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The Nation

April 18, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both appeared Thursday night on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."

Clinton mocked her "3 a.m." ad. After fixing a malfunctioning projection screen and having a make-up artist address the challenge of Colbert's "too shiny" forehead, the host gasped, "Senator Clinton, you're so prepared for any situation."

"I just love solving problems. Call me anytime. Call me at 3:00 a.m.," said Clinton.

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April 17, 2008
Christopher Hayes

This is the way every member of the Bush administration deserves to be treated when they come before Congress.

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April 17, 2008
Peter Rothberg
Peter Rothberg

Hopefully, last night's debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be their last one-on-one encounter.

Instead of arguing over how to get out of Iraq, how to repair the economy, how to combat climate change and how to restore the positive role of government in people's lives, the Democratic candidates, egged on by a relentless stream of "gotcha" questions from ABC's top news commentators, tried their best to out-FOX each other, as my colleague John Nichols writes.

If you were fortunate enough not to have watched last night, you can get a good sense of the travesty by checking out TPMtv's video summary, Wall to Wall Ugly.

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April 17, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Following up. Here's Brooks on last night's debate:

The journalist's job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities.

Let's see. Off the top of my head, here are some questions I think could reasonably make a candidate uncomfortable during a debate.

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April 17, 2008
Christopher Hayes

I had a dinner obligation last night, so I missed the debate. About 20 minutes in, my phone blew up. One friend texted me: "I want to shoot myself in the face" Then my normally calm dad called and left a voicemail ranting about what he was seeing. "We're talking about Bill Ayers?"

Everyone should be clear about what's happening here. First, Clinton's only slim chance of victory is to attempt to destroy Obama in the eyes of the superdelegates, and if she has to cast herself as Richard Nixon, shamelessly stoking the reactionary tropes of a besieged silent majority to do it, she will. Second, this is precisely what the Republicans are going to try to turn this campaign into: a showcase of right-wing populism, a carnival of smears and trivinalia. The less said of the war, climate change, the economy and healthcare the better. They can't win on any of those issues. They can only win if they can convince the press to obsess over some op-ed in a church bulletin.

The more time spent on all of this, the less time to cover the actual events of the world. That's the basic terrain for this election: will the press pay attention to the vacuous idiocies of gaffes and guilt by association? Or will they pay attention to the world, a world in which things like this are happening while they nobly defend the class interests of households in the top 5% of income?

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April 16, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

And the winner of the 21st debate of the Democratic presidential race is...

Right-Wing Talking Points.

At a moment when even John McCain agrees that the American economy is in a recession, when the U.S. trade deficit is breaking records, when the vice president and the secretary of state stand accused of organizing torture parties in Washington, when the president has gotten us bogged down in two foreign quagmires, and when official gaming of globalization has stirred up food riots around the world, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spent most of the last debate before the critical Pennsylvania primary trying to out-FOX one another.

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April 16, 2008
Christopher Hayes

Yglesias points out that the right is, unsurprisingly, attempting to smear J Street (the other one).

He links to a hit piece up over at Commentary, which made me think: Commentary still exists?

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April 16, 2008
Katrina vanden Heuvel

The exploitation of farmworkers should not be tolerated in Florida. It should not be tolerated anywhere in the United States. There are many social problems that are extremely difficult to solve. This is not one of them. – Eric Schlosser, investigative reporter and author of Fast Food Nation

Yesterday, at a packed Senate hearingon working conditions for tomato workers, Senator Bernie Sandersasked Detective Charlie Frost, investigator for the human trafficking unit at the Collier County Sheriff's Office, "Do you believe that there is human trafficking happening in Florida agriculture as we speak right now?"

"It's probably occurring right now while we sit here," Frost said. "Almost assuredly it's going on right now."

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April 15, 2008
John Nichols
John Nichols

New York Times columnist David Brooks, who knows a little less about economics than John McCain, finished up this week's rant against critics of free trade by suggesting that they were not paying attention to the economic realities of the pivotal primary state of Pennsylvania.

Condemning Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for acknowledging the damage done to Keystone State communities by trade pacts that have gutted out whole industries and tossed tens of thousands of workers into the dustbin of history, Brooks suggested that those advising the senator from Illinois were missing the point of Pennsylvania.

"What I don't understand is why the political consultants prefer this kind of rhetoric," wrote Brooks. "Aren't there windows in the vans they use to drive around the state? Don't they see that most middle-class voters are service workers in suburban office parks, not 1930s-style proletarians in steel mills?

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