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)
  1. Josmom, Chicago IL

    Clinton 08

    November 16, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. James,Newton,Iowa

    I am a male who happened to be supporting Clinton because I felt she has what it takes to lead the country right now. When she started to play gender card even after saying it wasn't all about that, I felt so much shut down. I just feel I will support any other candidate but her. I will vote for either Obama or John Edwards.

    November 16, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Dazed and Confused in DC

    You O-Bomb-a folks are a sad joke. Yes, he bombed. And your spin is that the debate was fixed. I wouldn't have expected anything less from the monolithic, holier-than-thou, self-righteous Obama crowd, but its still such a sad thing to see. Fact is, Sen. Clinton has won every debate–except the one where she beat herself. Were all of the others except Philadelphia fixed? C'mon, take your lumps and move on, you're embarrassing yourselves.

    November 16, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Dan, NJ

    I thought Clinton did fairly well for herself last night. Certainly no big slip ups. Playing for a "home" crowd really helped her and was problematic for Edwards and Obama.

    Nonetheless, I agree with P. Cavender that she avoided addressing a number of specific issues and still refuses to address issues directly. I for one, have had enough of a President who doesn't think I am smart enough to be spoken to like an adult.

    To me, the biggest losers last night were Wolf Blitzer and CNN. Blitzer had little to no control over the debate and too often tried to focus on yes or no questions instead of getting answers on the core issues. And CNN poorly produced the voter questions, having those people try and memorize long and complicated prefabricated questions. Nothing against those people, but a bad job by CNN.

    November 16, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Zack,springfield,md

    The debate last night left me thinking;
    1.The debate was to help Hillary from previous mess. Cnn has been campaigning for Hillary
    2.It is about history even when our kids are dying.
    3.Despite Hillary saying it was wasn't about gender card, she still played it anyway
    4. From previous stuff like planting questions, the whole debate was a plant. She can even show that by the lady that asked about diamond and pearls. The question about social security was to hammer Obama because that is where his weakeness was from last sunder meet the press.
    5.It doesn't matter who becomes the president of this country because all what matters is power greed despite our situations.
    I am thinking to move to canada because I am really disappointed by my own people.

    November 16, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Jim L., Irmo, SC

    Ask 1,100 random people you see who they are voting for. Now, ask another 1,100 random people. Bet you the percentages aren't the same both times. No adequate representation of college students (not calling campus phones). No adequate representation of those who use cell phones and not land lines. And only giving the opinions of people who happen to be home at the time and will answer a call from a strange number instead of letting the machine get it. Polling should not convince anyone that Clinton isn't too divisive a figure to bring the country together.

    November 16, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. JJ, Jacksonville FL

    Well, you know what they say...if you can't beat MSNBC, control CNN. This was obviously CNN rushing to Clinton's defense by trying to negate that disaster of a debate she had weeks ago. I'm suprised if anyone is taking Clinton News Network seriously anymore.

    November 16, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Jim in Orlando, FL

    CNN writes: 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."

    Strong offense ? Mud .... right out of the Republican playbook ? As someone who does not want to see Hillary get the nomination, I hope she continues EXACTLY as she did last night ! The Dems have several other candidates who have far more business and experience in the kitchen than Hillary, even with her best canned cliches.

    November 16, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. David Branch, Waco, Texas

    This so – called debate registered a new low in Presidential politics. The whole thing was manipulated to recover Hillary after her crash and burn last time. The Clintons go to extraordinary lengths to control the media but this was ridiculous. Totally scripted. And the Writers Guild is on strike?

    November 16, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. David, Gilbert Arizona

    I couldn't make it through the entire debate. I had to turn it off. I kept screaming at the TV for Wolf Blitzer to shut the heck up and let the candidates answer the questions.

    The man loves to hear himself talk. Too bad no one else does.

    November 16, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Carl, Miami, FL

    Bullsheez...CNN you'll say anything to push her. and Rudy for the GOP. and who told you to push them is the big question? these candidates are bought and paid for folks. and the Diebold machines will help them, too.

    November 16, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Tom W - Dedham, Mass

    Perfectly scripted, typical Clintonesque BS, Edwards points out truthful facts and you categorize it as mud and then manage to hammer Republicans for a Democrat pointing them out.

    Bravo, Ms. Clinton, see you in 2008.

    The recent dirt on you and the 90's dirt wil turn into nice and easy, but TRUTHFUL mud.

    November 16, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Diane, NYC, NY

    Sigh, always the victim, aren't you Mrs Clinton?

    Other people aren't 'throwing mud'. When you refuse to take a position on anything, and when the records of your so-called experience are held under lock and key, people are going to point out the fact that you probably shouldn't be trusted.

    I'd agree with them, and I applaud the efforts of those people who challenge you to show that you are more substance than flash. Especially since your record as a Senator is sorely lacking in substance!!

    I can't believe the airtime this waffling woman gets when there are candidates like Joe Biden out there with some pretty meaningful things to say.

    November 16, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Barbara Daves, Memphis Tn

    Why is CNN so Hillary bent? Please check out all of the rest of the hopefuls... do be so bias...

    November 16, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Marc, Naples FL

    CNN (Anderson Cooper & company) has got to stop talking incessently about Obama & Hillary just because they happen to be the celebrity frontrunners. Their responses (at best)were expertly crafted rhetoric. Joe Biden answered with actual plans on what he would do with Iraq , China, etc., if was elected President. His answer on Teacher's merit set the precendent that the other candidates more or less followed and agreed with. Not too mention, both Obama & Hillary referred to him positively throughout the debate. He's the fighter the Democrats need to put against the Republican's!!

    November 16, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Larry, Commack, NY

    Now we know why CNN Stands for Clinton News Network. Wolf Blitzer should be on her staff.

    November 16, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Jack, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Why is everyone so caught up in the celebrity aspect of this race? Who said what to whom? She called him a . . . He said this about . . . Come on people, resist the temptation. Don't let these fools on TV tell you what's imoportant.

    What did they say about the ISSUES? Who debated best? We can't be blind to the fact that Joe Biden ouclassed everyone last night.

    He and Hillary were the only candidates remotely presidential.
    Obama and Edwards were schoolboys. Richardson and Dodd were there so you could see how the game was doing on the other channel. Did anyone care what they were talking about? I don't know.
    Biden had straight answers for everything. He was relaxed, funny, to the pint, intellignet. I know he doesn't have a shot, but whoever wins the nomination should seriously think about Biden as VP.

    I'm not a Biden shill or anything, if that's what you're thinking.

    Also, did anyone watch the CNN post-debate coverage. I couldn't believe it. How horrendous was that? Did anyone say anything remotely insightful? No. They talked about NO issues. A disgrace.

    November 16, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. John, Washington DC

    When is it 'mud', then?

    "I don't mind taking hits on my record, on issues," she said.

    Is that not exactly what Edwards and Obama were doing? Commenting on Hillary's record or stance on issues like illegal immigrants, war in Irag, etc? When her opponents have a point, and have her on an issue, it becomes mud. She did not address the concerns/comments of her fellow Americans on stage. They had very valid points that were rapidly dismissed as 'attacks'. They were not attacking, just pointing out some truths about her record and stand (think ping pong) on critical issues. The whimsical 'questions' from Blitzer were fluff.

    November 16, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Blaise MacLean, Bogota, Colombia

    The Clintonites pacified Wolf Blitzer the way the Marines pacified Anbar.

    November 16, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. dave, cheverly, MD

    I watched ALL the Democratic Debates this year. But last nights was a CIRCUS. Heckling, Booing, Moderator interrupting most Candidates answers but Hillary's, Planted questions, an orchestrated Pep Rally for Hillary. So the Media can do what it is doing now. Taking her staged 1-liner answers and saying she is back. NO one is falling for this.

    Like most of Hillary’s positions, I am confused. Does she want to say she is not playing the woman card or call them the Boyz club? If you take away ALL the Media trying to Cram Hillary down our throats. There is nothing left to her. Since U.S. woman claim to be smart and just as good at making rational decisions as men. If that were the case then woman would NOT be considering Hillary.

    November 16, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Ryan, New Jersey

    I nearly vomited when they ended the debate with a question about Hillary's jewelry preferences. CNN ought to go off the air in shame. Hillary is awful, not just because she's the most smarmy politician we've seen on the democratic ticket in YEARS, but because she can't possibly achieve anything as president, she's beholden to EVERYONE so that she could get even this far!

    November 16, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |

    Just like clockwork Hillary Clinton performed superbly. When a person has prepared assiduously for a task whether it be a debate or a test one can expect excellent results. HRC has spent two-third of her life preparing for this moment, she won't fail now. Unless the sky falls upon her she will be the nominee

    November 16, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Mike, Mount Vernon NY


    Because I think her record shows how she is basically a Bush-Cheney enabler.
    She voted for Iraq, and fell for the Kuds force vote.

    I think she is in over her head.

    I also find it ironic that even though she is basically running on Bill Clinton's coattails, his record is coming under more and more fire. It was nice to see someone last night finally question NAFTA. I was upset no one mentioned offshore outsourcing, where the Clinton campaign gets a lot of donations.

    Edwards is right, she is a coporate Democrat. For once I think he hit the nail right on the head.

    November 16, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Tash Taye, Columbus, OH

    I watched your Las Vegas debate last night including the so-called commentary after the debate. I make the following observations:-
    1. This the seventh debate I have watched and this is the first debate where I saw the obviosly biased crowd boo some of the candidates for their comments. That is why I think some of the debates in the past have urged the crowd not to clap or boo as in this debate until the debate has been concluded so as not to prejudice the proceedings. This was obviously a crowd which seems to be mostly made up of Clinton supporters. Hence the booing of other candidates.
    2.The debate was not fair to the other candidates who are not considered to be the top three front-runners.
    3. On the show after the debate, Anderson Cooper had four so-called analyst or commentators two of which either worked for Bill Clinton administration or worked as his campaign operatives. This people are supposed to be independent and objective observers? Give me a break!
    3. As far as Anderson Cooper himself is conserned, I have never heard him say anything good about Barack Obama. Whatever Barack say or does, there is always something wrong in what he says or does according to Cooper.
    Finally, I want you to know in my neck of the woods, CNN is known as the Clinton News Network.

    November 16, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Jack, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Joe Biden is the only candidate that would guaranteee a Democratic win next year. I don't think he's ever going to get much attention, as long as everyone is focused on the BIG THREE. However, I think he'd make a great VP nominee for Obama or Clinton (asuming no one else has a shot).

    Clinton/Biden 2008
    Obama/Biden 2008

    November 16, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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