COMMENTS: Best Behavior

The two-way on CNN between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Kodak Theater was an amicable affair: "Miss Manners would have been proud," NBC's Lee Cowan reflected, "from the gentlemanly chair holding to the friendly elbow hugs." Cowan's analysis was that each candidate was trying to project electability come November, playing Rodham Clinton's key laugh line--"It did take a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it might take another one to clean up after the second Bush"--and pointing to Obama's claim that "he is simply more appealing to independents and moderates." ABC's George Stephanopoulos accounted for the collegial tone by noting that each campaign was where it wanted to be: she has the lead; he has the momentum. And ABC's Jake Tapper picked up on the "talk of the town" of a possible ticket containing both of them. JFK picked LBJ and Ronald Reagan picked George Bush, he reminded us: "Enemies uniting for political gain--American as apple pie."

ABC also aired clips from a roundtable of women voters from New Jersey hosted by Cokie Roberts on whether gender solidarity was a factor in the support for Rodham Clinton. As Roberts herself put it: "Do you see yourself maybe walking into that voting booth and as you go to pull the lever say: 'Oh shoot! It is just time!'?" Here is one answer from Mary Hickey: "It is just a matter of time. I mean to me it is inevitable that there will be. There is no question that a woman cannot be president. It is simply a question: 'Is this the right woman?'"


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