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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tonight's Debate Guide

Barack Attack


√ MSNBC will telecast a debate between Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday, Feb. 26, live from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio, 9-10:30 p.m. ET. NBC’s Brian Williams will moderate and be joined by "Meet the Press" moderator and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. It will be streamed live on msnbc.com.

Debate Fact-sheet: Until Recently, Hillary Clinton Has Consistently Praised NAFTA

√ Washington Post: Team Clinton: Down, and Out of Touch

But Ickes could suspend reality for only so long. He referred to Clinton’s opponent at one point as “Senator Barack,” swapped 1992 for 1972 and Michigan for Vermont, and said of the Pennsylvania primary: “Um, what month is it?” Eventually, Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News drew a confession out of Ickes: “I think if we lose in Texas and Ohio, Mrs. Clinton will have to make her decisions as to whether she goes forward or not.”

Ickes’s return to Earth seemed only to further outrage Singer.

When Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal asked about how combative Clinton would be in tonight’s debate with Obama, Singer informed her that it was an “absurd” question. “I don’t think . . . any of our senior people have the ESP skills that you all ascribe to us,” he said.

When Time’s Jay Newton-Small inquired about the Obama photo on Drudge, Singer used the occasion to complain about the press’s failure to examine Obama’s ties to violent radicals who were part of the Weathermen of the 1960s. “As far as I can tell, there was absolutely no follow-up on the part of the Obama traveling press corps,” he said.

Even Broder, asking about why Clinton had abandoned the North American Free Trade Agreement, was informed by Singer that “elections are about the future.”

Cook, the host, got similar treatment when he asked why Clinton hasn’t released her tax returns. “When she’s the general-election nominee, she’ll release the tax returns,” Singer said.

After the breakfast, one of the questioners asked Singer whether he could elaborate on the tax-return issue. He dismissed her with more hostility. When the reporter suggested that Singer was being antagonistic, the spokesman explained.

“Sixteen months into this,” he said, “I’m just angry.”

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