2006_10_clintspence.jpgLast night, Senator Hillary Clinton and Republican challenger John Spencer met upstate for their first debate. Aside from the fact that they were actually meeting, it was a fairly mild affair, given Clinton's huge 2-to-1 lead over Spencer. Spencer, a former mayor of Yonkers, did raise the question of Clinton's 2008 ambitions, saying, "You're not president yet, Mrs. Clinton!" when she discussed wanting to remove Donald Rumsfeld. He also questioned Clinton's huge warchest, "She's raised $40 million for herself. To run against me?" (Spencer has less than $500,000). But Clinton said she was committed to being a U.S. Senator for the next six years, which we believe - until she starts showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire more often.

One hilarious moment: When Spencer distanced himself from a plan on his website that called for a 2,000 mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. His paltry response? "I haven't looked at my Web site in six months." His campaign manager probably was kvelling. And calling the webmaster to remove it!

Quinnipiac Poll director Maurice Carroll summed it up for the NY Times: “Barring some cataclysmic reversal, Clinton-for-president can start cranking up for real on Nov. 8."

The debate will air again on C-Span tonight at 8PM.