The old man in the accompanying photo is Rutherford B. Hayes, an ex-governor of Ohio — where tonight’s Democratic debate takes place — and eventual president of the United States. Hayes was elected in 1876, perhaps the closest, most controversial election in American history. Although Hayes was a Republican, they were good then (party of Abraham Lincoln). The election was so close between Hayes and Samuel Tilden that an election commission of evil politicos negotiated a “deal,” where Hayes would get the presidency, but the Southern ex-slaveowners would be able to take power back in the South. Hayes got the presidency, but the country was broken. Point is: this is the only way Hillary Clinton can win the 2008 Democratic nomination — get it close, fudge some rules, break the country. Let’s see if she can do it!
9:02 — Brian Williams < Chris Matthews. Right?
9:04 -- First question, paraphrased: Hillary, do you consider calling Barack shameful and a liar very "valedictory"? Why are you still running against our favorite Kenyan potted plant?
9:05 -- The 15 million people that Barack's health care plan doesn't cover will be covered by his love. Love is change you can Xerox.
9:07 -- Seven minutes in, and we're already talking about the goddamn Drudge Report. Hillary has no idea what the Drudge Report is or why anyone would consider Barack a Muslim, with AIDS.
9:08 -- Barack worries about how Hillary Clinton would enforce her individual mandate for all Americans. But how would Barry enforce his mandate for children only? Maybe by not being a bitch, which is what Hillary would do.
9:10 -- Ooh, the University of Pennsylvania (among others) said Barack's attacks on Hillary's health care plans were unfair. Well, this writer recently graduated from this same UPenn and now writes dick jokes all day on Wonkette. Advantage, Barry.
9:12 -- Barry: You still do not understand this Hillary. If people want health care, they will have to pay for it. Barack Obama will not let people who can't afford health care buy it.
9:14 -- What's wrong with Hillary Clinton? She gets really Rovian when she tries to push her policy positions. "Affordability"? Telling me that Jim Crow-holdover isn’t racist?
9:15 — Barack says if there’s an affordable health care plan out there, they are definitely buying it. He’s wrong.
9:17 — Brian Williams is so funny, he says “After 16 minutes of health care, I think that’s enough,” or something like that. Ha ha, Brian Williams just concluded that Hillary’s strongest suit is boring and worthless.
9:18 — It’s a NAFTA question, for Hillary — basically, what does she think about it in toto? Hillary thinks this is a good opportunity to mention her Saturday Night Live endorsement.
9:19 — Oh, and she thinks NAFTA’s terrible and broken and they should fix it, terrible law. Would you like a pillow with your retort, Barack?
9:22 — Barack wants to fix those poison rape toys coming from China. But why does he let them exist now, in the first place?
9:24 — It is truly remarkable that this same question about NAFTA was once debated between Ross Perot and Al Gore. Why does Hillary disagree with Al Gore?
9:25 — Tim Russert, that frumpy old curmudgeon, is calling Hillary an ungodly flip-flopper about this dumb trade agreement with Mexico and New France.
9:26 — Hillary deftly parries by shouting “CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER” incessantly.
9:27 — World-class journalist Tim Russert appears to be sated by the concept of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and its existence.
9:28 — Russert to the Muslim: And whadda you think about trade, rainbow eyes?
9:29 — Barry: I can fix trade with sparkles, and investments in infrastructure — but not with the corporates.
9:30 — NEW THREAD: Wonkette Managing Editor Ken Layne will be liveblogging the next half hour, on a new thread! Go there, he’s great!