I just watched the Democratic debate on MSNBC. Not a thrilling 90 minutes of television, although Clinton was a little more combative than she was last week in Texas, and Tim Russert seemed nicely well-prepared with specific questions about statements each of the candidates has made in the past. For the most part, I think Clinton needed to get Obama to say something stupid in order for her to turn her ship around, and she didn't, and I expect we'll find there wasn't much news that comes out of the debate. I was starting to drift back into the copy of Baseball Prospectus 2008 that arrived in the mail yesterday and has been keeping me from doing anything terribly productive for the past 24 hours, but Obama's attempt to wedge a closing statement into his answer to a question about any regrets he has in his time in office made me look up, and I wanted to post it. It's nothing extraordinary, but I thought it was a really nicely disarming and satisfying answer. He's been really good at not making mistakes, at not letting Clinton's anger goad him into getting angry back. And as the frontrunner at this point, I think that's really all he has to do. Clinton tried to find an attack tonight, but nothing she said really seemed to land.
(P.S. I'm guessing this isn't on the bookmark list of all that many of my readers, but the best live-blogging of the debate -- and pretty consistently the best, quickest, and most entertaining political read on the web, and the first thing I check when I'm looking to see what the big stories are, is The Corner on the National Review web site. I know, I wouldn't have thought so either! Then again, I gave 25 bucks to Joe Lieberman during the '04 election cycle, so who knows where the heck I am on the political spectrum anyway.)
Anyway, from Obama:
You know, there is a vanity aspect and ambition aspect to politics. But when you spend as much time as Senator Clinton and I have spent around the country, and you hear heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story, and you realize that people's expectations are so modest.
You know, they're not looking for government to solve all of their problems. They just want a little bit of a hand-up to keep them in their homes if they're about to be foreclosed upon, or to make sure their kids can go to college to live out the American dream.
You know, it is absolutely critical that we change how business is done in Washington and we remind ourselves of what government is supposed to be about.
And, you know, I have a lot of confidence that whoever ends up being the nominee that the Democratic standard-bearer will try to restore that sense of public service to our government. That's why I think we're both running, and I'm very pleased that I've had this opportunity to run with Senator Clinton.