Hillary Clinton, who has probably spent the last 10 years getting ready for her presidential run, offered a glimpse as to how unprepared she actually is for the job. At the New Hampshire debate, Clinton smugly smiled for the cameras as Barack Obama and John Edwards sparred over the war in Iraq, but Hillary lost her cool when questions strayed from the known and expected topics. While other candidates responded with answers regarding possible military use in the genocide-plagued Darfur region of Sudan, Hillary lashed out at the questioner, saying that she refused to “engage in these hypotheticals.”

As Mrs. Clinton surely knows, every white house administration (public knowledge or, much more often, not) has a planned response to just about any situation imaginable. A great amount of effort is dedicated to engaging in hypotheticals, so proper responses can be made, and gross incompetence can be avoided. Hillary, though, having not had time to conduct extensive polls of what the public would like her to say in the few seconds allotted between question and answer, refused to try to provide any kind of an honest answer.

Hopeless candidate Joe Biden, for his part, was understandably angry. Having visited Darfur recently, Biden found the genocidal activities to be something more based in reality than Hillary’s “abstract hypothetical terms” would have voters believe. Biden countered, “By the time all of these guys talk, 50,000 more people are going to be dead!”

Hillary’s inability to offer a reasonable response raises questions about how she might respond, or, more troublingly, not respond, to a crisis situation. A frontrunner in the race really should be prepared to give an answer. A president doesn’t always have the poll numbers in before some action is required.

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