February 21st, 2008
08:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Schneider: Past debate moment comes up

AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) - The first question dealt with the issue of the day: Cuba.

Clinton made the argument she has made before - that she would not meet with Raul Castro without preconditions. In doing so, she is subtly reminding the audience of what was largely viewed as a misstep by Obama at summer debate: when he said he would meet with some of the world's worst dictators without preconditions. Clinton later called that answer naïve.

CNN's Campbell Brown quickly pressed Obama on that argument; he said he would meet Raul Castro too, but not before groundwork had been laid - a fuzzier answer than he gave over the summer. Clinton is also hedging, saying she would pursue "vigorous diplomacy" with America's enemies.

On this issue, the two seem to be moving toward each other - and to the extent they do that, it's to Obama's advantage, because he was clearly seen as the loser of this issue debate earlier in the campaign.

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Na

    Well done Hillary! Well done!!!! Don't choke nor cry or you will be bashed...
    Well done Obama! Well done!!! I must say, these two should be on the same ticket...

    February 21, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. Pat Kolmer

    Obama pointed out that the Bush administration has greatly damaged America's reputation. His audience knows and feels this; he doesn't have to spell it out. Having botched the crusade for democracy in Iraq, America is now in a situation where the strategy of withholding diplomacy contingent on Cuba meeting human rights conditions doesn't have the kind of clout it used to have. With thousands of dead civilians in Iraq, America has it's own human rights issues to address. People know and feel this at a gut level and just to see Obama taking a different course, developing a case for a more egalitarian diplomatic course where America doesn't try to lord it over everybody. He might sound fuzzy to pundits, but the people who vote seem to be hearing him. Calling Obama fuzzy, naive, rhetorical etc tends to have the effect of making Hillary appear all the more politically manipulative and stuck in the establishment., and she senses that. It's an interesting dynamic.

    February 21, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Jon

    I like Obama except his antiwar rhetoric. It is too much every american know he voted against the war he should not make it a big stick against Hilary, she admited that she was misled...

    February 21, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. Glenda Martinez

    I wan the leader of our country to be a strong-one not a follower; Obama is clearly agreeing and using the same words Clinton is using. Obama is verbaly agressive but it does not mean that he is strong to lead our country. It is clearly that he took some of the coments Clinton said personal and became defensive. This is a concern for me because our next leader must be ready deal with criticsism without taking it too personal, and if not we will have another George Bush leading us into World War three.Our new leader needs to be ready to take criticsism from others. If Obama can not come out with his on ideas to compose a speach, then he is showing the lack and the ability to be able to communicate with the country and the world. This shows that If he becomes president, he will must likely be an agessive follower not a strong leader! Clinton demonstrate to pocess the qualities of a strong deplomatic leader at the end of the show. When she shooked Obama's hand; she was able to unite the people in the roon when she did this gesture; they applude her.

    February 21, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  5. ho tc

    I'm so disappointed that Obama flip-flopped on the Cuba issue.
    I hope everyone can refer to his stance in 2003 and compare his response he gave tonight.

    February 21, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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