Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

In Which I Feel Obama's Pain
February 27, 2008

It figures that one of the few times I can't watch the Democratic presidential debate live, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would spend the first sixteen minutes talking about their competing visions for universal health care. But judging from the transcript and clips on CNN, it doesn't look like the discussion covered much new territory. Clinton argued why a individual mandate is important, Obama argued why it wasn't, and so on. As most of you know, I think Clinton is absolutely right on the merits of the argument.

Experts To Obama: No More Harry And Louise!
February 26, 2008

As you may have heard, Hillary Clinton recently blasted Barack Obama over a piece of campaign literature, in which the Obama campaign insinuated that Clinton's health care plan would force people to buy insurance they couldn't afford. Clinton objected both to the substance of the claim, which she said was inaccurate, and the imagery, which was evocative of the infamous Harry and Louise advertisements insurance lobbyists used to kill universal coverage back in 1993 and 1994.

Tv Moments That Make You Cringe
February 19, 2008

Ouch.  Memo to the Obama campaign: When you put up surrogates on national television, make sure they can answer a basic question like lilke "can you name anything your candidate has accomplished in office."  Right now, MSNBC is running a debate between surrogates for each campaign. Chris Matthews put the question to the Obama surrogate, state senator Kirk Watson.  And Watson said ... nothing.  Matthews then came back to him and pressed him on it: "List Barack Obama's accomplishments in the U.S. Senate right now."  And Watson said ... nothing.  Again.

Hard Truths About Obama's Hard Truths
February 19, 2008

It wouldn't be a primary night if I didn't say something specifically about health care.

Obama Discovers His Inner Wonk
February 19, 2008

Those of you who have followed my primary night entries know that I've consistently urged Barack Obama to focus on substance in his speeches. The early speeches, particularly the one he gave after Iowa, seemed to be all about building a movement. He said very little about what he'd do with that movement -- i.e., what kinds of changes he hoped the movement would help push into law. His rivals, meanwhile, pounded the issues and, for the most part, benefitted from that. More recently, I thought, he got the balance just right.

Fickle On Universal Health Care?
February 19, 2008

About two weeks ago, I wrote in this space about Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee.

Proof That Blogging Won't Ruin Journalism
February 19, 2008

The George Polk Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism. And this year's winners, announced today, for the first time include a blogger: Josh Marshall, of TalkingPointsMemo.com, for his coverage of the U.S. Attorneys scandal.  It's not the first time Josh and his site led the national media on a story.

The Flaw In Clinton's Florida-michigan Strategy
February 15, 2008

I see the Clinton campaign is still pressing to seat delegates from the Michigan and Florida primaries. What I fail to see is why. Like most people, I find the effort objectionable on philosophical grounds – particularly in Michigan, where Clinton's name was the only one on the ballot. The Clinton campaign says that it is merely trying to respect the rights of Michigan residents who went to the polls that day. Well, I happen to be one of those people. And I find the argument unpersuasive. But put that aside. It's the sheer practicality of this effort that baffles me at the moment.

Obama's Best Speech Yet
February 12, 2008

It's been a week or so since I've heard Obama's stump speech, so maybe this is old news.  But -- wow -- he is really going after John McCain.  And he's doing a damn fine job of it. He started by honoring McCain's service, with all apparent sincerity, and then pivoted quickly to this line: "John McCain has the wrong priorities -- because they are bound to the policies of the past." He then promised "a clear choice," tying McCain to the Bush tax cuts and, in particular, the war in Iraq: "John McCain won't be able to say I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the start. Sena

You Had Me At "working Families"
February 12, 2008

Barack Obama is speaking in Madison, Wisconsin. And one of his first lines was a note of gratitude to the state's Democratic governor, Jim Doyle.

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