(Editor's Note: As the usual public service after the Democratic presidential candidate debates, this blog is providing video highlights of the key moments. The debate was sponsored by NBC News and was shown on MSNBC. This debate was held at Cleveland State University.)
by Rick Rockwell
The 20th debate of the Democratic campaign may have been the best. This third head-to-head meeting between Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) featured less of the canned responses of the campaign trail and more spontaneous remarks on a wide range of topics from healthcare to environmental policy. The debate also featured more discussion of foreign policy issues, including a special focus on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), than any of the previous debates this year. Frankly, the entire debate was engaging, so highlights may not give the sense of how serious and contentious this meeting was when compared to previous meetings between these candidates.
Clinton led off the debate on the offensive, taking on Obama's campaign tactics.
A centerpiece of the debate included a discussion of NAFTA.
Once a discussion of foreign policy began, the question of Obama's qualifications in that arena moved to center stage.
One of the journalistic techniques that sharpened the tone of this debate included the use of videotape from the candidates' speeches to hold them to account for what they are saying about one another while they stump for votes.
This is the last scheduled debate before Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Rhode Island hold primaries on March 4.
For more background on the 2008 campaign, please see these archival posts:
- "New Hampshire: Barack Obama's Latest Hope;"
- "The Hillary Clinton Potomac Primary Climate Check;"
- "John Edwards Says Goodbye to the Campaign Trail, For Now;"
- "Wolf Blitzer: Is Human Rights More Important than American National Security?"
- "John McCain and the Republican Right;" and
- "Mike Huckabee, Texas Ranger."
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