January 31st, 2008
09:18 PM ET
2 years ago

Schneider: Not making the choice any easier

Former presidents Bush and Clinton attended the funeral of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin together in 2007.
Former presidents Bush and Clinton attended the funeral of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin together in 2007.

The question of the past vs. the future keeps raising its head – this time in a question that raises the dynastic concerns in the minds of many Americans: nearly three straight decades of a Bush or a Clinton on the presidential ballot.

Clinton turns the question on its head, repeating a pithy campaign trail formulation that always resonates with Democratic audiences: it takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush.

The happiest man this evening? Howard Dean. So far tonight, the Democratic party is the big winner. This debate clearly beats last night’s debate. But if you’re trying to use the forum to decide which candidate to support, you might come away more uncertain than ever.

Related: Watch Hillary Clinton take a dig at President Bush

–CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider


Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Joe H

    A good debate... BUT.... Obama is being held accountable for the nuance of his responses - explain this, explain that. And that's a good thing. However, Clinton is getting away with shirking each question - deflection, obfuscation, and redirection. It's Clinton's 'canned phrases' versus Obama's thorough, yet honest explanation. Blitzer needs to do a better job holding Clinton accountable. It's just not happening.

    January 31, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. Casey

    The choice is clear: we need both of them in office!

    January 31, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Austin

    Comment of the night goes to Senator Clinton!

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. DemFan

    I just wish they gave Barack a chance to answer that question as well of old vs. new in regards to Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Amber

    "It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush"

    I love it! Go Hillary!

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. JohnS

    Bill take note, Hillary is the ONLY one who brought in GENDER into the debate: "The First WOMAN President." What is this gender and race set of issues?

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. EMO

    Since 1980, a Bush or Clinton has been in the White House–the questioner was right, this is a joke and an affront to democracy. At this point, I would vote for a toaster. CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE OBAMA 08!!!!

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Mike

    So far I have not heard a thing from hillary that I haven't heard before. for example....she USED to say that she would get our troops out by 2013! Now she say "As quickly as possible!?!?!?!?!?

    Sigh.....

    January 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Percy

    They are both strong in some aspects. Overall Hillary is the most complete package. She has the experience and we just can not discount that, it is critical. Obama would make a fine VP and win by a landslide following that. For Obama supporters....what would be wrong with having Obama for 16 years?

    January 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. dave

    Oh come on Bill. That may be what you call pithy but it was poignant and the timing was impeccable. the applause meter was off the scale and I had to turn the tv sound down.

    January 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. elaine

    Come on Bill, she had a good retort.

    January 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. K,FL

    I have to agree the Democratic Party is the Big Winner Tonight Like i said the best choice will be a Clinton/Obama Ticket when all this end... maybe as soon as After Feb 5th.. Tonight i Must say Im very Proud to be a DEMOCRAT!

    January 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. BRM

    Bill, I think that it's difficult for the undecided voters. However, by this time, you either love Obama or Hillary.

    Hillary '08!

    January 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  14. Marggie

    Bill – couldn't disagree more. How about side with the candidate who actually answers the questions. Very disappointed by Obama's answers... he is very tangential, pulling in one liners that draw minimal applause without actually stating a thesis and supporting it.

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. NickNas

    It is SOOO hard to sound impartial but I don't recognize this Hillary. Calm, Polite, Non Agressive.

    I think Slick Billy has taught her well, but it is not genuine. They ARE Master Politicians.

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Murry

    A Clinton may be able to clean up after a Bush but he wasn't able to keep a Bush from returning to the White House.

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. janisr

    no uncertainty. barack obama.

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. Omar

    Bill i told you that you are getting smarter
    i will hire you to run my campaign for president in 20......................

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. James

    Clinton is only there because of her name, and everyone knows. The Clinton name buys connections and name recognition.

    This is no different than George W. Bush, who is an idiot, but sailed into the presidency based on name and connections alone.

    How about we choose a president based on their character and merit?????

    January 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. Mary

    Hillary was perfect in her response about the Kennedy endorsement when she encouraged the voters to look closely at the two people who are on the ballot, just she and Obama. And her comment about a Clinton cleaning up after a Bush received a great amount of applause. Very good and civil debate tonight.

    January 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. Joshua

    This may come down to what football recruiters call the "intangibles": the extraneous factors that help sell a recruit as a better fit for a program over another. I honestly think there are slight policy differences that make me favor one over the other (no fun if I tell you how I'm leaning, I like surprises) but civility and calmness are showing just how far the Democratic party has come in turning itself around.

    January 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. Bobby

    Wolf needs to quit trying to stir the pot between Obama and Clinton. Lay off already.

    January 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. Alexandria

    You are absolutely correct. This is an excellent debate between them candidates in an elegant manner. But the problem still exist, who will I vote for from the democratic party.

    Such a hard choice to make.

    January 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Ron Alcorn

    Hillary wins the body language hands down. Her inclusion of Maxine Waters was strong.

    January 31, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Again, Wolf with the "Hillary, that was a clea swipe at you." Wolf just wants a fight!

    January 31, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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