Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton came under attack from her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday, as the other seven candidates tried to chip away at her status as front-runner. Sen. John Edwards said Clinton would leave combat troops in Iraq far too long. Sen. Joe Biden questioned her health-care plan, saying that she already failed to fix the system as first lady. And former senator Mike Gravel of Alaska said he was “ashamed” of Clinton for voting this week for a resolution urging President Bush to designate the Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.
Clinton remained cool under fire, even when other candidates and NBC’s Tim Russert, who moderated the New Hampshire debate, asked her to answer for the policies of her husband, former president Bill Clinton. “I’m running on my own,” she said.
Clinton didn’t have “a stellar night,” said The New York Times’ The Caucus blog. It was “striking” how many times Clinton “resisted being nailed down” on big issues, although she did manage to “blur any distinctions” between her and the rest of the field on Iraq, health care, and Social Security. Sen. Barack Obama missed an opportunity to gain some ground, as “his answers were largely conciliatory and not particularly memorable.”
It’s tempting to “feel sorry” for Clinton, said Thomas Schaller in the Baltimore Sun. She has so much going for her right now—a “comfortable lead” in the polls, a chance to be the first female president, a GOP presidential field “in disarray”—it’s looking like her race to lose. Hence, the pity. If she fails to win back the White House for her party, the “blame” will be “endless and merciless.”
Well, she’s certainly the Democrats’ best shot, said William Kristol in The Daily Standard. The rest of the field is “appalling.” They all would ensure defeat in Iraq and allow Iran to go nuclear. “At home, they would green-light “more illegal immigration, higher taxes, more governmental control of health care, and more aggressive prosecution of the war on smoking than of the war on terror.” Her positions on Iraq and Iran showed her to be the only serious one in the bunch, and that’s what could cost her the nomination. “She’s out of synch with her party.”
Clinton is really just trying to “run out the clock” by giving “non-answers or cagey answers,” said Paul Mirengoff in Power Line.
She did back away from her support making an exception on the ban on torture in a “ticking time bomb” scenario, said Ben Smith in The Politico.