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A Bad Night for Hillary Clinton

Leading in many polls by as much as 30 points, the senator was hammered by her Democratic opponents in a debate in Philadelphia last night. The prevailing wisdom is that Hillary does not stand for anything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that is corrupt in Washington D.C.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She voted for a war to authorize sending troops into Iraq and then later said this was a war for diplomacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But things got really dicey for Senator Clinton when Tim Russert, who did a nice job last night, asked her whether she supported driver's licenses for illegal aliens.

TIM RUSSERT, SHOW HOST: Why does it make a lot of sense to give an illegal immigrant a driver's license?

CLINTON: Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. And we have failed. We have failed.

CHRIS DODD (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, no, no, you said yes. You thought it made sense to do it.

CLINTON: No, I didn't, Chris. But...

RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, I just want to make sure what I heard. Do you, the New York senator, Hillary Clinton, support the New York governor's plan to give illegal immigrants a driver's license? You told a New Hampshire paper it made a lot of sense. Do you support his plan?

CLINTON: You know, Tim, this is where everyone plays gotcha. It makes a lot of sense, what is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, John Edwards, the most aggressive Hillary skeptic jumped right on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARDS: Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes, just a few minutes ago. And I think this is a real issue for the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

But "Talking Points" believes it is a bogus issue. It is quite clear that Hillary Clinton, as well as Barack Obama, and to some extent Edwards, rarely answer direct questions. They prefer rehearsed statements put forth on entertainment shows like Leno and Ellen.

But last night's immigration dance will hurt Hillary Clinton, no doubt. Seventy-two percent of New Yorkers, many of them Democrats, think licenses for illegals is nuts and New York is a very liberal state. It is hard to imagine the rest of the country being happy with a presidential candidate who cannot give a straight answer on whether illegals should be given official state documents.

But that is where we are in America. Senator Clinton speaks the truth when she says it is a big gotcha game in the press. It is. However, she and everyone else who wants to be president have an obligation to answer the darn questions. And they should be hammered when they don't.

If you do not know the answer, say so, if you do not have the courage to answer it, explain why. With the first votes just two months away, "Talking Points" is about to step up coverage of these politicians seeking power.

Our analysis will be tough but fair, and those who run will be spotlighted. Ideology is not important to us. Honesty and courage is. And that's "The Memo".

Pinheads and Patriots

British soccer star David Beckham was paid millions to play for a Los Angeles team, but he got hurt and few Americans have seen him play.

Now, Beckham and his Galaxy teammates will play some Hollywood people in a charity soccer game to raise money for the fire victims out there. Because of this, Mr. Beckham and his team are patriots.

On the pinhead front, we welcome in model Naomi Campbell. The runway diva is the latest misguided celebrity to meet with the aspiring dictator Hugo Chavez. God knows what they talked about, but upon leaving, Ms. Campbell said she likes Venezuela because it has great waterfalls.

Of course, they could sometimes wet your head, rusting the pin.

—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly