November 16th, 2007
08:55 AM ET
6 years ago

Analysis: Clinton makes a recovery in Las Vegas debate

Sen. Hillary Clinton

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton stepped into the ring Thursday in this city known for prize fights, successfully beating back an onslaught of punches thrown from the left and right as her opponents sought to rattle the front-runner seven weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

Clinton, who entered this Democratic debate vulnerable following a lackluster performance two weeks ago, came out fighting in the first round.

For the New York Democrat, a good defense was a strong offense, and she sought to silence her critics who stood just feet away.

"I don't mind taking hits on my record, on issues," she said. "But when somebody starts throwing mud, at least we can hope that it's both accurate and not right out of the Republican playbook."

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soundoff (194 Responses)


    November 16, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Ron, TX

    So now it's "Republican" to discuss policy issues? It'll be a sad day for politics when our politicians can no longer openly discuss the pros and cons of each other's ideas. Not a single person was attacking Hillary personally. Attacking her health care policy? Sure. Attacking her social security "stance"? Sure. Attacking her ability to form a "bipartisan committee" when hating Republicans is her campaign theme? Sure.

    I don't know about that Hillary. I also don't know about CNN's supposed "post-debate panel" loaded with 3 Clinton supporters and a former Republican. Hillary Clinton stayed firm, but she took a few solid hits of her own: she seems to think the upper 6% of income earners in America are middle-class, perhaps for the same reason she things lobbyists are "ordinary people"...

    November 16, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Bob, NY

    What’s up with all the scripted softball questions CNN? It was easy to see these questioners reading them verbatim. Are we suppose to believe that Vegas cashiers couldn’t write and remember their own questions??

    November 16, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. Jim L., Irmo, SC

    The polls right now mean next to nothing right now. They rarely ever include college students, especially since they don't call dorm phones. They often don't include the large portion of the population that just uses a cellphone (no land lines). They call during times when people don't answer. Sure, right, this 1,495 people who you happened to catch really represents what is going to happen in January.

    November 16, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. r sisk, nevada

    Juan, you missed the point. Hillary was accusing Edwards of using GOP tactics.

    I watched the debate and thought everyone except Obama did a good job. Obama seemed to stumble over his answers and got a bit tongue tied. It will be interesting to see if he takes as much flack as Hillary did after the last debate.

    If I had to choose a winner. Hillary.

    There was a lot of expectation for her to deliver going into this debate and she did just that. Good Job.

    November 16, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. SD, NY, NY

    hahaha look at all these desperate Obama supporters. Hillary won the debate easily and she made it clear to Obama boy and Edwards; enough is enough.

    November 16, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    Becuase all of the candidates have their little issues. It seems that Obama and Edwards appear to exclude the others focusing only one Hillary. Their exclamations are not new news–thay have even been admitted to and explained–but could not appear deceptive or "turn-coat". Because the other's are too naive to understand the threat that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard represents, for example. She is the only one on the stage who was ready to call them what they are–when they export weapons, people, technology and other resources to support terrorists, and preach a radical version of their religion which threatens and kills innocent civilians publicly–a reasoned person must call them a terrorist group. She was the only one on the stage last night to do this–even if not politically correct to many liberals in her own party. Hooray, finally a President not afraid to resist the party powerful. Don't we all wish the GW Bush had the same strength of will?

    November 16, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Tim Swanson - Des Moines, Iowa

    Obama Replies – I'm not a Slinging, I'm a Shining – Shining Light on that mud your standing in. Now they can see the your real record. Don't accuse me of slinging mud. Your the one that slung it there all by yourself.

    November 16, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. LinnieFB, Corona, CA

    Senator Clinton was more 'prepared and polished' for this debate. However, we don't need a 'prepared and polished' candidate who stacks the deck in her favor every chance she gets.

    We need someone who will do what's right for the American people. We don't need 'slickness.'

    The people see through her campaign's attempt to manipulate us. There is a reason so many, democratic and republican, dislike her and will not vote for her. No matter how 'slick' you can't fool all the people all the time.

    November 16, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    I'd bet this article written before the debate.

    November 16, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Doug, Madison, WI

    It should be no surprise that CNN has declared that Sen. Clinton made a recovery in the Las Vegas debate. CNN in fact helped set the stage for her recovery. The debate was in a state that is know to have greater support for her than the rest of the nation. Wolf Blitzer and the CNN team asked her more questions than any other candidate, but didn't seem to challenge her in the same manner. Then, following the debate, Anderson Cooper's analsysis team contained two former members of Bill Clinton's administration who naturally told all the viewers what a great job they thought Hillary did in the debate. All she did was give empty responses, smile and jab back at Obama and Edwards. Any time people tried to fully explain their positions, Blitzer seemed to cut them off. I found it somewhat humorous that the most thoughtful responses seemed to be provided by the three candidates who barely register in the opinion polls – Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich.

    November 16, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Clinton Haters are un-impress that is a great sign, that is the best they can come up on their attacks... she nailed the debate, perhaps the interaction of the people watching did not help the charge of both Sen. obama and Edwards, but let me tell you she was ON... this woman knows what she is doing and she commanded the stage once again... Sen. Biden was also VERY good, I would love a Clinton/Biden08 ticket, that would be an un-stoppable combination!

    November 16, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. JC, Topeka, Kansas

    Interesting to see the Clinton bashers out in force this morning.

    I would say that the anti-Clinton mob have closed their minds and put on their blinders. God save King George II and down with Hillary.

    November 16, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Tim, DC

    I am glad CNN gets to decide who won the debate. I thought Richardson, Kucinich, Obama, and Dodd all did great.

    November 16, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Shawn, New York, NY

    Is this what passes for political analysis these days?

    November 16, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. James , New Orleans, LA

    If you want to look at unbiased comments of the debate last night please turn to

    Every time I read CNN's bias comments about the elections it gives me a headache. What happened with you CNN?

    November 16, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Kevin, Boxboro, MA

    Hillary was and still is awful. I can't stand her. She stands for nothing. Like a stalk of wheat, she bends where the wind blows. The only time she stands strong is when her rich friends are being attacked.

    You might say that she recovered, but that was because the audience in Las Vegas cared little for the issues and all about partisan politics.

    November 16, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Dilligaf, NY

    Mud-slinging? From the Republicans? Did I miss something, or were there just Duhmocrats there last night? The Republicans haven't even BEGUN to go after her yet! What, she feels she can't be challenged on anything? .... ! "Don't you know who I AM?! I am Her Royal Thighness! Queen Hillary! All hail, Queen Hillary! Lead us out of the wilderness. How DARE you talk back to me? To CHALLENGE me on ANYTHING! This is mine, all MINE! I am entitled to be the next president!"
    CNN sure served up some softballs .... again. I'd love to see FOX moderate one of these Duhmocratic debates, but not a chance. The Reps have no problem with an idiot like Chris Matthews throwing questions at them, but if FOX came in the Duhmocrats might actually have to answer some tough questions.

    November 16, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. JB Hull, IA

    A more appropriate headline would read "Hillary Clinton can't comprehend what Barack Obama is saying"... first on health care, then on social security, Hillary made wild insinuations about Obama that would suggest that she hasn't even read his plans on the topics... Hillary came across as genuinely worried and desperate for the first time. If she was still so confident in her "front runner" status, she would keep staying aloof above the "mudslinging." Her blundering attacks should be encouraging to Obama. She finally sees him as a real threat.

    November 16, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. chad Austin tx

    hillary did not come back in any way. Her answers where the same as they always are , further pushing her into the

    November 16, 2007 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Aaron Waco TX

    HILLARY DID NOT DO WELL. Not only that, molst people turned the debate off after 10 minutes. Please refrain from setting the bar so low for boring/uninspiring candidates like hillary. The media always seems to act like an echo chamber for hwer campaign. If cnn would give any of the other candidates the the time it gives her, THEY WOULD BE AHEAD IN NATIONAL POLLING. Look for Barack's numbers to keep rising due to edwards bad performance and hill's continued general back slide in popularity.

    November 16, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Daniel, NY

    In other good news for Hillary Clinton, a new general election poll released yesterday by Fox News has her with comfortable leads against the major Republicans. Link.

    November 16, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Clinton will do anything to win. Plant supporters in the audience with one purpose to boo when she is under attack. That is sick.

    November 16, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. T. Burgess

    I think Hillary did an marvekous job last night fighting off her attackers and more power to her. She was prepared for what was coming and handled her accusers and questions with poise and dignity. She did great under pressure. I think she learned by her mistakes. Wow! A president that could learn by their mistakes that's a thought!

    November 16, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Jim L., Irmo, SC

    Also, I think it is quite funny to read all over the internet news sources (even an article linked to the CNN website) that attacks by other candidates are being called Clintonian. This is parse as dirty politics. So, even in attacking the other candidates for the way that they "attacked" her, it points out what dirty politics she engages in.

    November 16, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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