CHICAGO -- A dozen or so young staffers were gathered around a bank of television sets at Barack Obama's vast campaign headquarters here on Michigan Avenue. They were cheering on Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) as he took their candidate's side in the great Obama- Hillary Clinton debate over how presidents should negotiate with unfriendly dictators.
The mood was upbeat not only because the Obama loyalists judged Smith the winner in his Wednesday clash with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) on MSNBC's "Hardball," but also because Obama had pulled the front-runner into a direct confrontation over foreign policy.But this week, at least, Clinton started a battle about experience and Obama turned it into a debate about change.
This dynamic, over a stray comment in a single debate, could be remembered as the moment that defined the Democratic presidential contest. Clinton faces trouble if she allows Obama a monopoly on the future.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
E.J. Dionne (WaPo):