Debate Theme: Who Hates Hillary The Most?
by Jeff Dinelli
For all their pandering over the weekend to ultra-religious voters, Republicans sure change their minds a lot as to who Satan is. Shortly after 9/11, it was Osama bin Laden. When they couldn't find him, Saddam Hussein wore the horns, blaming the ramshackle government they set up in Iraq for not rebuilding the country we blew up, they filled the devil's role for a while, before Darth Vader turned his attention to Iran: "Our country and the entire international community cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions . . . we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
But on Sunday night, just in time for Halloween, there was no doubt who wore the devil's horns. According to Republicans, simply by judging how many times her name was invoked and her beliefs torn apart, the new Satan is Hillary Clinton.
As Chris Wallace of FOX News reminded the candidates, "You all seem to be planning to run against Hillary Clinton in the general election and at this point all of you - I repeat, all of you - are losing to her in the polls." That seemed to upset the boys.
Senator McCain capitalized on the lastest slam on "Hippie Hillary" as she's been called on the right, for supporting Senator Schumer's attempts to help pay for improvements to the Woodstock Museum in upstate New York.
MCCAIN: The debate that I have between me and her will be based on national security, on fiscal conservatism, and on social conservatism. It will be a respectful debate. That is what the American people want. Now, one of them will be spending. I have fought against out-of-control and disgraceful spending that's been going on and I have saved the American people as much as $2 billion at one stroke. In case you missed it, a few days ago, Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock Concert Museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event.
I was tied up at the time.
But the fact is...
MCCAIN: My friends, no one can be president of the United States that supports projects such as these. And I believe that wasteful spending has got to be eliminated. And I will have this debate and win because she is a liberal Democrat and I am a proud, reliable, consistent conservative Republican. That's why I'll win.
Rudy Giuliani dodged a question about his rather similar views on social issues as Hillary.
WALLACE: Mayor Giuliani, you trail Clinton by four points in our latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Governor Romney says the Republicans aren't going to beat Hillary Clinton by acting like Hillary Clinton. And the point seems to be that on a lot of the social issues, like abortion and gay rights and gun control, that there's not much difference between you and Clinton. Is there?
GIULIANI: You got to be kidding.
You have got to be kidding. Wait a second. There is -- there are two things I agree with Hillary Clinton on. First of all, we're both Yankee fans.
Well, wait a second. I became a Yankee fan growing up in New York. She became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago.
Do you believe that?
Minister Mike Huckabee turned things to a serious, scary note. Enough joking around about the devilish NY Senator.
HUCKABEE: You know, it's interesting, the most, I guess, wonderful reaction we've had in this entire room is when Hillary's name is mentioned. It gets louder than an Aerosmith concert.
But I want to say this -- you've asked: What's the difference? No matter which one of us is on this stage -- and, look, I like to be funny, let me be real honest with you. There's nothing funny about Hillary Clinton being president. Let me tell you why.
If she's president, taxes go up, health care becomes the domain of the government, spending goes out of control, our military loses its morale, and I'm not sure we'll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country's ever faced in Islamofascism. (I think he made this word up on the spot.)
We've got an enemy that wants to kill every last one of us. We cannot be soft. We must be strong. We'll sign crazy bills like the Law of the Sea Treaty and give away our sovereignty. And that's why, with all of the fun we're going to have talking about it, there's nothing funny about Hillary being president.
When it was Mitt Romney's turn at the Hillary pinata, he went from being semi-coherent to babbling while bringing her name up nine times.
ROMNEY: Hillary Clinton wants to run the largest enterprise in the world, the government of the United States. It employs millions of people, trillions of dollars in revenue. She hasn't run a corner store. She hasn't run a state. She hasn't run a city. She has never run anything. And the idea that she could learn to be president, you know, as an internship just doesn't make any sense. I have spent my life running things. I've learned how to run a business. I've learned how to run a state. I ran the Olympics. In each case, I brought change. And if there's ever been a time we needed change in Washington to bring strength to America, it's now.
WALLACE: Governor, I'm going to give you 30 more seconds. I asked you specifically is she fit to be commander in chief?
ROMNEY: Well, I'd vote no. I'd vote no. I don't want her as commander in chief. I don't believe she has the experience in leadership and running something of the scale of our military to be the commander in chief of this nation. If you asked me, if the ballot is put in front of anybody in this room, I think you heard what they said. The answer is, absolute -- anyone here want to vote for Hillary?
ROMNEY: I agree with them.
And then he started to get weird. See if this makes any sense to you:
ROMNEY: All of us on this stage are Republican. But the question is, who will be able to build the house that Ronald Reagan built - who will be able to strengthen that house, because that's the house that's going to build the house that Clinton, Hillary wants to build.
I hate to speculate, but I'm going to assume what he meant was Hillary would take a torch to the house that Reagan built. Not sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure that's what he meant to say. Meanwhile, polls show 58 percent of Americans said they would consider her for president, compared with 41 percent who definitely would not. Romney, the Republican front-runner in money raised, has only 36 percent of voters saying they would consider him, compared with 57 percent who say they definitely would not.
Last week, a CBS News poll had the Democratic nominee beating the Republican nominee by 48 percent to 38 percent and a CNN poll had 52 percent of voters leaning Democratic and 39 percent leaning Republican.
Hillary may be the Republicans' Satan, but the more they beat on her, the more they stoke her fire.