October 30th, 2007
03:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton could face fire at tonight's debate

Clinton is likely to be in the center of fire at tonight's debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic presidential hopefuls all face off tonight in Philadelphia, but the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns are already taking shots at each other.

While the senator from New York is far ahead of her rivals in all the national polls, there are expectations that Obama, D-Illinois, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will step up their attacks on Clinton in tonight’s debate.

“Obama has raised the expectations for the debate, and that may not altogether be a good thing,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger, adding that “he has signaled very strongly that he intends to be sharper in his criticism of Hillary Clinton, so all eyes will be on him."

The question is whether he can execute it well enough to keep Clinton from complaining that he’s "gone negative"—a notion, she says, that would "undermine the ‘hopeful’ politics of his campaign.”

But in what’s known as a pre-buttal, Clinton Campaign chief strategist Mark Penn said in an e-mail to reporters that “considering that both Sens. Obama and Edwards made their names by pledging to be positive, the last thing one would have expected was for either of them to go out and announce with pride that they were now going to go negative on a fellow Democrat.”

The Obama campaign quickly responded, with chief strategist David Axelrod telling Borger that “it’s the height of disingenuousness, for these people, who a run hardened political machine, to turn around and profess that any legitimate exchange is out of bounds.”

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    When you're out in front, there is always a bulls eye on your back.
    Don't let them get you down; go Hillary, go!

    October 30, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    How about these 'candidates' stick to the issues that the taxpayers want fixed? We really don't need any more sniping or fighting, when the real enemy is all the damage the Bush administration has caused.

    October 30, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Lance In Monrovia, CA

    Obama should talk loudly, directly and as clearly as he can about the differences between he and Hillary, starting with her vote on Iraq, going to her vote on Iran, and the fact that most of her money and support comes from lobbys and corporations while his does not.

    I would also blast her on the polls if I was Obama. The proof that national polls are meaningless is in Steve Colbert now being fifth. Its a popularity contest not a legit thing.

    Go get her Obama. It's yours to win.

    October 30, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. James, Jacksonville, FL

    No comments

    That should be a tip off.

    Who really cares what Edwards, Obama or Clinton thinks – my goodness America, this is the best the Democrats can do?

    October 30, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Mark Penn is the new Karl Rove and Hillary is the new Bush. If you question them, you are unpatriotic. Just bow to the annointed ones. What a bunch of BS. How can some of you idiots support this stuff after all we as Democrats have dealt with under Bush. You Clinton supporters are NOT Democrats. You make me sick!

    October 30, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Bob, Seattle, WA

    You mean, finally, some truths may come out? Nobody is afraid of the truth or the big bad wolf? Are they? Hopefully, it will be interesting. (For a change).

    October 30, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. monica, rochester new york

    HRC supporters, I respectfully ask you, why is challenging Hillary on positions, strategies and pointing out differences in policies and philosophies viewed as an "attack"?

    October 30, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. JM, Chicago, IL

    Go, Hillary!

    Hang tough and don't give in to their politics.

    Keep committed to real fights. The troops, energy, the American farmer, health care and poverty.

    October 30, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Rodney Dallas TX

    Obviously, Obama and Edwards can't win on their own so they are trying to knock the front runner down. Is that how they are going to run the country if they win. Talk bad about everyone?

    October 30, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Lori, Minneapolis

    Hillary Clinton can dish it out, but she sure can't take it. She'd better get used to the idea of coming under greater scrutiny than she ever did during her husband's administration or her tenure in the Senate. Her handlers and the media have done a good job of shielding her so far but even they can't continue to protect her in a general election. Well-needed light will finally be shed on her history of corruption and I hope whoever her Republican opponent is eats her alive. I can think of no one more deserving of long-overdue public exposure.

    October 30, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. LLP, Portland

    She isn't saying it's out of bounds. I'm sure she will welcome the debate.

    Obama was saber-rattling this week. He was telling the press he was going to be tough on her. Why not just be tough? Why the announcement.

    October 30, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Anonymous, Newport News, VA

    Somebody please agitate Hillary enough during the debate for us all to see her fabled temper and foul language. We should, no, need to see her true personna. We've already heard her contrived laugh when she's confronted in an interview.

    October 30, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Chris, Middletown, CT

    (even though this will do no good) – I urge everyone to listen to Sen Clintons answers carefully...she doesn't answer questions – (or answers them with conflicting answers) – then research Saul Alinsky....and see how all her entitlement programs follow her "teachers" – and his political affilation?? (grassroots Marxist)

    October 30, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Glenn,Bham,Al

    Clinton doesn't seem to represent the view of the Democratic leadership. She says openly that troops will not be pulled out of Iraq. Also that all options are open on Iran. She has been in Washington a long time. Her record isn't anything to brag about. Obama & Edwards should try to exploit the fact that she is OLD SCHOOL politics. Her & Bill learned there politics from my states (Alabama) old governor George & Lurleen Wallace. Simply say anything to anybody at anytime that might get a vote. Promise the moon stars & free insurance. Enough people will believe you to get you in office. Then do nothing.....till next election.

    October 30, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. C Anderson, Seattle WA

    To have good dialogue, point out difference in opinions as well as address their differences is not being negative. What I find interesting is that to disagree, to show facts and data about what has not worked is considered negative. If she and her campaign cannot handle any criticism and have to whine about where that criticism comes from how could she be "ready to lead". If she is ready I want less talk about it and more action. All I heard from her as first lady was whining about the attacks from the right. If you want this job, act like a leader and suck it up. Fire back with facts and data but not a complaint that someone attacked you, disagrees with you etc.... This should not be about what feels good, what is nice etc.. For all that she dishes out against the republicans she should be able to handle it and not use that in her fight for the presidency. Show me why you deserve to lead. What are you going to do. Cause you will have tough decisions that you will need to back when 1/2 the nation is against you. I don't want to hear complaints about the whiners I want you to show me why your decision and where you are leading us is the right thing(s) to do. You don't have time as president to spend your time complaining that someone was negative.

    October 30, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Sophie, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    I love how every politician thinks that making someone else look bad will make themselves look better. Not that I'm for Hillary but it seems awfully convienient after the mess with gay rights statements Obama has gone under fire for that he decides to be critical of her. Politicians are all dirty...plain and simple.

    October 30, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Maurice, Washington, DC

    Clinton will face fire tonight but she will fight back with FIRE. You can count on that. You don't push this lady into a wall and expect her to stay there, she will come back fighting and fighting harder than then men.

    I am a man and I love all our candidates on the democratic side. Quite an impressive field I will have to say but this tiger in a pant suit called 'Hillary Clinton' is not to be misjudged. She can fight with the best of them. You need that kind of strength and courage if you are going to run for president. You need it even more if you are a woman.

    October 30, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Vince, Los Angeles CA

    Obama and Edwards have brought up legitimate differences.....just because they expose a truth about Hillary that you don't want to acknowledge, doesn't mean they have gone "negative"....You Hillary supporters need to wake up and get a grip on reality!

    October 30, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    They can do what they like, my mind was made up some time ago! Both candidates (Edwards and Obama) have made too many mistakes and been too negative for my vote.

    They are totally irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

    October 30, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. MLou, WI

    So, Hillary, how's that plan to release all of your papers that are available under the Freedom Of Information Act (from when your husband was in the white house) going?

    Oh, that's right. You SAY you'll release them after the 2008 election. You're sounding more and more like you're running for the Republican machine.

    October 30, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. S, Champaign, IL

    If you think the Republicans won't use any vicious attack against her then you're naive. Obama and Edwards need to get a little tougher and show voters she is not going to have an easy time getting elected. I'm worried she'll win the nomination with everyone thinking she's all great and then the Republicans will cream her with the usual swift-boat style attack and we'll have that weasel Giuliani in the oval office. Plus Hillary has voted like a Bush Republican in the Senate and unless Obama and Edwards bring this to people's attention, voters won't realize it.

    October 30, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Jon, Indianapolis, IN

    Clinton has done more negative campaigning against her rivals than Obama and Edwards combined thus far.

    Its about time Obama and Edwards take the gloves off.

    October 30, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Ron, TX

    Oh please! The Hillary camp proclaims that Obama abandons the politics of hope every time he tries to discuss her flawed policy issues. There's nothing negative about attacking policy. Obama has never launched a personal attack on Clinton. Heaven forbid Hillary has to defend policy ideas! Heaven forbid Hillary ever be questioned!

    October 30, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Coach Haughton NH

    Hey if Obama and Edwards could find dishwashers with $2,300 bucks to spare, I think the whole poverty issue would be dead. Unfortunately Rodney they can't so they are running On Honesty and Ethics which means nothing unless you point out the candidates that don't.

    October 30, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Jon, Indianapolis, IN

    It doesn't matter what Obama and Edwards say though. Clinton has her fool-proof 'cackle' defense.

    October 30, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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