Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cool Hand Obama wins at Cleveland State University

Links added to videos w/ Chris Matthews and Paul Newman at 1:15 pm on Wednesday.
Last night's debate was another win for Obama. You can start calling him Cool Hand Obama.” Everything in the Democratic Presidential Primary is breaking his way. The money rolls in. The establishment endorsements roll in. Previously, a number of significant unions signed up. Then the significant Kennedys (Caroline and Teddy) joined Team Obama.

John Kerry endorsed Obama a while ago. Yesterday, Chris Dodd joined Team Obama. In Wisconsin, low income and less educated voters, a demographic that had eluded him, started coming around. They got on the train with the vast majority of Blacks, college-educated voters and higher income and middle class voters. The only major demographics to stay with Hillary? Hispanics and white women in general, but especially older women.

In last night’s debate in Cleveland, Ohio, Hillary tried to be aggressive and take it to Barack. But, Hillary's efforts were to no avail. It became clear that Obama owns the one-on-one [or was it two-on-two, with Tim Russert and Brian Williams teaming up on the questioning] format. For various reasons, the eight candidate debates were quirky and troublesome to Obama. For one, short, timed one minute answers don’t fit with his style. Once it was down to three candidates, Obama was much improved. With Edwards out of there, the debate is like a simple conversation, either between Hillary and Barack, or Barack and the moderator. They throw out the stopwatch, Barack relaxes and he owns the debate.

The one-on-one allows Barack’s basic sincerity to come out. He seems like a fair, honest guy. You really would like to sit down with Obama and have a cup of coffee or a beer. Hillary, not so much. As Chris Matthews said, the problem with Bill Clinton is basic dishonesty. Matthews said Hillary is equally dishonest but at least she has a philosophy. [Watch Matthews here in what he calls, at the end of the segment, a "very intense interview."

However, Hillary’s philosophy seems entirely about winning. Early on in last night’s debate, Hillary started whining about getting the first question all the time. Prior to that, she whined about Obama’s mailers, asserting they were inaccurate about her health care plan, especially about the notion that the uninsured, under her plan, would pay fines. Barack dismantled Hillary’s argument about inaccurate mailers.

He said Hillary’s plan mandates purchases of health insurance by adults who may not be able to afford it, with fines for those who don’t buy it. Hillary then said “independent experts,” confirmed her plan was affordable by all, so there would be no fines of the uninsured. That would win you over, right? Obama’s plan would subsidize purchases by those with low incomes, so Obama argues essentially his plan is universal health care, like Hillary’s, but without the fines.

And, then Hillary continued to harp on process. All the handlers will tell you that process doesn’t win over anybody. So, what was Hillary doing? Nobody knows.

Hillary tried to argue she has superior foreign policy experience, but Barack brought her back to her 2002 vote authorizing the President to take military action in Iraq. In contrast, Obama was speaking out against the War in the fall of 2002, as he was gearing up for a seven candidate primary for a U. S. Senate seat. Hillary tried to diminish Obama’s statements against the War, arguing he didn’t have the responsibility for a vote. Obama countered that the position taken on the War was a substantial issue in the Democratic U. S. Senate Primary race, and he was the only candidate to oppose the War, except for Nancy Skinner, who was an “also ran.” Moreover, Obama has contended none of the other candidates in his primary spoke out forcefully on the War in 2002-

Again, on NAFTA, Hillary complained that Barack was sending out mailers indicating that Hillary had said nice things about NAFTA when she was co-President with Bill. But, she had said nice things about NAFTA, at least publicly, making the Obama mailers accurate. It really doesn’t matter if she had done so only because she was part of the Clinton Administration, which supported NAFTA, big time. As Obama argued, Hillary can’t make herself a part of the Clinton Administration, for purposes of building up her resume, but then argue her publicly stated positions during the Clinton administration were only to get along—and shouldn’t be referenced in the Democratic Presidential Primary.

A few more issues were covered, but basically this was Obama’s night, again. He is just more likeable than Hillary. He appears more sincere and more honest. He is cool hand Luke. Democratic voters like his style; they like his sound; they like his substance. Advantage, Obama.

Hillary needed a knockout. She lost on points. It is very hard to see how Hillary turns this race around unless she convinces the credentials committee to seat Michigan and Florida and convinces the Super Delegates to come to and stay with her.

Perhaps if she won two out of three in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, she would have a shot. But, she is unlikely to do that. She might win Ohio and that might keep her going. However, Hillary needs a string of successful Hail Marys. And, that’s hard to do when you have a weak arm, i.e., not likeable, not even “likeable enough.”
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search,
can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama and McCain-- and many other pols, as well as this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with U. S. Senate Candidate Dr. Sauerberg, last week's show with Sen. Rauschenberger and the show from the week before with Crain's political columnist Greg Hinz at
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include, among others, this past Monday's night's show in the City of Chicago and City of Aurora with Sen. Rauschenberger, assessing Barack Obama, this week's show in the suburbs with Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dr. Steve Sauerberg, discussing his opponent--Senator Durbin-- and domestic, cultural and foreign policy issues, next week's show in the suburbs featuring State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston,IL), discussing Barack Obama, as well as various Illinois Budget issues (spending, mass transit, capital budget, education, gaming and taxes) and possible 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidates and 2010 U. S. Senate candidates (assuming Obama moves up to President in 2008) , a discussion with State's Attorney for Cook County Republican nominee Tony Peraica; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to current State's Attorney for Cook County Dick Devine and now the Democratic nominee for State's Attorney of Cook County.