Barack Obama undoubtedly had a bad performance in last night's debate, but I've been surprised to read how many people thought Hillary Clinton did well. John Podhoretz even went as far as to declare she was "frighteningly good." But I don't see how. As I noted in my column today, she utterly embarrassed herself on the Bosnia question and on Iraq. If some conservative commentators think she did well, it's only because several of the criticisms Clinton lobbed at Obama -- on Wright, on guns, on "cling gate," etc. came from a conservative perspective. It's kind of like in the wake of the YouTube debate last year in which pundits on the right praised Clinton for attacking Obama as being naïve for wanting to meet with foreign dictators. (Clinton was being the grown up, Obama wasn't ready for primetime.) But to liberals, Obama's stand reinforced the fact that he was the candidate who represented a true break with the Bush foreign policy. Obama may have been pummeled last night, but there's a lot of liberal rage against ABC, and Clinton will be seen as a collaborator who spent the night doing John McCain's dirty work. That may earn her kudos among conservative bloggers, but she needs the support of Democrats to win the nomination.
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