DOVER, NH—I knew Hillary Clinton was comfortable talking (and talking) about the details of policy, but I'd say she's half again as cozy tearing into Barack Obama and John Edwards. At the start of her speech she said the debate had clarified the race. "My two opponents were finally asked… some questions," she said. "I didn't mind spending 15 debates debating myself." OK, funny. "I kind of enjoyed it." You see? Too far.
Her attacks on her two close competitors were straight from the debate and didn't always make sense. On Obama's eloquence: Rhetoric is wonderful but "when the words end, the speech is over." Because… no speech has survived to inspire people? "When you say you're against PATRIOT Act as a senator, and you vote for it, that is not change." But Obama voted with the filbustering minority to delay PATRIOT renewal in late 2005, then voted for renewing the revised act… like, uh, Clinton.
She took another chance to nick Obama on a question about illegal immigration. "I don't support drivers licenses for illegal immigrants," she said, and referred a little to the infamous Philly debate. "By the way, Senator Obama does support drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. He's on the record supporting them." Hear that, delicate middle-aged white women in the audience?
That illegal immigration answer was a little nutty, weirder even then an answer on Latin America when she said she could understand why Evo Morales was popular and that we should reach out to Third Worlders who want health care and benefits. On immigration she said she'd thought about the logistics. "Can you imagine here in the Live Free or Die state if people knocked on your door and said, 'We're checking to see if there are illegal immigrants here'?" Second later she said she favored asking illegal immigrants to "come out of the shadows" and offer themselves to be deported. Trust us, Anne Frank, you can come out of that closet!
Oh, and Hillary predicted Al Qaeda might "test" the new president because terrorists bombed London after Gordon Brown took over. "You're hiring a president to be there when the chips are down." I left not quite agreeing with one of the songs blasted on the PA: "Every little thing she does is magic, every little thing just turns me on."