Ah love. The three Democratic candidates stand together on a South Carolina stage spouting affection for one another. Love is all you need?
Will it trump recession?

Doesn’t matter. The honeymoon is over.

Barack just called the Clintons liars. Both Bill and Hillary.

Hill strikes back, calls him a waffler, cites his “Republican ideas” remark.

Mud is flung. Barack just said Hill was a corporate lawyer for Wal-Mart when he (Obama) was out fighting for jobs.

Chaos ensues. One thing is clear. Wolf Blitzer is a lousy moderator. It’s only 8:28 and he’s already lost control!

Hill just pulled a Chicago slum landlord out of her bag. Says Barack repped him as a lawyer when she was out fighting for the little guy.

Johnny E reminds all that there are three people in the debate. He asks how “this kind of squabbling” will help anyone. He says it’s not about “us,” it’s about helping Americans.

“Lord knows, you have let them go on forever,” he declares when Blitzer tries to rein him in.

The audience loves it. Look for Edwards to surprise Saturday, with a good 20 to 29%. You heard it here first.

He says the subprime mortgage mess is more likely to affect African Americans. He’s talking about poverty in a state where there are more have-nots than haves.

Half of South Carolina’s Democratic voters are black. Edwards is not pandering to them. He is continuing a focus (on poverty and deprivation) that he’s had for years.

As Hillary and Barack throw mud balls at one another. Edwards stands in a clean suit. That could translate into votes on Saturday.

Hill attacks Obama for his voting record in Illinois, saying she just can’t get a straight answer out of him. She is booed. This has turned into a two-ring circus.

As Obama retorts, Hillary takes measured breaths, her hands folded, her half-smile pasted firmly. You just know she has another cherry bomb up her grey flannel sleeve.

But Blitzer changes the topic to health care and things calm a bit.

Health care: Barack calls Hillary a liar again.

The stage changes so that the candidates sit in chairs next to one another instead of standing behind podia. This is somewhat silly, CNN.

Best question, to Barack Obama: Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black president?

He did not answer yes or no. He played Dodge Bull (sic) very skillfully. He made humor: He’d have “to investigate Bill’s dancing ability… before (he) could actually judge whether he is a brother.”

Great play.

Edwards says he thinks McCain will be the Republican nominee and that because he is free of special interest debt he can beat him “anywhere in America.”

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

(For you folks born after the last Triple Crown winner, that’s from an old song sung by Janis Joplin called “Me and Bobby McGee.”)

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