early and often

Clinton Might Have the Edge in Tonight’s Super-Important Debate

Clinton and Obama

Obama defers to the orb of energy on his right.Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

Meet me in Ohio” was Hillary Clinton’s challenge to Barack Obama over the weekend. Never mind that the two were already scheduled to debate there tonight (“See you Tuesday!” would have been less dramatic). Their last debate before the mini–Super Tuesday primaries on March 4 — and, perhaps, their last ever — promises an airing of issues connected to health care and NAFTA, both of which Clinton and Obama have been recently feuding over. In mailers and speeches, Obama has claimed that Clinton supports NAFTA and sending working families into poverty with her health-care mandates. Clinton disagrees. And the popular opinion actually seems to favor her position — take that, SNL!

• Rich Lowry asserts that Obama is fearmongering on NAFTA, telling people what they want to hear. [National Review]

• Christopher Beam proposes a truce on NAFTA, since both Obama and Clinton are actually ambivalent on the issue. [Trailhead/Slate]

• Jonathan Martin finds it curious that Obama failed to mention Clinton when discussing NAFTA in a speech yesterday in Ohio. [Politico]

• Andrew Leonard concludes that Obama’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric shows him transitioning into politics as usual. [Salon]

• Aswini Anburajan and company report an ironic twist in the NAFTA tit for tat, as Ohio union representatives claim Clinton’s NAFTA mailer on Obama is dishonest. [First Read/MSNBC]

• Jonathan Cohn publishes a letter, signed by health-care experts, blasting Obama’s characterization of Clinton’s plan, and agrees that Obama’s critiques aren’t very accurate. [Plank/New Republic]

• Ezra Klein thinks Obama needs to “cut it out with these damn mailers,” which he calls reprehensible and misleading. [American Prospect]

• John Dickerson, in a piece on the tendency of politicians to take excessive umbrage this campaign season, said Clinton came off as a little too outraged over Obama’s mailers, though she may have had a legitimate gripe. [Slate]

• Jacob Hacker believes Clinton and Obama are fighting over technical differences on health care, but also finds Obama’s attacks disappointing. [LAT] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Clinton Might Have the Edge in Tonight’s Super-Important Debate