At Trial Lawyer Forum, Hillary Is the Anti-Cheney

During yesterday's American Association for Justice forum in Chicago, Hillary Clinton spoke last among the candidates. Overall, she got a less passionate response from the assembled crowd of trial lawyers than the one received by former trial lawyer John Edwards, or the one earned by Joe Biden, who nearly stole the show with a rollicking performance that prompted a standing ovation.

(Example: When asked about prescription drugs, Biden said "prescription drugs, I take too many," and then quoted Seamus Heaney in asking the attendees to help make "hope and history rhyme." Some lawyers in the crowd seemed actually weepy as they jumped to their feet.)

Still, Clinton is the front-runner, and she certainly had the attention of the audience. Among the most noteworthy aspects of her speech was the way in which she set herself up, more or less, as Vice President Dick Cheney’s opposite number in the Democratic Party.

In talking about the Iraq debate, she said, "I'm pushing a little bit this way and the Vice President is leaning really hard that way."

She also had some fairly harsh criticism of the administration in general, saying, "For the last six-and-a-half years we have seen a dangerous experiment in extremism in the White House,” and going on to call Bush's tenure "the most radical presidency we've ever had in our country.”