prospective Republican PartyÂ nominee.
Obama said he believes he just happens to be a better candidate for president.
[More Comment To Come]
To comment, to subscribe to or advertise in New Yorkâ€™s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com
Also visit out sister publications Harlem Business News www.harlembusinessnews.com and The Groove music magazine at www.thegroovemag.com-END-
RUSH PR NEWS newswire and press release services at www.rushprnews.com
Content- Legal Responsability
Rush PR News is not legally and/or morally responsible for content of press releases, opinions expressed or fact-checking.
Rush PR News cannot be held legally responsible for material published and distributed through its newswire service or published in its press-room and therefore cannot be sued for published material. Third-party must be contacted directly to dispute content.
Rush PR News is not the contact for material published.