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BREAKING 9:30pm 4-16-08 Democratic Debate in Philly: Obama on Defense - Advantage Clinton
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2008 7:24pm

ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE:  PHILADELPHIA, PENN From CNN & ABC  (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town)  BREAKING POLITICS:  9:30pm    4-16-08  It was a free-wheeling, ol’ fashioned, “in-your-face” political debate, played out in the city of brotherly love. But, who won? 

[Editor's note: "I give the advantage to Hillary Clinton.  Barack Obama, it seemed, stuttered and stammered, trying to defend his recent gaffe about “the bitter people of Pennsylvania” , while again having to explain himself about the controversial remarks of his former pastor, the Reverend Richard Wright." TP]

Sponsored by ABC News, the live two-hour Democratic Presidential debate, was moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

Each candidate said they thought the other was capable of winning the presidency, according to CNN.

Clinton and Obama faced off at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just six days before the Pennsylvania primary. There was much at stake for both.

This was the 21st Democratic debate, and although that seems like a lot, much has happened since their last debate, in Ohio in late February.

While Obama was riding an 11-contest winning streak back then, Clinton won comeback kid honors when she took three of the four primaries held March 4. But Obama still leads Clinton in states won, pledged delegates to the Democratic convention and the overall popular vote in the primaries and caucuses held so far this campaign season.

Clinton needed to change the momentum in the battle for the Democratic nomination, and the best way to do that is to win big in Pennsylvania. But a new CNN Poll of Polls puts Clinton's lead at just 5 points over Obama in Pennsylvania, down from a double-digit lead two weeks ago.

The debate was "probably her last opportunity to change the momentum in the campaign," CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said.

Clinton might be helped by Obama himself.

By the second question of the debate, the senator from Illinois found himself explaining, yet again, just what he meant when he told campaign donors at a San Francisco-area event 10 days ago that small-town Pennsylvania residents are "bitter" over their economic circumstances and "cling" to their guns and religion. 

Obama acknowledged that it is not the first time he has mangled a statement. 


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