Thom Hartmann disects Democrat's debate

10/31/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Last night in Philadelphia, the Democratic candidates for president held their first debate in more than a month.

Conducted at Drexel University and broadcast on MSNBC, the pre-debate hype was on how Illinois Sen. Barack Obama would come out swinging hard at front-runner Hilary Clinton, who has seen her lead in national polls, as well as in New Hampshire, only increase since the last debate.

But some analysts say it was John Edwards, banking on a victory in Iowa to keep his candidacy viable, who hit harder and was more effective against the former First Lady.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson came to Clinton’s defense, saying the candidates should be more positive.

Thom Hartmann is a talk show host on the Air America network. WMNF spoke with him this morning for his thoughts on the debate.

Perhaps the most intense exchange of the debate was when moderator Tim Russert asked Clinton her thought’s on the controversial proposal by New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer on giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

After Russert asked if any other candidate agreed with Clinton, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd said he did not, calling it "troublesome."

Thom Hartman is also the author of the new book, Cracking the Code: How To Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America’s Original Vision. In it, he criticizes Clinton’s communication skills. But the New York senator has surprised many this year with her strong campaign, and strong performances during the debates, with the exception, perhaps of last night.

We'll hear more from him tomorrow night on the Evening News on his new book about communicating better.

Among the other highlights from last night’s debate included this slam at the GOP front runner in the race for president, Rudy Guiliani, that was delivered by Delaware Sen. Joe Biden.

Trying to spice up the debate, moderator Tim Russert asked Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, about Shirley MacLaine’s new book that he sighted a UFO, and then followed up by asking if Barack Obama believed in extra-terrestials.

Going back to Clinton’s quasi –endorsement of Spitzer’s plan to give undocumented immigrants drivers licenses, as reported today, one of the GOP’s rock stars – former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – also endorsed such a plan in 2004.

According to an Associated Press story from April of that year, Bush said, “We shouldn't allow them to come into the country to begin with, but once they're here, what do you do?"

"Do you basically say that they're lepers to society? That they don't exist? … A policy that ignores them is a policy of denial."

The bill failed after law enforcement officials in the state expressed opposition, questioning how criminal background checks could be done in foreign countries.

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