My colleague Marc Ambinder observes:

The press seems to be very keen about Clinton's answer to the dictator meeting question. Whatever "presidential" means to the press -- and it seems to be mean non-pandering, serious, grave and reflective -- Clinton's answer was very "presidential."



Marc wonders if "those Democrats who watched the debate on television agree." I'm not sure. I do, though, have a question of my own for him. Doesn't "presidential" in this context, like "serious," just mean "relatively right-wing" rather than "reflective"?

UPDATE: Similarly, Marc sees "intellectual honesty" in Clinton's and Biden's statements on Iraq. I see the reverse. I see Clinton and Biden both taking relatively more right-wing positions on Iraq and then refusing to take responsibility for the fact that they don't favor a speedy withdrawal from Iraq by pretending that the military somehow "can't" organize one. Praise Clinton and Biden for being less dovish on Iraq than Edwards and Obama and praise them for, in turn, being less dovish than Bill Richardson if you'd like. But let's not pretend this is about neutral attributes of presidentialness and intellectual honesty, it's about policy disagreements.

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