January 31st, 2008
09:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Schneider: The heart vs. the head

Sen. Obama looks on as Sen. Clinton answers a question on Thursday night.

Sen. Obama looks on as Sen. Clinton answers a question on Thursday night.

They’re both turning their fire on Republicans, not on each other. The most striking thing is the way they’re minimizing their differences - contrasting themselves with the GOP, not with each other. They’ve both gone to the edge recently, and realized that approach wasn’t working. The Clinton campaign has been trying to get the point across that Barack Obama doesn’t have enough fight – that’s he’s too amicable to fight the Republicans in the fall. They were trying to use Bill Clinton to paint Obama as a wuss. But that created more of a problem for them than for him.

Obama always comes across as eloquent, and speaks in a language that people identify with more readily – Clinton comes across as more polished and knowledgeable. You see her policy skills, and his people skills. That’s why this is such a tough choice for Democrats. The toughest choice in politics comes between politicians who are basically in agreement – it comes down to trivialities. It’s easier to decide when the differences are deep and profound – and the polls reflect that. Most of their supporters could go either way.

Related: Watch Obama and Clinton discuss their differences

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Gina

    The differences on the issues may be narrow, but the gap is wide for personality, relatability, genunineness, and overall likability. I'm a Republican (2 time Bush voter) and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Barack! He gets my vote for sure. I'm ready to go door to door campaigning for him! I can't say the same for Hillary – I can't even say that I'll be able to bring myself to vote for her. In fact, I can barely watch her when she's on TV. I'm ready for change as much as everybody else is, but I can only go so far. I can't and won't for Hillary. I don't want Romney or McCain (or anymore No Child Left Behind), but I'll vote for them over Hillary.

    Are you listening Democrats? There are many, many more Republicans like me out there. If you want a Democrat to be elected president in November, vote for Barack on Tuesday. If you want another Republican president, vote for Hillary.


    January 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. ww-New York

    Thamber are you watching the same debate? She had to be asked the same question more than once and then Wolf had to clarify her answer.. Now some Hillary supporters have to be re-thinking their position! I now know for sure "I'm voting Obama"!

    January 31, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. JS

    Hillary just turned into Miss South Carolina when he asked was the war vote a mistake.

    January 31, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. JK

    Hillary, it was a bad decision looking back at the real facts. Based upon what you may have been provided, it may have been the right decision at that time, but given what has been provided to the public, you were duped ! Shame on Bush and his spin of the intelligence reports.

    January 31, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. Guylene

    Does experience count when Hillary can't honestly say that she made a mistake on her vote for the war?

    January 31, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |

    No Obama-Clinton Ticket please.

    January 31, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Mona

    Hillary, You go girl ! We definitely need a Clinton to wipe out this Bush mess.

    January 31, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Linda White

    Don't we think that Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton is a bit much. Besides I am still not sure which Clinton is running. All we see on TV is Bill. Hillary has yet to really answer any questions. She skirts around them real good though. Just because she is a woman does not mean we will get change. Bill and Hillary both wear pants so who is really running and where is the change.

    January 31, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. kishor

    Hillary showed how she is the right person for the job once again. Seems to me it will be better to have Obama on vice president seat. Because at the end of the day, only talk does not count, it is the experience which will/should matters. My vote to Hillary!

    January 31, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |

    the debate was too nice.

    January 31, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  11. Frank

    Yes ,the democrat candidates speak of change, because that's what you'll be left with in your pockets when they're done with you.

    January 31, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  12. wayne ga.

    you go Obama you are doing great,all the best man.

    January 31, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. Mike

    Clinton more polished and knowledgeable? What debate were you watching?

    You just need more than a 30 second attention span to get Obama's answers...

    January 31, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  14. Fay Logan

    This was much more comfortable to watch this evening rathe than the debate
    last evening when McCain/Romney went at it like two alley cats. The feeling I had
    tonight watching Clinton/Obama was that they are almost the same. I felt
    that here is a President and Vice-President. Here are two people that cannot
    That is very appealing.

    January 31, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  15. Sue

    Experience matters. Hillary was definitely the more polished and informed candidate. She gave very specific answers. Obama's just not ready to be President.

    January 31, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. Dan S CO.

    Obama is not ready for president he's not qualified enough yet. You can just listen to what he says and see he's not ready. Hillary has been there done that and knows exactly what needs to be done to fix our countries problems. Don't let your wanting change so bad, because of 7+ years of George Bush cloud you mind. It's not even close. Barrack is not ready for president.

    February 1, 2008 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  17. Ravens Fan

    I think Hillary and Barack would be the Dream Team....
    Regardless of who wins or loses. I figure we could possiby hace 16 years of prosperity in America....that woudl be sooooo fantastic.

    February 1, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. roger, conway sc

    I enjoyed the debate, Obama does have a voice that gets your attention BUT his answers do not have substance, & then he seems to go off on things that are not related to the question. I do think he done better last night than in the prior debates. I feel that Hillary speaks with knowledge & her experience is shown in her answers. As far as unity goes it will take members of both parties being willing to want to work together, it does not matter who is elected. There has to be some give & take on both sides but we do not need a president who will cave into the republicans & independants like Lieberman. Vote Hillary 08

    February 1, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Anna Crossley

    I think your reporting is biased. You are pushing Abama and you under report Hillary Clinton. I am black and a women and I resent your reporting and have stopped watching you. I don't like MSNBC but at least they are faired to Hillary Clinton.

    February 1, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. elena

    Agree wholeheartedly w/Anna! I think that all of the pundits are too enamored w/Barack's "star-like" quality and are forgetting that they are supporting a "little leaguer". Hillary is the one who is ready for the job! Let's support Hillary.

    African Americans for Hillary!

    February 1, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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