PHILADELPHIA - "Hillary Clinton fought off a barrage of attacks by rivals in a Democratic debate Tuesday night, but got knocked off-balance trying to defend Gov. Spitzer's much-criticized plan on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants - without actually endorsing it.
"I was confused over Sen. Clinton's answer," Sen. Barack Obama deadpanned near the end of the two-hour encounter at Drexel University, shown nationally on MSNBC. "I couldn't tell whether she was for it or against it."
The sharpest-edged debate of the primary campaign came just over two months before the voting starts in Iowa on Jan. 3.
And it was a New York-centric issue that gave Clinton a harder time than explaining her changes over the years on Iraq, her recent vote condemning Iran or her explanation of why her plan for Social Security's future will have to wait.
Clinton said Spitzer had been forced to make "an honest" effort to address the problem of illegal immigrants driving on local roads because of President Bush's failed immigration policy.
"I did not say it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying to it," Clinton said.
Pressed by moderator Tim Russert on whether she supported Spitzer's plan or not, Clinton got irritated - and exasperated.
"This is where everybody plays 'Gotcha,'" Clinton said. "It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do? He's dealing with a serious problem. ... Do I think it's the best thing for any governor to do? No. But I understand the sense of real desperation trying to get a handle on this."
What's the governor supposed to do?
Hell and damnation, woman, the governor is supposed to make certain that the laws of the land are ENFORCED, not trampled upon because of the liberal fondness for creating underclasses and the burning desire to add another few million to the already lengthy list of no-account idlers who vote for whomever will provide that free pass to grazing at the public trough.
The governor isn't supposed to surrender when the going gets tough, but then again you've never governed anything other than your husbands rape-defense-fund so how would you know what a chief executive is supposed to do? Or for that matter, the true meaning of the word "honest"?
The debate itself?
Don't make me laugh. The George McGovern Fan Club pranced and minced and waved the white flag enough to make the French proud.