For those of you that like political cage fights, tonight is your night. With yesterday's departure from the race of John Edwards, tonight's Democratic debate (CNN/8 pm) will feature two hours of straight standoff between increasingly bitter rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
This will be a big test for both candidates, in a setting that fits their star power--Hollywood. Clinton will get her first opportunity to directly challenge the Illinois senator to lay out specifics concerning his plans to implement his agenda for the nation. Thus far, Obama has managed to avoid specifics in the debate format, preferring to discuss policy details on his web page, while using the debate time to present a broader rhetorical vision of the future.
If Obama can stand up to the barrage of facts, figures and history that will surely be tossed his way tonight and manage to remain on even ground with a major policy wonk like Hillary, it will go a long way towards proving that he's is as much about substance as style.
With only five days to go before the 22-state barrage of Super Tuesday, both candidates will need their strongest performances to date, not only to fire up their own voter bases, but also to attract as much of the 20% of Democratic voters that until yesterday were supporting Edwards. Where those voters go could determine everything on Tuesday.
GOP Nominee: Ronald Reagan?
Last night's Republican debate allowed the GOP presidential candidates a chance to reflect on the accomplishments of their beloved two-term Republican president, and explain how they would do their best to continue his policies and legacy. Unfortunately for the current resident of the White House, the president in question left office two decades ago.
Once again, George W. Bush was virtually absent from the conversation, while all four candidates spent the better part of the evening answering questions that basically boiled down to "What would Ronnie do?" Held at the Reagan Library, with former First Lady Nancy Reagan playing host, the representatives of the Grand Old Party even fielded the question of whether or not the great Gipper would have supported their individual campaigns. Guess what? They all said yes.
Big Shot of the Night: After Mitt Romney chided John McCain for winning the endorsement of the New York Times editorial board, the Arizona senator was quick to point out that he has also received the support of BOTH the Boston Globe and the conservative Boston Herald ("the people that know you best, Governor") -- Romney's two hometown papers. He ended by saying with a grin "I'm sure the Arizona Republic will be endorsing me."
Fox Funnies -- Goodbye to "America's Mayor"
What in the world is Fox News going to do now that their favorite son Rudy Giuliani is out of the race? Fox's "Fair and Balanced" love affair with the former NYC mayor had reached epic proportions only a few weeks ago, when they ran a one-hour special on Giuliani's campaign during the run-up to key nominating battles in New Hampshire and Iowa--two states the self-proclaimed hero of 9/11 virtually ignored. The network even went so far as to anoint Giuliani as "America's Mayor". Check out this video of Fox's love for that particular phrase.
Posted by Scott Cavanagh
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Thursday, January 31, 2008