Democrats Meet For New Hampshire Debate

We’ve had another debate which will change little. Hillary Clinton showed again that she is the strongest candidate in such a forum and her front runner status will remain unchanged. She concentrated on trying to reduce the perception of differences among Democrats, hoping to change the opinions of the Anyone But Hillary Democrats. Obama still has not figured out how to transfer the magic which is seen when he is out campaigning to this forum.

John Edwards and Joe Biden get points for effort, but Edwards sounded more like an aggressive trial lawyer who will say anything to win than a President. While Obama couldn’t do much, he did manage to shoot down Edwards’ credibility. Despite Edwards’ holier than thou posturing, Obama reminded everyone of how each stood on Iraq before it was the politically popular position to oppose the war. That was enough for Obama to remain number two in the race, ahead of Mr. Four-And-One-Hlaf-Years-Too-Late. Obama and Edwards also showed clear differences on health care, with Obama disagreeing with Edwards on the need for an individual mandate requiring everyone to purchase health insurance.

Richardson and Dodd didn’t do anything to move into the upper tier, but I’ll give each a point for making a good point, even if these have been ignored so far in the media coverage. Richardson suggested lowering the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55, which would be of value if the universal plans of the other candidates are not passed. Under the current system, having a medical problem, or even being older, makes it harder for those not receiving coverage through an employer to obtain coverage at a reasonable price. Allowing the opportunity to buy into Medicare before age 65 would help remedy this problem. It might even save Medicare some money if the program doesn’t have to pay for the consequences which have arisen in those who have not received adequate care before reaching age 65. This won’t be enough to help Richardson among many Democrats with the other candidates offering more comprehensive plans. His constant reminders that he is Governor of New Mexico will not help him either. His best bet will be to establish himself as the more moderate, pro-growth, candidate on economic issues and find a constituency of his own as the others split the more liberal economic vote.

Christopher Dodd caught my attention in the final moment when he mentioned restoring our Constitutional rights as a top priority. I wish he had the time to speak more on this topic. His blog team also prevented John Edwards from getting all the blogosphere buzz with the graphic above showing the time each candidate had to talk.

Ronald Reagan’s name came up frequently at the Republican debate. Not surprisingly, Bill Clinton’s name came up many times at the Democratic debate. However Barry Goldwater was also quoted by former Goldwater Girl Hillary Clinton on allowing gays in the military. In his later years, Goldwater was strongly opposed to the influence of the religious right and began to consider himself a liberal. It’s a sign of how far the Republican Party has moved to the right that Barry Goldwater would fit in better with Democrats than Republicans if he was still alive.

Update: Transcript now available

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    janet says:

    Thank you for this succinct summary. I watched Blood Diamond last night with my college kids instead of the debate.

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