Jewish World Review January 16, 2008 / 9 Shevat 5768
Dems love each other so much
By Roger Simon
Can't the Democratic front-runners stop saying awful, racially charged things about each other for just one night?
Well, yes, they can.
For almost two hours Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards displayed sweetness and light when it came to race relations and each other. Butter refused to melt in their mouths.
Those statements that have been flying back and forth between the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign about race?
Gone. Forgotten. History.
"We both have exuberant and sometimes uncontrollable supporters," Clinton said. "We need to get this campaign where it should be. We're all family in the Democratic Party."
"I know that John and Hillary have always been committed to racial equality," Obama said. "We can't solve these challenges unless we can come together as a people."
"I feel an enormous personal responsibility to continue to move forward," Edwards said. "Now, we've made great progress, but we're not finished with that progress."
But what about New Hampshire, where Obama lost to Clinton? Could he have lost because of his race?
"No," Obama said firmly. "I think what happened was that Sen. Clinton ran a good campaign up in New Hampshire."
Wow. Maybe they should just draw lots for who becomes the nominee.
Not that there wasn't a sharp elbow or two on subjects other than race.
The sharpest came with just about seven minutes left in the debate, after NBC's Tim Russert quoted Clinton as implying that Al Qaeda might test an inexperienced U.S. president by attacking the nation.
Russert pointed out that before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton said: "I don't think it was by accident that Al Qaeda decided to test the new [British] prime minister, Gordon Brown, immediately."
Clinton refused to back off of that statement Tuesday night, and Obama whacked her for it.
"I think that is part and parcel [of] the use of the fear of terrorism in scoring political points," Obama said. "And I think that's a mistake."
But race? And those comments by Robert Johnson, a big Clinton supporter, bringing up Obama's past drug use and saying Obama wanted to be like "Sidney Poitier"? Were those comments out of bounds?
"Yes, they were," Clinton said.
Clinton did not cede much ground elsewhere, however.
When asked if she believed Obama and Edwards are both prepared to be president, she refused to concede that simple point.
"I think that that's up to the voters to decide," she said.
All three candidates were asked to name their greatest weakness.
Obama said: "I ask my staff members not to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it because I will lose it. And my desk and my office don't look good."
Edwards said: "I sometimes have a very powerful emotional response to pain that I see around me."
Clinton said: "I get impatient. I get, you know, really frustrated when people don't seem to understand that we can do so much more to help each other."
But why do I have this sneaking suspicion that the Republicans will come up with different answers for each of them?
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© 2008, Creators Syndicate