Hillary: Underdog

Barack Obama is now the favorite. During a televised debate featuring the contending candidates for the democratic nomination for the White House, Hillary Clinton seemed to be more on the offensive of the two, attacking her opponent for lack of substance and plagiarized words. The only political disagreement between the two candidates materialized when asked about talking to Cuba.

The respective roles have changed. Hillary Clinton was a long time favorite in the race for the democratic presidential nomination. On Thursday evening, she appeared aggressive in her challenges to Barack Obama, who , for his part, seemed content with keeping his positive momentum at even keel. He who used to be the outsider is now leading the race, with less than two weeks to the Ohio/Texas primaries, which could prove decisive. During the televised debate on Thursday, the senator from the State of New York took off the kid gloves.

The attack had been mounting up for several days. Hillary Clinton criticized Barack Obama for borrowing the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick’s words without acknowledging it “If your campaign is based on the power of words, then they must be your own words”, charged the senator. It was ironical, she maintained, that Obama’s slogan was about change, as the same time “Lifting whole passages from someone else’s speeches”. This is not “change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox,” “, scoffed Hillary Clinton.

The former First lady also demanded an account of Obama’s legislative achievements during his term as the senator from Illinois. She did not fail to remind the audience how an Obama supporter, when tested on television, had been unable to provide any example of his favorite’s legislative accomplishment*. “There are differences and obvious contrasts between us”, emphasized Hillary Clinton. Her opponent defended his record by evoking his participation in the most important reform initiative to raise the moral standard of political life, which had taken a beating since Watergate scandal.

“Let’s not beat each other up”

Barack Obama adopted a more conciliatory tone, adhering to a conscious determination to leave aside any reference to mistakes and blunders. “Senator Clinton’s record is good. So is mine”, he concluded. In calculating the number of delegates, the senator has garnered some hundred votes and can count on the positive dynamics of his campaign, having won consecutively eleven primary constituencies. The 370 delegates held by Texas and Ohio will be crucial for Hillary Clinton. On Friday, the former outsider could become apparent as the uniter, which would practically guarantee his nomination, all the more important in this fratricidal duel which might handicap the democratic camp vis-à-vis the republican John McCain. “what we should not do is bash one another, but we should lift up the country”, asserted he.

The main difference between the two candidates finally emerged on the subject of Cuba. During his campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly affirmed that he would sit and talk with countries hostile to the United States. He expressed his wish to see a dialogue with Havana get underway as soon as possible. Hillary Clinton called for a more prudent approach and said she would insist on seeing certain indications of change from Castro’s successor. She declared that she would be ready to meet the new Cuban administration “as soon as it shows that it is determined to follow the path of change”. She insisted, “I will not meet with them unless I get some tangible proof.”

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o

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