Obama's Bad Night

Amanda Carpenter

11/16/2007 11:37:57 AM - Amanda Carpenter

Part of the reason why Hillary Clinton received glowing reviews from last night’s debate performance is that her number one primary opponent, Barack Obama, fell flat.

Roger Simon, chief political columnist for the Politico, said Clinton’s October 30 debate performance was “her worst yet.” The morning after the Las Vegas Democratic debate he declared, “she’s back!” The powerful David Yspen of the Des Moines Register said she was the “lady champ,” and the New York Sun’s Charlie Hurt of the New York Post described the event as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfes.”

But Clinton sure looks a lot better when Obama can’t even spring his own trap.

Early on, CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Obama “You’ve suggested she’s [Clinton’s] triangulating…what do you mean by that?”

The first example Obama listed was Clinton’s evasive answer in the previous debate on the issue of illegal driver’s licenses. “We saw in the last debate that it took not just the debate but two more weeks before we could get a clear answer in terms of where her position was,” Obama criticized.

Indeed, it did take two weeks for Clinton to publicly issue support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Then, after he dropped his plan Tuesday, Clinton said she is opposed to the practice.

So, was Obama any clearer when he was asked the same question? When Blitzer asked Obama if he supported giving licenses to illegal aliens Obama said “undocumented workers don’t come here to drive” and called it a “wedge issue.”

Blitzer had to follow up twice more to get a straight answer out of Obama.

“This is the kind of questions that is sort of available for a yes or no answer” Blitzer chided before Obama answered “yes.”

When Clinton was asked to respond “yes” or “no” she said “no.”

Clinton also emerged victorious over a tangle with Obama on social security reform because of a rookie slip-up by Obama.

“I do not want to fix the problems of social security on the backs of middle class families and seniors,” Clinton said. “If you lift the cap completely, that’s a $1 trillion tax increase.”

When Obama was given an opportunity to respond he said “Hillary, I’ve heard you say this is a trillion dollar tax cut on the middle class by adjusting the cap.”

Clinton came back at him with a with a brief lecture: “First of all, I think that you meant a tax increase, because that’s what it would be.”