With the pivotal Pennsylvania Democratic Primary scheduled for April 22, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama met at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, for the 18th and possibly final debate of the primary season. The first hour of the debate centered on questions ranging from whether or not each candidate would agree that their opponent could be elected against John McCain, why Obama rarely wears American flag lapel pins and Hillary Clinton’s misstatement regarding her 1996 visit to Bosnia.
It should be noted that George Stephanopoulos, a moderator for ABC during the debate, also served as an aide to the Bill Clinton administration. ABC has drawn criticism from the journalism community for pushing questions regarding Iraq, Afghanistan and the housing crisis until the second hour of the debate, which garnered 10.7 million viewers, making it the most watched of this campaign.
When the questioning reached the above topics, each candidate had interesting comments, especially surrounding war and foreign affairs.
“Now, I will always listen to our commanders on the ground with respect to tactics,” Obama said of Iraq. “Once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberately, in an orderly fashion, out of Iraq, and we are going to have our combat troops out. We will not have permanent bases there.”
In regards to Iran, Clinton said “I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course, I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the United States.”
Both candidates voiced concern over the housing crisis and lack of universal healthcare during the debate.
Pennsylvania and its 158 delegates will play a near decisive role in the outcome of the Democratic race. Obama enters the PA Primary with 1,644 delegates to Clinton’s 1,498.
Many analysts believe that Philadelphia suburbs such as Chester County will be crucial for the winner of the primary.
Matt Lombardo is a third-year student majoring in communications studies. He can be reached at ML606516@wcupa.edu.