Tonight CNN hosted a Democratic debate in New Hampshire, and Democrats got a little more defensive than in the past, some of the cordial niceties of the last debate abandoned.
Number three in the Democratic polls John Edwards confronted Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on their late "No" vote for Iraq spending bill, claiming they showed a lack of leadership by waiting until the last minute to cast their vote.
Edwards appears ready to fight with Democrats to prove his "worth", which may or may not be good decision this early in the race.
Perhaps John Edwards energy would have been better spent confronting Biden for not only his "Yes" vote on the spending bill but also on Biden agreeing to attend a FOX/CBC debate.
But that's silly because John Edwards knows Biden is not a threat, but Hillary and Obama are and that's why he confronted them.
I thought Barack Obama came off very well, his answers seemed well thought out and insightful, showing that his lack of experience is not an indicator of a lack of intelligence or competence.
Even Hillary Clinton gained a few points with me tonight. Not only did she look smashing she stayed on point and appeared much more relaxed than she did in the MSNBC debate.
However, Clinton did come off as a little presumptuous to me when she said "When I become President" rather than "if America elects/chooses me as the next President". But as pointed out to me by a commenter on DailyKos, that is confidence and it is important for candidates to appear certain that they are the next best candidate.
CNN was wise to start the debate on Iraq, security and the War on Terror because these are the issues that Americans are most concerned about today.
"Everybody supports the troops." Obama said, "The best way to support the troops is not to impose a military solution to a political problem in Iraq."
John Edwards touched base on the recent perceived weakness of the newly Democratic Congress when he proclaimed that it is "critical for Congress to stand firm" and that Congress has a "mandate" from the American people to end the war. Indeed.
Hillary didn't speak for all but she spoke for me when she stated "This is George Bush's war, he is responsible for it."
Although Democrats failed to stop George Bush from launching a war on Iraq there is no doubt in my mind that this is George Bush's war, and it is most likely a continuation of his fathers war. It is through and through George Bush's war.
"We are trying to end the war" stated Clinton, even though she plans for troops in Iraq for years to come. Clinton said the United States needs to "put pressure on the Iraqi government" and take away aid when the Iraqi's don't follow threw.
Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut states that Iraq is civil war and that America is "less secure, more vulnerable".
Wolf Blitzer moves on over to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is outspoken about the genocide in Darfur and asks Richardson what if an Iraq pullout leads to genocide.
Richardson states that he believed that there is a civil war in Iraq, reminding the audience that seven Americans died in Iraq today.
Richardson claims he would deauthorize the war, and leave no residual forces, but lets it slip that he would keep troops in Kuwait.
Kucinich steps in saying that the Iraq war has been based on lies and that "no money would end the war, stop the funding. Let's end the war."
Boisterous Joe Biden stated "Your going to end the war when you have a Democratic president." He also claimed that "The only one who has emboldened the enemy is the President."
Hillary later noted that President Bush had no intention of letting the UN inspectors finish looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and that she believed that the troops did their job, they searched for WMD, and took down Saddam.
Perhaps trying to balance his earlier confrontation Edwards stated that "Obama deserves credit for being right about war from the beginning"
Edwards could not have been more right when he noted that "We have to reestablish trust between the American people and the President."
But which of these candidates to trust the most? All the top tier candidates seem very desirable and competent to do the job and after six years of Bush rule hearing the Democrats and their common sense was a breath of fresh air.
Though I am pleased with the debate I believe Progressives need to keep putting pressure on the Democrats to do the right thing.