Front Runner Hillary Clinton targeted at Tuesday's Democratic debate

by Steve Handlesman
NBC News

Democrats ganged up on Hillary Clinton Tuesday night at their debate in Philadelphia.

Barack Obama disappointed some who hoped he'd hit harder.
A forceful confrontation with Hillary Clinton is what Barack Obama promised at the democrat's debate in Philadelphia

"Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets over-hyped," said Obama.

And his criticism was low key.

"She has taken one position on torture several months ago, and most recently taken a different position," Obama said.

The democrat's now clear front runner kept her cool.

"I have been standing against the republicans, George Bush and Dick Cheney, and I will continue to do so, and I think the Democrats know that," said Senator Hillary Clinton.

John Edwards did go after Clinton forcefully on Iran.

"Says she'll stand up to George bush on Iran, she just said it again, and in fact she voted to give George Bush the first step in moving militarily on Iran," said Edwards.

Clinton fired back.

"I am not in favor of this rush for war, but I'm also not in favor of doing nothing," she said.

What about electability?  Can Clinton win a year from now?

Obama said he didn't think so, "part of the reason that I think Republicans are obsessed with you Hillary is because that's a fight they're very comfortable having."

Candidate John Edwards chimed in, "they may actually wanna run against you."

Meanwhile, Senator Joe Biden slammed the Republican front runner.

"Rudy Giuliani, there's only three things he mentions in a sentence, a noun, a verb, and 9/11, there's nothing else!" said Biden.

But the main target was the Democrat with the big lead in the polls.

Still it was polite.  And any forceful Obama-Clinton showdown fizzled.