Página de The Washington Post: Democratic Debate: Analyzing the Details: Watch the interactive video from the Feb. 26 debate and analyze the transcript.
Análisis de Daniel Politi para Today’s Papers en Slate Magazine
Extracto en español: A diferencia del terso debate pasado, en éste las referencias agudas surgieron desde el inicio. Los moderadores de la cadena NBC hicieron todo lo que estuvo a su alcance para propiciar el golpeteo. The Wahsinton Post se muestra sorprendido de que no se hayan dado más críticas al papel del moderador Tim Russert. Este encuentro era considerado como la última oportunidad de Clinton para quitarle a Obama el momentum. Sin embargo, prevalece en los diarios la idea de que Clinton no fue capaz de cambiar drásticamente el rumbo de las cosas con sus críticas a Obama. Los Angeles Times apunta que, quienquiera que gane no la tendrá fácil contra McCain. Ambos aspirantes demócratas se comprometieron a renegociar el TLCAN.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal‘s world-wide newsbox lead with yesterday’s Democratic debate in Ohio, where Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama clashed over a number of issues, including campaign tactics, Iraq, health care, and NAFTA. As opposed to the largely cordial encounter last week, the sharp words began almost as soon as the debate got started yesterday, although it did remain “generally civil,” as the WP points out. There was huge anticipation for the 20th, and maybe final, Democratic debate of the primary season, which was seen as possibly the last chance for Clinton to stop Obama’s momentum before the contests in Ohio and Texas that have been described as must-win states. But, overall, nobody thinks Clinton was able to drastically change the race last night with her criticisms of Obama.
Whoever ends up winning the nomination will face a tough time against Sen. John McCain, notes the Los Angeles Times in its lead story. A new in-house nationwide poll shows 61 percent of voters view McCain favorably. McCain holds an advantages in several fronts as voters are more likely to rate him as the strongest leader who has “the right experience” and would be better at protecting the country and dealing with Iraq. On the economy, McCain gets higher marks than Obama but not Clinton. In a hypothetical matchup, McCain gets more support than either of the two Democratic contenders, leading Clinton by 6 percentage points and Obama by 2 points, which is within the poll’s margin of error. Everyone was expecting last night’s debate to be confrontational, and the NBC moderators seemed to do everything in their power to encourage the fighting from the beginning by starting out with clips that showed Clinton’s criticism of Obama’s campaign flyers. After some back-and-forth about tactics, where Obama countered her criticism by saying he has also been on the receiving end of attacks “and we haven’t whined about it,” the candidates launched into a 16-minute familiar argument over health care. The LAT emphasizes that when the discussion turned to trade, both candidates said they would threaten to opt out of NAFTA if Mexico and Canada didn’t agree to renegotiate the deal.
Clinton also directed criticism at the news media and asked why it is that she seems “to get the first question all the time?” In a move that the LAT describes as “a clear ploy for the sympathies of women voters,” Clinton then went on to reference a Saturday Night Live skit that portrayed reporters as being madly in love with Obama. “Maybe we should ask Barack if he’s comfortable and needs another pillow,” she said. (In a piece inside, the NYT says: “She has a point.” Clinton has been on the receiving end of the first question in all of her one-on-one debates with Obama.) A while later, almost seeming to prove her point, Tim Russert asked her to name the man who Russian President Vladimir Putin has named as his successor, Dmitry Medvedev. (She sort of got it right: “Medved … Medvedeva …”) The NYT‘s Alessandra Stanley, who has the only quasi-critical look at the operational side of the debate, notes that the encounter “did look a bit like the SNL parody.”
Overall, TP is surprised there aren’t more critical stories about Russert’s performance yesterday, which included an almost surreal question where he asked the contenders to give a specific answer to an incredibly detailed hypothetical question that involved Iraqis kicking out all U.S. troops, a resurgence of al-Qaida, Iraq going “to hell,” and the possibility of a re-invasion of Iraq (but what if it’s raining?). When Clinton confronted Russert on the hypothetical nature of the question, he answered: “But this is reality.”
In an analysis piece, the LAT notes that while Obama “did not walk away unscathed from the debate, the damage Clinton inflicted was minor.” The NYT‘s Adam Nagourney agrees, noting that “Obama had the advantage” last night and was helped along by Russert’s “aggressive questioning” of Clinton. The LAT goes on to say that both candidates “were tipped off balance by tough questions” from the moderators and mentions how Obama “stuttered a response” to Russert’s question about whether he would reject the support from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. After Russert found it necessary to remind viewers of Farrakhan’s opinion of Judaism, and some interjection from Clinton, Obama said he “would reject and denounce.” The LAT says that although this might not matter now, “his hesitancy could provide an opening for Republicans.”
The LAT‘s poll shows Obama is beating Clinton 48 percent to 42 percent, although Clinton still holds a lead in states that haven’t voted yet. But “one of the most striking findings” of the poll is that when Democratic voters were asked whom they support now, regardless of what vote they may have already cast in an earlier primary or caucus, Obama leads by 20 percentage points.