by Etse Sikanku
I hate to break it to you but those who looked at yesterday’s debate as Clinton’s valedictory event should be revising their notes.
The CNN event has confirmed Clinton as the mistress of debate.
Put whatever spin you want on it but it’s quite clear Clinton had the edge. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it will change the contours of the democratic race but give her two more of this and the Obama movement will fade into oblivion.
She had her good and not so good times but she also had the best time as well. It wasn’t so much for her ability to speak out of her heart than her introduction of “faith” and “blessing” into her message.
I have been observing this race for some time now and here’s one clue for the tie break: the religious base.
It's no secret that the Democratic Party has had more trouble wooing the more religiously inclined voters than their Republican counterparts. Now whichever of the two contenders taps into this religious avalanche could add a much needed audience to their support base.
Obama could easily have done this. But once again he allowed Clinton to show the way.
I’m not sure if this is a coincidence but I read something very striking from the bible today from Romans 5:3-5
“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not
Obama’s life captures all the elements listed above: suffering, perseverance, character and hope. He could have explained to those who accuse his campaign of promising ‘false hope’ that this hope is rooted in suffering, perseverance and character and above all, “hope does not disappoint”. And it wouldn’t just be Obama saying it but the Holy Book.
Projecting himself as the Bible candidate will have seen Barak racing through the final contests with much less ease.
Clinton’s famous last response did more to her campaign than any political strategist could have done.
To his credit Obama expertly won over the audience with his dismissal of Clinton’s allegations of plagiarism and looked far more presidential but it was Clinton who dominated the decider.
Also Obama looked very confident and seemed to have taken control of the debate right from the start but he could not convert his status as the prohibitive nominee into a match winner.
If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination historians will turn back and look to this period of her campaign-just like her moment of ‘tearing up’ before the New Hampshire primary- as her astonishing break.