Front-runner Hillary Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination fired an unprecedented barrage of criticism at her in a televised debate Tuesday, accusing her of everything from dishonesty to helping President Bush launch the Iraq war. Former senator John Edwards, stuck in third place in the polls behind Clinton and Barack Obama, led the charge by saying that Americans “deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth.”
What the commentators said
“This was a full-on assault from all quarters,” said National Review Online’s The Corner blog, and Clinton “handled herself ably.” She convincingly defended her support of cracking down on Iran by saying that tougher sanctions were needed to aid diplomatic efforts to get Tehran to give up its nuclear dreams. But her weaknesses—“likeability,” and “dodginess”—are still her biggest enemies.
Looking past the fireworks, said Jennifer Rubin in HumanEvents.com, Clinton made it clear that she has “grand ambitions to spend money and raise taxes,” and “no stomach for tough enforcement of immigration laws.” If her Democratic opponents can’t capitalize on that, her GOP rival in next year’s general election will.
“Republican loathing for Hillary Clinton used to be viewed as her Achilles' heel,” said Ben Smith in The Politico. But now she wears it like “a badge of honor.” In fact, reminding the audience that the Republican candidates had also pounced on her in their last debate helped Clinton fend off “her rivals’ sharpest attacks yet,” and let her cast herself as “a kind of partisan warrior queen.”