Hillary Clinton won big.
Make no mistake, this is a huge blow to Obama. He could have made miles of progress by knocking her out. And he COULD have knocked her out if he had learned what the Clinton's already know about dropping the out of context sound bite, the talking up of contradictory positions, the ability to lie with a straight face and the ready willingness to land a cheap shot to the package. Somehow this works on the very voters he's trying win over - people who know that life isn't fair and you'd better not show up with eloquent words at a knife fight.
And Hillary finally got the knife fight David Gergen mentioned months ago. She got a lot of help from Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolis who acted like drunks cheering on a bar fight. At the end Obama looked like Bad Bad Leroy Brown. In the process she made herself look like a low class roughneck. And guess what - it worked. Problem was, Obama didn't look like the kind of man who could make this loud mouth broad shut the hell up.
...and that IS the problem for Obama.
Working women LOVE Hillary - in big numbers. They'll give her a pass for hitting a man below the belt. They won't forgive him for giving her a public thrashing - even as they acknowledge that she probably has one coming. But guess what? Obama has to BEAT her - decisively. The public won't support a President who can't defend himself.
So he has two choices going forward.
He can drop the high toned, Good Guy Barack rhetoric, strip to the waist and shred her to bits in an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout (which ABC will gladly pimp for big commercial bucks) and which nobody will win. American women will then spring to Hillary's defense and declare that Barack has gone bad and that he hates women (in fact they'll say, "he's always hated women...").
Or Senator Obama can pack his bags and move on to Indiana where he has another chance to win. If I were him, I'd re-package some of his policy talk ups and hit her hard on her strongest points. Obama needs to flip the table, call her out and force her to defend her conservative politics.
As McCain sucks up to the "Forgotten America" (aparantly, when you're an old Republican it's possible to forget a lot of people in America.) Hillary currently looks like the only Republican in a three man race.
Another bit of advice for Obama:
The media is currently so partisan and is held in such low regard by the public that it will be perfectly okay to tell Charlie Gibson that he's full of crap the next time he asks you a stupid question. Bill Clinton gave a great example of how to do this yesterday even as a reporter caught him in an outright lie.
See? Experience counts!
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