There was an odd coincidence during the latest Democratic debate in Philadelphia. Barack Obama was defending himself regarding his remarks that small townspeople retreat to their passions for religion and guns during tough economic times. Hillary Clinton was trying to explain her slip about being under sniper fire in Bosnia, a conflict rooted in religious passions if ever there was one.
Barack claimed that he messed it up in San Francisco:
Well, I think there's no doubt that I can see how people were offended. It's not the first time that I've made, you know, a statement that was mangled up. It's not going to be the last.Hillary was also frank:
...the point I was making was that when people feel like Washington's not listening to them, when they're promised year after year, decade after decade, that their economic situation is going to change, and it doesn't, then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion.
On a couple of occasions in the last weeks I just said some things that weren't in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book. And, you know, I'm embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it. I've said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over, because clearly I am proud that I went to Bosnia. It was a war zone.The Fix, the Washington Post political blog, seemed to score it a draw:
The choice between the candidates crystallized tonight. It is not, fundamentally, a choice about issues or even ideology -- it is a choice about approach. Obama is an idealist, using nearly every question to appeal to the better angels in people; Obama sees the world as he wants it to be and believes he can make it. Clinton, on the other hand, is an unapologetic pragmatist; she has been through the wringer that is national politics before and knows how to play the game.Most other blogs such as Huffington Post are so one-sided at the moment, it's hard to get any useful news or views from them.
A transcript of the debate is available online at The New York Times.