Senator Obama looked terrible last night –halting and apologetic, constantly on the defensive even though Gibson and Stephanopoulos did not press him beyond a follow-up or two on his most damaging associations with Pastor Wright and William Ayers.
Perhaps the moderators felt sorry for Obama, because his stumbling answers displayed none of the skill for which he has been widely proclaimed as the best stump speaker in a generation.
Chris Cillizza framed the choice before PA Democrats this way: “It is not, fundamentally, a choice about issues or even ideology — it is a choice about approach.”
Cillizza is a smart guy, but he is watching a different race than I am. Obama was fumbling for answers because he knows his politics and associations are from the far left edge of American politics. He was in a tough place last night because for the first time he was gently pressed on his politics up until 2004.
Clinton is an old line liberal, a big spending lefty with some radical in her, but too much the ambitious climber-of-the-ladder to have ever gotten too close to a Wright or an Ayers (though there are Rezkos galore in her past.)
Pennsylvania voters got a glimpse of what is ahead if they push Obama over the top: A candidate on the defensive about his identity as a thorough-going man of the hard left who can no more disguise his politics than he can his height.
Obama makes George McGovern look moderate. But Democrats are almost certainly stuck with him.