While it is currently conventional wisdom in the media that there was no Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, as evidenced by the media's failure to correct Barack Obama's recent claim that "there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq," for several years dating back before the Iraq invasion, there have been media reports of former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's connec



If one image can illustrate why Barack Obama is on the verge of winning the Dem presidential nomination, this one from last night's debate could be it.

View video here.

Not only does it represent the epitome of good-natured cool, it comes in stark contrast to the patented glare that Hillary aims at those who draw her ire. We've often illustrated the death-ray genre here at NB; you'll find a representative image after the jump from last night's debate.

Obama's gesture speaks largely for itself, but let's don our amateur body-language expert hat:


Tuesday night's Democratic debate brought an unexpected political analogy to mind: Hillary Clinton has become Bob Dole.

That point became eminently clear in the debate multiple times but especially during her attempt to rebuke NBC debate moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams by evoking a recent "Saturday Night Live" episode which accused the press of being "in the tank" for Barack Obama.

"In the last several debates I seem to get the first question all the time," Clinton said. "I don't mind. I'll be happy to field it. I just find it curious if anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

Those remarks, while slightly better phrased, are strikingly similar to Bob Dole's "where is the outrage" lament while running against Bill Clinton in 1996. Both candidates:



After a lengthy hiatus due to the Hollywood writers' strike, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" returned to the airwaves last evening, and began with a skit deliciously mocking CNN's recent debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

SNLer Kristen Wiig I believe, apparently impersonating CNN's Campbell Brown who hosted the debate -- although looking much more like Suzanne Malveaux -- introduced the festivities by comically and quite accurately stating (h/t Tim Graham):

Like nearly everyone in the news media, the three of us are totally in the tank for Senator Obama. Now let's meet the candidates. Just four years ago, Barack Obama was known only as a brilliant, charismatic and universally admired member of the Illinois State Senate. Today he is one of our nation's truly visionary leaders. And soon, knock on wood, the first black president of the United States.



http://newsbusters.org/static/2008/02/2008-02-21CNNObamaClinton.jpg

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) challenges Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) during their CNN debate in Austin, Texas on February 21, 2008.



On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton and wondered if she would step aside for the good of the Democratic Party: "More important for you to be elected, or for a Democrat to be in the White House a year from now?"

Smith began the interview by asking Clinton: "And you stopped, you paused, you drew a breath, and you said you were honored to be there with Barack Obama. And I whispered, as you said that, 'valedictory.' Was that the beginning of the end of your campaign?" Smith went on to wonder if a long drawn-out nomination fight was "worth it"given Obama’s lead:

And I thought I saw some of the fight leave your body last night. I thought I saw there was almost a sign of body language like this guy has won ten states in a row. He has a significant lead in delegates. You know, is it worth going after every single vote tooth and nail for the next two, three, four weeks?



It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.

That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.

If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.



The remaining Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are squaring off for what may be their final battle in Texas. The two will be debating tonight at 8:00pm Eastern. The debate will be carried on both CNN and Univision.

Join your fellow NBers either here on this thread or in the live chat and share your comments about the event. Web video for the television impaired is here.



On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith analyzed Thursday’s Democratic debate with Democratic strategist Joe Trippi and the left wing editor of "The Nation," Katrina Vanden Heuvel, who called the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "a historic first," while referring to Republicans as the "Grim Old Party" and "a restricted white men's club." Vanden Heuvel went to say that, "You also had a sheer -- the difference in policy knowledge and competence between Obama and Clinton and the Republican field to me was staggering."

This analysis of the Democratic debate followed Thursday’s analysis of Wednesday’s Republican debate, which featured Smith and CBS Political Correspondent and former Robert Kennedy speech writer, Jeff Greenfield, with no Republican guests.

Later in the Friday segment, Vanden Heuvel used a prior "Early Show" news brief about a suicide bomb attack in Iraq to claim "Yeah, I mean, you have a surge that isn't working. Look at the piece you just did." Smith made a feeble attempt at balance by replying, "Well that's arguable." Vanden Heuvel went on to shill for Obama "You have McCain of endless war -- of endless war without accountability and you have two candidates, Obama arguably wants to end this war and end the mind set that brought us into this war."



To recap the previous night’s Democratic debate, "Today" featured two liberal commentators to analyze it. It might be fair had "Today" interviewed two conservatives the previous day to analyze the Republican debate. They did not. Instead, they went to former Carter speechwriter and Obama supporter Chris Matthews.

The February 1 edition of the NBC morning show turned to known liberals Paul Begala and Rachel Maddow. Host Matt Lauer did identify Begala as a Democratic strategist and called Maddow’s radio network, Air America, "liberal." However, "Today’s" bias is obvious giving air time to two liberals and none to conservatives.Perhaps, in the elite media world, former Democratic staffer Matthews is "conservative" because of recent left wing blog attacks for his anti-Hillary comments.



NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterDoyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, and one of the three members of the mainstream media who asked questions at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, neglected to mention Hillary Clinton’s previous waffling on the subject of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants when he asked the former First Lady about the issue. "Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has said that he favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, and you opposed that idea. Why?"

As CNSNews Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey noted after the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate (where Clinton answered that she did not support licenses for illegal immigrants), Clinton, with that answer, contradicted what she had said in an interview with the Nashua [N.H.] Telegraph on October 17, 2007, almost a month earlier. In the interview, Clinton voiced support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, stating that "it makes a lot of sense." When Tim Russert asked Clinton about the issue at the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia two weeks later on October 30, she gave, as Jeffrey put it, "a long and apparently contradictory series of answers about whether to give illegals driver's licenses."



The Republican presidential candidates, minus Rudy Giuliani, are having their last face-off tonight at the Reagan library at 8pm ET. The event will be broadcast on CNN and is hosted in cooperation with the Politico and the Los Angeles Times. You can also watch online here.

Post your comments on this thread or join the live NB chat.