As the Democrats’ Philly debate rolls out in real time, the media are hashing over the latest polls, which don’t look good for Clinton. According to The Times, polls released yesterday revealed that Mrs Clinton has lost the trust of US voters and that “more Americans now view her unfavourably than at any time since she entered the White House as First Lady in 1992.”
The loss of trust is being put down to Clinton’s Bosnia gaffe — and the question has already been put to her in today’s debate. Her answer? Clinton pretty comprehensively apologised for it, admitting it was a “mistake”, that she regretted it, and she was sorry. But the soundbite that’s been reported so far? “I was not as accurate as I have been in the past.” Not such a good look.
Obama’s been dodging some curly questions of his own — he’s been offering all sorts of clarifications about his pastor, his condescending “bitter” comment, and explaining the fact that he’s back wearing his American flag pin, and what the absence of it thus far suggests about his patriotism.
The great Democrat debate drinking game: And besides, if Hillary Clinton can try to make politics more appealing by getting drunk, so can we. And so we present the National Constitution Center Debate Drinking Game.
• Start off with a martini — with extra bitters. Drink every time someone says “Bittergate.”
• Swirl your Pinot Noir, smell its bouquet, sip, gargle, and say, “Hmm … it’s passable, but not great” every time a candidate says the word “elite.” — New York Magazine
Liveblogging from Philly: 8:38 pm ET: Obama on the flag question: “I revere the American flag, and I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country.” And he “shows” patriotism through actions, not symbols. That’s a solid answer — not that the questions will stop. 8:34 pm ET: A sharp colleague notes that Sen. Obama has not used the word “hope” yet tonight — think that’s right, will check the transcript to be sure. Is Sen. Clinton the candidate of “hope” this evening? — ABC News
Clinton negatives at all-time high: The long and increasingly negative battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appears to have taken a heavy toll on the reputation of the former First Lady, with her false claim to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996 emerging as one of the biggest blunders of the campaign. Polls released yesterday revealed that Mrs Clinton has lost the trust of US voters and that more Americans now view her unfavourably than at any time since she entered the White House as First Lady in 1992. — The Times UK
Talking tax: Senator Barack Obama released his 2007 tax return on Wednesday evening, reporting a household income of $4.2 million last year due to a sharp increase in the sale of his books during the first year of his presidential campaign. That was a substantial jump from the roughly $1 million in income the Obamas reported in 2006, much of that also from book deals. Earlier this month, the Clintons released their tax returns over eight years, showing they earned $109 million over that period, with a substantial portion likewise coming from book sales. — Jeff Zeleny, The Caucus, NY Times
Hill’s Israel problem: Senator Hillary Clinton has received virtually no attention for taking an unconventional position on Israel (albeit in a direction approved by pro-Israel hardliners). Her vow of support for Israel’s claim on an “undivided Jerusalem,” if enacted, would mark a major—and problematic—break with longstanding U.S. policy. Under the heading “Standing with Israel against terrorism,” Clinton’s official policy paper, released last September and currently touted on her campaign website, states, “Hillary Clinton believes that Israel’s right to exist in safety as a Jewish state, with defensible borders and an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, secure from violence and terrorism, must never be questioned.” — Justin Elliot, Mother Jones
Exploiting the bitterness: Cultural fears and resentments have been exploited by Republican candidates for at least forty years to peel away core working-class Democratic voters. It’s called right-wing populism, and it’s been at least as successful as the left-wing, New Deal version it replaced. It depends on finding targets who can be made into cultural élites, and Democrats from McGovern to Kerry have usually been happy to coöperate—although rarely as obligingly as Obama, whose words couldn’t have been better scripted by William Safire circa 1968, Lee Atwater circa 1988, or Karl Rove circa 2004. — The New Yorker
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Cindy hits The View: Where’s the wife of a presidential nominee to hunker down as the ’08 election heats up? “The View,” of course. Cindy McCain, wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, will co-host the ABC daytime talk show live, Monday, April 21. She previously joined her husband as a guest on the show in 2004. Barbara Walters’ coffee table has become a campaign trail pit stop in the past year. McCain dropped by “The View” last week; Democratic contender Barack Obama sat down with the ladies in March. — Screen shots, ABC News