Barack Obama was right. There have been enough debates. They are starting to sound like broken records and it's making them both look ineffectual.
And they frequently echo each other almost word for word. For example:
Clinton: We need comprehensive immigration reform. I have been for this. I signed on to the first comprehensive bill back in 2004. I've been advocating for it. Tougher, more secure borders -- of course. But let's do it the right way: cracking down on employers, especially once we get to comprehensive immigration reform, who exploit undocumented workers and drive down wages for everyone else.
Obama: So we need comprehensive reform, and that means stronger border security. It means that we are cracking down on employers that are taking advantage of undocumented workers because they can't complain if they're not paid a minimum wage, they can't complain if they're not getting overtime, worker safety laws are not being observed.
Clinton: I think it is important though that English remain our common, unifying language because that brings our country together in a way that we've seen generations of immigrants, coming to our shores, be able to be part of the American experience and pursue the American dream.
Obama: Well, I think it is important that everyone learns English and that we have that process of binding ourselves together as a country. I think that's very important.
(Memo to the candidates: Learning English is already a requirement for citizenship.)
They did manage to differentiate themselves in rehashing the health care debate. But we've heard this over and over. And, sorry, Clinton won that part of the debate. Again.
So it's the same old same old, despite CNN's attempts to start a fight. But at least the goading produced a zinger from Clinton: "...lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in; it's change you can Xerox."
And someone should monitor Limbaugh and O'Reilly today to see if they picked up on this remark by Obama:
"...if we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time, and I think that it's important for us, in undoing the damage that has been done over the last seven years, for the president to be willing to take that extra step."
No doubt there's a lot of damage to be undone, but suggesting that we don't stand above the rest of the world is probably not the best election strategy.
P.S. Hillary's problem is that she's not Bill. I thought, even hoped, that she would bring on the wonk to expose Obama's lack of depth on policy. Bill would have had him on the ropes in the first ten seconds of the first round, dizzied by a flurry of facts and figures and reeling from pointed questions that reveal a lack of knowledge that can't be read from a card (watch it sometime). Hillary either doesn't have that ability or she just doesn't know how to go in for the knockout punch.
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