Unrelenting, fierce and armed with full-on opposition research against Obama; her focus appeared to be on Super Tuesday rather than on the South Carolina audience. Yet at times seemed heavy-handed, cutthroat and even mean-spirited ending any lingering idealistic thoughts about a Clinton-Obama ticket. Able to switch effortlessly from merciless attacks to smooth, upbeat self-promotion. When the talk turned to substance, energetically plunged into a weighty discussion of the economy and health care. Was never visibly rattled even when booed by the crowd or when challenged by Obama, who played surprise cards such as her service on Wal-Mart's corporate board. Seemed steely and sturdy, but the fiery debate overall may have left a bad taste with the voting public.
Bottom line: She was a well-prepared pro, eager to draw Obama into a fight (with her husband in the wings ready to take up the sword).
By Mark Halperin
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