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. Anthony L. Narbone

    This is directly to Mr. Obama

    How can you say that you are ready to run this great country, when you cannot get a decent hair cut. you should fire your barber cause he/she cut your sideburns very unevenly, is this how you plan to run this great country, UNEVENLY.

    February 21, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. Vig

    Can any of CNN's reports interpret ANYTHING in Clinton's favor? The advantage given to Obama is by CNN. Why Hillary ever agreed to have CNN host a debate when they have done everything to move her out of the equation is beyond me. Right CNN?

    February 21, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. George, NC

    Hillary will treat the rest of the world liked she treated the "smaller" states after Super Tuesday. They don't matter, unless they are doing her bidding.

    Enough already, can the fat lady start singing?

    Obama 08

    February 21, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Tom Cullen

    On this particular item, I thought that Sen. Obama's statement sounded lame compared to Sen. Clinton's more articulate statement. She clearly was more comfortable with this question. I had the impression that he adjusted his answer a little to move closer to hers.

    February 21, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. alexfromaustralia

    I'm sitting in front of my TV in Sydney Australia and have three times now thrown a book at the TV set. Hillary keeps making t he points and Obama simply repeats the answer and adds a little 'rhetoric' and "hype" to his answer – but he has NO ORIGINAL IDEAS. His waffling on the meet with Cuba, Iran, North Korea point was painful to watch but his mesmerised audience can't see it. I feel so bad for Hillary, she is so obviously much more qualified than neophyte Obama. She must be so, so frustrated sitting there next to him and watching him take 'glory' for merely regurgitating her points and her specifics. But I guess that is the rock star's strategy, agree with pretty much everything she says, don't pick a fight, and win on hype. I feel worse for the American people because if this guy makes it in to office you are going to pay for his learning on the job and treating the position as a rock star.

    February 21, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Elrod

    Obama's answer on Cuba is courageous and correct. I'm sick and tired of this Bushian unilateralism. What's worse, our Cuba policy is entirely driven by pandering to ex-Bautista supporters in Little Havana. It's time America decide foreign policy to the benefit of America and not for the older rich thugs who just want to replace the thugs that kicked them out.

    February 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. You Know Me

    The conversation would be lots more interesting without the knee-jerking.

    February 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. kb

    Finally ! The moment that everybody has been talking about. A one on one debate where Obama is not able to answer one question effectively and totally without any substance.....

    February 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Grant

    OK, raise your hand if you work for a campaign.

    February 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. John T.

    Obama is the face and voice of change for a generation. If we lose this moment we lose more than another election. It means a general election between more of the same or more, more of the same.

    Hillary needs to recognize what's happening and get out of the way.

    February 21, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Jason

    I think that it would be bad for the Democratic party for the race to be decided by Superdelegates. If that happens we have less of a chance to win against MCcCain. To me the fair thing to do would be for the candidate that wins the popular vote to become president and the second pace person to become vice president. If these 2 candidates come together and the Democrats come out in huge numbers as they have done in the primaries, the Republicans hav no chance.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Ken H

    I rbelieve Senator Obama made his point that he is open to meeting with both people we agree and disagree with. But would be responsible in his approach of those connection to ensure that a lasting relationship and progress could be achieved.

    Bill thanks for your insight and clarity!
    Ken

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. Richy

    He backtracked on that one. Said he will meet with them. Hillay missed a chance to call him out on it

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  14. Dinu

    So meeting with Castro would be a problem, but noone cares if Rice calls brutal Equatorial Guinean dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema a good friend of the U.S.?

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  15. Topcat

    Sitting down with enemies without preconditions is idiotic. It would be exploited readily by the likes of Castro. Sen. Clinton clearly understands the subtleties of this process.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Valerie

    This debate is not going to change anybody mind aobut Barack. He is awesome and very well spoken. She tried to bad mouth him before Wisconsin and it did not work and she had all of you to try to help her. It's not working, get over it.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Don

    Is Dana watching the same debate I am? She sounds like a losing Hillary.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. ggranny21

    Why does she always have to go first?Don't you people think he has any of the answers.You have all been so unfair that YOU WILL divide the parety!!

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Carla

    I agree we need to talk to our enemies. It does not mean we have to agree or give up on our ideals but we will not improve the world with out trying.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Aamir Arrahim

    Hilary Clinton has no results in anything she has done, I don't see where she has all this experience from as i can remember Bill Clinton was the President, and she was just the first Lady, i have this question is it by being married to the president that gives you 35 years of experience, Hilary keeps hitting the same points over and over again and she doesn't yield any results.Obama is poised and is staying stedfast on what matters Hilary will lose.We don't want to see Bill and Hilary Clinton in the White House again.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Terri

    Hilary did not directly answer the question and draw contracts when asked how she would be ready on "day 1" and Senator Obama would not be...I did not hear a direct reply here.

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Maria

    Obama's performance confirms why I support Clinton. He is clearly not comfortable discussing specifics , does not have a firm grasp of the issues...Our country cannot afford to gamble on "hope"!

    February 21, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. Michael M

    Hillary knows what she is talking about. Obama, while engaging, is obviously being outdone. I hope people begin to listen to the facts and not rely solely on hype.

    February 21, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Roger

    Obama is the king~

    February 21, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. Kelly Belsker

    Clinton constantly takes to her crowd... she changes with wind...Initially she said no, now she is saying yes..with provisons...so is Obama...as he always has said.Why should we be afraid when we are the world leaders... we can talk & listen..if we don't agree than we will regroup later... I see no problem with that. He is consistent... she changes up too much for me...not to be trusted...

    February 21, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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