The February 21st Democratic Debate – Part Three

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on February 21, 2008 0 Comments

Part One

Part Two

John King asked Obama about his $91 million in earmarks with regard to possible debates with McCain about “pork barrel

Obama: That’s untrue. We have disclosed all of our earmarks. I believe very strongly in transparency. With a very conservative Republican, I passed a bill called Google for Government, where every single dollar of federal spending is published on the internet and voters can check that out. The idea is to open up the process. I’m in favor of more disclosure. I’ve pursued projects that I think are important, but I want to make sure it’s not done in the dark of night.

John King said McCain has never asked for an earmark. Does he have a better case to make on this?

Clinton (on her $342 million in earmarks):  No, because he supported the wasteful tax cuts of the Bush administration and the Iraq war. Bush inherited a balanced budget and a surplus. That is gone. We’re looking at a 9 trillion debt. I’ll get us back to fiscal responsibility. It’s important that we look at where the money has gone under Bush. Who really is going to move us toward fiscal responsibility is the larger question. We can get back on the track we were on.

Jorge Ramos asked about Superdelegates possibly breaking rank with the delegate count

Clinton: These are the rules that are followed and I think it will sort itself out. We’ll have a nominee, and we’ll move on to victory in November.

Obama: Given how hard Clinton and I have been working, it’s important that these primaries and caucuses count for something. The will of the voters should ultimately determine who the nominee is going to be. What’s most important to voters is that we have a government that is listening to them. The Democratic Party, at its best, can summon a sense of common purpose – higher purpose.

Campbell Brown asked the candidates to each describe a moment of crisis that tested them

Obama: I look at the trajectory of my life. My father left when I was 2, and there were rocky periods where I was off course. What was most important was learning to take responsibility for my own actions —  how I can bring people together to have a n impact on the world. Working on the streets of Chicago, bringing people together, working as a civil rights attorney – rejecting Wall Street – that cumulative experience is the reason I have the judgment I do, and it’s important that people get the government that is worthy of their decency and their generosity.

Clinton: Everybody knows I’ve lived through some crises and some challenges in my life, and I am grateful for the support of countless Americans. How do I keep going? I shake my head in wonderment because with all of the challenges I’ve had, they’re nothing compared to the challenges I’ve seen the American people have had. The hits I’ve taken are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across the country. I was blessed and I was called to give the same opportunities I’ve had to others. I am absolutely honored to be here with Barack Obama. Whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. You know we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people; and that’s what this election should be about.

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And that was it. The pundits are praising Clinton’s last line as her best, but many are saying that it merely cleared the way for a graceful exit from the race if things don’t go well for her in Texas and Ohio.

Clinton did very well but the blogosphere points out that her attacks on Obama for borrowing the words of others don’t play well when she herself has borrowed words. Her last line was eerily similar to John Edwards’ own graceful speech when he conceded.

Obama also did very well, especially in his deflection of Clinton’s accusations and in stating his policy differences.

(Disclaimer: The context of this article is not meant to be an exact verbatim transcript but is substantially accurate.)

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