February 27th, 2008
08:45 AM ET
15 years ago

Showdown in Ohio


Watch New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny weigh in on how both candidates performed Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sparred with each other over negative campaigning, health care and free trade Tuesday, a week before key primaries in Texas and Ohio

Those contests are must-wins for Clinton if she is to continue to contest Obama for the nomination, as even former President Clinton suggests.

Debating at Cleveland State University, Clinton repeated angry claims from the campaign trail that Obama mischaracterized her stances on health care and NAFTA in political material mailed to voters in Ohio.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Ohio
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Decided in Chicago, IL

    Joe –
    I agree. I really hope that Ohio does not vote for another inexperienced candidate that talks of uniting people (Obama) like Ohio did in 2004 (Bush). I have full faith in Ohio.

    February 27, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Samuel G.

    Sillary Clinton got mad over the mailer for nothing.

    The moderators and Obama pretty much proved that she was a flipflopper about her support of NAFTA. They even had direct quotes from her. So again, how was Obama's mailer misleading and inaccurate?

    Also, about the healthcare thing. Hilarity Clinton has a double standard on herself! She thinks its misleading and an outrage for Obama to state that she will mandate everyone to have health insurance, even if they can't afford it. Yet, at the same time she thinks her healthcare plan is better because every single american will be covered. Hmmm... Isn't it the same thing Hillary? Again, she was never able to disprove Obama's mailer as inaccurate which I think is why she lost this debate.

    Not to mention the whining about getting the first question and trying to overtalk the moderators. She also appeared somewhat petty with the rejecting and renouncing thing.. I think Obama had a good comeback and a positive reaction from the crowd for it. Obama just appeared more presidential last night. According to the polls, over 70% of the people last night thought Obama was the winner of the debate and I have to agree.

    I am no longer undecided. Obama has my vote!

    February 27, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. Brad Talk

    Oh yeah, just keep handing out those xerox copies Obama. I'm surprised he actually had to answer for something in this debate. Tim Russert's the man. Now if only other media outlets could follow suit. I'm deeply troubled by the fact that Hillary has to apply the pressure cause no one else will.

    February 27, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. rusty

    After all this cafe talk, it's time to open your eyes and see the bigger picture. The debate last night confirmed who has SUBSTANTIAL experience , and get things done, and who will be better commander-in-chief, and that is HILLARY CLINTON. I voted for a democratic politician through all my voting life. BUT if Obama gets the nomination I will vote for a republican politician this time.

    February 27, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Mike

    Hillary is much more experience but her policies are the 1950's Big Government era that are useless in today's world. Her lack of character dooms her in the general election.

    Obama is naive with no experience but a very good orator. He also is espousing the Big Government policies of the 1950's. His lack of experience is evident to all who care to look. His jibe at Bush for "looking into Putin's eyes..." is exactly what he proposes to do with leaders of rogue states. His backtracking on campaign finance promises he made just a few months ago show that he is no different from the very politicians he criticizes for begin "part of the establishment".

    Neither candidate, nor any democrat, will say what they will do once the US is out of Iraq if Iraq then moves toward genocidal civil war and Turkey and Iran step in to create "buffer zones" in the name of their national security. Both candidates prefer to focus on the past and not on the future when it comes to Iraq.

    It is very dispiriting to see that the democratic frontrunners lack the very qualities so needed in America today.

    February 27, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Di

    Mark V.

    LOL touch.

    Just wait...you will see how much there is to "touch" with Obama!!!

    Go Hillary!!!

    February 27, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. John T

    I found it ironic that Senator Clinton drew a line regarding "reject" vs "denounce" given President Clinton's "...its depends upon what your definition of 'is' is..." spiel. I applaud Tim Russert for not letting Senator Clinton wiggle out of her past comments on NAFTA or her "pledge" to create 5 million jobs considering what has happened in my home state of NY, specifically Buffalo. Senator Clinto chose NY simply because that was where there was an open Senate seat that her advisors told her she could win.
    This country listened to 2 years of campaign and 8 years of of administration whines about how things were not fair for the Clintons; for the past 6 months, that again has come up – only this time it is a vast media conspiracy, not right-wing.
    Senator Clinton still refuses to explain Senator Obama's main question on her health care plan, specifically, how would her mandate be enforced? For a family that is living check-to-check already – and many living on credit, with bankruptcy the inevitable outcome – no amount of subsidy will make a mandated plan affordable. therefore the result is to either fine those who cannot pay or cover them in a safety blanket, subsidized by those who do pay via taxes. Her attitude that those who dare to criticize her plan are not true Democrats is audacious in the least.
    I found the questions about Medvedev and about hypotheticals distracting, given that Ohio's concerns probably don't hold these two issues is high regard; their pain is from job losses and a sagging economy boosted by the mortgage crisis.
    I am sure Senator Clinton believes what she says, but she needs to realize that a lot of the country does not – and that percentage is growing by the day.
    Her indignation over being asked questions first and referencing a Saturday Night Live sketch highlighted her pettiness – these comments probably played better the day before at a rally of her own supporters, but seemed forced and withering during a debate.

    February 27, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Billary Huckabee

    Baraka Obama schooled BILLARY HUCKABEE last night. She was wrong on the war, she was wrong on NAFTA, she was wrong on Pakastan (sp), she is just WRONG FOR AMERICA!!!

    So now it is the MEDIA's fault she is losing!!! Yesterday was just another example of BI-POLAR BILLARY HUCKABEE in action!!!

    "They call on me first", "I will release my taxes – someday", "reject and denounce"!!! After 20 debates, Baraka Obama should not give her anymore free air time...The American people "REJECT and DENOUNCE" BILLARY HUCKABEE!!! 24 states to 11!!! Ohio and Texas for the love of GOD – End this March 4th, Vote Obama!!!

    February 27, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Joseph

    Give me a break. Some of you seem determined to support Hillary because she's a woman and because you see women as down trodden. When she has about as much in common with your average American woman as a German man. I'm all for a female president, but let us not sacrifice respectability just to get one in the white house or we'll never have a chance of getting another one in after this election. Not that Hillary would win against Mccain as I can't even make up my mind between those two in that scenario.

    Her ego is sorely bruised at the moment so she's unpredictable and unstable. I just hope this doesn't turn into a train wreck of an election. If we can keep it civil we might stand a chance of beating Mccain irregardless of who wins.

    February 27, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Jazz

    Actual voters in Frank Lundts focus group on conservative tv thought Hillary won and was more knowledgeable. They thought Obama was
    too vague. Only one could answer the "Name one achievement of Obama's?" question. YES, the media has not done enough investigative reporting on him.
    The muslim garb photo did not bother them. It was an interesting Rorschach test however. Seems Obama fans were more outraged and fearful than the candidate himself. Maybe they don't really believe he can unite and cure the ills of the country.
    Real Democrats don't quit!!! A three horserace gave us the first Clinton. OOPS. Nader makes it a four horserace! May the best woman win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. A CANUCK

    Hillary looks and acts desperate lately. She's really 'SCRAPING THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL"

    February 27, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. jeffrey

    why dont we all just see how the voting turns out......cnn is obviosly for obama.....the internet is very pro obama......but thats not what counts....the votes....wether pledged or superdeligagtes...will decide the election....so enough cnn.....with the which hillary will show up....and the zerox / get you a pillow quotes......lets leave that crap to the internet....and start living up to the "best politiacl team on television"....and... oh i dont know start reporting on the NEWS....aka....the issuses of the debate....and not the 10 second sound bites that your skewing in his favor......or the john robberts comentary on every single story (we dont tune in to here his opinion...we tune in for the news).....i hate to say it ....but i miss the obrians american morning.....they may have been not as flashy....but guess what the THE NEWS WAS THE STAR....as it should be.....one final thought.....i hope that obama dosnt become to you what bush became to fox.....a huge dissapointment!!!!!

    February 27, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. K

    I despise Clinton, but I was so glad someone finally pointed out to all of you under the Obama "spell" that his only accomplishment that he can tout is that he didn't vote to go to war...of course he didn't vote, HE WASN'T ELECTED TO THE SENATE UNTIL 2004!
    I'm also thankful that MSNBC had the guts to question him on the radical pastor he follows. It was also telling when he looked so uncomfortable in discussing the whole Farrakhan issue. Wake up people, there's too many questions about this guy; he's not above board.

    February 27, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. i voter

    win, win for McCain..

    February 27, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. A CANUCK

    Hey you guys....I wasn't finished. It's time for her to 'take her hat"

    February 27, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. Mike

    Hillary did a good job especially under the "stress" test questions. Obama skirted around the questions and stuttered and stammered which is exactly the inexperience we dont need. Obama admitted he is going to go back on his word like he has before on many other issues. He just says whatever pleases people.

    HIllary is not trying to be a people pleaser like Obama, she is trying to be a people helper. Obama just parrots his answers after Hillary. That is why she complained she gets all the questions first but the commentators never got it. If she answers first it gives Obama the answer he needs to parrot. But everytime he answers first he stumbles.

    What is Obama going to do in the whitehouse without his speech writers and Hillary to help him?

    February 27, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Chantay

    Now, that Hillary has gotten her point across (explaination) regarding her Universal Health Care Plan that she cares so much about, maybe we can move on. If I were in Obama's position, I would be Tired of the continual fits that Hillary shows.

    I think he should fight her on the same playing field since she feels she's being attacked and not given any fair playing ground. Obama, should let go on her as I perceive as he will on McCain.

    Obama, don't spare her anymore!

    February 27, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. Michael "C" in Lorton

    I don't understand why Hillary is so upset that she always gets to go first on the debates.......It is quite obivious that the "media" does not like her......in fact that was stated on the CNN Situation Room by one of their staffers.

    February 27, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |

    "ridiculous, hillary jumping in and trying to one up barak. what else can he say to make it clear, denounce is a stronger word than reject. he made his stance very clear than he denounces farakahans support but hillary tried to one up him, get in the last work. very peevish and childish if you ask me. barak handled the situation very well by denouncing and rejecting if you will." – mateen

    I think she saw what appeared to be an open door to the room (this conversation) and she made an attempt to get in, sadly for her and anyone who believes she scored on this point; THE DOOR SLAMED IN HER FACE, with Barack's cool (denouncing and rejecting); he Cleary understands that denouncing is a more powerful thing to do than reject. BRAVO to OBAMA!!!

    CNN can you post this??????????

    February 27, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Deedee

    As a woman, working in a man's world I can understand ALL that Hillary is going through. Irrespective of what a woman does she has to put in an extra effort to win. She has to fight (not physically) to make sure her ideas and suggestions are adopted...

    The problem with this whole election thing, is that America has its eyes and ears shut.

    The debate once again showed that Barrack needs some more schooling...

    February 27, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Thomas One

    There is a pattern in Obama's debate:

    I... I... I..., I think... I absolutely agree with Sen. Clinton (or I think Sen. Clinton is right). My plan is 95% the same as her plan, but my plan is better...

    This is really a smart way to score by only answering 5% of the question.

    February 27, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. anonymous

    Bran – I agree with you. In these unpredictable times – we need someone who is secure enough, in the fact that they are tough enough – not to threaten bombing Pakistan (as Obama did to shore up his tough guy image in light of his inexperience).

    Hillary is tough enough, experienced enough and is ready to lead this nation – God forbid – there be another terrorist attach – on Day One.

    President Bush has kept us safe (much to his credit) and we are complacent. But we do not need a foreign policy rookie . That is why if Hillary is not the nominee, Mc Cain will win the general election.

    February 27, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  23. Renee

    I didn't watch the entire debate but saw enough to say that Obama showed he can be a true leader. If Hillary continues to cry and whine about the press then she needs to step aside. This is part of being in the spotlight. She got plenty of attention over the weekend with her many mood swings and some! So stop whining and stick to your message whichever that may be. He could have slammed her but he is a gentlemen and did not need to go there or stoop to her level of silliness. This is politics ladies and gentlemen and you think its over, no way, this is just the beginning of more to come!

    February 27, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Mike

    I am not sure what all of you are thinking regarding Obama... Everywhere I read is how he is going to change Congress and all this talk about how Clinton voted on the war... The last time I checked both of them just have one vote in Congress... To think that her vote sent our troops to war... come on!!! She voted for a war that 70% of all americans wanted because of 911... Did all of you forget about that!!! A little history here... All of our senators vote for the state they represent and the people they represent... Congress is not going to change because every state has different problems and cocerns and as a politician you will not last long if you co not vote according to the people you represent... As for Obama, I am from IL and I did not vote for him... The man has no track record and talks in circles... He never comes out and tells you what he is going to do but he is going to CHANGE things!!! How??? I remember Bush telling everyone to elect him because he was going to unite our Congress... I could not believe that he was elected with barely any political experience... Are all of you going to make that mistake again!!! All I know is that Bill Clinton fixed all the mistakes made by Reagan and Bush, Sr. I will vote for Clinton so she can correct the current Bush mistakes and get our country back on track... Obama is just not ready!!!

    February 27, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. gene

    I don't like to be sarcastic, but Obama supporters must live in the twilight zone, along with the MSNBC pundits. Hillary won this debate.Hands down. She did not knock him out, but she put him on the floor a time or two.Smashed him on health care. Smashed him on NAFTA (has fueled the Texas economy and create jobs here). Smashed him on his inexperience, just close your eyes and visualize him as President , meeting with the President of Iran or with the guy from North Korea . Now if that don't give you cramps, I do not know what would.

    February 27, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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