And maybe this is the most telling finding of the exits: when CNN asked if the candidates had attacked the other unfairly, 54% said Clinton alone had, but only 34% said Obama had attacked unfairly.
Weirdly, Clinton tried to pre-empt Obama's victory speech (not shockingly, the stations stayed with Barack), and the surrogate who introduced her attacked Obama pretty visciously:
So did McCain:
Machinists Union President Tom Buffenbarger, introducing Clinton, hit Obama in...colorful...terms, my colleague Ken Vogel reports.
"Yes we can? Give me a break," he said.
He also compared Obama with "Janus, the two-faced god" of Roman mythology. He called him "silver tongued" and a "thespian" and "the man in love with the microphone."
"He’s not just a trained thespian, he’s a terrific shadow boxer. You know the type. Outside the ring, he pretends he can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," he said. "But Barack Obama is no Muhammad Ali. He took a walk every time there was a tough vote in the Illinois state Senate. He took a walk more than 130 times. That’s what a shadow boxer does. All the right moves, all the right combinations, all the right footwork, but he never steps into the ring. He walks away from the fight.”
He also drew a contrast between the “editor of the Harvard Law Review or a fighter for working families."
Will we do that, or will we heed appeals for change that ignore the lessons of history and lack confidence in the intelligence and ideals of free people? I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and return to the false promises and failed policies of a tired philosophy that trusts in government more than the people.(I kid you not--he actually said that. Translation: "I'm doubling down on the success of the Bush years!--are you with me?!")
Will the next president have the experience and judgment and strength of purpose to respond to each of these developments in ways that strengthen our security and advance the global progress of our ideals? Or will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan,* and sittting down without preconditions or clear purpose with enemies who support terrorists and are intent on destabilizing the world by acquiring nuclear weapons?
Release the hounds, things are seriousing up.
[Update: I'm adding to that McCain quote so you can see the Dubya-esque route he has chosen. Particularly egregious is the accusation that Obama said he'd bomb Pakistan. As McCain knows, and as the media will emphasize, this is a lie. He suggested a strike against Osama bin Laden in remote parts of Pakistan if the Pakistanis were unable to act. This passage, replete as it is with gross hyperbole, accusations of terrorist-coddling, and lies, is right out of the Bush playbook.]