Democrats ape Republicans in debate

Here's a surprise: There are some Republican maxims that Democrats don't mind.

By Michael Scherer
June 4, 2007 4:20AM (UTC)
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Here's a surprising fact from the first hour of the second Democratic debate: A couple of the candidates are paying homage to the rhetoric of their Republican foes.

First came Sen. Hillary Clinton, who did her best imitation of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani by claiming home-state ownership of the September 11 attacks. "I am a senator from New York. I have lived with the aftermath of 9/11, and I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda."


Second up was Joe Biden, who took a page from Arizona Sen. John McCain's oft repeated claim that he would "much rather lose an election than lose a war." Biden was explaining why he voted to support the recent war funding bill, which was opposed by many Democratic activists. He said he knew his vote was not popular with the Democratic base. "I knew the right political vote, but I tell you what," said Biden. "Some things are worth losing elections over."

Finally, just before the halfway point, Clinton came back for another zinger, reaching back to the 1960s lion of the conservative movement. She had just explained why gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military. "I just want to end by saying Barry Goldwater once said, 'You don't have to be straight to shoot straight.' And I think he was right."

Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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