LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - Hot on the heels of CNN's presidential Democratic debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, the candidates made their way to a ballroom at the Paris Hotel on Las Vegas's famed Strip for the Clark County Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner.
Billed by Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley as the "biggest event in Clark County Democratic party history," candidates took to the stage one by one to address an electric crowd of 2,200 Nevada Democrats, including some 80% of Clark County's precinct captains for the January 19 caucus.
As a birthday gift, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson spoke first and used his Western credentials as a way of relating to the Nevadans, the first Western voters of the primary and caucus season. Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich chose an issue close to Nevada's heart, touting his record of voting against turning nearby Yucca Mountain into a nuclear waste site.
Few eyebrows were raised when Senator Barack Obama of Illinois went after frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. He took several thinly veiled shots at his main rival saying, "Telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of what they need to hear just won't do. Poll testing our position because we're afraid of what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won't do."
Unfazed, Clinton instead attacked Republicans saying the "stakes are higher than they've ever been before." The crowd responded with her emerging slogan "Turn up the heat!" when she asked them what they would do to Republicans on issues like healthcare, education and global warming. The loudest cheers of the evening were reserved for Senator Clinton, likely a reflection of Wednesday's CNN/Opinion Research poll showing that 51% of likely Democratic caucus goers in Nevada would vote for Clinton.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards also stayed away from taking jabs at Democratic rivals, setting his sights on the Bush administration and saying that, like in his trial lawyer days, as president he will fight for the disenfranchised against corporate interests.
Predicting that the next president would literally have to go to work on Inauguration Day, Delaware Senator Joe Biden reminded diners of his lengthy foreign policy experience and time in the Senate as arguments that he might not have as much of a learning curve as his opponents. He added that during the ongoing unrest in Pakistan, he talked with President Pervez Musharraf and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto before they talked to President Bush.
The zinger of the night may have gone to the other veteran senator, Chris Dodd of Connecticut – "I'm a late bloomer in the father business. I have a six year old and a two year old. In fact I'm the only Democratic candidate that gets mail from AARP and diaper services." Dodd invoked family as a top priority everyone shares and one of the main reasons he's running for president.
In contrast to last Saturday's Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa, candidates were kept to their allotted time with tactics reminiscent of an awards show – go too long and we will drown you out with music, as former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel found out the hard way.
– CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt
For all those people convinced that Hillary is trying to hide her records as first lady, please get your facts straight. There have been numerous articles that cover how the releasing of papers in the archives occurs. None of the papers are being held up by her or her husband. The archivists have to release documents, after sorting through them for national secuirty issues, social security numbers, and those things, in the order requests are received. This is a procedure and the slowness has to deal with the fact that you have eight people sorting through thousands of documents. Hillary has nothing to do with the documents not being released.
Sen. Obama should have just skiped the event and gone onto bed... he looked beaten... GO HILLARY! I also loved Biden's performance... now that would be a great ticket!
I was disappointed in CNN's unabashed bias towards Clinton last night. Wolf was pathetic as a moderator – at first unable to control the talking (ie. letting them fight so Hillary could say they were ganging up on her) and then completely controlling it so that Hillary could run on as long as necessary to achieve her point and not calling on others at all for the latter parts.
His chiding of Sen. Obama for issuing a lengthy response to the driver's license question – "this is a yes or no question" – lobbed right at Hillary and her answer "no". This is NOT an opportunity for a soundbite. These are difficult issues that deserve a sound, honest and thought out answer. NOT yes or no (which she couldn't even muster 2 weeks ago).
It was obvious that CNN had already declared her the winner before the broadcast and their in-depth analysis by "the best news team" was led by James Carvilee a huge Clinton supporter.
Disappointed. I've always felt that CNN was above the bias of the usual MSM. Shame on me.
Before people throw their unflinching support behind Clinton, they ought to think about the fact that there is no person in this country who has not already made up their mind about her. That really says a lot when only 51% of Democrats support her bid. I am a registered Democrat who would seriously consider not voting for Clinton in the general election.
O.K. Having annoited Her Royal Highness as the dem. pres. candidate CNN and NBC you have both won the debate. The sad fact that both of you will be facing is when the national debate starts your biased leanings will not help carry Pure Evils baggage. The American people are smarter than both of your org. combined.
Hillary Clinton claims that most of her political experiences come from the association with her husband's administration. Yet she refered to NAFTA as "I only remember bunch of charts and papers"? WHAT?!
NAFTA was trumpeted as a major Clinton's project and achievement and this is how she paid attention?!
As an undecided voter, it's embarrassing to me that CNN, one of my favorite news sources, is so clearly favoring Clinton and anti-Edwards and Obama. I believe in the power of the press, and the importance of the press in disseminating information to the public. When a news source abuses that power, or at minimum doesn't check itself, and fails to remain neutral, begins to give its power away. Please CNN, bring us unbiased reporting.
I learned more about CNN's position on the nomination than we did about any of the candidate's position(s) on issues. Even Russert was better as a moderator.
thx stacey from battle ground WA....biden was very impressive and it's too bad that the MS media (that would be you, CNN) already has the story written and put to bed. he has the most credentials and guts and smarts to be president. possibly we're all to cynical to recognize the real deal. tina in ohio
It's funny how all the candidates want Biden to be there Secretary of State or there VP. When in fact the most qualified candidate is Biden. He is the most knowledgeable on Foreign Affairs which is important for the next President. Biden is also the only candidate who can bring both parties together and has a track record to prove it. He has the likeabilty factor. Biden also answers every question at the debate which the others seem to wobble on. Biden also doesn't bash any other democratic candidate. The only thing that Biden doesn't have is name recognition which makes him low in polls which in turn gives him less media attention which in turn gives him lower poll numbers. It seems the media doesn't give us a chance to know ALL the candidates, like after the debates they only talked about the top three candidates and I thought it would be nice to hear about all the candidates that are running, that would of been a nice change., but no it was not mean't to be, we got instead was more of the same Edwards,Obama,Clinton.....
Hillary is president from day one and others can be intern for her.
To Ike from Va. Thank goodness MLK and the Montgomery Bus Boycotters did not have your attitude. Black folks would still be at the back of the bus.
Hilary supporters must demand that she release her earmarks. Obama has and what is your candidate hiding? Hilary is a panderer who hasn't demonstrated one original idea. He had two separae dinners with Obama, Hilary later had lunch with Hill and Bill. Have her release her WH documents. Experience? Obama has more legislative experience than she. How can we evaluate her WH experince if she doesn't allow the public to review the documents?
Obama has integrity.. he does not accept PAC or lobbyist money. He opposed the Iraq war when it was unpopular to do so. That's leadership. He told the teachers' unions that he supports charter schools and merit pay..that's courageous. he said he would deploy troops in Pakistan (now under martial law)if we had reliable info that AlQuaida was there.That's vision.
Obama is the only Democratic candidate who can win the general election. Clinton is divisive and has a very very high negative rating. The
Republicans will make mincemeat out of her. Even CNN, Time-Warner , NY 1 and all the Clinton biased outlets won;t be able to help her.
We need a president who is smart(Havard Law Review president), with integrity and a record of working with those from all political spectrums.
J. C. in Texas? Are you for real? I do not ever recall seeing Hillary Clinton taking the oath of office! I do recall Bill Clinton doing so. How can you say that Hillary did this and she did that and she.........the woman was married to the President of the United States. Dare we say that Jackie Kennedy diverted the Bay of Pigs incident? And I am a Democrat voter looking at all options for 2008. However, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton based on her husband's administration. Get real here!
Obama has everything needed to be a great President. Hillary's cold eyes chill my blood.
I thought it was unfortunate that the time allowed during the debate was not more equally balanced. I do not understand what people want from a President. I really do think one needs to take an internal look within themselves at what they this country needs as a President.
1. Assertiveness – not Aggressiveness
2. Experience – But one who has been tainted and seasoned by the Washington Machine.
3. Intelligence and a President that seeks out the answers by using the information from those you seek around you.
4. A President who can bring the parties together and countries together.
To me that is not the front runner Hillary Clinton...Yes, it seem Obama can fill those shoes.
Clintin may have all the attention and the fans and I grant that she is a grate public speaker, but I don't believe that she has what it takes to heal this nation. She just doesn't deal with forien policies and governemtns well. Obama needs to ball up and get his game plan on. He has what it takes but he is lacking in the public speaking area..