Finally, The War

I didn't see the debate. But I espy an emerging consensus. Here's Mark Ambinder:

I was tempted to call this encounter a draw but I am mindful that there are no zero sum debates in presidential politics. And twenty minutes of Iraq happened. And so I’ll give Obama the edge. Clinton was forced, for about 20 minutes, to recapitulate her vote on Iraq, over and over again. It was tough for her. She seemed to mire herself in the details of history.

And here's Spencer Ackerman:

The debate was tepid, very substantive and saw minimal distinction between Clinton and Obama. Then came Iraq. And it ceased to be close.

Obama made the full-spectrum critique of the Iraq war -- tougher on terrorism than she was, comprehensive in his reappraisal of foreign affairs, vociferous on the need to get out of Iraq and what its implications are. This critique that Matt noticed yesterday? It's not a fluke. This is his closing argument against Hillary, and then McCain.

I remember way back in 2005 thinking that contrary to the then-prevailing conventional wisdom, Hillary Clinton wasn't going to be the nominee. It just seemed inevitable that someone who hadn't backed the war would be able to ride that issue to the finish line. In the intervening years that judgment came to look really bad. Not just because Clinton was on top of the polls, but because even though a strong challenger who hadn't backed the war had emerged, he wasn't really making that difference central to his campaign. More recently, though, it seems to have been getting more prominent play in Obama's message and I think that's got to play to his advantage.