Obama, Clinton debate in Texas

February 22, 2008 1:11:32 AM PST
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debated in a state Clinton admits she must win to keep her in the race for the Democratic nomination.

About 45-minutes after a nasty statement, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were shaking hands -- praising each others' records.

Senator Hillary Clinton needs a big win in Texas on March 4th. Thursday's debate was seen as her best chance to gain some traction. But going negative in this campaign season hasn't worked.

For a debate there was a lot of agreement. Both said they would tackle the home mortgage crisis, end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and work to keep jobs from going over seas.

"Senator Clinton and I agree on most of these issues," said Senator Barack Obama (D) Illinois.

"I would agree a lot with what Senator Obama just said, because it is the Democratic agenda," said Senator Hillary Clinton (D) New York.

Where there was sharp disagreement was on health care.

"You chose to put forward a healthcare plan that will leave out at least 15 million people that's a big difference," said Clinton.

"Senator Clinton believes the only way to achieve universal health care is to force everybody to purchase it, and my belief is the reason people don't have it is not because they don't want, it but because they can't afford it," said Obama.

"If you do not have a plan that starts out attempting to achieve universal health care you will be nibbled to death and we will be back here with more and more people uninsured and rising costs," said Clinton.

It was one of the high points for Senator Hillary Clinton. One of Senator Obama's best moments -- when he talked about his opposition to the war.

"I believe I showed the judgment of a commander-in-chief and I think Senator Clinton was wrong in her judgments on that," said Obama.

Judgment came up again with regard to portions of a speech that Senator Obama lifted from a speech given by the governor of Massachusetts.

"The notion that I had plagiarized from someone who is one of my national co-chairs who gave me the line and suggested that I use it, I think is silly," said Obama.

"You know lifting whole passages from someone else's speech isn't change you can believe in it's change you can Xerox," said Clinton.

That was the low point, according to San Francisco State political scientist Robert Smith who said generally it was a substantive civil debate.

"Both sides presented their cases very, very well I would call it a tie in that instance. In the dynamics of the election however a tie works to Mrs. Clinton's disadvantage," said Professor Robert Smith, Ph.D., from San Francisco State University.

It was a nice point at the end of the debate when Senator Clinton said it was an honor to be on stage with Senator Obama, and they shook hands.

It was maybe their strongest moment, but is it enough? The Texans will vote on March 4th.