My hat is off to Rachel Maddow for her terrific moderating at the First in the South Democratic Candidates' Forum. Maddow's questions were probing, insightful, and tough.
She spared no one. She grilled Bernie Sanders on his gun positions, she asked Hillary Clinton to answer allegations about whether she's too close to Wall Street, and she asked Martin O'Malley to explain his legacy in Maryland where his lieutenant governor couldn't win the election in a blue state.
MSNBC is repeating it, and you can also watch it online on their site. But I wanted to share a couple of the lighter and sweeter moments.
Above, we have Bernie Sanders speaking of his grandchildren, tenderly in response to one of Rachel Maddow's questions about the Keystone pipeline.
I've got four kids, seven beautiful grandchildren. And what I believe from the bottom of my heart, if we are not extremely aggressive in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy, the planet we are going to be leaving the kids and grandchildren of this country may not be habitable.
She also asked him what his dream job would be if he weren't running for President, and he said he wanted to be president of CNN because then the media would change how they talk about politics.
Boy howdy, do I ever endorse that. Perhaps we could clone Bernie and make the clone president of CNN?
Hillary Clinton was asked which of the 15 candidates running for the Republican nomination she would have as a running mate, assuming she had to pick one of them and no one else.
After laughing for a bit, she said she wouldn't pick any of them, though there might be a Republican she would pick. She said none of those candidates would be ones she'd want to run with.
Perfect answer to a tough, yet lighthearted question.
This forum was what Republicans wish they had, but the sad fact is that they don't have anyone serious enough to ask them the hard, direct questions like Rachel Maddow.
From the transcript, Maddow's question to Clinton and her response:
MADDOW: If you had to pick somebody, you had to...
MADDOW: ...From the Republican Presidential field this year to be your Vice President, there was a national
MADDOW: There was a national crisis, and there had to be a unity ticket, and it was for the good of the nation, and those were your choices, those 15 men and women, who would you choose?
Ruin their life right here, do it.
CLINTON: Well, I'm going to say, whoever I name will really get hurt in the republican party. And, so, I don't know if want to do that. But...
MADDOW: You could use this tactically...
CLINTON: ...wow, yeah, I could...
MADDOW: ...You could use this to decide...
CLINTON: You know, there are Republicans I could pick, just none of them.
MADDOW: For this question, you've got to pick one of them.
CLINTON: No, Rachel, I'm not going to pick one of them. I know, I know you're going to be disappointed, I know that, you know, people are going to say I dodge the question. The fact is, I am dodging it. I don't want to pick any of them. (inaudible) running me. I'll work with them all, but I don't want them to be my running mates.