The eight democratic presidential contenders took center stage in South Carolina last night for the campaign’s first primary debate. While people expected an explosion of emotion, we received a trickle of decidedly lackluster contentions over contentious issues such as the war in Iraq, health care and the unfortunately timely topic of gun control.
The war dominated the debate, with Hillary Clinton insisting she regrets her vote to send our troops to Iraq, but insisting, “I take responsibility.” Well, yes, we should think so. All the candidates expressed their intentions to end the increasingly protracted battle. Though vying for the same job, the Democrats kept things civil, with only Edwards taking a light jab at Clinton over her vote. (To be fair, he also took a jab over his well-coiffed, $400 hair, for which his campaign paid until recently.) Barack Obama told the audience – including predictably boring moderator, Brian Williams – that he’s proud to have opposed the war from the get-go.
Civil unions came up briefly, with Williams lobbing the old “civil unions v. gay marriage” question to Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Skirting the issue, Dobbs started by imploring conservatives to imagine how they would feel if their children were gay and the government restricted their rights. Gay love deserves political approval, but not in the form of gay marriage. Way to court the center, Dodd.
Over all, the debates played like the run for class president, with each candidate playing up their positives and making themselves look as respectable as possible. Those of you looking for blood-letting – keep in mind the games have only begun. We’re sure things will get ugly any day now.
Democratic hopefuls show political heft [MSNBC]
Democratic Presidential Debate Amazingly Maintains Status Quo [HuffPo]
Democrat’s debate focuses on Iraq [Savannah Now]