Chris Cillizza today:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y) was under attack throughout Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Philadelphia, valiantly fighting off some of the hits landed by her opponents, but also getting knocked off her balance by a few. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of the various attacks and counterattacks, but the broader picture is almost always the more important one.
That broad picture: Six men regularly ganging up on the lone woman on the stage. As stated here before, Clinton's male competitors must be careful not to look as though they are bullying her during these forums. For what it's worth, the Clinton campaign did everything they could today to make that case, even posting a video on YouTube called "The Politics of Pile On."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the pinata of Tuesday's Democratic debate, is turning the tables on her rivals, accusing them of ganging up against her.
Clinton's opponents did everything to break Clinton down, including call her "unelectable." They insinuated she couldn't be trusted and was not fit for the presidency. Her opponents got personal, but the worst offender was someone who forget his job. Tim Russert's play last night was not only nakedly sexist, but showed his immaturity and lack of respect for any woman standing up to be commander in chief.
The hammering she took from her competitors last night in the debate is not available to her as a means of fighting back. The Mighty Wurlitzer would instantly seize the opportunity to cast her as “cold” and “hostile,” it would leap into the main stream media and that would be that. Her opponents took advantage of that fact. As scarecrow noted this morning, it wasn’t a particularly high water mark in the race.Boo-frickin-hoo!
Senator Clinton, get ready for the backlash. You want to be leader of the free world, but can't handle criticism from Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd? It goes with the territory.
Does George Bush complain that everyone's all negative about him? Or do Hillary's backers imagine that people won't disagree with her when she's President?
And Hillary's campaign has already produced a video to feed the fire? Guess what: Americans don't want to elect a victim. We want to elect a leader. And if you can't stand the heat, just stay in the Senate.
John Edwards' next line about Hillary might go something like this:
I see that Senator Clinton is upset because now that she's leading in the polls, her rivals are starting to point out how often she's out of the mainstream with her party. Well, I'm sorry Senator, but this is a primary and not a coronation. And there's still free speech in this country.
Update: Fred Barnes captures this better than I can.