February 22nd, 2008
07:32 AM ET
10 years ago

Schneider: Clinton likely did little to blunt Obama's momentum


Sens. Obama and Clinton shake hands after debating at the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium at the University of Texas Thursday. Photo Credit: Getty.

(CNN) - It was one of Hillary Clinton's last chances to knock rival Barack Obama – seemingly on a path to the Democratic nomination - off course.But throughout the CNN/Univision Debate in Austin, Texas, on Thursday night, the New York senator struck a cautious and at times conciliatory tone toward Obama, and likely did little to blunt the momentum of a candidate who has won 11 straight contests.It wasn't quite the love-fest of the CNN debate in Los Angeles three weeks ago, but Clinton repeatedly shied away from challenging her rival, even when the debate's moderators gave her ample opportunities to do so.

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-CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (421 Responses)
  1. s.b.

    How does someone not being in the Senate at the time of the vote, saying he's aginst the war but voting for more troops and money every single time it has come up since he's been in the senate make him strong on Iraq. He looks like a hypocrite to me.

    Look at this issue people. He says he's against it but votes for it.

    February 22, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. Linda

    The one that has the strength is Hillary and she is a fighter too!

    February 22, 2008 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  3. Jeff

    As a person with a Masters degree in communication, I have studied rhetoric for quite some time. While I believe that Obama has handled Clinton's plagiarism attack with relative modesty, I think that his response should be one of resounding admittance. He did speak to this somewhat in the Austin debate, however he should address this openly again.
    I believe the most important message to convey is that most politicians do not write every speech they give. Many have speechwriters. He and Hillary are no exception. Therefore, they are using other's words all the time. When pundits are still talking about Clinton's charge of plagiarism every day, it remains an issue. It becomes a non-issue as soon as Clinton has to respond that she has given a speech prepared by someone else. I was hoping to hear Senator Obama make this point last night. Perhaps "silly season" will get the job done, but this is a charge that should be sent right back where it came from.

    February 22, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. Lynn

    Hillary buries this youngster with her knowledge and experience. CNN needs to take a realistic look at their coverage of this campaign. They are way out on a weak limb. Hillary will be there when we cross the finish line. The Republicans are already defeated, but we will need wisdom and experience folks. Think Hillary and Bill or Barack and Michelle. No contest!

    February 22, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. margaret kost

    i watched the democratic debate last night, i only wish that senator obama was asked the question first. senator clinton answered the questions clearly, senator obama seem to listen to her answers and follow her. I really didn't hear how he was going to do to change things, only that what he would like to do. it seems to me, senator clinton gets critized if she shows emotion or if she doesn't. is it because she isa woman? can a woman show emotion. will she be considered emotional. if a man shows emotion, will he be considered caring.

    February 22, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. Pete Hamilton

    Sen. Obama rightly pointed out that her management style, in the 1990s universal health care fiasco, was a primary reason for the failure of that effort, but he failed to drive home the point. She does have a "I know what's best for you" attitude, and doesn't seem to want to bring a broad consensus into the dialogue in formulating policy. Is this what America wants in its president? I think not. In my opinion, this hubris on her part is a main reason for her very high negative ratings in opinion polls. She is a very smart woman, but perhaps too smart for her own (and the country's) good.

    February 22, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. both sides now

    Reading through all of Schneider's analzses, I can't help but notice his bias toward Obama. I'm on the fence, but Obama doesn't impress me. It's just soundbites, no substance. We had another president who was very good with soundbites, but no substance. His name was Ronald Reagan, and his policies had disasterous consequences. BUT Reagan had a very strong presence on camera, and that got him elected twice. Think hard america, don't be fooled by smooth talk. Don't make the same mistake you did in the 80s.

    February 22, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. eve neilson

    I think it is a shame that Hillary Clinton departed from her desk at the Senate Chambers to try and make a leap to the White House. There comes a time for all of us to consider our successes and sit back contentedly. Maybe, if her name weren't Clinton, and all that is attached to it, she might have had a chance.. As it is, we should be happy and grateful if Obama offers us a glimpse of hope that something, even little, will change in this country's affairs – after the Bush reign.

    February 22, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  9. R Gates

    George Bush was elected because he seemed to be a nice guy you could have a beer with. He had no foreign relations experience. Look what a mess he has made. I did not vote for him. I have never voted for a Republican but if Obama gets the nomination I will not vote for him. I will write in Hillary's name or Joe Biden. This country needs a real leader. If you want a rock star look to Hollywood because that is what you will get.

    February 22, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  10. How About Obama flip flops

    I am an independent, convervative person, when I watch Obama flip flop on Cuba issue I decided he is not worth to get my vote, I hate a person who changes their position depending on situation,and all conservatives do. After Cuba topic, I thought to myself why am I leaning towards Obama when he could change his position to get elected, so I decided to vote for Hillary. Thank you CNN for hosting debate which made me realize who is the best candidate

    February 22, 2008 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Liz Owens

    It reallty shows that most Obama people are new to thinking about anything vaguely serious.

    I.e trashing the clintons when they've done more for rational politics and stopping republican domination of america than anyone in decades, for example?

    February 22, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. Tim

    I might be repeating something previously said somewhere on the web, but Xerox doesn't make copiers anymore, Hillary. They are changing their logo and striving to lose that label as a copier maker. Their CEO must be banging his head against the wall this morning. It was not a funny joke and showed that dark side of Hillary you know is there.

    February 22, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  13. Eric

    I am Obama backer but thought both did a great job in the debate, both have similiarities and some differences, i would be happy with either candidate to be honest. While hilary shows signs of her true self and relates with people at times, I feel obama does that all the time which is why I support obama. but great debate by both candidates.

    February 22, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. Ivan, Toronto

    Did anyone notice how Hillary keep looking driectly at Obama while he was speaking, trying to get him off track. The ovation at the end of the debate was not for Hillary, it was for the both of them. Clinton supporters are unable to see the forest for the trees. The American people should be honoured to have someone like Senator Obama running for the Oval office. I wish we had someone like him here in Canada. Obama is for the people and change and with the people he will accomplish many great things, JUST WATCH>

    February 22, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. hms

    Obama said that by saying that Obama is all words, Hillary is questioning the judgement of the 20 mil voters.

    well, by saying that everything needs to chnage in Washington, isn't he doing the same. The same 20 million sent all those senators and House rep's to Washington.

    He criticizes the "establishment" and yet doesn't hesitate to take their endorsement ( aka Kennedy and Kerry..).. That is where his actions differ from his words..

    February 22, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. David

    Every time Hillary said something we heard an echo from Obama..absolutely no original thoughts of his own.

    H outshines O as usual when quick thinking instead of prewritten speeches come in to play. I prefer the 1st in my President.

    TEXAS 4 HILLARY !!!!

    February 22, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  17. Kelly

    I read a post elsewhere on this site that stated Hillary didn't even show up until 15 minutes into the ceremony where she supposedly watched the procession of wounded vets.

    She will say and do ANYTHING to get elected.

    February 22, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  18. Sophie

    I live in a South american country... I am not an american , but we pretty much depend on US policies and economy , I am very concerned because it seems the media is favoring an actor, Barack Obama , last night Clintons answers were clear and consistant , she had points and nailed them , Obama's answers ALL began with :Senator Clinton is right ..., I agree with her ... and as an outsider I can tell he is manipulating , Please American voters be responsible...the rest of the world is counting on you !!! Hillary is much more prepared and mature , he is arrogant and seems ambitous for personal reasons.

    February 22, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  19. Mr.Minnesota

    I think it was a good debate, but Clinton went too far in the xerox comment. I believe Obama won the debate last night, it looked like Hillary was desprate at the end.

    February 22, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  20. Peg

    I agree, it was a really good debate and made me like Hilary more than I have in the past. However, I think most people have already made up their minds, and Obama will prevail.

    I'm excited! Hillary would make a good President, Obama has the potential to make a GREAT President!

    February 22, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Nechia NY

    Even if she does win TX and Ohio she still would need to win by a large amount to cut in Obama's lead... I thought it was a clean debate with little mud swung by either side... I like the fact that Obama tried to list his accomplishments after Clinton said that his own supporters didnt know what he has done... But overall I think the debate showed that they are very simular in their views of change for the country... It would do the country a great deal of service if they both could be president but that cant happen so I think that they should run together. Glad to see that she didnt Cry...lol

    February 22, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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