Democratic Debate Thread: The Naumachia in Nevada


It's the first three-way Democratic debate, the first since Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton tear up (even if it took a few days) and the first with genuine drama about the inclusion of Dennis Kucinich.

I doubt I can liveblog in between watching Michigan voters storm the polls for a surprise Duncan Hunter landslide God bless early network projections! You can document the horrors in this thread.

9:05: I'm sorry, Clinton's super-convincing praise for her opponents has floored me. "Senator Obama who has, ah, such a profound, ah, story to tell the world."

9:08: This is unbearable. Will anyone give Edwards the Mitt treatment for saying he "saw young men sit at a lunch counter" to integrate the South?

9:14: An avalanche of Clinton fibbing just now. She's asked about Robert Johnson's comment that Obama was "doing something" (drugs!) while Clinton was personally integrating schools with a crowbar and a pair of nunchucks. "I take him at his word." Russert asks if he was out of bounds: "Yes, and he said so." But he didn't! He said the charge he was talking about drugs was "irresponsible and incorrect."

9:20: Apparently, the biggest issue in Nevada is whether Clinton regrets what Edwards regrets he regretfully said about Obama's regrets.

9:22: This is a high-def root canal: The questions are all about campaign attacks, and the candidates are pathetically trying to shift the conversation to policy. Clinton's asked about her Obama attacks: "What are the consequences of that in the fall against a Republican candidate?" How the hell would she know?

9:29: Richard Cohen e-mailed Brian Williams about Obama's secret Islamofascism, so Obama gets what I think is the first attempt to address e-mail smears about him. As long as we're being superficial, let's analyze this superficially: He sounded sort of weak. There was a thimbleful of outrage and a lot of Dukakisian returning to talking points.


9:44: They're in Nevada and they're talking about energy and no one's talking about nuclear. But Obama talked about the sun! Hey, everybody likes the sun.

UPDATE: I ended up doing some other work, but I was struck by Obama's answer on the Latino vote: "They voted for me in Illinois." That was true when he faced Alan Keyes in the general election, but in the primary he had to face Gery Chico, a lawyer and school board president who eventually came in fifth place. Chico only got 4.4 percent of the vote and almost all of it was from Chicago Latinos. Obama won 90 percent of black voters and a 37 percent plurality of whites, but he only split the Latino vote with Chico and machine (white) Democrat Dan Hynes.