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. Justin

    How does Hillary Clinton react to recent comments by Russian President: Vladimir Putin over her comments about his soul? Further, shouldn't we attempt to repair these relations?

    February 21, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Karen

    Obama is more sincere. He may not have instant answers. But sometimes instant answers are just replays of old tired stuff.

    February 21, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Jen

    This debate is clearly revealing the increasingly important role Hispanic Americans play in the democratic process. No doubt, this is one of the reasons that CNN invited Univision to co-host the debate. Given this, please explain to me how it is that Campbell Brown can so atrociously mispronounce Spanish proper nouns, including "Univision!" Get a clue!

    February 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Michael Sparkman,

    Sounds to me more like Obama and Hillary are clarifying their earlier positions. I would have preferred to see either candidate delve deeper into the history of dysfunctional American foreign policy – which goes back years long before the Bush administration took it to new lows. How about a more in depth question into the history of failed foreign policy with Cuba – mistakes made by both parties – that contribute to the problems that remain in that beleaguered island nation.

    February 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Rebecca

    President is a job for one person–a job she can handle. Obama uses "we" because he is lost without his advisers and speech writers.

    February 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  6. Mac Ibrahim

    If we want to have peace with the world we should stop interfering in their lifes. The way they want their government is their business. We can't ask for regime change as a precondition to talk with those countrie. We can facilitate the change through deplomatic, commercial and cultural relations. We didn't place embargo on the Soviet Union or China in order to change their regimes or threaten them. They changed becaues we maintained and ascelated our ties with them. I believe we have to stretch our hand to Cuba and start normalize our relationship with them. We are not punishing the Cunan government by our embargo, we are punishing the Cuban people. I like to hear that from any candidate.

    February 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. Jenny

    What are you talking about.. DANA? Obama has clearly thought about the issues and what he would do if he was president. I guess being ready "DAY 1" as Hillary puts it, means OFF THE CUFF as you put it.
    I think we have had that kind of administration for too long!!!!!!!! It's time for a president who cares about us and wants to what is best for all the people.. GO OBAMA!

    February 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Andrea

    This time it is clear that Senator Obama is ahead. Hillary is overplaying her answeres in her desperate attempt to come out on top in this debate and this is making Senator Obama looks better.

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. Melissa

    This debate only proves even more who is READY ON DAY ONE! Hillary Clinton knows what works and what doesn't. You can tell that she has a very global aspect about things and has thoroughly thought out her plan of action. Obama does not debate well because he isn't clear on himself! HE is inspiring and has motivated American to get involved and vote, but uneducated voters about the entirety ALL the issues facing our country will not help us. He is a little too much talk about hope, well hope doesn't run a country in a global community. HILLARY 2008!

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  10. Ray

    Russsia put the nukes in Cuba, we met with them,
    China is Communist -we've made them most favored nation status,
    Saudia Arabia literally has religious police, we give them our money
    Cuba is our Neighbor, like Mexico, and we wont talk to them or Venezula, I think we get stuck in our own ways and forget that what we do matters and what we say matters, but we are not the only ones.

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  11. Erika

    I completely disagree with Schnieder's analysis. Obama clearly realized that his previous answer to his question was indeed naive and she for the most part stuck with what she's always said on this issue. The entire debate, including on this isue, he has piggybacked on her answers. I would love to see HIM answer a question first so we can really see if he knows what he's talking about.

    I like Obama. I just don't think he's ripe enough yet.

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  12. Nuri

    We can't afford Senator Obama's learning curve. His heart is full of sound and fury, but where is the substance. Senator Clinton has an inspiring life, and inspiring message and real life solutions. Wake up people!

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. Lisa

    Obama is clearly the better candidate. He knows what the world needs from the USA. A role model. The USA should talk to their enemies. He is brilliant. NOT talking to your eneimies is just giving them the up hand in justifying villianizing the USA!

    OBAMA should be president. We cant get any better. NO sir!

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Angela

    Hillary is right, we need to know that the Cuban Government is willing to work with the U. S. to help their country. I think it would be wounderful for family members to see each other, but, that will take time to work out. You don't just say, your brother ( Castro) has stepped down we are going to open up to you. They don't want that either.

    February 21, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Geri Armstrong

    As a Canadian I cannot understand why the american government has such a hard time dealing with other countries that it does not agree with. The only way to work out differences is to have open dialogue. Other nations may have different ways of doing things it does not make them wrong. The new President will have to learn to listen to other points of view and except other ways of life It is not the whole world that wants to be American

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  16. Mary P

    I agree with Luther Powell. Obama seems like a nice guy but the last thing we need in this domestic environment and dangerous world is another president going through on-the-job training.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  17. Kathy

    Oh Ron I so agree with you..Hillary is all IIIIIII

    Obama is WE...........meaning We the people

    Hillary will do or say anything for a vote.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  18. Bob

    Obama is giving 'presidential' responses to the negative oriented comments of Clinton. Very well done,, this comment of substanative accomplishments is hitting home...

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  19. Marsha

    Will anyone ask the candidates who they will appoint to key positions in their administration? If not for final names - at least "prospective" names for: Vice President, Attorney General, Chief of Staff, Secretary of State, etc. These choices could give everyone insight into the direction of their administrations.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Andrea

    This time it is clear that Senator Obama is ahead. Senator Clinton is overplaying her answeres in her desperate attempt to come out on top in this debate and this is making Senator Obama look even better.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Victoria

    How could Hillary say that Obama has no accomplishments or has not done anything to conclude as actions?? She is very egocentric.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Joyce

    If you are trying to say you are for change, but then run out and get next to the oldest Kennedy, next to the oldest establishment, how can you demonstrate change?

    From his language, it is clear that Sen. Obama is naive, weak in plan, surfing on pretense and taking advantage of hype. It seems that we have Sen. Obama still as a candidate because the American people like to "feel good" vs. understanding what truly is needed in Washington, this nation and around the world.

    The American people are on the verge of being duped....he knows what is happening.

    February 21, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. Dee

    Clinton does not have the slightest clue when it's time to wrap up an answer. She talks on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. She's always in lecture mode. By the way....love her fake smile!

    February 21, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. RR

    This whole issue of talking with preconditions being met is ridiculous!

    The US needs to stop thinking it has the right to dictate to other countries
    what there politics should be and instead work with them regardless if its the president or some diplomat. I would love to visit Cuba without having to go through Canada, Europe or some other country. Why is it that we can't visit a country because of their politics. Where is our freedom in that?

    February 21, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. Ruth

    I would like the two of them to actually tell us where each stands on the issues. We do need more debates so that we can actually find out where each stands.

    February 21, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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