Democratic candidates have their final say before Super Tuesday
Democratic competitors Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama matched off in a final debate Thursday night before next week’s Super Tuesday.
Twenty-four states including Colorado will vote during caucuses and election primaries on Tuesday Feb. 5.
The candidates were on stage at the Kodak Theatre as CNN announcer Wolf Blitzer made the introductions.
“The only rules tonight are there are no rules,” Blitzer said.
Sen. Obama began the night with opening statements acknowledging Sen. John Edwards, who recently dropped out of the presidential race. He also made clear that he was friends with Sen. Hillary Clinton before this debate, and he will continue to be friends with her after the debate.
Further opening remarks from Obama highlighted his campaign to “go in a new direction” and finished with “what is at stake right now is whether we are looking backwards or forwards.”
Sen. Clinton spoke next; She discussed the war, the struggling economy and global warming.
“It is imperative that we have a president, starting on day one, who could begin to solve our problems,” Clinton said.
Viewers of the debate said they noticed the attitudes of the two candidates were different from previous debates; both candidates occasionally made jokes and laughed with one another.
“My general reaction was that both candidates did a pretty good job of being cordial to one another and making clear that their target was the Republicans, not one another,” political science Prof. David Leblang` said.
Other topics ranged from mortgage rates to immigration to Iraq. Both candidates shared similar views on the subjects and both said they support ending the war in Iraq, although they said they would approach withdrawing the troops in different ways.
Obama said his plan is to draw the troops out in sixteen months, while Clinton’s plan would start within sixty days of her being in office with nearly all of the troops out within a year, she said.
“They just don’t differ much on policy; there are no dramatic differences,” Professor Leblang said. “They are pretty close in issues like health care, immigration and Iraq.”
Blitzer also introduced the topic of a Clinton-Obama or an Obama-Clinton ticket in Nov. Neither candidate rejected the idea of having each other as a running mate.
“I think it was a very strong debate for both candidates,” said Orion Lewis, a political science Ph.D candidate. “I thought Hillary seemed very personable and Obama, as usual, did a pretty good job. He seems like someone who is actually going to provide change from partisan politics.”
Many people at CU might be struggling to choose between the two candidates.
“I still haven’t decided between the two, and I like them both for different reasons,” said political science graduate instructor and doctoral candidate Jessica Teets. “I like that [Hillary] is a woman, because there isn’t a great possibility of another woman candidate soon, and I also like her policies. She has strong ideas for health care and the war.”
Teets said she thought Obama was a strong candidate as well.
“I also like Barack because I find him very inspirational and see him as someone who could transform politics,” Teets said. “I like his policies as well, but it worries me that he might not have a proper understanding of the situation in the Middle East.”
Those registered as members of the Democratic party will have their chance to decide the future presidential candidate at the caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
“For me, the election will come down to who is a better person, who will have better judgment and who has better experience,” said Lewis.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Stephanie Shepard at email@example.com.