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Democratic Debate: Winners and Losers

Last night was a tale of two debates.

The first 15 minutes of the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas featured clashes between the top three candidates -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- over Social Security, Iran and telling the truth.

The next hour and 45 minutes were, well, slower. All seven candidates got into the act, offering bits of their stump speeches and trying to cajole CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer into giving them a little more speaking time.

Anyone who reads the Fix regularly (Fixistas unite!) knows which part of the debate we liked better.

Below you'll find the night's winners and losers (according to The Fix). Ranking the candidates' performances is an inherently subjective exercise so remember this is just one man's opinion. Disagree? Or -- fingers crossed -- agree? Sound off in the comments section.

WINNERS

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Clinton's performance in tonight's debate will quiet (if not totally silence) talk that her campaign is struggling. Clinton set the tone early on by pushing back aggressively against Obama and Edwards and, in our mind, got the best of both exchanges. She was clearly aided by a sympathetic crowd who decided early on that they weren't interested in watching the candidates fight. As a result, Clinton largely got a pass on her three biggest weaknesses: her equivocation on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, her vote to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and her vote in favor of the 2002 use of force resolution against Iraq. On a question about playing the gender card -- another potential problem area -- Clinton was clearly prepared and delivered her line of the night: "People are not attacking me because I am a woman, they are attacking me because I am ahead."

Barack Obama: Yes, we know he fumbled the same question (driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants) that Clinton muffed in the last debate. And, yes, of course he should have known that sort of question was coming and been better prepared to answer it cleanly. But, put that flub aside and Obama offered himself as a credible and -- more importantly -- safe alternative to Clinton in last night's debate. The first 15 minutes were dominated by a back and forth between him and Clinton (a good thing for a campaign trying to turn this into a two-person race) and for much of the rest of the debate Obama offered his "we can do more" vision succinctly and forcefully. "Don't keep on assuming we can't do something," Obama scolded Blitzer at one point. "I am running for president because I think we can do it."

Joe Biden: We can't help it, we like the guy. Biden is regularly the life of these debates -- launching self deprecating one-liners one minute and riffing on how he was introducing legislation before some of the candidates on the stage were even born the next. Biden is at his best when talking foreign policy and he got plenty of opportunities to do that last night. He spoke eloquently about the dangers posed by Iran and scored points on Pakistan by noting that he had spoken to both President Pervez Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before President Bush had.

LOSERS

John Edwards: For those pushing the idea that Clinton's decision to directly respond to Edwards was a sign that the race is now officially a three-way contest, we say hogwash. Clinton effectively shot Edwards down in their first exchange and when Edwards tried to again go at Clinton later in the debate he was all but booed down by the audience. Make no mistake: Edwards is an able debater who clearly knows what he believes and says it. But, for most of last night's debate it felt as though he were extraneous to the proceedings and when he did get his speaking time he seemed slightly too keyed up for the audience.

Chris Dodd: Despite his new haircut (we like it), Dodd had trouble standing out. His best moment was his impromptu Spanish outburst -- he was in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, he helpfully added -- but it wasn't enough to truly get him noticed. Dodd's problem in the debates is symptomatic of his larger problem in the race: he doesn't fit any niche. And, without a niche, he winds up falling through the cracks (humor us; it's been a long week.)

Debate Fairness Complaints: Going into these events, everyone knows the deal: the candidates at the top of state and national polls are going to get the most questions directed at them and the majority of the speaking time. If you aren't in that top tier, you have to find your own way to stand out (see Biden, Joe). Politics ain't beanbag.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 16, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hillary Hits Back
Next: The Line: Even for Senate GOP, Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Comments

roo_P,
There are lies, d**n lies and statistics. I don't doubt your list. But i will repeat what I stated earlier. Where I live, 97.5k is living comfortably, not wealthy. It is true that I won't have to worry about being able to pay the heating bill this winter. That said, I have a family of 5 in Northern Virginia and a wife that works very part time. That household income does not make you rich in this area (at least for a family of 5). If I was single earning that, that would be a different story.

Posted by: dave | November 19, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

My disdain for Hellary has nothing to do with her supposedly being a woman! I love women and would vote for one for president readily. But, let's not vote for Klinton just because of gender: think back to that administration, all of the spies, lies, corruption, deaths, smears, immorality, backstabbing, laws broken, drugs, bribes, Chinese spies, payoffs, character assinations, assasinations, investigations, using dead people, theft, obfescations, stealing china, destruction of public property, threats to bimbos, assaults, rape accusations, sex not sex, asprin factory murders, tyrant coddling, Whtewatering, Rose law firming, missing files, DNA disapearance, Foster bodies, Lies in diaries, lawyers commiting suicide, hidden agendas, payoffs, Luewinskiing, coverups, mismanagements, bodies in the parks, bodies in the cell, bodies in the water, nuclear secrets being sold, FBI files stolen, blackmailings, ..... all with Hellary right smack dab in the middle either orchestrating or covering up!
Use your memories people!

Other than that I have nothing against her.
http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

Posted by: SteveBallmer | November 19, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Socialmedic,

Gore's going to wait until 1-term-Hillary is a complete and total disaster (Carter-style).

Then 2 "white knights" will appear on the scene.

2012: Gore vs. Newt

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 19, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore should be running. He wouldn't even have to spend a dime. Just put his name on the ballot so that people wouldn't think a write-in vote would be taking a vote away from a candidate in the running. Al Gore should have been president and America should be ashamed of what has traspired since the Florida fiasco. America needs to right a wrong. I am not OK with, oh what the hell, just find another democrat to vote for. The whole business seriously offends my sense of justice. Al Gore should be a player; he is the best qualified player with the most experience and integrity. I move the nation write-in Al Gore, that the national conscience should not settle for less and should not rest until Al Gore sees the day that is rightfully his.

Posted by: socialmedic | November 18, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Al Gore should be running. He wouldn't even have to spend a dime. Just put his name on the ballot so that people wouldn't think a write-in vote would be taking a vote away from a candidate in the running. Al Gore should have been president and America should be ashamed of what has traspired since the Florida fiasco. America needs to right a wrong. I am not OK with, oh what the hell, just find another democrat to vote for. The whole business seriously offends my sense of justice. Al Gore should be a player; he is the best qualified player with the most experience and integrity. I move the nation write-in Al Gore, that the national conscience should not settle for less and should not rest until Al Gore sees the day that is rightfully his.

Posted by: socialmedic | November 18, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Al Gore should be running. He wouldn't even have to spend a dime. Just put his name on the ballot so that people wouldn't think a write-in vote would be taking a vote away from a candidate in the running. Al Gore should have been president and America should be ashamed of what has traspired since the Florida fiasco. America needs to right a wrong. I am not OK with, oh what the hell, just find another democrat to vote for. The whole business seriously offends my sense of justice. Al Gore should be a player; he is the best qualified player with the most experience and integrity. I move the nation write-in Al Gore, that the national conscience should not settle for less and should not rest until Al Gore sees the day that is rightfully his.

Posted by: socialmedic | November 18, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

There's no way I'm voting Republican, but I truly have big reservations about all of the Democratic candidates.
- Hillary--I see her as being liberal version of Bush/Cheney. Ram through her agenda without listening to anyone else. As much as I loved Bill Clinton, I have a fundamental aversion to seeing a quarter century of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton.
- Obama--Not ready for prime time. Surprisingly little substance.
- Edwards--never liked him even if his heart is in the right place

The only Democrat I actually like and get excited by is Joe Biden. I came to that conclusion several months ago. I made the same judgment on Kerry when he was in the doldrums and Dean and Gephardt were out ahead. I do think Biden has a much bigger hill to climb than Kerry did though with the money of Hillary and Obama in the way.

Biden-Clinton COULD work.

I'd love to see Biden--Clark (Gen. Wesley, that is)

Posted by: MNobserver | November 18, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

bryant_flier2006 et al., 97,5k+/year puts you squarely in the top 6% earners. If you earn that, I am glad for you, but you are NOT "middle class," not even if you live in an expensive city. This is 97,5k INDIVIDUAL income.

LA median *household* income: ~$47,000
SF median *family* income: ~$73,000
Seattle median *family* income: ~$63,000
Manhattan median *family* income: ~$189,000
NYC combined median *family* income: ~$46,000
Miami median *household* income: ~$43,000

States, highest median HOUSEHOLD:
Colorado, ~$52,000.
New Jersey, ~$57,000
Maryland, ~$57,000
New Hampshire, ~$57,000
Alaska, ~$57,000
Connecticut, ~$57,000
Minnesota, ~$56,000
Virginia, ~$54,000
Massachusetts, ~$54,000
Delaware, ~$54,000


Should I go on?

Posted by: roo_P | November 18, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

$97K is "upper class". Haha, what a joke. Obama is really leaning off the edge of the leftward cliff. However, he does have that cliff to stand on and a great number of liberal activists within the D party stand with him. In my view, to stop Clinton means beating her in Iowa. That whole $97K comment was brilliant and it was designed especially for Iowa democratic voters. It could also bode well for him in SC. Most of them likely don't make $97K per year and see that as upper class. Obama has been attacking Clinton in Iowa on trade policy. This could be a popular issue with Iowa Democrats. Obama is trying to win the D primary, not the general election. Based on that fact, the $97 K comment could be pretty smart.

Edwards is fading. I'm glad to see that miserable sue-happy liberal get his just desserts. The only sad thing about that is that when he loses the nomination, he will come back to home state and head back to Chapel Hill.

Everyone else is just there.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | November 18, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

$97K is middle class in many states. We are definately not "upper class". I am a nurse and my husband climbs poles for a local utility company.We are a "blue collar family and it has taken us 30 years to readch this level of income. I believe the scale differs from state to state. We pay big to live in southern Ca.

Posted by: kathleen.smith1 | November 18, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

claudialong,
"Precisely. The republicans have a mindless, kneejerk obssesive hatred of the Clintons." It's not just Republicans, it's many people. I have numerous liberal and independent co-workers and a number of them state categorically that they will not vote for HRC. Please drop the idiotic VRWC theory and realize that the Clinton's get their scorn the old fashioned way - they earned it.

Posted by: dave | November 18, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Your review doesn't even mention RICHARDSON...how come? The man stands out as the best prepared to lead the nation out of the Bush nightmare. Where every other candidate has good intentions, Richardson has Excellent EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS. All the great challenges - Energy, Peace, International relations - are exactily what he has excelled at.

I must congratulate the Democrats for having a great selection of candidates to choose from. I'm sure Obama would make a great President also. But still, Richardson's commanding and respect-inspiring presence is urgently needed right now. Perhaps we could have them both on the ticket --- and really make history!!

Posted by: sarodgz | November 18, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if anyone will read this so late, but felt it was the best place to post it. No one from mainstream media, not CNN, WaPo, Times, Post, Fox, MSNBC, etc covered the Dem forum today in LA. Topic was global climate change (just a minor topic, I can see why it was glossed over). I understand that the party sponsored debates get priority, but at least the one in LA should have been mentioned by someone because Sen Clinton was there, along with Edwards and Rep Kucinich. No zingers, no "yes or no" questions. 10 minute speech at the start by each, followed by about 20 minutes of questions from a panel.

I get it, forums are much less telegenic than debates, don't have the fireworks. They are short on style, long on substance. God forbid we prefer substance over style.

Posted by: jasonda | November 17, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

JimD, welcome back from what I assume was a great trip to Europe.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 17, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

What hasn't been brought out in the debates so far is that Senator Biden is a constitutional expert. This is not a man that would abuse the constitution as the current administration has done so far. I also believe that this would continue if the neocons continue to rule. When the repubs were running roughshod over the Senate and giving Senate powers to the executive branch with a bow and genuflections, Joe Biden stood in the Senate chamber and gave an impassioned speech for the Senate to abide by the Constitution, and fulfill their obligations as an elective body of the people, and prevent excessive powers being granted to the executive branch. He is a man that stands by his convictions, believes in his oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States. If anyone other than Biden is elected President, we all will be the worse off for it. I might also add, that unless the voters vote in a cloture proof congress, then the same tactics the minority is using now will hamstring any efforts of a dem president to effect change, and the politics of divisiveness will continue unabated.

Posted by: innamaze | November 17, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Does ANYONE pick up on the fact that so many people like what Biden has to say, and they feel like he's the most qualified, yet they're not giving him any consideration?

Please don't assume anything because of the poll numbers. That's really just playing into the hands of the media and how they portray both the presidential race and the candidates themselves.

Posted by: jmeyer | November 17, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This past Thursday's event in Las Vegas was not a debate. It was CNN viving for higher rates. This was proven with the first question which ignited the childish bantering.

At the least a Presidential debate should only ask questions about issues and policies the American CITIZENS consider important. It also should ask each question to each canidate giving them equal time to respond.

Joe Biden once again proved to be a mature, actions/results, reponsible leader who has more experience and results than any of the canidates. He answers the questions asked him. He does very well at staying within the time limits given him. This proves to me that the man listens and is respectful. He has the courage to correct canidates and members of the audience with the facts. He is not playing the immature, stupid, unproductive game that Clinton, Obama and Edwards keep igniting and proliferating.

I am praying the voters in IOWA do not vote for the most popular canidate. I hope they DO NOT pay attention to the polls. I pray they use their intelligence and good sense to look at each canidate's records. I pray this will convince them that Senator Joe Biden deserves to be the President of the United States of America.

Posted by: Greendolfnverizonnet | November 17, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Watch the video at "The Trail" ["Joe is right"].

Posted by: Richard_Dideriksen | November 17, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The democrats are no longer able to represent the people of America! We need a NEW POLITICAL PARTY that can become the new political center for our nation! The Democrats have been taken over by the BlueDog conservatives! These republican like conservatives had moved the Democratic party to the political right, and so the Democrats are no longer relevant and have forfeited their role as a party in opposition to the Republican Party!
Without a relevant political center that can bring the political extremes together by compromising their differences, we can expect a clash between the opposite political extremes, that will bring about a violent revolutionary change and a new revolutionary political center!
This violent clash can be avoided if we peacefully bring into existence a relevant political center that is not tied to the global corporate oligarchy that controls our economic life!
The only way that this can be done is to dump the democratic party that is is in hock to the economic interests that own them, and replace the democratic party with a new economically independent progressive party!

Posted by: mac1maniac | November 17, 2007 1:52 AM | Report abuse

crtharaway--"I am a african american male who is voting for Hillary not Obama. He has not only been nasty but rude and had he been a senator at the time of 911 he to would have voted for the war. We as a nation were all emotionally upset at the time and had any of us been the senator of the state that was attacked we would have voted the way Hillary did."

Obama famously decried this "stupid war" right before the votes were cast. I can dig up a link for you, if you like. All the evidence points to him voting AGAINST the war and I have frankly no idea why you would think otherwise unless it is expedient for cognitive dissonance.

It is a bit far-fetched to call Obama "rude," since even the MSM continually harps him for being too subtle and not confrontational enough.

One can only present the facts but it does seem that almost everyone here is just as bone-headed in their support of whichever candidate as the Bushies are in theirs.

Posted by: roo_P | November 17, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Winners and Losers? You mean there was a winner in that "debate"? I Don't think so.

Posted by: ekim53 | November 17, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I cannot vote for anyone who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq.It's seems like everyone is forgetting Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton,and Chris Dodd voted for this war.The one most foreign policy experts describe as the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation.
When Joe Biden says that the war in Iraq is destablizing Pakistan and Afganistan, he must be reminded that he share responsibility for what's happening in those countries.
Finally, anyone viewing these debates to select a candidate must be discourage from voting.

Posted by: ricrf | November 17, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I want to vote for the candidate that is the best person for the job!...The proven record that is a perfect record and is attested to by all of the other candidates, because they now talk the talk of this particular candidate but unfortunately when push comes to shove they run away from their words and back track and become embarrassingly apologetic of their formerly held position because they don't have the courage of their convictions! They attempt to demean the only candidate that had the foresight to be correct and consistent throughout his political career, and has proven that he has the courage to stand up for what he knows is right! ..This particular candidate because of his presence is a reminder to the other candidates how wrong they had been in the past and how gutless they are in the present. Perhaps that is why they ignore him during the presidential debates!
Dennis Kusinich is the only candidate that deserves to be president!

Posted by: mac1maniac | November 16, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I cannot vote for anyone who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq.It's seems like everyone is forgetting Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton,and Chris Dodd voted for this war.The one most foreign policy experts describe as the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation.
When Joe Biden says that the war in Iraq is destablizing Pakistan and Afganistan, he must be reminded that he share responsibility for what's happening in those countries.
Finally, anyone viewing these debates to select a candidate must be discourage from voting.

Posted by: ricrf | November 16, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I cannot vote for anyone who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq.It's seems like everyone is forgetting Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton,and Chris Dodd voted for this war.The one most foreign policy experts describe as the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation.
When Joe Biden says that the war in Iraq is destablizing Pakistan and Afganistan, he must be reminded that he share responsibility for what's happening in those countries.
Finally, anyone viewing these debates to select a candidate must be discourage from voting.

Posted by: ricrf | November 16, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

lylepink writes
"I think you support Obama and I have posted several times about how repubs are funding his campaign and even changing their registration in an attempt to stop Hillary. I have also stated, IMHO, Obama has ZERO chance of winning the General in 2008. Out of all the dems except Dennis, Obama is by far the weakest candidate the dems have in the General."


I know you think that - you've posted it several times before. While I have said many nice things about Senator Obama, my support for him thus far has been limited to such comments. I'm not a Dem and thus don't get a vote in the primary, so you could say I support Obama to the same degree that I support Biden or McCain. Regarding the rest of your post, it seems to add up to little more than a conspiracy theory - the fears that a nefarious, Rovian plan is afoot to disrupt the Dem primary process by sending agents in to upset the pre-anointed (HRC) by giving money & support to the rival (Obama). Such a premise is preposterous. Though I suppose if you believe in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, there is nothing I could post here that would change your mind.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

If I had to rank the candidates, I'd say that Biden won the debate followed by Clinton. Edwards and Dodd were the clear losers here. Richardson got lost in the shuffle, and Obama had a mixed performance. Kucinich was marginalized, as usual.

Smart Democrats would be wise to take Biden seriously. He offers more experience than Clinton without the baggage. And he offers the same idea of unity as Obama without the greenhorn label.

CNN's handling of the debate left a lot to be desired.

Here is my overall debate analysis:

http://www.theseventen.com/2007/11/nevada-debate-analysis-d.html

And here is my critique of CNN:

http://www.theseventen.com/2007/11/nevada-debate-analysis-cnn-critique.html

Posted by: theseventen | November 16, 2007 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I am a african american male who is voting for Hillary not Obama. He has not only been nasty but rude and had he been a senator at the time of 911 he to would have voted for the war. We as a nation were all emotionally upset at the time and had any of us been the senator of the state that was attacked we would have voted the way Hillary did.

Posted by: crtharaway | November 16, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

to kennyjazz:
re Obama supporting Lieberman


(AP) Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, a vocal defender of Sen. Joe Lieberman earlier this year, is urging Connecticut voters to rally behind his rival, Ned Lamont.

The Illinois senator and potential 2008 presidential candidate sent an e-mail message Thursday praising Lamont.

"Ned Lamont has waged an impressive grass-roots campaign to give the people of Connecticut a choice in the November Senate election," Obama wrote. "Please join me in supporting Ned Lamont with your hard work on-the-ground in these closing weeks of the campaign."

Posted by: wolfdem | November 16, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

It seems Barack Obama and John Edwards and their strategists were not expecting Hillary to defend herself in this debate, after what happened in the last debate in PA?

How stupid are these guys? John Edwards needs to give up his quest to be President. He's a shrewish bitter man and he comes across as nothing more than a slick used-car salesman. Really, he is no credit to the Democrats.

Obama has his good moments. But mostly, he has vague, detached moments. I haven't a clue what his "platform" is other than let's all play nice.

We have two true Democratic leaders running for the nomination - Hillary and Biden - and one who has a chance of making it (Hillary).

A Clinton/Biden ticket would be great. Or Biden would be a highly effective and most impressive Secretary of State.

Posted by: audart | November 16, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

After watching Chris Matthews and Wolf Blitzer and their guests, it seems that Matthews has a real Hillary hatred to the point of self-blindness to what is going on out in the hinterlands. The egos of these media types clouds their judgment to reality. I'm out here in the wilds of Western Pa and Eastern Ohio and only two candidates seem to be on the minds of these people. Hillary and Ron Paul who's signs are everywhere and no one else. The only other political signs are the SUPPORT THE TROOPS BRING THEM HOME which are popping up everywhere. You can't win without two things Name recognition EARNED BY BEING IN TUNE WITH THE ISSUES and organizational strengh to put those across. The main issues in this campaign are in order 1. Endless war. 2. the immense transfer of wealth as a result of this war. 3. The intentional devaluation of the U.S. dollar 4. The eventual subjugation of this country to those who hold our monumental debt. 5. Failure of the Bush administration to control illegal immigration. The candidate who presents the best answers to these problems will get my vote and that of many others.

Posted by: rslip | November 16, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree that both Clinton and Biden came out as winners in this debate.

Clinton did a great job at countering the accusations thrown at her by Obama and Edwards. She seemed to express her ideas clearly, strike back with valid arguments, and came out looking like the good guy.

Biden was, to me, the surprise winner. He seemed to have strong ideas and followed to rules when Wolf said "Yes or No?" for the driver's license question while most of the other candidates talked around the topic. (I know "that's politics, but it is nice to know that he understands American frustration, or at least mine) His comical side comments were also nice.

However, Obama seemed not to do as well last night. He struggled at the driver license question, he looked like the bad guy when he and Edwards were hurling accusations at Clinton, and I felt the opposite way about his "We can do better" speech. I don't want to hear a candidate talking about the fact that America wants change or that America can do better, I already know we can. He should have focused more on what his policies were and explaining them to the American people. The other thing that bothered me about Obama was that he continuously told the audience about how bad the Bush Administration did this or did that - We know he hasn't done a great job. We can see the ratings that come out. This is the reason for the importance of this election. Everyone knows that America needs a president that can unite us; we don't need to be told that.

As for the losers, I agree with both. Edwards just seems like he likes to accuse everyone of wrong-doing and then say that what he does is correct. And I know "that's politics", but does it really have to be to the extent that he did it. The rest of the candidates, with the exception of Obama, hardly threw any accusations at anybody else. When he was asked if it was fair for him to accuse Clinton of "flip-flopping" when he did it, he didn't really give a very good explanation either.

The other candidates just didn't stand out enough to really be noticed. And they should be doing that, if they want to get elected or even convince someone of their ideas. Richardson seemed to not do enough to be considered a winner, but on the other hand nothing so bad that I would consider him a loser. Kucinich ... I don't really know enough about him to say anything. But he did seem to have some strong opinions on certain topics when he spoke, but I think he just didn't do enough to stand out.

Posted by: tommy_t333 | November 16, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

CNN has lost all credibility !
Wolf ? what a joke ! He's nothing more than a heal licking billary sympathizer and not much of a wolf ! more like a mut ! CNN with two clinton unofficial campaign advisers from bill's campaign not only shows how bias they are , but orchestrated this whole debate with soft questions for billary and planted audience that stole from bush's speeches !
She finally answered the question about illegals and licences ! Which is no now ! she should tell her campaign manager ! last week he said yes ! after she said no - yes ? da ? So this is typical billary politics yes - no ? you only get the real answer after you vote for her and then you are stuck with her force feeding you with b-s that you had from bill's nafta night mare ! no thanks ! bioch !

Posted by: twobadd | November 16, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

But it's your response to anyone who offers rational criticism of your idol.

Posted by: radicalpatriot | November 16, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

radicalpatroit: I don't have to accuse you of being a "Hillary Hater", You freely admit it in your post.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to those of you who made thoughtful, analytical, fair comments, regardless of the candidate. Stinkweeds to those who use this space to spew unfounded, prejudiced hatred for specific candidates.

The network "spinners" have their job; our job is to find facts, search for truth, then choose the candidate we believe to be the most likely to restore trustworthiness (and truthiness) to the office of president and who will deal diplomatically in the world arena.

Posted by: cpbsfca | November 16, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Biden is probably the best qualified. His remarks last night were right on the money, and that's my point.....why isn't he in the top three, and why was he one of those almost ignored by Wolf Blitzer?....It's the money.....he doesn't begin to have the money or the organization that the "top three" have. If he can't run for president, I'd like to see him for Veep.

I wasn't crazy about the applause and booing format. I preferred NBC's debate with no applause. I also preferrred Tim Russert and Brian Williams to Blitzer.

Posted by: SUEK312 | November 16, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I am black international student here in the US. I always believed Clinton and Obama were the top contenders...After watching the Democratic debate of last night, i could not but stand for Joe Biden.
The American citizenry has to realize that the greatest option to the Republicans is a democratic President well grounded in foreign policy.
Why do we always neglect the best candidates. Why does the media all seem to have prefered candidates. The media needs to listen to what Joe has to offer. He is the man that can correct the American image problem going by his experience.
Although, he might be low in the polls i sincerely think this is the man America needs at this point in time.

Posted by: emony2003_7 | November 16, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

lylepink, in his/her/its blind Hillaridolatry, represents the view of many anti-Bush voters [and I am one of the fiercest anti-Bushers] in that all pink-types want is for a Democrat to win, and all pink-types consider is who is most electable against the Republicans. Not who is the best candidate to be POTUS of our great country, desperate for a best candidate, but merely who they guess would win who is not Republican.

At least, that is the feeble excuse they always seem to use for backing Team HillBilly [Hillary couldn't even come close to winning the Dem. nomination without clinging to the skirts of her sham husband, if you'll excuse the reverse metaphor].

You may have reasons for believing that such-and-such a candidate will win the nomination/election, but the silly sweeping certainty of some writers here--and at many other blogs sites--for their candidate ["can't be beat" "will win in a landslide" "will wipe the floor with ____" etc. etc.] is, well, very foolish! You don't need but a little knowledge of electoral history to know how very uncertain "certainties" and "inevitables" can be.

I am against Clinton because 15 years of observing her character, in what she says and what she does and what she makes clear in other ways, convinces me that she the worst candidate for the current POTUS opening. Giuliani holds second place by himself. That's not a partisan judgment, and it's not a judgment by playing Nostradamus for who will win. It's a judgment of the quality, or lack of it, of the actual person. Of course, lylepink will say I'm a "Clinton-haters". That's the name-calling they like to hide behind.

That's fine by me--just make it all clear. I'm a Bush-Cheney hater, and a Giuliani-hater, and a Clinton-hater. I've got plenty of political hate to go around, because I love my country and hate her enemies.

Posted by: radicalpatriot | November 16, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The whole thing is truly depressing. I don't care how big a political junkie you are, there are nothing but negatives to take away from this. Blitzer and Cooper are pathetic. And yes, Blitzer did seem to spin (or completely derail) audience questions in the interest of squeezing some sparks out of the stiffs on stage. I cannot believe that Democrats even need to be concerned by a Giuliani or Romney nomination. Sadly, it now appears they do.

Posted by: cdavidj | November 16, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

One more comment. I certainly hope the press will ask Senator Clinton if she thinks it was ok for the audience to have interferred with this debate. As a voter I was particularly disturbed by this and I want to hear what she has to say about this.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | November 16, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cilliaza tell me it isn't so...tell me you haven't gone beltway on us. This column is certainly not one of your finer moments.

The CNN debate was the absolute worst presidental debate I've ever seen. It was stage managed, disorganized and the only control Wolf took in this debate was when he consistently limited Biden, Dodd, Kucinich & Edwards from answering.

Senator Clinton is given credit for going after Obama & Edwards yet when she accused Edwards of mudslinging Blitzer never asked her for specifics and he did not allow Edwards to respond to her attack. It strikes me as odd that the media would reward Senator Clinton with points for her attack when the person she attacked was not given the opportunity to answer that attack. What's more, using an audience to attack Obama & Edwards when they tried to get their own licks in was absolutely stunning. Anyone with any sense of fair play would have cautioned the audience about interferring in the debate.

It was sickening to see that this debate's location turned out to be one of Hilliary's fake town hall meetings complete with softball questions to her, moderators that ran interference for her and an audience that prevented an honest exchange. Shame on you Chris for allowing them to get away with it.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | November 16, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"I disagree with all your losers and offer my own list: Wolf Blitzer, John Roberts and especially CNN. Are they trying to rival Fox as the most biased name in news?"

Posted by: havok26 | November 16, 2007 08:25 AM

You have hit the nail on the head. These people are truly living off injuring someone else. If those 3 are actually that worked up maybe they could go and give our troops a helping hand. Kind of like finding mines with a toothpick.

Posted by: RetCombatVet | November 16, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. CNN and other media are obsessed with hearing questions from what they call "ordinary citizens" during these debates.

When an "ordinary citizen" asks his or her question, the CNN moderator spins the question to something not even similar to what was being asked.

This makes a mockery of the debate process and the participation of our citizens.

It also makes it seem that the citizens have been "planted" rather than randomly selected.

Posted by: sarmstro | November 16, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

charlesf: You, and folks like you, are exactly what the repubs are hoping for. Hillary is the only one they know they cannot beat. bsimon is a good example when he/she states they would never vote for Hillary. I wonder who they will vote for or just do as the repubs want, stay at home.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"BUT OBAMA (CONVENIENTLY) WAS TOO BUSY TOO VOTE!!! HOW CAN OBAMA CRITICIZE?"
Absolutely, I idealogically agree with Barack, but he has missed what 30% of votes this session. He has absolutely no credibility..."


Obama has missed 80% of the votes this session (his third session on the national stage). And speaking of credibility, Obama was chastising Pakistan for not allowing an outlet for the electorate to have a voice, his supporters knocked Colbert off the Ballot in SC and he knocked off all his opponents in his first political race for the IL State Senate. No Credibility - little experience - and putting his own political ambitions ahead of serving his constituents. Obama is the biggest loser of the campaign. He will never live up to the promise of one great speech at the Dem National Convention.

Posted by: clawrence35 | November 16, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

CNN did a poor job of posing substantive questions. They played gotcha. Example: Candidiate X, should national security take precidence over personal privacy - yes or no? How can any candidate answer that without being slammed for whatever they rank as second.

Ask them how they define "terrorism". Hillary said Iran's sending of agents into Iraq with weapons and tactics to use against U.S. military was terrorism. Were we terrorists when we sent the CIA into Afganistan in 1980 to teach the Mujahaden how to shoot down Soviet fighter planes and gave them Stinger missiles?

My ideal 2008 ticket is Bloomberg/Biden.

Only with a mixed ticket, could we hope to achieve moderate consensus on the major issues of the day.

Posted by: dldisme | November 16, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh please, lylepink. Everyone knows that the Republicans would LOVE to run against Hillary Clinton. I think it's the only race they could feasibly win. It mobilizes their support base and her high negatives mean she'll not be making inroads in any red states.

I'm not saying she couldn't win. Any Democrat ought to carry the 08 election. But she would be fighting for Kerry's states plus one or two others. With Obama and Edwards, many other states the Democrats haven't won since '96 or even long before that are back in play.

I trust many Democrats realise that and that's why Clinton still hasn't decided this race despite her daunting establishment advantages.

I hope the Democrats are smart enough to not nominate Clinton. That said, they made the mistake in 04 of nominating Kerry over Edwards, who then managed to run an amazingly ineffective campaign in a year the Democrats ought to have won.

I can easily see an affable and populist Huckabee (pretty much the only Republican I see as capable of making inroads into the Democratic support base) beating Clinton.

Posted by: charlesf | November 16, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: I think you support Obama and I have posted several times about how repubs are funding his campaign and even changing their registration in an attempt to stop Hillary. I have also stated, IMHO, Obama has ZERO chance of winning the General in 2008. Out of all the dems except Dennis, Obama is by far the weakest candidate the dems have in the General. I have thought this from the start and nothing has come close to changing my mind. The "Fear Factor" I mention so often is well known in political circles, and it is known that anyone running for anything wants to run against the weakest opponent. That is the "FACTS".

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

first i would say i have always been inclined to vote republican, and last nite was the first of any of the debates of either party i bothered to watch, mainly because i would rather read my news and analysis than be 'talked down' to by the talking heads of the mainstream media. that being said , i only have two words to say about this debate, and they seem to echo the sentiment of a LOT of the posters here: Joe Biden!....the only democrat in the race i could live with.....God save us from HillaryInc. and the extremists who have made BDS a way of life, as well as the new psychological disorder of the times.....

Posted by: wrsjr | November 16, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, if the only way she can get back on up is to have a "staged" debate with Carvell to critique -- it's not what the people see --- too many puppets
Obama had some good moments, but Biden by far was GREAT -- he always educates me and I like that --
Hillary said it best in the end -- she wants it both!! all that glitters!! nough said!!

Posted by: paulet | November 16, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

'HRC on the other hand, despite her moderate positions on many things, would not get the same treatment simply because of the C in HRC.'

Precisely. The republicans have a mindless, kneejerk obssesive hatred of the Clintons. You are only pointing out the irrationality of your party.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

lylepink writes
"I honestly believe most repubs know in their heart of hearts they cannot beat Hillary in the General. Any of the others would have a difficult time and most, if not all, of them would lose to anyone the repubs nominate. I just cannot see how any dem other than Hillary having a better than 50/50 chance of winning."

That's the odd thing. I think the exact opposite. I don't think Sen Clinton 'can't' win, but I do think she'll have a tough time, depending on whom the Repubs nominate. The reason I think this is simple: because HRC is not someone for whom I will vote, ever. I could vote for Biden, Obama or McCain. I absolutely will not vote for Clinton or Giuliani. Romney, Richardson, Dodd and Edwards maybe. The rest have zero chance of winning, so are irrelevant.

Personal anecdotes aside, don't the polls show others with equal or better chances at winning than Clinton, depending on the Repub nominee? More impotantly, I don't see how another Clinton presidency would be good for the country; better than Bush, sure. But the bar should be set higher.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: Thanks for an easy question. There is very little difference in our objectives, only a slight difference on how to get them accomplished. "rslip" has it pretty well on target for what I refer to as "The Fear Factor" in that I honestly believe most repubs know in their heart of hearts they cannot beat Hillary in the General. Any of the others would have a difficult time and most, if not all, of them would lose to anyone the repubs nominate. I just cannot see how any dem other than Hillary having a better than 50/50 chance of winning.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"People are not attacking me because I am a woman, they are attacking me because I am ahead."

Not only was this "best line" scripted, it was scripted not by the clinton machine but by a Chris Matthews, who was contemptuously throwing the pitiful, perpetual victim a lifeline.


THREE-CARD MONTE AT VEGAS DEBATE CANNOT STOP HILLARY'S FREE FALL

The CNN post-Vegas-debate analysis was as simplistic and insulting as was the underlying clinton-machine scheme.

Missus clinton was exposed as unprincipled and dumb in the previous debate in Philadelphia. Scripted answers, a stacked audience, setup questions, clinton shills posing as pundits, Spitzer muzzled, and an empty "no" do not put "unprincipled" and "dumb" back in the box. To the contrary.

Just as she flunked the DC Bar exam, flunked the only managerial job she every had (heading health care reform), missus clinton flunked her only real vetting in the campaign to date: the Philly debate. An empty pantsuit but for the arrogance and hate.

The clintons will try to quash the Tim Russerts (and they probably will), but no matter. The clinton jackboot is irrelevant here. Her opponents and the new media AND THE PEOPLE will ask her the hard questions. Russert opened the door.

It's already starting. No doubt pressured by the clintons, old media are trying to reverse the momentum, trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. (CNN's original headline "CLINTON'S POLL SUPPORT SLIPS AFTER WEEK OF ATTACKS" quickly became: "A YEAR FROM ELECTION DAY, CLINTON REMAINS PERSON TO BEAT")

What old media are missing is that the last debate was no aberration.

Missus clinton is not capable of straight answers. It's not simply that she's 'a congenital liar,' to quote Bill Safire. It's that the truth will bury her.

Moreover, she is not capable of thinking off-script, on her feet, out-of-the-box.

As Carl Bernstein said the other day, "I think if there is a watershed moment... in the campaign that has interrupted this notion of inevitibility, that debate was probably it.... Hillary Rodham Clinton has had a difficult relationship to the truth."

He says her campaign has been designed to partly to help her avoid such questions, "and now they will have been unsuccessful at avoiding it. And that's what the campaign represents -- a failure to keep that question from coming front and center."

LOOK FOR HILLARY CLINTON'S FASCISTIC MOVES TO INTENSIFY.

Posted by: MiaT | November 16, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Could not have been more obvious that Hillary Clinton and her campaign arranged to have a mob of supporters there with instructions to boo her two closest opponents. How discusting!!

Posted by: omelas | November 16, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Winners: CLINTON and BIDEN for their one-word response to the questions about driver's licenses for illegals.
Losers: OBAMA for crashing the plane totally by equivocating on the same driver's license for illegals question he was accusing Hillary of equivocating on.
WOLF BLITZER for not pinning the candidates down on the issues. (Tim Russert was better on this). THE AMERICAN PEOPLE for having to choose from the lists of candidates being offered by the Republicans and the Democrats.

Posted by: OpenBorders | November 16, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I mostly agree, except for this:

"She was clearly aided by a sympathetic crowd who decided early on that they weren't interested in watching the candidates fight."

Sympathetic? Is that what it's called when a candidate packs the house with their own and then preps them on what to do?

Yeah, I know, each campaign got twenty tickets. But the campaign that is so organized it makes the Borg look like a bunch of Democrats is not going to leave this to chance. I am confident that they had their on-campus people getting students who support Hillary to ask for seats early and often.

The booing erupted immediately, during the statements of Obama and Edwards. Booing has never occurred at a Democratic debate, yet so many people decided to boo together all at the same time just by chance? I think not. Maybe someone could do a little reporting on it.

Posted by: snelson648 | November 16, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

If I hear/read one more comment about Joe Biden being a plagerizer I am going to SCREAM! Get your facts straight instead of simply repeating what some other nincompoop wrote or said. In Sen. Biden's first attempt at running for president he quoted Neil Kinnock (spelling?) in several of his speeches. But, as he is human, on one of the occasions he used Mr. Kinnock's words he failed to give him credit for them. I do it all the time whenever I say "READ MY LIPS", or other things. Everyone does it all the time. When Biden did it the ONE time he simply forgot to say "As Neil Kinnock has said/written . . . ". SO GET OVER THE PLAGERIZING THING! If that is the only thing that keeps you from voting for Joe Biden, I can't wait to see who you are going to vote for.

As for "stockelh's" comments about Biden ushering Clarence Thomas through to the Supreme Court, pardon my french but, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!!!! I was working for the house of representatives at the time and watched those confirmation hearings every day. While Sen. Biden may have been the Judiciary Committee Chair, he did not smooth the way for Clarence Thomas in any way, shape, or form. It was Danforth from Missouri who helped Thomas get through those hearings and obtain the support from the majority of the Senate.

PLEASE, FOR ALL OF YOU WHO ARE THINKING YOU WON'T VOTE FOR BIDEN SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE PLAGERIZING CRAP, I WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE WAITING FOR TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT? NOBODY'S PERFECT.

AND, I AM THRILLED TO READ ALL OF THE COMMENTS THAT ARE FINALLY REALIZING THAT BIDEN IS THE BEST CANDIDATE IN THE FIELD. IF ALL OF YOU WHO THINK HE IS THE BEST BUT THAT HE CAN'T WIN WOULD JUST VOTE FOR HIM, HE WILL WIN!!!!!!!!! Stop contributing to the highjacking of the democratic nomination by the main stream media. Stop buying in to the thought this is a 2 or 3 person race. It's not!!! When it comes your time to vote in your primary or caucus, vote for the best person in the field: Joe Biden, and we'll really give the MSM something to talk about!!

Posted by: lsheehan | November 16, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

lylepink writes
"Those opposed to her will, and have tried to distort just about everything she says and stands for."

Guilty. Well, I try not to distort, given that the facts are damning enough. Last night, on NY Gov Spitzer's (former) proposal regarding driver's licenses, she plainly said she's against the plan. At the last debate, she couldn't make up her mind. Ten days ago, she was getting 'piled on' by the mean boys club. Now she's merely being challenged on the issues because she's 'ahead'.

So, lyle, if she actually - and consistently - stood for something, she wouldn't subject herself to as much criticism.

Here's my new question for all the candidates:

"The nature of our two party system creates 'strange bedfellows' of supporters who often don't see eye-to-eye, even though they naturally fall into supporting one party. Which of your party's 'natural' supporters are you willing to risk alienating because your principles differ from theirs?"

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT. (Thanks, Chris, for the shout-out to the best candidate.) He's going to surprise people on Caucus night. www.JoeBiden.com

Posted by: soonerthought | November 16, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

claudialong,
"And in any case, whatever happened to 'give me liberty or give me death' and 'he who values security over liberty deserves neither'?"

Fascinating. You complain the question should not have been asked in an either/or manner and then give two quotes that are either/or in nature. Patrick Henry's quote came in a call for war to give us freedom from the British. An either/or question was exactly how Henry saw it and he knew what the correct answer was also.

And I do think that if, say Biden, were to be elected, Republicans would be willing to work with him on many issues, especially the war. HRC on the other hand, despite her moderate positions on many things, would not get the same treatment simply because of the C in HRC.

"No matter which Democrat wins, they will begin immediately trying to find a way to bring them down." You think if Guiliani won, there wouldn't be a large contingent of the left looking to do the same?

Posted by: dave | November 16, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Three little letters - PBS.

Posted by: kargovroom | November 16, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I am really liking Biden recently. Obama/Biden would be a pretty nice ticket for me.

Posted by: roo_P | November 16, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I watched last nights debate and it has to be said that all the candidates missed a good opportunity to beat up on those losers on the Republican side like Mitt(the Kama Sutra candidate with more positions on EVERY issue than one can dicipher)Romney, Rudy G with more blunders and questionable episodes in his past than Al Ca****, and Sen McCain who never saw a Bush war strategy he didn't like, and LAZY Fred who sounds and acts like Pa Kettle . I like the possibility of a Biden-Webb ticket or any ticket with Clinton on top. I am a jeweler who makes and sells "HILLARY FOR PREZ" necklaces and I am selling them like hotcakes to YOUNG women. These are women who never had a political thought in their heads before this election. Believe me they are a new dynamic that the conventional wisdom guys have not considered properly. Hillary is very "electable" and the Republicans know it, why do you think the right-wing radio pundits daily PILLORY HILLARY as viciously as they can. They know none of their candidates can beat her. robert_lipka@yahoo.com

Posted by: rslip | November 16, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have only two changes to your thoughts, Bidden was the most Presidential guy or girl since Martin Sheen.
Hillary did well enough to maintain her lead and regain her step. I disagree with you in that I think Obama was a looser.
I enjoyed the debate even during the slow part. Crazy Kucci showed why he is not even a viable candidate. What a hoot!

Posted by: musselmanm321 | November 16, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

mcmahon10,
Missing key votes regardless of the outcome is never a good thing, especially when that key vote is on a foreign policy issue that is a distinguishing characteristic of your run for the presidency. Saying how you would vote is NEVER as good as actually voting and putting it on the record. Your arguement that it was already decided so not really important would mean that he technically does not really have to vote on any measure unless he would be the deciding vote. Last I checked, a large part of a senators job was to cast votes on legislation. This action gave the appearance of business as usual for a politician, not a good thing when you are the "candidate of change".

Posted by: dave | November 16, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, what can I say, "They all look like losers to me." Par to expectations Wolf Blitzer took the easy road and didn't ask the tough questions or pin them down on issues. Ho hum more politics as usual.

Posted by: Lpar | November 16, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I thought the questions were simplistic and trivial, flawed in their assumptions and offering false dichotomies,like the question of bonuses for teachers. Are we campaigning for President of the U.S. or President of the School Board? (2) Why doesn't the press ask Sen. Clinton about the benefits of an oligarchy? I don't think the sequence of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton is a good model for our democracy, and the Athenians didn't like it either.(3)I like Biden and wish he were doing better in the polls: how can you not like a guy who can quote W.B. Yeats?

Posted by: mpatrizio | November 16, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

sarasalvania: I think I was the first and only Hillary supporter on "The Fix" for a long time, and now it seems a few more are posting. Those opposed to her will, and have tried to distort just about everything she says and stands for. Make no mistake about the repubs wanting to run against someone else, they know Hillary is a winner and they cannot beat her in the General. That is a plain and simple reason for their opposition.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The 'national security vs. rights' question was the dumbest of all. As if there were no other choices but a straight yes or no. We can have both -- this is an idiotic straw man.

And in any case, whatever happened to 'give me liberty or give me death' and 'he who values security over liberty deserves neither'?

Have we become a nation of whimpering cowards?

And i have to agree with Loudon -- no matter who is elected, it ain't gonna 'unite' us. The two party's positions on everything are galaxies apart. And do you really think that Republicans are going to try to work with ANY Democratic president?

No matter which Democrat wins, they will begin immediately trying to find a way to bring them down.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

To all the people who believe Hillary will lose in the general election, give me a break?! Have you forgotten how, just a few months ago, everyone thought that she was a long shot in securing the Dem. nomination? Well, she's definitely no longer a long shot now. We're all so willing to undermine her candidacy because that's what we've been hearing for so long from the media, without stopping to realize how well her campaign has exceeded all of our expectations. Support does not come from thin air and she definitely has plenty of supporters who are not just the party faithful. She won over the Republicans in upstate NY, why not elsewhere?

And to those who claim that the audience in last night's debate were picked by the HRC campaign, I'm sorry, but your conspiracy theories have got to stop, you give Hillary's campaign staff too much power in your minds.

Posted by: sarasalvania | November 16, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I think they all did a fine job. Even Mr. Kucinich had some good eye openers.

Posted by: LiberalPatriot | November 16, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson seems to me to be always graded unfairly at each debate. Since he is the only guy to have actually administered anything and has any real foreign policy experience he is expected to knock every question out of the park. The others including the so-called big three are not expected to be as presidential because because they've never done anything but run for President. Bill has so much more experience and it shows altho the talking heads are crushing on the three headed poll leaders. Give Bill his due.

Posted by: louisgray | November 16, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

What a bevy of cleverness in the comments! All the slicing and dicing to determine if Hillary, the media's and corporate darling, regained from her "goof" on illegals getting licenses--as if this were any measure for evaluating her as a candidate. What stuck me is that Kucinich said more in the millisecond he was allowed to speak than all of the ramblings of the other candidates.The voters have been lied to for so long and have had so much equivocating from democrats that they are ready for a big change, not mere tinkering with a broken, unfair system.

While Edwards has sniffed this, he is criticized for criticising. Let's all be nice and vague [slice and dice]and we'll win because all want to be rid of the republicans.

In my view Kucinich has won all the debates, hands down. By the way, I noticed he's taller than Hillary! Why? because he has a clear vision for America based on principle and purpose. We haven't has this since Roosevelt, with the possible exception of Kennedy. Kucinich offers a program comparable to Roosevelt's, with a small dash of Truman. Remember it was Truman who propose universal health care in 1948.

Joe Biden is also a winner, and what a good running mate for Kucinich! Those two could light the proper flame.

Richardson is beginning to sound like a secretary of state.

Don't count Edwards out; he's evolving in a very progressive direction.

Hillary and Obama are corporate darlings and wouldn't be where they are if we required public financing of campaigns.

The big change we need is represented by Kucinich, and the big boys are striving to keep the damper on him. Maybe the voters will see through their tactics. I hope so for all our sakes.

Posted by: st_denys | November 16, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, candidates sometime go on and should shut up and lord knows they too often SPIN.
But I could not disagree with the idea it's OK for the moderator to cut off a sincere explanation. More importantly, some questions cannot be answered by "Yes" or "No" without leaving an incorrect impression of the candidate's true, even honest position. I'm reminded of the question, "When did you stop beating your wife?". It can't be answered correctly if you have never beaten your wife. Same with Yes/No; the moderator knows that and, as last night, formulates a question which is "Gotcha", which Blitzer did. That's not good journalism and it harms the democratic process because the damn debate becomes a game show instead of a teaching/learning experience. Otherwise, it's thinking and speaking like a simpleton, such as George W. Bush.
I want the candidates to sit in a circle and go at each other. When one SPINS, the others can pick it apart, including when one of them tries to SPIN one of the other's answer, etc. If they don't perform that function, then the moderator can step in, as long as it's not a "Gotcha".
If you ever watch Meet The Press, the highly touted moderator, Tim Russert, is infamous for running a "Gotcha" show. How often have I heard him drag up a quote or clip from 40 years earlier (perhaps I exaggerate) to confront the guest and in so doing creates a false conflict. I would MUCH rather have Charlie Rose moderating these things. We might actually hear an intelligent, even a relevant question asked.
This is not to say that when the candidate goes off the deep end the moderator shouldn't bring a little order to the proceedings. However, what they really want to do is control everything and get a good headline. Screw 'em.
As for the Drivers License issue... if the Feds don't enforce immigration laws, I think it is absurd for the citizenship to have a hissy-fit when the local/state governments try to bring some sort of out-of-the-shadows ID plan to the table. The "local" ID given an illegal alien would not be a "legal" ID. It would be, in effect, a THIS-GUY-PASSED-THE-DRIVING-LICENSE-TEST card and it would REGISTER THEM in the system for all sorts of other police purposes. The idea that people would cross the border to get a DL, as argued by, was it Chris Dodd, is moronic. Nor is such a card acknowledgement of any legal rights on their part. And there is nothing liberal/conservative about it. For instance, the most right-wing state in the Union, Utah, already has such a program and it's working well. It's a good idea in lieu of the Feds (say "George Bush") failing to enforce the borders. But, people so prefer the hysterical over the rational. The moderators know that and they want that "Gotcha" answer because they want to force the candidates into saying something that will cause a clamor. Thus, we have the Yes/No "Gotcha" question posted by Mr. Blitzer. It's disgusting. You see, the debates are opportunities to learn WHY a candidate holds a certain view. Such a teaching experience is why these debates could be useful. Now, the audience (home or auditorium) may or may not agree with the candidate, but they still might learn how the candidate thinks. Everything is not black and white and I'd prefer a candidate who THINKS than one I always agree with.

Posted by: rwb-wp | November 16, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, candidates sometime go on and should shut up and lord knows they too often SPIN.
But I could not disagree with the idea it's OK for the moderator to cut off a sincere explanation. More importantly, some questions cannot be answered by "Yes" or "No" without leaving an incorrect impression of the candidate's true, even honest position. I'm reminded of the question, "When did you stop beating your wife?". It can't be answered correctly if you have never beaten your wife. Same with Yes/No; the moderator knows that and, as last night, formulates a question which is "Gotcha", which Blitzer did. That's not good journalism and it harms the democratic process because the damn debate becomes a game show instead of a teaching/learning experience. Otherwise, it's thinking and speaking like a simpleton, such as George W. Bush.
I want the candidates to sit in a circle and go at each other. When one SPINS, the others can pick it apart, including when one of them tries to SPIN one of the other's answer, etc. If they don't perform that function, then the moderator can step in, as long as it's not a "Gotcha".
If you ever watch Meet The Press, the highly touted moderator, Tim Russert, is infamous for running a "Gotcha" show. How often have I heard him drag up a quote or clip from 40 years earlier (perhaps I exaggerate) to confront the guest and in so doing creates a false conflict. I would MUCH rather have Charlie Rose moderating these things. We might actually hear an intelligent, even a relevant question asked.
This is not to say that when the candidate goes off the deep end the moderator shouldn't bring a little order to the proceedings. However, what they really want to do is control everything and get a good headline. Screw 'em.
As for the Drivers License issue... if the Feds don't enforce immigration laws, I think it is absurd for the citizenship to have a hissy-fit when the local/state governments try to bring some sort of out-of-the-shadows ID plan to the table. The "local" ID given an illegal alien would not be a "legal" ID. It would be, in effect, a THIS-GUY-PASSED-THE-DRIVING-LICENSE-TEST card and it would REGISTER THEM in the system for all sorts of other police purposes. The idea that people would cross the border to get a DL, as argued by, was it Chris Dodd, is moronic. Nor is such a card acknowledgement of any legal rights on their part. And there is nothing liberal/conservative about it. For instance, the most right-wing state in the Union, Utah, already has such a program and it's working well. It's a good idea in lieu of the Feds (say "George Bush") failing to enforce the borders. But, people so prefer the hysterical over the rational. The moderators know that and they want that "Gotcha" answer because they want to force the candidates into saying something that will cause a clamor. Thus, we have the Yes/No "Gotcha" question posted by Mr. Blitzer. It's disgusting. You see, the debates are opportunities to learn WHY a candidate holds a certain view. Such a teaching experience is why these debates could be useful. Now, the audience (home or auditorium) may or may not agree with the candidate, but they still might learn how the candidate thinks. Everything is not black and white and I'd prefer a candidate who THINKS than one I always agree with.

Posted by: rwb-wp | November 16, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Some musings after last night's debate:
Biden-President
Obama-VP
Clinton-Senate Majority Leader

Treasury-Bloomberg
State-Lugar
Defense-Hagel

Posted by: rdklingus | November 16, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The current debate format is a farce, which is why I don't watch any of them. Why line up all the candidates on a stage and then ask only two or three of them 95% of the insipid questions. I already know how Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are going to respond to questions because I read the news everyday and see their names splashed across the headlines. I want to to be able to hear the views of the other candidates as well. How can a listener make an informed decision on a candidate they may decide to vote for if the debate format is biased towards only two or three candidates. And don't even get me started on the asking of insipid questions. The debates will serve no real purpose until EVERY candidate gets a chance to respond to the questions asked. As a thinking member of the voting electorate I am sick and tired of commercial broadcasters deciding which candidate is "worthy" of being asked questions. Don't think for me, I can think for myself! GIVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY to make up my own mind after hearing the responses from ALL of them. I better quit now before I really start getting mad!

Posted by: redstar | November 16, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Blitzer obviously favored Clinton & Obama! He gave them chances to rebut others' comments about them, but failed to give Edwards the chance to rebut Clinton's "mudslinging" comment and the question that went to Dodd for his "angry" comment earlier in the week.

Clinton & Obama got nearly DOUBLE the time the others got. Blitzer, contrary to his word, failed to cut them off, especially Hillary, while cutting off others in the middle of their answers.

Horrible debate, the worst to date. While I like not having bells & timers, every candidate should have the chance to be heard, not just the media darlings.

Posted by: amc6541 | November 16, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

If it was ever doubted, CNN planted the 'pearls/diamonds' question...

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/11/16/diamond-or-pearls-cnn-made-her-do-it/

Posted by: schencks84 | November 16, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't seen the "Joe is Right" video on his website, take a look. If you've watched one or more of the Dem debates, the fact is that every candidate points to Joe being right on foreign policy issues.

Take a look at the video at http://www.joebiden.com/home. Video title is "Joe is Right."

Posted by: femalenick | November 16, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

With Edwards and Obama either stumbling or making no noise at all, Hillary is the winner by default. Which isn't a bad thing when you're the frontrunner.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | November 16, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

dave,
how did he fail? because he didn't show up for a vote that was already decided? which is worse, voting for the iran resolution, or not showing up to a vote when it is already decided. i would take someone who came out against it and missed the vote (where it would not have made a difference), than one who was for it. I guess I think the judgment is more important than showing up for posterity's sake.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 16, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You missed a winner:

Richardson sitting at 12% in Iowa with Edwards not performing is not a bad thing for him. He got great exposure time on a broad array of issues and my wife a teacher was looking for Teachers for Richardson bumper stickers after his education talk. 15% is the caucus magic number and this performance absolutely helps him towards that goal.

Placing Human Rights might be argued to hurt one but it's very easy to fall back on Jefferson and others that placed the inalienable rights of man above all others. Likewise being pro second amendment he can always pull a one liner out of the hat.

Something like,

You know republicans want us to believe that al quaeda threatens our National Security and we should sacrifice our most basic human rights our civil liberties to protect it that we should sacrifice our moral standing in the world to oppose them. Al quaeda does not threaten our national security, they are no sviet union. I assure you should an al quaida army ever land on US shores I and every other second amendment loving american would kill them all quickly.

They can hurt americans and I as president will end the distraction of iraq and refocus our military and dimplomatic might on afgansistan and the taliban strongholds of pakistan. I will treat the vast majority of moderate pakistani's as human beings with inalienable rights providing aid and assistance to ensure that in embracing democracy they need not fight tyranny from their military, that they need not turn to the taliban in the northeast to attempt some semblance of freedom.

It's answerable we just haven't had anyone with the courage to do it recently. remember even bush turned to human rights issues to justify iraq you just have to show strength as well as respect for democratic principles. There is significant sympathy for human rights or we wouldn't care about darfur a region with no National Security implications for us.

Posted by: Aharper | November 16, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Lets all try and use a little common sense and logic about these so called "Debates". There is very little difference on issues that effect most of us in our everyday lives. I think one issue that has been ignored is the soaring debt. The borrow and spend policy has caught most folks unaware of what this will do to our economy in the near future. Many current, worthwhile programs will have to be eliminated, along with tax hikes on SS and all income, primaraly on the top earners. The tax on folks that can afford them must be done, and IMHO, I don't think many of them will resist very much.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Just a comment on the audience being stacked with Clinton supporters -- I was at the debate and can tell you that it wasn't a matter of CNN or Clinton stacking the deck, but a function of the reality that Clinton has effectively scooped up nearly all of the party loyalists (who made up most of the crowd) in Nevada. I'm an Obama supporter myself, but, like it or not, Clinton's Nevada team has done everything right since day one.

As for who won the debate from a "live" audience member -- Joe Biden hands down.

Best part of the debate -- meeting "Mike" from Desperate Housewives at the VIP afterparty.

Posted by: veggieatty | November 16, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"Joe Biden embarrassed himself and the Democratic party by being rightfully targetted as a plagiarizer in the '88 campaign..."

2229, Joe Biden did not plagiarize. What he failed to do during the incident that painted him a plagiarizer was forget to credit the person as he had done for the same person all other times prior. The media reported the incident as a case of plagiarism, and it stuck.

If George W. Bush could be elected after getting preferential treatment to avoid going to Vietnam, being arrested for drunk driving, and for being completely ignorant of the world -- then why not Biden for one gaffe and for which his campaign was actually at fault?

And for all those who point to Hillary's divisiveness -- the fact is that any one of the Dems will be vilified by the Rs, and vice versa. It is the country that's divided, with no one willing to budge an inch to find common ground. Remember, it's why Joe Biden encouraged John Kerry to ask McCain to be his veep, but McCain just wasn't interested.

The only way to end the divisiveness is for the person who wins to put members of the other party in their cabinet - something, btw, which Biden mentioned he would do last night.

Posted by: femalenick | November 16, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how the Fix can get away with being so blatantly pro-Hillary. Perhaps she deserves to be in the winners column, but in the last debate (where she clearly lost) she was put in the "Tweeners" column!! Why had there never been a "Tweener" column before the debate and why isn't there one now?

This entire "inevitable nominee" attitude is ruining the race.

Posted by: mtLebowski | November 16, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

dn1021,
"Sorry, people, if you make over $97,000, you ARE upper class." It depend where you live. If you live in Manhattan, you probably will not live in an upper class sort of way. I can tell you if you live in Northern Va, that makes you comfortable, not upper class.

Posted by: dave | November 16, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

mcmahon10,
Some votes are more important than others and some are more important to some people than others. This vote was important to Obama and he skipped it in order to campaign. You can blame that on Harry Reid if you want but the fact remains that it's Obama's responsibility to balance his senate work and campaigning. In this instance, he failed.

Posted by: dave | November 16, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone who reads the Fix regularly (Fixistas unite!) knows which part of the debate we liked better"

Sadly, we do.

Posted by: zukermand | November 16, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This is the first debate that I watched in its entirety. I was impressed at how much substance was provided by the candidates and how little commentary there was on the substance. All in all, I was impressed with the candidates in general and did not see the "losers" that were noted. I have not decided who to vote for yet, and continue to find the coverage shallow. For example, just because Clinton supporters were rude enough to boo Edwards when their candidate was being challenged doesn't mean that Edwards was not on point and does not make him a loser. I believe that it makes the rude audience loosers. This is not an NFL game! It is a venue where some decorum is expected. Moreover, Clinton's mudslinging comment was over the top. I did not see any mudslinging form anyone. The attacks were relatively mild and appeared to be based on policy disagreements or style disagreements. I saw no swiftboating or other Rovian tactics of the type that have turned our stomachs for the past 7 years. Disagreement is a good thing!

Posted by: david.turner1 | November 16, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree, the insistence on yes or no answers is frustrating.
For more than 6 years, on major issues ranging from Iraq to Katrina the only insights given the American people have been it's "Hard Work"
Personally I would like to know
Who is doing the hard work
What is the hard work accomplishing
Where is the hard work being done
Why is the work so hard
When will we see results from all the hard work
How will this hard work benefit the American people.

Those in Washington may not think the American people are smart enough to understand answers utilizing words that involve more than one syllable. I believe they are wrong.

Posted by: pdurbin | November 16, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

While the "boys club" all had clear responses, and articulately expressed the concerns of the American people, Senator Clinton's answers were vague and rhetorical. It appears that Edwards, Obama, Biden, and Dodd all have an accurate grasp of, and appreciation for, our country's needs, and how to repair the United States' international relations. With Senator Clinton being the only candidate whose comments failed to reflect concrete, intelligent solutions to the issues raised by the American population, how can she be leading in the polls?? It appears to me that journalists are not providing Senators Biden and Dodd the equal air time that their grasp of the United States' internal and international issues very much deserves. Spare me Senator Clinton's rhetoric (and attacks to and from Edwards and Obama) - I would like more of the real meat and potatoes dished up by Joe Biden and Chris Dodd!

Posted by: reinboldp | November 16, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree, the insistence on yes or no answers is frustrating.
For more than 6 years, on major issues ranging from Iraq to Katrina the only insights given the American people are it's "Hard Work"
Personally I would like to know
Who is doing the hard work
What is the hard work accomplishing
Where is the hard work being done
Why is the work so hard
When will we see results from all the hard work
How will this hard work benefit the American people.

Those in Washington may not think the American people are smart enough to understand answers wiht words that involve more than one syllable. I think they are wrong.

Posted by: pdurbin | November 16, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Blitzer had no control. Only those that he thought might please the attendance got most of the questions. Mrs. Clinton gave the most + answers. If Blitzer did not want to hear more responce other that a yes or no answer he would interrupt, however, those that he favored he would let those continue to talk. Like Clinton said the attacks towards her was because she is the front runner.

Posted by: ronneylee | November 16, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

We need, as president, someone with an exceptional foreign policy background. Of those Democrats running, only Joe Biden meets that criterion. The next president, Republican or Democrat will need the diplomatic skills so woefully lacking in the current president. Unfortunately, it's money which will determine the outcome. Most Americans have little patience for diplomacy, viewing it as being outside their scope of things which affect them personally.

Posted by: Diogenes | November 16, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I wish Biden had run in 2004. He is so much more eloquent than Kerry. He would have blown away all the other Democratic candidates and defeated Bush. Here in 2007, he can't beat the star power of Clinton and Obama. But at least I can hope that he becomes Secretary of State.

I though the best moment of the night was when Biden insisted on answering the audience member's original question, instead of the revised version offered by the moderators.

Posted by: trr2 | November 16, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

LOSERS: people who need to inflate their sagging self images by rudely criticizing one of Chris's rare grammatical mistakes.

Who among us can write a fraction of what Chris writes on a daily basis without making a single grammatical mistake? That's what I thought...

I try to accept people with flaws...grammatical or otherwise.

Keep up the great work, Chris.

Posted by: ralderman67 | November 16, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I think you should have included CNN as a loser. Wolf Blitzer was terrible. The way he was interrupting candidates made me miss those debates with hokey lights and buzzers. And how could he not challenge Clinton on her "no" to the immigration question? That was embarrassing journalism. I also thought CNN could have done more to quiet the crowd. It became a pep rally with Clinton supporters basically booing anyone who criticized her. CNN needed to control the crowd- instead, they seemed to be encouraging it. The Democrats should just give in and debate on Fox. At least Fox knows how to run a debate.

Posted by: mikehoffman82 | November 16, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If you think this debate was worth watching or hearing your IQ has to be below 70.

Canned answers to canned questions. The biggest losers are the American people.

Anyone who thinks an American president can accomplish the inane promises made is a fool of the first order.

Posted by: JustAnotherIdiot | November 16, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"I am a Hillary Clinton fan for a number of reasons, but I am no less a Joe Biden fan. And during every debate, I wonder why it is that Dems don't embrace him more than they do --"

Joe Biden embarrassed himself and the Democratic party by being rightfully targetted as a plagiarizer in the '88 campaign.

I'm surprised he's running, tho he's a good man otherwise.

Posted by: 2229 | November 16, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"OBAMA DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR THE VOTE"

DO YOU GUYS REALIZE HOW THE VOTES WORK? It was not supposed to be up for the vote the day that it was. Obama was already out of DC when it happened. Whenever there is going to be a close vote, the leader will hold up the vote so that they can get all of their people there. The leader didn't call Obama because it wasn't necessary. He put out a statement THE VERY SAME DAY when the vote was stating that he was against it.
Why isn't anyone complaining that none of the senators were there for the Mukasey vote?
Also, when you look at the number of votes missed by the four senators, they are all very similar. And if I remember correctly, Edwards vote percentage wasn't also about the same. This is such a non issue.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 16, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Wolf Blitzer did not give Kucinich the opportunity to make his point about Impeachment of President Bush. Mistake to cut him off. I think he would have handled this differently had it been one of the top candidates.

Would you support Impeachment the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney over the Iraq War?

-----------> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1002

.

Posted by: PollM | November 16, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I watched the debate last night, have read Chris' column and all of your comments. I thought that some of the candidates gave some thoughtful and thought-provoking answers. I am surprised, however, that after reading the complaints about the lameness of CNN's questions and the "jaw-dropping dumbing-down of America" in general, no one has commented on last night's discussion of the state of American education. I believe it was Senator Dodd who stated that it is the single most important issue facing the nation and, after reading the comments and analysis of the "debate", can anyone question the veracity of that statement? There is no question that our whole political system has been "dumbed-down" and, until we significantly improve our approach to teaching our children, we will be condemned to repeat scenes like last night's ad infinitum.

Posted by: cathy.west | November 16, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"I watched the first 20 minutes before falling asleep (this debate could put ambein out of business) The biggest loser was CNN as they were totally lame."

You didn't watch ANY of the debate. Russert was tougher than I'd ever seen him. Both Clinton and Obama acquitted themselves quite well.

I think this debate just may turn this into a two-headed race. Edwards, with all of his great ideas, doesn't know how to act in public, much like his running John "Yes, I'd vote for the war resolution again" Kerry.

Posted by: 2229 | November 16, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone give HRC a free pass on "35 years of experience?" What experience? Until running for NYS Senate, she held no elective post. She ran no corporation.

Listening to her husband discuss his job doesn't really count either as governor or president.

Does she count the time Bill was out of office in her "35 years?"

Joe Biden's 35 years are real!

Posted by: harry4 | November 16, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I totally disagree with your analysis. Hillary did nothing exceptional and is now calling criticism of her taking corporate lobbyist money and double-speaking as personal attacks. These are facts. She defends a system that is corrupt and broken and is counting on it to get her elected. Also, she voted for the Iran Resolution which gives Bush the opportunity, if he wants to take it, to attack Iran because she (they disclared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terriorist organization and most importantly a profilerator of WMD. She still is talking out of both sides of her mouth and I don't trust her. Watch her actions (her voting record) not what she is saying now. I also believe that a real professional jounalist should investigate the audience. It was too pro-Hillary. Just a thought that maybe these people were planted to boo Edwards and Obama. Edwards and Obama did a fine job and reiterated the differences between them and her. But for some curious reason the audience wasn't having any of it. I believe this audience was hand picked to be Hillary supporters intentionally so that they would discourage Edwards and Obama from nailing her. I am not going to let the media discourage me by giving the nomination to her. Not one vote has been cast yet they proclaim that she is winning. I don't believe it. Go Edwards! Don't Back Down That's What They Are Counting On.

Posted by: eahildebrand | November 16, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin summed up what I thought pretty well, with his group that were introduced to the debates for the first time. He made me think that maybe in America there are some real people who think for themselves and hopefully will be informed enough to go into the voting booths in the primaries and make some independenty arrived-at and thoughtful choices. He also encourages me that there is a whole silent majority out there who have not fallen entirely for the media's push to "yellow-sheet-journalize" our political choices. Unfortunately, there will be those who will look at these debates through the eyes of an "Oprah" viewer, and choose according to the entertainment value. There are too many really serious problems in this country, in every state, which is struggling with day-to-day budget problems to fix their natural resource problems, like water, pollution, health-care, housing and infrastructure, (roads, transportation, and public safety). Over arching this is the state of the economy, which falls on the shoulders of every citizen who is paying the many-tiered tax system in this country, and who is being scammed by a federal government being run by bureaucrats who use our money like it was play money in "Monopoly", throwing it away in taking care of Iraq's infrastructure, while at the same time destroying its outer structure. And may I add, taking the lives of our best people and throwing that away, as well.

Maybe there are still enough voters out there in a primary that will vote not for the continual dynasty of the Clintons, which I see as a continuation of what is already in charge Washington, and will decide that the new possibilities lie in almost every other candidate among the Democrats, in varying degrees. I think HRC has made two major errors--forget the drivers' license thing...her two votes supporting the mentality of the Bush/Cheney--and now add Lieberman to that team--are fatal in my mind for predicting how she will rule. We don't need that for another four years. There will be no real solutions for this mess we are in from her.

I for one still think Edwards is the best choice to be a winner in the general election.

Posted by: MariaDavidson | November 16, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

To Pscoots: you are grossly mistaken that the notion of "preemption" is "codified" by the UN. In fact, it most certainly is not. Read and be educated:

Article 51 of the United Nations Charter makes clear that "Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations."

The United States has long held that, consistent with Article 51 and customary international law, a state may use force in self-defense: 1. if it has been attacked, or 2. if an armed attack is legitimately deemed to be imminent. This interpretation is also consistent with our domestic notion of self-defense as applied in the criminal and tort law contexts.

Notice two things. First, the second portion is the United States' interpretation, not the world community's. It is wrong, and that is plainly obvious by the wording of Section 51 of the UN Charter. Secondly, even if one were to give some credence to the US interpretation, the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan are still illegal. There was neither an attack, nor any CREDIBLE threat of attack against the US by either nation. Sorry, folks, but Al Qaeda (assuming they even pulled off 9/11, which is doubtful)is not a sovereign nation. Afghanistan's Taliban government offered to deliver Osama Bin Laden to the US in late September, 2001, but Bush refused the offer. Does the term "natural gas pipeline" mean anything to you? That's what Afghanistan is all about, not some threatened attack.

Posted by: hawkwtchr | November 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

johnbsmrk - irrational ? Try reading your first post. Unintelligable.

That was the first time I ever posted, I was honest about having been in the majority voting for Bush... and immediately my opinions are "attacked" as irrational as a result.

Does anyone doubt HRC is a divisive candidate and can not pull this country together?

Posted by: weinbob | November 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Wolf Blitzer did not give Kucinich the opportunity to make his point about Impeachment of President Bush. Mistake to cut him off. I think he would have handled this differently had it been one of the top candidates.

Would you support Impeachment the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney over the Iraq War?

-----------> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1002

.

Posted by: PollM | November 16, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

It was a rerun of the Duran vs. Leonard trilogy, where after a first fight the audience got to see the contenders attack and defend themselves, this time after 15 minutes we heard the infamous words No Mas (no more), and as the story goes we would find our self's waiting for the next Uno Mas (one more), in which if my analogy works out, they will waltz around the ring throwing no punches; therefore not having to defend their stands on the issues. By the way in a championship fight if the challenger's does not perform the champion usually gets the judges' decision.

Posted by: shaguin1 | November 16, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Does CNN stand for the "Clinton National Network"? The moderators choose to allow a question about diamonds versus pearls?"


They didn't just allow it, they forced the student to ask it, she wanted to ask a more substantive question (see thinkprogress.org)

Posted by: RollaMO | November 16, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Elioto 1 said, "BUT OBAMA (CONVENIENTLY) WAS TOO BUSY TOO VOTE!!! HOW CAN OBAMA CRITICIZE?"
Absolutely, I idealogically agree with Barack, but he has missed what 30% of votes this session. He has absolutely no credibility, IMHO. It is really unfortunate, because he is a man that I could follow.
I have to add that while the crowd's booing was inappropriate, it was NOT undeserved. Edwards has spent too much time criticizing his opponents, and not enough time on the issues. Also, a bit unfortunate.
Joe Biden is probably our best hope, but Clinton has way too much name recognition for him to compete with, also very unfortunate. The best we can hope for is a miracle for Biden in Iowa, or a Clinton/Biden ticket where perhaps Biden can lend her his credentials since hers aren't the strongetst. Don't get me wrong, I think she's capable, but she's going to find it hard going to get elected. People inside and outside of the party either love her or hate her (not her fault), and we need more than that.

Posted by: David17 | November 16, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Debate? What debate? I was on an intercollegiate team 50 years ago when I last witnessed a debate. That thing last night, like all those things since Kennedy v. Nixon 47 years ago, was nothing other than a news bite contest. Please, news media, STOP CALLING THESE THINGS DEBATES. You insult not only the candidates, but the intelligence of the American public when you do so.

Posted by: chartwl | November 16, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If you want a reason to hate Hillary try looking at her answer on merit pay for teachers last night. In her very Clintonesque way, she said she doesn't support it. Then she said bad teachers should be weeded out of the system.

How exactly? Your teacher's unions will not allow such a thing Mrs. Clinton. That would have been a nice time for a follow up from Wolf. Unfortunately, everyone on the stage is similarly in the tank on education. It's a shame.

Posted by: Glass_Half_Full | November 16, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, she did manage, again, because of who her husband was, to get elected as a Senator in New York, one of the most liberal states in the nation, but that's a rather thin reed to use as justification for a run at the Presidency. Just as a point of comparison, Dan Quayle was relentlessly bashed as being too inexperienced and green to be Vice-President, despite the fact that he has served in the Senate just as long as Hillary Clinton and had spent two terms as a Congressman besides. Even more impressively, Quayle won office on his own merit, not because he happened to have married the right person.

What it all boils down to is that Hillary Clinton is Kevin Federline becoming famous because he was married to Britney Spears. She's "Brownie" being appointed as head of FEMA, not because he was the best-qualified person for the job, but because he knew the right person. She's every 22 year old "C" student with a business degree who has been allowed to leapfrog over dozens of more capable people and start as a top executive because his daddy happens to be a heavy hitter in the company.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 16, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I am angling for chelsea in 2016. she has just about as much experience as hillary. we could have clintons for the next 16 years.

three for the price of one.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 16, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I find it hilarious listening to the so-called political "analysts" carefully scrutinizing the qualifications for the Presidency of candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, et al...where were these sages and political pundits when George W. Bush slouched onto the scene and got his Poppi-appointed Supreme Court buddies to hand him the Presidency. One thing that Dubya has done with his eight years as President is lower the bar to sub-surface levels for any future canddidate. With Bush as the role model it is clear that a pinworm has equally credible credentials for becoming President.

Posted by: Jerryvov | November 16, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I like to see real issue debates rather than one-minute talking points presentation.

Who should be out of these next debates before Iowa?
1)Gravel is already out.
2)Dodd should be next.
3)Kucinich should follow after that.
4)Richardson (before NH)

Posted by: pradhan | November 16, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

weinbob admits responsibility for inflicting the worst president since the war on the country and then gives us a lecture on how bad Clinton is and he would never vote for her. Well you've already demonstrated you are not entirely rational bob.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 16, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Winners:

Clinton - Was solid and tough, and got a lot of help from the crowd and question selection. The winner on points as far as effective debating tactics, but that's not the only determining factor in the public's vote. I'm not sure this debate completely stopped the bleeding either, if only because she got a pass on so many major issues.

Obama - Did a great job of challenging the presumption of the human rights/security question and engaging Clinton on social security funding. But the drivers' licenses question looked like a waffle and he didn't get the best of Clinton at the start. All in all, as Chris says, he did a good job of presenting himself as a credible, safe alternative to Hillary. I think that's a very big deal given Hillary's general election negatives.

Biden - Repeatedly on point, the best of the second tier. VP Material for Obama or Edwards as an elder statesman with foreign policy cred? The plagiarism thing and his reputation as a "walking gaffe machine" are what doom him as a presidential choice.

Losers:

Edwards: Really didn't connect. His position on stage didn't help. His jabs were artless and I think the ongoing negativity may lose him some voters to Obama in the race to be the anti-Hillary. Was that a stacked crowd though?

Richardson: "Excruciating" and "blowhard" were the terms used in the group I was watching with. He's a governor. He's the energy president. He's the education president. He's a governor.

Dodd: Was fine when he was paid attention to, which wasn't much. He's out of time.

Wolf Blitzer: There are no words. There's a difference between not answering a question, and answering a question within a broader context. Complex geopolitical decisions are never black and white, you nitwit.

CNN: For idiot hosts and unbelievably stacked pro-Hillary post-debate coverage.

FWIW, I was watching with a large 20-something crowd online, and the consensus in our group was that Obama and Biden walked away with it easily.

Posted by: Nissl | November 16, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I have liked Joe Biden for quite some time and have often wondered just why he wasn't getting more love in the campaign. Perhaps there is still time for this to happen. I think this was one of the best efforts by Biden and received as well.

Do you get a little tired of the Hillary "haters" who can find no reason for their sometimes questionable coments other than the "hate any Clinton" attitudes? If Biden is not able to make it, my choice would come down to Clinton or Obama and would probably be Clinton. Although if Obama had four more years experience, he could very well be the choice. I like Obama's thought process and agree with his message of change but this doesn't get done without experience. I remember another good man coming in with a message of change. As with Obama, he too had state government and one term Senate experience. Remember, Mr. Carter. A really good man with a good message but he was unable to bring but little success to his four years in the White House. Not because of a lack of intellengence or character but simply a lack of experience.

Edwards, you can have him just as long as you take him far away. The idea of this guy in the White House makes Giuliani look like a good choice. Edwards has not and can not sell his message to the public and is trying to club his way into the picture with personal attacks that are beginning to get old. It isn't going to work and I think tonight showed the beginning of the end for him. The response of the crowd (Hillary didn't plant the crowd and had no more imput on their attendence than you or me) was an indication to me that people are tired of personal attacks and want to see some substance in campaign messages. His mistake, substance he dosen't have and is beginning to spin out of control. You could see and hear it in the debate last night. Hillary and Obama is not Edward's problem, he should be woring about Joe Biden. Biden will be moving into the top three by the time we get through NH.

Posted by: 1ken | November 16, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

When Cilizza says it was draw (well he hast to earn living maintaining the fiction this is a horserace), and Clinton haters call it a draw, whinge about how can anyone like that woman, spit feathers about various faux issue, shoot the messenger poor old Blitzer: yu have to know she was hittin the out of the park. A couple of my buddies who are devoted Edwardians have admitted she was cool last night she looked , yep, presidential.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | November 16, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

JimD: "The last thing we need is another extremely divisive president. While I think she might be more likely to win the election than dmarble does, I do believe that it would be a 51 to 49 victory at best and would definitely hurt down-ticket Democrats in swing states."

JimD: You do understand the regardless of which combination of candidates we have to choose from in the general election, the spread is going to be, at the very most, 55-45 one way or the other. So that makes all of the candidates "extremely divisive," which is of course ridiculous.

Can we stop talking about "extremely divisive" candidates? It's a red herring. There's not going to be a kum-bay-yah moment regardless of who the next president is, folks.

Posted by: Spectator2 | November 16, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The CNN post debate analysis was so pro Clinton I thought we were watching a different debate. Two former Clinton Admin. staffers.....What happened to Gergen's typical insightfull perspective - maybe too much time at Harvard.

I am a 50 year old caucasian independent who voted for Bush twice. If the Republican nominee is anyone but Rudy or Romney I could easily vote for Biden, Dodd, or Obama.

I am having a really hard time understanding why the media keeps publishing these national polls where Clinton's name recognition is huge - meaningless.

Margret Thatcher, Golda Mier..., Janet Napolitano..fine - I don't have a gender issuue. But exactly what experience and responsibility does HRC really have. First Lady of Arkansas and First Lady of US means you never had the responsibility, your experiece is second hand at best.

Her Senate elections in NY were against weak opponents and the Senate offers no executive experience. Maybe a Jack Kennedy or Obama who are inspirational can bridge that lack of executive experience.

HRC is a product of the special interests, the politics of parsing is so obvious. YES please some reporter check out the audience - allowing the pro Clinton audience to sway the debate is just wrong. Either have no audiece applause and hoots or give equal tickets to aggressive partisan audience members.

Democrats nostalgia for Bill Clinton has gone to far (a backdoor 3rd term for Bill) and the Democrats are going to hand the Republicans a victory.

Imagine Mitt Romney (a Republican who actually won election in a Democratic state and whose executive resume dwarfs HRC) versus HRC - we are in a time of war and I seriously doubt the majority would vote HRC commander in chief if they did not think they were voting for Bill in the background.

I can't believe it - but HRC makes Al Gore look pretty good, the Dem's and the media should reconsider giving away the White House.

HRC is divisive - I would not vote for here under any circumstances - same for my wife and business partner - I guess I am part of that solid 50% negative polling. These debates just continue to reinforce my negative impression of a candidate who lacks experience and honesty.

Posted by: weinbob | November 16, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Does Marrying Bill Clinton Qualify Someone To Be President?
By John Hawkins
Friday, November 16, 2007

If a CEO of a fortune 500 company were to retire, would anyone seriously consider his wife to be an adequate replacement simply because she was married to him when he ran the company? What about a Super Bowl winning football team? What do you think the reaction of their fans would be if their coach's wife was being seriously discussed as his replacement?

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Yet, Hillary Clinton has practically been anointed by the press and the punditocracy as our next President, despite the fact that her run at the presidency is almost entirely based on being Bill Clinton's wife.

By that, I mean that if Bill Clinton had meant the sweet nothings that he whispered in Monica Lewinsky's ear and he had divorced Hillary and married Monica, today Monica would be planning her Senate reelection campaign while Hillary would probably be working as a lobbyist for the Chinese toy manufacturers association.

But isn't Hillary Clinton is a brilliant politician in her own right? Oh, please. She has been involved in more scandals than the whole rest of the Democratic and Republican fields combined, she's a participant in an off-putting sham marriage, she has minimal charisma, she is one of the most polarizing figures in politics, she has a reputation as a shameless liar, and so far, in her entire tenure in the Senate, she has never once accomplished anything of great significance or displayed notable leadership on any issue. Additionally, this is a woman who has gotten away with taking bribes, which is what her famous "cattle futures" scandal was really all about and had she been Hillary Jones, ordinary person, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, First Lady, she would have ended up in a jail cell over White Water.

However, if you listen to the talking heads on TV, she's talked about as if she's a political genius. Does it make you a political genius to poll test every publicly stated position you have and then script out a response that allows you to change your position and go the other way if public opinion changes or, more importantly, if you think you can get away with it? Maybe it does -- if you can come across as being genuine while you do it. But, Hillary comes across as exactly what she is: An amoral shrew who's willing to lie about anything and everything, destroy the lives of people who get in her way, and help cover up and enable the frequent affairs of her husband, all because she has an all-consuming urge to achieve power for power's sake -- and that's just what liberal Democrats like John Edwards and Maureen Dowd think of her. Republicans generally aren't as kind in their assessments of her personality and character.

So, how in the world has she managed to become the favorite in the race for the presidency? Simple: because of her husband, she has been the beneficiary of a double standard that is outrageous, even by the standards of the mainstream media.

http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/JohnHawkins/2007/11/16/does_marrying_bill_clinton_qualify_someone_to_be_president

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 16, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It was nice to be one of the dozen or so people who watched this thing. I actually TiVo'd it and zapped the debate just so I can watch the commercials.

When will Al Gore jump in the race and bring some Goring Experience to this boring field?

Al Gore not a bore? Wow ... times do have changed!

Metin
Newport Beach
www.TalkTurkey.us

Posted by: metin1 | November 16, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why so much emphasis on how the audience reacted? Are we now making our important decisions about presidents based on how they play a crowd?

Please....

Posted by: musichub | November 16, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Barrack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton CANNOT beat Mike Huckabee. He can run oratory circles around the both of these creeps. Huckabee is a prolific debater. He is 'Reaganesque' in style: a great communicator, iconic optimist, and a strong former governor. He will draw away more moderate and conservative dems from the democratic ticket than Reagan ever dreamed about. Huckabee is also a 'Licolnesque' figure: frugal beginnings, a great visionary, and a moral godly man who stands on his convictions, even though he was told (like Lincoln) he could not win. HRC and Barrack Hussein Obama will say anything to get elected. When are you dems going to realize that in order to win the presidency you need a conservative in your party to run for the nomination, other wise you write off the south every time?

Guess what? Huckabee is winning now! Just look at the polls! He is gaining so rapidly, has the momentum, and will be the GOP nominee. Better luck eight years from now Dems!!!

Posted by: bryantew | November 16, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to add a couple of additional comments about Mr. Biden, who seems to be the darling of some of those posting here. Remember, please, that this is the man who is so strenuously arguing for a "rational" solution to the Iraq war, that still includes troops left in Iraq and surrounding countries. Under WHAT authority, Mr. Biden? We have no UN authorization, nor should we. He still doesn't get it about how unconstitutional this is. He also voted, hook, line and sinker, for the USA PATRIOT Act. Now, he wants it "tweaked". How is that decisive leadership when this act, too, is so clearly unconstitutional? His shepherding of Clarence Thomas onto the Supreme Court, as noted earlier, also shows lack of deep investigation and thinking ability. He, too, continues to vote all the money Bush/Cheney want for their illegal, immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that is leadership, please give me another leader. One of this type, we already have.

Posted by: hawkwtchr | November 16, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I thought all candidates did very wellin last night's debate. Each had good messages for voters. It's refreshing to see candidates who want to end this phony war and reverse the course Bush has set for America. Bush has the full support from ALL the Republican presidential candidates who insist on continuing his stupid push to destroy this country in the name of saving it. Go Democrats.

Posted by: CharlieWilliams | November 16, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

We must ask ourselves, at what cost will we allow Hillary Rodham Clinton achieve this career goal of hers?

It amazes me, how we are allowing Bill Clinton to be out on the stomping campaign for her. Isn't this about her being "the best qualified?" Or are we willing to look the other way at what they are doing?

Everyone feels sorry for her because she is a "woman" running for President of the United States. The other candidates can't say too much about her because then it will be "they are picking on her because she is a woman." Now she wants preferential treatment. Bill Clinton had to step in to defend her. If Bill Clinton was not on the campaign trail with his book "Giving," would we really be giving Hillary Clinton the time of day? They are getting double media coverage and attention. Unfair.

If she can't handle this now, how will she handle the foreign nations, who are going to be tough and quit nasty when things continue to detoriate in America. How will she handle that? Will she run to Bill to defend her and us?

Let's look at this very closely. If we are not willing to ask this one question, why every news reporter, Debate anchor, and even us on the question of "the best qualified," Where was Hillary Rodham Clinton when the Office of the President of the United States, the very office she is running for was put in a compromising position? Where was Hillary Rodham Clinton?

Where?

She was thinking about how she was going to run for President of the United States. How she was going to get every one of us to unconsciously feel sorry for her. Have Bill Clinton out on the campaign trail, daring us to not ask that question, hoping that we will forget. That is the highest office in this country. How can we be so naive or have the audacity to even bring that up?

If we do not bring that up, how can we trust her to be President of the United States without knowing, if she will protect us from all harm? Or will she put us in a compromising position with our foreign allies and enemies?

If she could not protect us then, how can we trust her to protect us for four years?

I said all that to say this, every time I look at her and see Mr. Clinton, I feel sorry for him. That he would allow her to use him for her personal ambition. It is not about us. With all due respect, it is about her being over Mr. Clinton, Ms. Pelosi and every other candidate running at the expense of our safety and respect in the world.

At the end of the day, what difference will it make?

Let's be honest. Everyone is afraid if they don't elect her, Barack Obama may win.

At what cost, are we willing to close our eyes and pretend what happened did not happen? At the cost of "truth."

So who are we fooling, again?

Ourselves.

Posted by: vgw22 | November 16, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The program was so stupid I turned it off before it was over. The candidates are running for President, a Federal office. Our Federal Govt does not issue driver's licenses; the states do that. Blitzer was a silly moderator and wasted too much time on the drivers license question. None of the candidates looked great, but none was as ridiculous as poor Blitzer. He reminded me of a dopey little kid trying to get some big kids into a fight.
Helen Lane

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 16, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The program was so stupid I turned it off before it was over. The candidates are running for President, a Federal office. Our Federal Govt does not issue driver's licenses; the states do that. Blitzer was a silly moderator and wasted too much time on the drivers license question. None of the candidates looked great, but none was as ridiculous as poor Blitzer. He reminded me of a dopey little kid trying to get some big kids into a fight.
Helen Lane

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 16, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Choreographed booing won't help Her Royal Clintoness in general election debates, and neither will avoiding tough questions now that will re-appear in the fall by playing damsel in distress.

Posted by: akononchuk | November 16, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I stopped watching when Blitzer kept cutting people off in mid-sentence. Sure there needs to be some control, but it was very uneven and I wasn't there to watch the Wolfman. He clearly favors Lou Dobbs for president based on his framing of questions, and repeatedly cut out Edwards. Please no more Wolf.
For me, an undecided, Hillary was the big loser because of her claim that removing the caps would hurt the middle class. Hah! She's voted and sounded like a republican too many times.
I don't think I'll vote for any of the front runners, but Obama is still in the running. After last night, I'm leaning toward Kucinich, Richardson, Biden or Dodd, in that order.
My main reaction is disgust at Blitzer. He wasn't supposed to be the show but seems stuck in infotainment as a superstar who can't get out of the way.

Posted by: buenperico | November 16, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with part of Cillizza's analysis of the debate. Here are my winners and losers

Winners
1) Hillary Clinton:
She did well countering Edwards and Obama in the beginning of the debate. Also, her answer to the question regarding human rights vs. national security was well done. And her answer to the gender question was brilliant. She denied using gender as an advantage and came back to using gender to her advantage later in the answer without anybody noticing. Finally, CNN's impartiality for Clinton showed i.e. up angle camera shot (power shot) of Clinton during the debate, and the post-debate analysis.

Joe Biden:
He has yet to disappoint in a debate and is finally getting recognition. Biden has aptly been able to play two roles during the debates; the serious, authoritative, straightfoward policy guru and the funny, self-deprecating, charismatic leader (as CC pointed out). Again and first to do so, I argue the Rocky analogy. Biden is commonly thought of as an over-the-hill politician who already squandered his best chance to reaching higher office. The scenario is akin to Rocky -- an over-the-hill boxer who missed his prime -- and we all know what happened in that story. Look for Biden to do better than expected in Iowa

Chris Dodd:
This is one place where I disagree with CC. Dodd stood out last night for thoughtful and responsible answers. Juxtapose Dodd's answers to Edwards', Kucinich's, and Richardson's and he stands out even more. The Spanish was a nice touch too.

Losers:

Barack Obama:
Clinton beat him up in the first 15 min and Obama never really made it back. He did well the rest of the debate, but it did not redeem his performance in the first 15.

John Edwards:
When you have Kucinich pointing out your inconsistent statements and positions it does not bold well. In addition, Clinton and the crowd clobbered hiim. His performance last night only reinforces what I have always said about Edwards. He will do and say anything to get elected. And that is not very genuine.

Bill Richardson:
He had a better performance then his previous debates. But, Richardson had so much to improve on that a slightly good debate makes him a loser here.

Dennis Kucinich:
Lately, Kucinich has been garnering praise on the internet and blogs for his principled and alleged truthful positions. The idea that Kucinich is telling the truth is confounding. I used to ignore the praise for Kucinich but cannot anymore. Kucinich blatantly misleads on almost every answer. For example, his position that preemptive military action violates international law. This argument cannot be further from the truth. The doctrine of preemeption is 1) codified by the UN, and 2) has been legally acceptable through past precedent. Notice how when Kucinich gets on his soap box he never explains why and how something is illegal. He consistently fails to give stark details or proof for his assertions. If Kucinich was being truthful a better argument would be that the Bush Administration's Iraq invasion was not preemption but prevention and therefore violative of international law. This is only one of many examples of Kucinich misleading voters.

CNN:
Pathetic debate coverage.

Posted by: Pscoots14 | November 16, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I came away believing the fix was in. It looked to me like the questions might have been planted in the group of 100. Did anyone notice how that one woman asked the question. She kept trying to ask the question the way she had memorized it. Look at the tape. It was awful. Lou D. should have been the host. Wolf just simply sucked at being the host. CNN I believe stacked the deck, period.

Still it was a good night Joe Biden. He was articulate, honest and straight forward with his answers. He showed he had the experience. When you cut through all the crap; he won. To bad he wont win.

Posted by: rgtalam | November 16, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, people, if you make over $97,000, you ARE upper class. As Obama said, you are in the top 6% of income in this country. Maybe you still have trouble paying your bills, but you probably have a nicer house in a nicer community than most people do. If you can't admit that you are among the fortunate few income-wise, there is something missing in your perspective. We can't ALL be middle-class!

Posted by: dn1021 | November 16, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The biggest looser coming out of this debate is CNN thanks to Wolf Blitzer. I've watched every single presidential debate and this is BY FAR the worst one.

It's the most unprofessional & unorganized to date, THANKS of course to Wolf Blitzer. A moderator is supposed to be in charge in controlling the situation in the room (how f***ing ironic) and Wolf did anything BUT. Allowing audiences to boo candidates while they're answering questions, him cutting the candidates off in the middle of their answers, not to mention he couldn't even conceal his "bias"ness & let it splashed all over the TV screen, is just plain - what's the word? - EMBARRASSING!!

A presidential debate in itself with 30 seconds to 1.5 minute answers has already become A BIG JOKE! But Wolf Blitzer took it to a whole new level last night, he sucessfully turned a PRESIDENTIAL debate into A 7 RING CIRCUS!! Congratulation CNN!!

Posted by: mbot565 | November 16, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I am always astonished when I read these comments about how "smart" Hillary or Obama or Edwards or Biden are. The one question that Dennis Kucinich keeps asking that none of the "top tier" candidates can answer is: why did you vote for the 2002 Iraq war resolution, with all the facts available to you clearly showing that there was no threat, and why do you continue to reinforce that disastrous vote by voting to give Bush everything he wants for his illegal wars?" This guy actually took the time to read the NIE about Iraq, cover to cover, analyze it, and come to a conclusion based on the facts. Then, he has each time voted against continuing to fund the ongoing war crimes. Why is it that so-called Democrats here studiously ignore the glaring weakness of the other candidates on that issue, and on "free trade" and on real universal health care, just because the Dems are so anxious for a "winner"??? Do you understand that, if any of the candidates I mentioned above are actually elected, we will only, at best, get change at the margins? Please wake up, people, and think about the disastrous direction this country is headed in, and who is most capable of actually leading it in another, significantly different and better direction!

Posted by: hawkwtchr | November 16, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Cut and paste this somewhere to read again in November 2008 --

After reading the above comments I can draw only one conclusion:

ROMNEY WINS IN LANDSLIDE

Posted by: dan4u20878 | November 16, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

First off they are all losers. Not one single candidate cares about the United States of America or its citizens. This is an ego trip for all of them. Hillary Rotten Clinton is banking on going down in history as the first woman to break through the highest glass ceiling (she said that and the old women want to see her break through the ceiling) What kind of qualification is that for the office of President? She gets the vote because the women want to see her beat the boys. Are they really wanting to see her win so bad that they are willing to allow her to totally destroy the United States of America??

Posted by: marvin1 | November 16, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden says more in a few seconds than the rest of the other talking heads, combined. No one comes close to his decisiveness and insight on the weightiest issues of foreign policy, civil liberties, Patriot Act, judiciary, etc. Will we see Biden become the next Cheney? Anyone smart enough to get him to join their ticket would get my vote.

Posted by: TeddyRoosevelt | November 16, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Winners:

Biden - see comments above. If the my fellow Dems are truly interested in getting a candidate who has experience, can deliver the needed change, and can WIN against any of the Republicans - Biden is far and away the best choice.

Clinton - she held her own and demonstrated exactly why she is a formidable candidate.

Richardson/Dodd/Kucinich - if given fair and balanced opportunities they would have come off much worse than they actually did. I think by being slighted by Wolfe Blitzer, they came off as sympathetic figures being largely ignored by an arrogant and dismissive press corps.

Losers:

Obama - so clearly out of his league, so clearly unprepared, so clearly fawned over by the press corps. The worst performance on the stage, and he is put in the winners column - the American people don't buy it - I don't care how much money Hollywood and the Chicago machine raise for him.

Edwards - A pit bull masquerading as a populist? Doesn't work.

CNN - I am so sick of the arrogant, self indulgent, sanctimonious network with entertainment reporters like Blitzer and Copper posing as informed moderators all while wearing Prada and talking down to everyone, candidates and the American people included. I'll take Tim Russert any day of the week over these lightweights.

Posted by: clawrence35 | November 16, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

There is no "NEWS" in this country, on the major networks.

It's all "VIEWS." It's all commentary.

Blitzer's opinion.
Chris Clizzard's opinion.
Chris Matthews' opinion.
Jack Cafferty's opinion.
Lou Dobbs' spin.

The only place you may find some real news is on Jim Leher, DemocracyNow, and the BBC.

Otherwise, it's all COMMENTARY, and their opinion is no more important than yours or mine.

Always remember that.

This post talking about "Winners and Losers"? I'm sure other people posting here have journalistic or political science degrees, as well.

Who cares who this blogger thinks won? I can see for myself, and Clinton sucked. She didn't answer the questions, and she had supporters in the audience cheering her on from the beginning like that tool that asked about the "diamonds or pearls" who was clapping hard for Hillary all night.

Your opinion means as much as anyone's on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News, because it's all "VIEWS." That's all they are giving you.

Tell all of your friends and family, LOL.

Posted by: framecop | November 16, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

As a right-leaning centerist and first time poster I'd like to give a few thoughts.

1. Joe Biden is great! If the Dems want to unit the country and take the presidency, they will ignore the far left and find a way to move him to the top tier.
2. A great analogy above that CNN turned the debate into a WWE Vince McMahon event. Did you all see the beginning when the candidates were introduced? I half expected The Allen Parson's Project/Bulls entrance music to be played in the background.
3. Is it that hard to ask the audience to not make outbursts (positive or negative) until the debate is over? That really turned me off.
4. As pissed off as a lot of you are with CNN's handling of this debate and the "got you" questions, and you should be, most of you will love it when they do to the same thing with the republicans later this month.

Posted by: frei0087 | November 16, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a Hillary Clinton fan for a number of reasons, but I am no less a Joe Biden fan. And during every debate, I wonder why it is that Dems don't embrace him more than they do -- why Obama and Edwards raise more money than he does -- when clearly, if foreign policy is the issue that matters most right now (and it should be), all Dems should be backing Joe. If Hillary gets the nod, I now think Joe would be her best bet for a VP. It would be a formidable team.

I have yet to be impressed by Obama in any of the Dem debates. His halting speech makes me uncomfortable; he comes across as unsure and searching for words. Where is the Obama that delivered the eloquent, moving address at the 2004 convention?

And Edwards is the only viable Dem candidate for whom I could never cast a vote. I have as visceral a dislike for him as people do for Hillary. Edwards has gone so far left that, besides Kucinich, is the most unelectable of the Dems in a general election.

Posted by: femalenick | November 16, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what kind of jewellery Clinton wants. Who cares who lied, all politicians lie when it saves them from being exposed as the ones who have no idea about the common man in America. I thought they all spoke like members of the Mickey Mouse club and I thought this was a debate. What was debated, other than generalities and even at that they did poorly, debates are about issues, and in presidental candidates debates, the issues should be about the issues the public has,not about what the candidates think about each other. And the audience acted as if they were watching one of those inane reality shows, choosing their favorite character by things that don't apply to who is the best candidate to become president.

Posted by: alcambell_9 | November 16, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

everyone that is complaining about the audience being pro-clinton needs to wake up and smell the polling.

you realize clinton is polling around 50% in nevada, right?

wouldn't that tell you if the audience is an accurate slice of the population there (i'm not saying that is is, but play along here) - that she's going to have more supporters?

it's tough when you're popular... people cheer for you.

i know that must be disheartening for obama and edwards fans - but reality can be painful. but don't expect to walk into a hall where half the resident population likes the leading candidate, and expect everyone to cheer you attacking her.

Posted by: priusdriver | November 16, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Another comment - CNN looked like the high school television lab, shooting people's feet, dead air, miscues, looking in the wrong camera, etc. One of the girls had the same color dress as the carpet, giving the floating head effect. It was really pronounced in the after debate show.

It must be very frustrating to work for a bozo outfit like that. no wonder the ratings are so low.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 16, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

This so-called "debate" typfies how corporate media conspire to limit the scope of discourse. We were almost one half hour into this exercise before Mr. Kucinich was given a bone of a narrowly conscripted and unimportant question. The so-called "moderators" carefully avoided him when the issue of health care was discussed, and with solid, corporatist reason for doing so. Had he been allowed to address the topic, the American public would have been afforded the opportunity to compare the Conyers/Kucinich single payer plan which eliminates the unnecessary middle men that account for 31% of our spiraling healthcare costs to the variations on the same insurance industry subsidy schemes offered by Obama/Clinton/Edwards sham "universal coverage" proposals.

When it turned to audience questioning, the "moderators" adroitly evaded Kucinich on issues of Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran, especially after Biden's comment that invading Iran would lead to impeachment. This would have been the logical time to allow Kucinich to argue that we can't wait until "after" Cheney launches another war and that the time to impeach is now. When Kucinich tried to raise it, during the brief moments he was permitted to address an unrelated question, Blitzer cut him off, though not quickly enough to prevent a sustained applause.

The only way Americans will ever see a real "debate" on issues is to have one conducted on PBS by Bill Moyers with perhaps Democracy Now's Amy Goodman as a co-moderator. The only way to flesh out substance is to have an honest debate run by those who are not afraid to speak truth to power.

Posted by: cann4ing | November 16, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

If Iowa Democrats and the Democratic Party in general allows the media to MANIPULATE THEM into nominating Hillary "CORPORATE LAWYER" Clinton, the Democratic Party can rot in Hell in 2008 as far as I am concerned.

No vote.
No MONEY from me.

The Democratic Party is the party of the people, not the CORPORATE LAWYER.

Posted by: framecop | November 16, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dmarble's comments about Hillary Clinton. The last thing we need is another extremely divisive president. While I think she might be more likely to win the election than dmarble does, I do believe that it would be a 51 to 49 victory at best and would definitely hurt down-ticket Democrats in swing states.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 16, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Why the fuss about diamonds and pearls? It seemed obviously a planted question to get a few laughs and signal that time was up and the debate was over. Weren't you ready for it to end? Lighten up, everyone.

Posted by: crobins16 | November 16, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Biden is certainly the most Presidential of the group. As for HRC stacking the audience you must realize that she is the heavy favorite in LAs Vegas area, and that percentage of the audience was equal. If they put equal numbers for each candidate in audience, then it would not have reflected that area. Kucinich doesn't look Presidential, but I admire his thinking. Team him with Biden and you have something. He certainly looks more "Vice Presidential" than Cheney!

Posted by: mmccloud1 | November 16, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

My two cents-
I think the notion can now be dispelled that clinton will not win the nomination. those clintons have a way of saying what people want to hear and adapting quickly and effectively to criticism. gone is the cackeling, the waffling. but now the answer to every question is "I'll start a panel, I'll begin a discussion, I'll ask everyone I know". why didn't I think of that?

Obama still looks juvenile and halting. he was flummoxed by a rube in the audience. he is toast. He equivocates worse than hillary now.

edwards looks meaner and angrier than ever. I guess that is what the left has become, but it is not telegenic. His shelf life is long past.

dodd makes sense but is boring.
Kucinich is still simply am amusement.
biden is the best on paper and I am not sure why he doesn't rise up more.
richardson is going to spend every cent we have for the next 100 years. Every time he opens his mouth the treasury empties.

Posted by: kingofzouk | November 16, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

For God's sake, you're a journalist, yet you write "between he and Clinton".

Posted by: serenasutton | November 16, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The mood of the audience is immaterial to what a debater should say or do. John Edwards made a direct criticism of Hillary Clinton, and it was accurate. Don't hate him for that. In fact praise him!

Finally we are having debates where candidates are really arguing the issues and being forced to clarify where they stand on an issue, and not just their opinion, but also where they prioritize the particular issue in their presidency.

I compliment both CNN and MSNBC for doing what they could to create scenarios where the candidates would be open and candid about their views. This is all you can ask of a debate organizer.... to get candidates off their stump speeches and engaged into the arguments at hand.

Good Debate!

Posted by: mfischer | November 16, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Wolf Blitzer and John Roberts put the lie to those who say FOX NEWS is the only conservative network.

Too bad there are so many of these things. This one was the one to watch.

It was actually funny and a pitched battle, if only at the beginning. I gave up before the real folks offered questions after the CNN journalists with their set but heard I didn't miss anything.

Clinton - easily won and looked like she had spent a fortune on her face and hair. Looked tough and presidential and slugged and stabbed the boys repeatedly while smiling and looking charming.

Obama - big loser. I wonder if he is really the candidate trying for VP or practicing for his next run. Totally flubbed the illegal immigrants with driver's license question which he should have been well-prepared for. After getting on to Clinton for waffling a minute earlier showed a bigger longer example and was called on it.

Wolf Blitzer was another big loser - made clear that FOX NEWS isn't the only conservative network.

Biden was good, loose and biting and ignored.

Dodd, who I had previously liked, was very dull and moved to the right.

Edwards tried to take it to Hillary and then realized he was only making himself look bad. As a lawyer he may have also been responding to the audience, majority for Clinton. That itself is a very troubling sign for his race - Nevada was supposed to be his state.

Richardson was typical in demonstrating how he is an expert on everything and continued auditioning for VP.

Kucinich must have been seething with the contempt and deliberate ignoring the journalists showed. He will not resign, his motive is to move the party to the left by getting his supporters to state conventions from caucuses.

Gravel must not have been able to afford a plane ticket but wasn't missed.

Prediction: by early February Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Gravel will be out of the race.

If Obama and Edwards don't stop Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire by holding her to third it will be a very short race.

About my bias, my preferred candidates in order are Edwards, Biden, Obama, Richardson. Biden moved up tonight - Obama and Dodd down.


Posted by: gary_ | November 16, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Why should I pay any attention to a Post analyst yet who can say (under Barack Obama--top of story) "between he and Clinton." Where is basic grammar?

Mary Ann Sullivan

Posted by: masullivan | November 16, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

""PLEASE YOUTUBE"" THE IRAN VOTE AND IRAQ WAR VET CLAPPING AGAINST ATTACKING IRAN WITH HIS MOM

Hillary also stated that she thought the american education system served us well ?? NOT ! !

AND THE TAX CAP

Hillary votes no to win votes but she won't speak the truth. Barack has the courage to speak the truth. Citizens need everybody to have drivers liscense so they can be monitored for insurance and accidents and alcohol related deaths. He also pointed out the need to PASS an imigration bill to get those people on a path to citizenship. They will be needed to feel like americans so they can keep our social secuirty system fluid.

Hillary also got BUSTED on her statement about not RAISING THE CAP on social secuirty because she says the tax increase will hurt the middle class!

Barack stated that the 6% getting paid 97,000.00 a year is NOT THE MIDDLE CLASS !

Hillary also stated that she thought the american education system served us well ?? NOT ! !

Hillary also got BUSTED on her vote for the kyle Lieberman and the mother and the Iraq war veteran son who clapped when the rest of the candidates pointed out they were AGAINST the Kyle Lieberman bill to make the Iranian guard a terrorist organization and how the bill also allows for Bush to keep troops in iraq !!

Yes Hillary got busted BIG TIME the truth always comes out.

Thank God we have a candidate like Barack Obama who speaks the truth and doesn't shift back and forth trying to get votes. Hillarys thinking people won't catch her shifting her point of view from one location (town) to another as she lies lies lies trying to sway the american voters !!

Posted by: PaProgressiveDem | November 16, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I was waiting for HRC to answer a question last night. Her fallback position of "The American People Know Where I Stand" was used too many times to count.

After last night, I would definitely vote for Joe Biden over RG. Scary, huh?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | November 16, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

One thing seems clear: the person who should be President won't be and that person is Joe Biden, the only authentic candidate on the stage last night (and at every other debate). The media started with Clinton and Edwards as the frontrunners last year, then decided that Obama was the story. Polls are a function of media coverage, not the other way around. After scoring point after point, Biden's post-convention coverage was nonexistent. Thank you Chris for at least putting him up front as a winner in your list. I'll keep praying for a miracle. The ticket I want to see is Biden-Obama.

Posted by: actorney | November 16, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If Chris Clizzard had a brain, he might realize that ANYONE CAN EFFECTIVELY SHOOT DOWN AN ARGUMENT if the moderator refuses to let Edwards respond to it like he let everyone else do.

All John Edwards would have said, is "SHE'S THE ONE ACTING LIKE BUSH, BY PLANTING QUESTIONS IN THE AUDIENCE."

Blitzer knew it. Didn't let Edwards respond, even though he let every other candidate respond to a direct charge.

This whole debate was a set up, and for the corporate-owned media to keep trying to legitimize it further delegitimizes you.

Posted by: framecop | November 16, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I enjoy the commentary, but such phrases as
"dominated by a back and forth between he and Clinton" are not English. Should be "between him and Clinton". Otherwise, great.

Posted by: skutay | November 16, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

HELP HELP HELP

It seems to me that the top 3 candidates were politics as usual. Are we voting for someone whom we connect with as a person and like? OR someone based on what they have done NOT what they said what they are going to do! Talk is cheap and there was lots of that last night. I am new to this but it seems that Dennis Kucinich was the only straight shooter! Please help me out here. I don't want another me to or idiot president like we have now!

Also, why do we settle for scripted events?

Posted by: ccc23e | November 16, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

If last night was a win for Obama, I would HATE to see what a loss would look like!

Posted by: JoeCHI | November 16, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

CNN seems to be distorting the news these days even more than Fox. Blitzer placed Clinton and Obama right in the middle of the stage, with Edwards over to the extreme right, out of the way. In the other two CNN Democratic debates I saw, Blitzer and Cooper asked Clinton and Obama about eighty percent of the questions, with not even a hint of trying to be fair with the other candidates. Last night, surpisingly, Blitzer got the other candidates more involved in the debate, but after the debate was over, about 95 percent of the CNN analysis that followed was devoted to discussing Clinton and Obama. Quite obviously, fairly reporting the news means nothing to CNN anymore. They are now simply another version of Fox "News."

Clinton accused Edwards of "mud-slinging" after he mentioned how she had flip-flopped on an issue in the span of a few days. That is a far cry from being mud-slinging, but how many of the CNN analysts picked up on that and discussed it? Absolutely none. What else can we expect from CNN anymore?

Amazing.

Posted by: Nammackjames | November 16, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hillary sounded shrill and defensive in her attack on Edwards and Obama. Like Edwards said, this ain't personal. She reminded me of a petulant GWBush, more than anyone.

While Obama was not as fluid as I would have liked to see him, he made more sense than anyone else in responding to stupid "gotcha" questions that were designed to make all dems look bad (hint: immigration is NOT a democratic issue, since Repubs are simply driving Hispanics over the the Dem side; they have absolutely no incentive to disrupt that stampede, at least during the primaries). Liked how he pushed back at Blitz on his negative premises.

Biden has taken Gravel's place as the cranky uncle. He will not, and can not make it to the first tier because, aside from his propensity to stick his foot in his mouth, he's a plagiarist, an unwitting racist, and comes across as an arrogant p***k. That, and, two sets of two words: HAIR PLUGS and FAKE TV TEETH.

EVERYONE looked bad under CNN's lighting, especially Hillary and Bill Richardson, who looked like his face was about to explode, spraying cheese all over the auditorium.

Who were those Hillary plants in the audience? Those folks seem incapable of playing fair. If nominated, she will lose.

Posted by: ched | November 16, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Things are looking up for the United States.

ALL of the candidaes of both parties are
better than George W. Bush.

Posted by: janye1 | November 16, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't vote Democrat but if I were forced to after following these so called debates. I truly believe the most qualified genuine candidate would have to be Joe Biden, hands down.

Posted by: cdemar | November 16, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

'Be patient, when the one on one debates start your comments will make some sence. I haven't read a one of the above that does'..

Thanks EdA.

In the meantime, try to find a dictionary or learn how to use spellcheck.

Posted by: frankauer | November 16, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Now that I had had a chance to sleep overnight, reassess the debate and review other columnists' assessments about the debate. I came to three conclusions: a) I agree with Chris Cillizza's assessments; b) The most annoying aspect of the debate was the simplistic questions posed by the hosts and the simple answers they demanded from the candidates; 3)Most of the thoughtful answers came from the second-tier candidates despite numerous attempts by the hosts to cut them off. I gained little insight from the debate aside from the theatrics of a TV broadcast.

Posted by: tzchu | November 16, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

'They sounded like gossip spreaders " Edwards said this about you Hillary, Hillary said that about you Barack,and on and on." '

Blitzer's news program is based on that. he brings guests in and has them listen to what someone else said about them to get their reaction. It's all too depressing these days.

Posted by: frankauer | November 16, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the top 3 candidates were politics as usual. Are we voting for someone whom we connect with as a person and like? OR someone based on what they have done NOT what they said what they are going to do! Talk is cheap and there was lots of that last night. I am new to this but it seems that Dennis Kucinich was the only straight shooter! Please help me out here. I don't want another me to or idiot president like we have now!

Posted by: ccc23e | November 16, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

'So we continue with the jaw-dropping dumbing down of America...'

And so it is. Although the lack of real news and discussion on TV should no longer surprise anyone. I threw out my TV 3 years ago and switched to satellite radio. C-SPAN, BBC, and the internet give me more freedom and insights than any TV show.

Posted by: frankauer | November 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

when will americans realise that politians are all liers, anyone please can you say you trust anyone in congress to do anything for americans, only if it has money in it for them.

americans better look at the only one in congress that has the american people at heart with no string attached. none only does what the people wants. thats kinrich is the only TRUE AMERICAN TRYING TO SAVE AMERICA..PLEASE LOOK FOR YOUR SELVES AND READ THIS.

clinton helped make it law( why) lets ask her (WHY)

TO ALL AMERICA YES, CONGRESS HAS AGAIN SLAP AMERICANS RIGHT IN THE FACE WITH THIS, PLEASE DONT BELEIVE ME THAN GO AND READ THE LAW BUSH SIGN INTO LAW. ITS CALL THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT 2006, AND HIDDEN IN FINE PRINT CONGRESS HAS GIVEN THEMSELFS AND ANYONE WORKING IN THE GOVERNEMNT IMMUNEITY ON ANY THING THAT HAS HAPPEN IN THE WAKE OF THE WAR,OR ANYTHING ELSE THEY CAN FIND. THIS IS THE BEST PART, THEY BACK DATED IT TO ( 1997) why????? why would they need to back date this all the way before 2001???? because they have been ease dropping on america way back then...think about it america, and you better think about this, cheney/bush/rumsfeld/rove/rice started this war on all lies on top of lies, and remember 18 out of 19 involved in 2001 was saudi araibans you know the king and bush hold hands walking in the woods??? and this is why bush said he doesn''''t care about finding bin laddan because bin is part of the royal family that bush loves.. so if you look at the hole law, hillary help get it into law, why why why sounds funning because her husband bill was president at that time in 1997..so what are they all hideing in washington??????????????? david a belanger,veteran,us army, 978-618-3105,for-america@hotmail.com so how can americans fight this,and get this change????

Posted by: wethepeople1 | November 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Some Democrats have a short memory when it comes to Joe Biden. Remember, please, that he was the facilitator that pushed Clarence Thomas through the Senate for confirmation to the Supreme Court. Biden? No thank you, at least until he explains his connection to Clarence Thomas.

Posted by: stockelh | November 16, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"The first 15 minutes were dominated by a back and forth between he and Clinton"

Don't you have an editor - or a grammar book?

Posted by: JEANNEKCC | November 16, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The only relevant and intelligent questions came from the audience. Wolf Blizter & the CNN reporters were a joke. They sounded like gossip spreaders " Edwards said this about you Hillary, Hillary said that about you Barack,and on and on." I was hoping someone would tell Wolf & crew to just shut up and let the audience ask the questions. Watching these "debates" one may as well be looking at Jerry Springer or Mauray .

Posted by: mazd273 | November 16, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Blitzer was an embarrassment, particularly on the "civil rights vs. national security--which is more important?" nonsense. He clearly is from the George W. Bush school of strawmen arguments and false choices.

Posted by: pcpatterson | November 16, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What is it with professional OP-ED writers these days? It seems that the advent of blogging makes them feel that their grammar and conventions need be no better than that of those who post follow up comments.

Chris, you are employed by The Washington Post; show that you have some basic skills.

"...a back and forth between he and Clinton..." "Between" is a preposition and its objects must be in objective case, not nominative case. "...between him and Clinton..." is correct.

"...to directly respond..." and "...tried to again go..." are split infinitives. Your adverbs should go before or after the infinitive, but you may not split the infinitive.

Such poor composition makes The WP look like an also ran among thousands of inept blogs. The WP should stand out as a citadel of excellent journalism. That includes using correct grammar and conventions, as well as impeccable prosody, syntax, and persuasive technique.

Posted by: tharriso | November 16, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

UP-IN-THE-AIR:

Obama - Not able to capitalize on the momentum that he had coming into the debate (but Hillary and Kucinich might have done some heavy lifting for him by making it a 2 person race). His Immigration answer was long and rambling, but it never changed. He is for the licenses and have voted for it in the past. Poor in sound bites, but main point is what people want to hear; secure the border first. Problem - debates. Not his forum. He is best giving speeches (but he looked good when it was him and Hillary on social security).

Social Security - Interesting point, wondering what people thought about it. It seemed to me that when Obama said that Hillary was using the Republican line about it being a middle class tax raise, this is what happened in the crowd:
Some chuckles
Some booing
Cheers and clapping for Obama
Louder boos
Louder cheers and clapping

Did I read the situation correctly? I think this will come down to what people consider the middle class. I can tell you (since I come from Iowa), that people there do not consider people who make $100,000 a year middle class. But Obama missed a chance to say what he said in the Philadelphia debate; that there would be a doughnut hole so that the tax wouldn't start right away (John Edwards had said this first). Be interesting to see how this one plays out.

The Audience - Kind of took the natural rhythm of the debate away. Debate became almost more about the crowd than the what the candidates would say. Seemed like there was the same amount of boos anytime anyone said anything about Clinton. But when Clinton would say something about anyone else, there was no booing. Wonder if there was a decision to boo anytime anyone went after Hillary. I bet this will be looked into. The crowd ruined the debate that could have taken place.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 16, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Get real people. We will never see the debates we want until after the primaries. Eight canidates trying to answer questions in sound bites always takes on a grammer school tone.

Be patient, when the one on one debates start your comments will make some sence. I haven't read a one of the above that does.

EdA

Posted by: eda11 | November 16, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

LOSERS:

Edwards - got the verbal slap down by Hillary and never bounced back. Came off as maybe being a little too harsh on Clinton. Disappeared after the first 10 minutes. Problem - Has to be positive, and that makes it hard to gain ground. Anything he says that is not positive about Clinton will be seen in a negative light.

Dodd - Still never stands out. Gives good answers, and then he is forgotten. Problem - never sticks

Kucinich - Why did they even have him. They did not give him a chance at all to talk. Also, Wolf would try to get him to cut off much faster than any other candidate.

Blitzer - did not control the crowd. Did not get into the actual positions, more about the inside the beltway game. Most people do not care about that.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 16, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm not one to be into conspiracy theories, but after watching the debate last night, it's hard to think that CNN was being unbiased. They were clearly helping Senator Clinton. Let's start out with the post debate coverage. They made you think that Clinton ran away with the debate easily. No other analysis did that. Of course bringing in James Carville (who I am a big fan of) to provide objective neutral analysis when he is already backing Hillary Clinton is a disgrace. They also had David Gergen, who was an adviser to Bill giving analysis. That just did not seem fair. Then during the debate Wolf Blitzer did his job by boxing Obama in on some contradictory statements, but failed to do so with Clinton. He really went after Obama on the driver's licenses and then when the question was posed to Hillary and she said no, that was it. How does he not follow up on that, considering she is the one responsbile for the whole controversy on it from the last debate.

Allowing the audience to cheer and boo was completely irresponsible. The crowd was clearly in favor of Hillary and acted accordingly. How do you let Obama be heckled where he has to stop speaking in mid-sentence because of the interuption. Edwards also was neutralized because everytime he tried to point out something on Hillary, he was booed. I must say the MSNBC did a much better job with Tim Russert and Brian Williams. They were much more fair and asked much more meaningful questions.

The candidate positioning was poor as well. They put Clinton and Obama in the middle and put Edwards on the very end. Why not have a random selection to make it fair.

Once again, Chris Dodd was treated unfairly. How does he always get the least amount of time? He always gives thoughtful intelligent answers, yet Kucinich gets more time because he makes the more over the top and to the left statements.

My winners and losers:
WINNERS
Clinton- She bounced back from the last debate and was clearly aided by CNN with the softball questions
Obama- He definitely missed opportunities, but the debate did make it seem as if it is just he versus Clinton, which is good for him.
Biden- He does well in every debate, yet continues to get snubbed by the media. Watch out for Biden. He is picking up a lot of local endorsements in Iowa and I wouldn't be surprised to see him surprise there.

LOSERS
Edwards- Was marginalized early in the debate by Clinton and was unable to respond because of the constant booing of the crowd.
Dodd- He didn't do bad, but because he continues to not get the air time the other candidates do, he can't break through
Kucinich- Without Gravel there, he fills the role of the party extremist
Richardson- Really botched the secure America or support human rights question. He does not do well in the debates because he is outshined by Biden.
CNN- The looked like an absolute embarrassment last night. Awful questions, uncontrolled crowd, and what was the beginning where they had the candidates come out like it was the starting lineup for a basketball game.

I really think this may be it for Edwards. While Clinton may be glad the he is losing ground because he can't nip at her heels, in the long run it hurts her because the Edwards people most likely difect to Obama. Hillary can't have that happen to quick because the only way she wins is with the anti-Hillary vote fractured. If it begins to coalese around Obama, look out.

Posted by: hlp03 | November 16, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Diamonds and or Pearls
Wolf panders to the b-word
Resembles Fox News

Posted by: novussapien | November 16, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

WINNERS:

Clinton - Great bounce back. Looked more in control and more decisive. Dominated John Edwards (her line that Edwards wasn't for universal health care in 2004 was a killer line) and owned(?) the crowd. Problems - Will not get away with the whole "personal attack" line in general. All that will get will be charges that she is not strong enough to be President. Also, might have smacked Edwards too hard, allowing people to move to Obama.

Biden - Simply owns these debates. You hear over and over again from the other candidates, that they agree with Joe. Has the potential to make people switch to Joe. Also, was lucky to be the first person to answer outside the top 3, and was the only one who looked like an adult. Problem - doesn't get enough time.

Richardson - Actually got time to speak this time. Looked more natural in the debate setting. Problem - said human rights are more important than security, that will destroy him in a general election.

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 16, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow ... did we all watch the same debate?

I admit to being as uncertain as anyone about which of the Democratic candidates I like best -- and for different reasons in each case. As a former Republican who could no longer stomach the deceitfulness and mean-spiritedness of the Reagan era (which was child's play in comparison to the past seven Blunderbush years), I am absolutely certain of one thing: ANY of the Democratic candidates would be better for the country than ANY of the Republican candidates.

I would have included the "straight-talking" John McCain alongside the Dems in my wish list, but, alas, the poor soul has taken leave of his senses! I think I hear strains of Simon & Garfunkel dripping down the alleyways: "What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson, straight-talkin' John has left and gone away? Hey, hey hey ..."

Here's the point. All things considered, Biden is the right choice for president.

And here's why. Biden is at least as knowledgeable as any other candidate, he has more experience than the serious contenders, on many key issues he is a moderate (or centrist or pragmatist, depending on your label of preference), and, most important of all, he is electable in a general election. In the end, that's what this is about: winning the general election.

NOT HILLARY: Hillary is Biden's equal in intellect and pragmatism, but -- come on people, wake up! -- she is not electable. And even if Hillary were elected, she would divide this country every bit as much as Bush has. I hope we all are sufficiently sick and tired of the bitterness in Washington to keep Hillary far, far away from the general election. If she is the Democratic candidate, she will lose. Don't kid yourself, you know it's true.

Given that we will have to restore our constitutional balance of powers, restore integrity and professionalism throughout the federal government, and rebuild our international stature, can we really afford even to take the chance of President Hillary driving half the populace to the boiling point over and over and over again? No, we can't.

NOT OBAMA: This is our future president, but not in 2008. Obama's intellectual capacity matches Biden's, but his knowledge base and worldliness (read: experience) do not. I love the guy as a candidate, principally because he truly would bring a freshness and even-handedness that this country desperately needs. What a positive, healthy tone he would set from the bully pulpit. He's just not ready -- yet. (It pains me to admit this, because if I had to cast my vote as recently as three weeks ago, Obama would have been my choice. But he is just not ready.)

NOT EDWARDS: He has some excellent ideas and plans, and he is as polished as they come. That's the problem, though. If this intelligent, articulate, media-savvy, good-looking, youthful-looking family man with a personal story to beat all others has not yet generated enough excitement to put him close to the lead, he never will.

Edwards has more experience than Obama, but not nearly as much as Biden -- and the Republicans would bury him for it. So, an Edwards candidacy in the general election would end up in the John Kerry trash heap, another winnable election squandered on the wrong candidate. This, too, pains me, because I think Edwards is a first-rate man. But he would lose.

NOT RICHARDSON: Well-qualified, and has valuable executive experience as a governor, and would spark a love-fest with Hispanics, but he just doesn't have the name recognition to win the general election. (Or the Democratic nomination, for that matter.) Shame. He'd be a good president.

NOT DODD, NOT KUCINICH: They have no prayer -- 'nuff said.

Posted by: dmarble | November 16, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

As far as winners/losers go, it's my opinion that Joe Biden gave the best answers ( when he got the chance ) to all of the questions and is the most qualified to be the next President.

Posted by: johnleebowes | November 16, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

dan4u20878 writes
"The dem front-runners have thier niches, but none have the following or the credentials to win a national election."

Interesting. Given that the GOP has the same problem, I'm left wondering...

What would happen if you held an election and nobody won?

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

'A senior GOP official in Iowa tells us that Mitt Romney has decided not to attend the Fox News GOP debate in the state that was set for December 4 -- effectively killing the debate, according to this official.

Jonathan Martin, who's also on this story, says that this has the potential to really rankle in Iowa because "this was to be the state party's own event -- and on what amounts to the GOP's station of record."

http://tpmelectioncentral.com/2007/11/_romney_wont_go_to_big_iowa_fox_news_debate_disappointing_local_gop.php

Fascinating... now why do you suppose Mitt is doing this? My guess is he knows Fox is i the bag for Rudy and he'd get screwed. They've made no secret of it.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Dear Chris Cillizza,

Please refrain from ever again using the word 'fixista.'

Warm regards,
jonjon284

Posted by: jonjon284 | November 16, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

So in "washington post-speak", if you ask a democrat a tough question (ie: one that they can only waffle on)you're showing media bias.

The dem front-runners have thier niches, but none have the following or the credentials to win a national election.

Posted by: dan4u20878 | November 16, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

By far the biggest LOSER was CNN's Suzanne Mulveaux! This toady of the radical Republican rightwing really embarrassed herself and her network with her biased performance.

Blitzer was not much better. His attempts to be the Ringmaster instead of the moderator was off-putting, to say the least.

I'll pass on any future debates on this sorry excuse for a news channel.

Posted by: donkirk_ep | November 16, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I find it amusing to read all the "CNN is in the bag for HRC" comments here. Funny, I remember hearing right wingers claim this for years, ever since Rick Kaplan went to run CNN from ABC. You remember Rick, FOB and famous $50k Lincoln Bedroom-renter.

As for the audience being pro-HRC; isn't that would one would expect, assuming she's leading in NV? After all, it seems more 'fair' (there's that Dem word again...) for the audience to be representative of the primary electorate, not split evenly 8 ways.

Posted by: JD | November 16, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

While I agree with you Jason, about the neocon polarization, what I am trying to say is-- this for instance, is how Lincoln talked about slavery, which was a rather similar issue to immigration today. Do you think people today would have the attention span to listen to this much nuance, or understand it? I am saying I think whthr people are educated or not now, they seem more simplistic than they once were and less able to understand nuance. Remember, people came, with hardship, from miles around to listen to this, hours of it:

"When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia,-to their own native land. But a moment's reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible. If they were all landed there in a day, they would all perish in the next ten days; and there are not surplus shipping and surplus money enough in the world to carry them there in many times ten days. What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as underlings? Is it quite certain that this betters their condition? I think I would not hold one in slavery at any rate; yet the point is not clear enough to me to denounce people upon. What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not. Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgment, is not the sole question, if, indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill-founded, cannot be safely disregarded. We cannot, then, make them equals. It does seem to me that systems of gradual emancipation might be adopted; but for their tardiness in this, I will not undertake to judge our brethren of the South.'

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

This was not a debate, it was a circus! There were no winners and the whole country came out losers.

CNN should never be allowed to host a debate again. It was appalling the way candidates were booed and heckled by a clearly over-represented Hillary crowd. The disruption and distraction it caused, along with the incessant cutting-off by Blitzer was truly astonishing. To top it off, they have Gergen and Colville doing after-debate analysis..both former employees of Bill Clinton.

This country is facing some terribly serious issues. These debates should be giving the American people more information on how these candidates will face those issues, and instead they are subjected media-spun sports events and political game shows.

The country was not served well last night, and every pundit that continues to call it a win/lose for candidates are simply adding to the travesty.

The country lost last night. Period.

Posted by: bklynsam | November 16, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Biden won the debate by the force of his experience and forthrightness. His statement that he told The Decider that if he went to war against Iran he would move to impeach him is the kind of no-nonsense leadership Americans are yearning for.

While you can see the potential in Obama, he just isn't seasoned enough yet. Edwards was backed down by the Queen, who held her own.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth_Hunter | November 16, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The moderators did a fair job--not an easy task. My only complaint is that Joe Biden doesn't get more time. He is by far the strongest candidate in knowledge, experience and not giving "canned" answers.
He'll have my vote! (Although in Indiana, it won't make any difference.)

Posted by: theschiefs52 | November 16, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Wow - watching this debate definitely helped me form a new opinion about CNN. Bias, bias, bias. Does CNN stand for the "Clinton National Network"? The moderators choose to allow a question about diamonds versus pearls? You've got to be kidding me.

Diamonds versus pearls. No questions about torture, about rebuilding alliances with our allies, about global climate change, about energy independence. Perhaps the biggest revelation of the evening was that Clinton said she will put national security over human rights - a position that differs from Richardson's, Obama's and Edward's - yet this was not followed up at all.

This debate was Clinton adulation by CNN, and the personal biases of Wolf Blitzer, the moderator, showed in how he phrased questions, and how he even attacked Obama and Edwards a few times. CNN is the BIG loser of the night - what a disappointment.

Posted by: kea21b | November 16, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

It seems that the crowd determined who was considered the winner/losers.

If a candidate is allowed to attack others and not get booed, and others are booed if they attack the favored candidate, then there is a "piling-on"

It seems the Clinton supporters in the audience "piled-on" and abused whoever challenged Hillary.

Posted by: river845 | November 16, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that so many people watch these debates and come away with the impression that Joe Biden would make the best president by far. It is a shame that he is not getting more support. I have been a Biden supporter since it became clear that Wes Clark wasn't running. He is absolutely the only candidate that makes sense on Iraq.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 16, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I was disappointed with the format of the CNN debate. I felt Wolf did a poor job of moderating, candidates were not alloted equal amounts of time to answer questions or rebuttals, and CNN kept interjecting its own questions into the questions posed by the selected audience members. The entire debate felt as if it were hosted by FAUX News, not CNN.

Posted by: MacDad | November 16, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm a republican, but I did tune into the debate last night and was definatly impressed with Obama in the debate. Unless Clinton did something remarkable in the last half hour after I went to bed, I can's see how she won. She really didnt' answer any questions directly.

I also don't see Obama's answer to the driver's liscense question as a flub. As much as I think it is a clearly wrong position (in my mind giveing a drivers liscense to someone who is activly breaking the law every second they are here amounts to state support of criminals), Obama clearly made his point and the question was a terrible question. Not one single american, Republican or Democrat trully believes Blitzer's assertion that nothing can be done. Something can and should be done, as Obama pointed out.

In my mind, Clinton was not a Winner. Biden also impressed me with the clarity of his answers, particularly about abortion and supreme court nominations, as backwards as his answer was.

As a pro life supporter, I personnaly liked Obama's answer to the question about supreme court justices . . When Obama talked about needing justices who stand up for the minority and victims who can't stick up for themselves, I couldn't help think about the group most unable to speak for themselves - the unborn.

Posted by: HokiePaul | November 16, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I HATE our media, and this is coming from someone who uses the word hate very infrequently. I was chewing on my pillow at times during this debate so I wouldn't scream too loud and wake up my daughter. From the very beginning when the candidates were brought out individually, just like a beauty contest, to Campbell's initial question asked in such a way as to practically demand that the candidates attack one another's characters, to Solidad's additions to the citizen's questions ("... and would you demand a litmus test on abortion?"), to the "analysis" afterward that focused entirely on who had the better game. You could see the candidates trying to bring it back to a real discussion of the issues that matter, only to have Wolf demand that they follow his script. My god, what has happened to our news media. It's so much worse than I thought it was (I don't regularly watch any of the mainstream television news).

Posted by: rhythm18 | November 16, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to investigate how the questioners in the audience were chosen. One woman clearly seemed to be struggling to remember the question she was supposed to have memorized. She stopped and started, searched the air with her eyes and used very stilted language. Had she attempted to memorize her own question or did CNN or one of the campaigns give her a question to ask, one that she had great difficulty remembering?

Posted by: calmom | November 16, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hillary did a wonderful job!! She just seems to be so much more mature and comfortable with herself than Obama and Edwards.
She is also the best one to take on the republicans since they have nothing more to throw at her. Obama and Edwards have not been fully tested in this arena like Hillary was for 8 years.

Posted by: pwoodhull | November 16, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

You should add CNN to the list of "losers." Their production, moderating, and analysis of this debate was miserable. Wolf Blitzer was not an effective moderator because he had no control over the debate, the post-debate analysis focused exclusively on Clinton and Obama even though Biden turned in a much stronger performance than Obama did, and some of the candidates' answers begged for follow-ups. I wrote more about CNN's problems with this debate here:

http://www.theseventen.com/2007/11/nevada-debate-analysis-cnn-critique.html

Posted by: theseventen | November 16, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I - a European who has never lived in the US, but likes to follow US politics - found Jeff's comments 100% on the mark:

Jeff: "I found it particularly offensive when Wolf Blitzer attempted to silence Obama on the question of driver's licenses for undocumented workers by insisting that the question deserved only a yes or a no response. I'm sorry, the issue is far more complicated and deserves serious exploration."

Very much so. Blitzer and the Clinton supporters in the audience didn't give Obama a chance to explain his stance. He was interrupted and jeered immediately.

Jeff: "Hillary's simple "No" response, which conflicted with her answer in the Philadelphia debate, illustrated to me that she will say whatever she feels is necessary or appropriate to win support and suggests a lack of conviction."

She's for me the epitome of a manufactured and professionally coached candidate. Robotic and poll-driven politics.

Jeff: "Moreover, CNN's encouragement of audience cheers and boos and heckling of the candidates degraded the proceedings. Clearly, given the makeup of the crowd, Hillary had the "home court" advantage."

I was appalled by the sheer partisanship of the crowd. This was supposed to be a presidential debate rather than a cheer-and-jeer-fest. Well, it wasn't a true presidential debate - unlike the professionally done MSNBC debate.

Jeff: "Overall, a very disappointing performance by CNN, and if I were the candidates, I'd demand better crowd control and ground rules before I'd participate in another debate."

Very much so. CNN degraded the whole process. Personally, I don't think there was any winner - after all, it wasn't a proper debate. Just one loser: The viewing public cheated by CNN out of a chance to watch a true debate.

Posted by: charlesf | November 16, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

buddy, although bsimon pretty much answered this, the qualitative reason why FICA stops at that number is because, when contributing at incomes over that number, it's impossible to ever recover through benefits what gets put in.

In other words, do you view SS as a kind of welfare program that everyone should get (in which case you'd be in favor of no FICA ceiling), or as more of a gov-backed annuity, in which case the ceiling at 97k (or even lower) is the more 'fair' way to go.

As for exempting the first 20k, we already kind of do that through the EITC. If you're only making 20k, you will get a refund to cover your FICA (and them some), as the gov is happy that at least you're trying to earn a living and not living off the dole.

Posted by: JD | November 16, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Chris - you are right to like Biden. He is going to be THE story come January. And remember, we're only in November. Most people are thinking turkey, Christmas, and specifically how to AVOID political conversations at the holiday dinner table.

Come January, folks are going to return oversized sweaters and regret a lightweight like Hillary as their nominee. How any candidate other than hapless Dodd can stand on the stage with Joe Biden and talk about 'experience' is beyond me.

Posted by: dmstern | November 16, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Knowledge and Experience does it pay off!

Who do you believe had the most experience and seemed to know most about the issues?

-------> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1001

.

Posted by: PollM | November 16, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Hillary blamed the instability in Pakistan on Bush. Wasn't Bhutto ousted in 1999? Was that Billary's fault? These democrats need a new story line -- every question goes unanswered, and they just go after Bush. He isn't on the ticket!! He isn't running for reelection! Get a new story line! Mudslinging -- they throw more mud at Bush. Grow up and come up with some ideas. Hillary calling men "boys" is ridiculous, and I imagine Obama isn't too crazy about being called a boy.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | November 16, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I felt like I was watching a staged episode of Jerry Springer, complete with flashing "cheer" and "boo" signs off-camera. I don't want Bush for another 4 years, so I won't be voting for Hillary.

Posted by: schencks84 | November 16, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Seven Democratic presidential hopefuls went head-to-head on the issues Thursday night, with the biggest pressure likely on front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Who do you think won the CNN News Las Vegas Democratic Debate at the University of Nevada?

----------> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=996

.

Posted by: PollM | November 16, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't the press call Clinton on the line about no slinging mud and then slings it herself two seconds later, making false claims about Obama's health care plan. Obama was right to show that Clinton would criminalize people who could not afford health care by mandating it. I don't want that. Obama find's a way for people to afford it. And then she lies about the top 6% being in the middle class. But we know the press is all for Clinton so they proclaim her the winner just because she got the crowd to boo. That is disgusting. That shows she is not for uniting this country. She will turn up the heat, but turn off people in the process.

Posted by: goldie2 | November 16, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Winners:


1: Joe Biden-- brought his experience to the table in a way that was an asset; delivered strong ideas, made sense of complex issues

2: Barack Obama -- the media was looking for him to dethrone HRC with one swing, like Ali vs. Frazier or something. But if you take that campaign narrative with a grain of salt, last night was Barack's night. He knocked John Edwards out of the running, at least temporarily, got Hillary to single him out by name, held his own in the first 15 minutes (against a booing crowd, I might add), and delivered a stinging rebuttal of HRC's admittedly ri-di-culous clim that people who make over $97,000 a year are part of the struggling middle class. Barack came into his own last night, it was impressive. And I actually thought the driver's license question was well handled, I was impressed.

3: Then again, HRC held her own too. She resisted the worst of her competitor's attacks, had a friendly crowd at her side, scored some great lines in about being the first women president that truly humanized her and put her campaign in that sweeping historical perspective that makes a great campaign. Barack could learn some lessons.

Losers:

1. Wolf Blitzard-- lost all of my respect. He was neither fair, nor tough as a previous commenter suggested... he was an instigator, forcing candidates into ridiculous hypothetical and narrow yes or no answers that serve neither the issues nor the debate. He was mean, and righteous.

2. John Edwards -- should have been a little more saavy on the attack. The crowd hated him =- there needs to be an investigation into how this crowd became so pro-Hillary. Also, JE sounded like he was choking up at one point. And his "planted question" joke was totally uncalled for, he played that card at the wrong moment.

3. Bill Richardson came off naive and lofty, like he was just telling us what we want to hear; out of Iraq in 6 months, etc.

All in all this was the night when Hillary and Barack raced ahead; the rest of this campaign is about them, and its a closer competition than before: success for Barack. Unfortunately, in a less superficial world, Biden would be a shoe-in.

Posted by: drew | November 16, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

CC should be a debate moderator. He would really fit right in.

Posted by: lindafranke1952 | November 16, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

But we're talking about the Presidency, and it's just a shame that Americans no longer have the kind of culture or attention span that would allow debates like say, the Lincoln/Douglas debates of 1858. Today, most people wouldn't even understand most of the words.

Posted by: claudialong | November 16, 2007 10:03 AM

Now you're talking about something else. You said candidates should have to fit in a niche. If you're in marketing then you know that they MUST. It's just the way of the world, not just in this century but in every century.

If they don't appeal to a broad subset of the voting populace then they can't win. If they are a clone of another candidate but with some slight difference that makes them slightly less appealing then they can't win. Look at the top three in both parties and you can readily identify their niche and see where the others overlap the big three and lose votes.

As to people being dumber than in 1858, I think that's patently ridiculous. The average education was likely the equivalent of about our 6th grade.

Maybe Americans care less now about debates and just vote party line but that's less cultural and more a result of the intense polarization of the country started by the neocon movement. We're worse now that the Federalists and Antifederalists ever were and they disagreed about important things..

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | November 16, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Here's my question:

Did Senator Clinton flip flop on why they're attacking her?

Following the last debate, her campaign argued that the boys were 'piling on' the girl & tried to argue it was a gender-based issue. Now she's tossing out the line that "They're not attacking me because I'm a woman; they're attacking me because I'm a head."

Flip flop?

(and what kind of 'head' is she? Empty, imho)

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Why is no one testifying to the fact that the would-be emperors are wearing no clothes? Obviously...obviously, there is an agreement among the debaters that the entire debate will be conducted at the level of sound bites. Why does no one, MSM or blogger, take this point and run with it? Why does no one point out that no Democrat has set forth a position on illegal immigration. No one has addressed border fences, violated visas, workplace security, and all of the vital elements that, together, make up a position on illegal immigration. Someone, obviously not Wolf, should ask debaters to state their entire position. Why are we playing this parlor game whose stakes are the future of the free world?

Posted by: jimmayhall | November 16, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the drive's license is not a simple 'yes' 'no' question, but that's whole the point. During last debate, Clinton gave an almost same answer as Obama's for the same question, Obama accuse her of not giving straight answers, the whole media jumped on her, thus the whole stumble thing. This time Obama got caught doing exactly the same he accused Clinton of.

Posted by: kjlover46 | November 16, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

claudia writes
" we're talking about the Presidency, and it's just a shame that Americans no longer have the kind of culture or attention span that would allow debates like say, the Lincoln/Douglas debates of 1858. Today, most people wouldn't even understand most of the words."

That is true, and I agree. However, the target of your ire should not be Chris for (rightfully) pointing out that Dodd needs a niche.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

buddy6076262 writes
"I do not understand why people earning over $97,500 get a 6.2% tax cut (no more FICA taxes)."

Because people making more than $97K don't get benefits based on earnings above that amount. I'm not commenting on the merits of that breakdown, merely explaining why the highly compensated get that 'tax break'.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

'You dig?'

Sure I do, Jason. I've worked in advertising/marketing for 25 years. When you're talking about differentiating between one kind of soap or flatscreen TV, that's one thing.

But we're talking about the Presidency, and it's just a shame that Americans no longer have the kind of culture or attention span that would allow debates like say, the Lincoln/Douglas debates of 1858. Today, most people wouldn't even understand most of the words.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I know you've had a long week, but please use correct grammar: "The first 15 minutes were dominated by a back and forth between he and Clinton...." Make that him and Clinton.

Posted by: david.bobzien | November 16, 2007 08:58 AM

If you're going to make a post whose sole purpose is to nitpick, at least be sure you're correct. It should be 'Clinton and him.'

Posted by: stoop | November 16, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"His crack about immigrants not coming here to drive but to work was excellent."

Excellent. He's using my lines.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I keep wondering why the media is terrified of Dennis Kucinich, which is becoming more and more obvious. Could it be the fact that he's committed to looking out for the interests of the majority of working Americans and is not a paid shill for corporate America? Dennis received all of of seven minutes and thirty seconds of air time in the debate last night. At least there were no insulting UFO questions. Dennis idea to fix the health care mess might be the problem. He advocates a single - payer, medicare for all system. It's the only one which will control costs and cover EVERYONE. Does anyone know anyone on Medicare now who doesn't like it? How 'bout NAFTA? Anyone's life better due to it? How 'bout jobs and a department of peace? anyone think 2 TRILLION dollars for higher gas prices? is a good result of this stupid war? (that's all this war's given me) I have heard many people who are honest claim they want to vote for Dennis, but are voting Obama That sounds like, "I really like brand X laundry soap because it works better and is cheaper, but I'm going to buy brand "Y" because it has better packaging. Watch out, folks. WE're going to trade Corporate republicans for Corporate Democrats!

Posted by: resilient2 | November 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand why people earning over $97,500 get a 6.2% tax cut (no more FICA taxes).

It would be much fairer if the first $20,000 of income was exempt from Social Security Taxes, and then ALL income is the taxed at the 6.2% rate. This will generate enough money to make Social Security solvent and is fair to all taxpayers.

I make $150,000 / year and there is absolutely no reason why I get a tax cut and the guy making $97,000 gets no cut.

Go Barack!

Posted by: buddy6076262 | November 16, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

JasonL writes
"It's called niche theory... You dig?"

Well played.

Posted by: bsimon | November 16, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

BUT OBAMA (CONVENIENTLY) WAS TOO BUSY TOO VOTE!!! HOW CAN OBAMA CRITICIZE?

Posted by: ellioto1 | November 16, 2007 09:51 AM

In all fairness, not voting is the same as a "no" vote in every practical way.

Ideologically, you can say it was the wrong thing to do, but if he thinks it was bad legislation I think he has standing to criticize her "yes" vote.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | November 16, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree completely with the observations. Clinton's depth and knowledge are superior and Joe Biden is by far the most relaxed and easiest to tell it like it is. The two of them would be an excellent team.

Posted by: kgroob | November 16, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I felt the whole thing was a sham designed to promote hillary.
The audience was clearly planted by clinton backers and their people. they were there to keep Hillary from being challenged and to fool the gullible press that Hillary's mediocre performance was great. And if that did not work, you had the post debate commentary stacked with Clinton advisor to do the so called unbiased analyzes?
It was obvious that the rumors of Blitzer being threatened by the Clinton camp was true and he did cave.
The CNN is truly the clinton news network.
There needs to be some journalistic investigating and reporting into the goings on of last nights shameful so called debate.
Chris, the biggest loser was our democracy.

Posted by: vwcat | November 16, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I found it offensive that Obama smashed hillary on the iran vote - which Biden pointed out the impact (oil price, pakistan, war mongering etc.) Fair enough!

BUT OBAMA (CONVENIENTLY) WAS TOO BUSY TOO VOTE!!! HOW CAN OBAMA CRITICIZE?

Posted by: ellioto1 | November 16, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Last nite it was reported that it's virtually a 3-way tie in Iowa. What's significant about that? Outside the Democratic conclave (New York, LA, & inside the Beltway (DC)), Hillary does not carry the same weight. That's a problem for the Democratic Party and one which the Republican Party would love to exploit. Even if Hillary gets 100% of the Democratic vote, she'll lose without better than 50% of the Independent vote. And, right now she's probably got less than 25% of the latter.

Posted by: wmboyd | November 16, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

After each debate I am reminded why I like Joe Biden and how thoughtful and informed he is. He comes off the best, and while his answers are a little egotistical, he has to remind folks that he could be a uniter and has more experience than the top candidates (Dodd, Richardson do as well).
However, as the NH primary moves closer, it seems like a Biden vote is a vote for Hillary, which is something I don't want to see happen.

The media still doesn't hold her accountable for her lack of details on key issues (Social Security, Immigration, Iran/Iraq). She has detailed papers on "easy" Democratic issues (Heath, energy, et al) but then punts to a bi-partisan commission on Social Security. That is not leadership. That is political cover.

I will vote for Obama, but at the same cheer for Joe Biden to keep up his excellent work in this campaign.

Posted by: rpinNH | November 16, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I found it offensive that Obama smashed hillary on the iran vote - which Biden pointed out the impact (oil price, pakistan, war mongering etc.) Fair enough!

BUT OBAMA (CONVENIENTLY) WAS TOO BUSY TOO VOTE!!! HOW CAN OBAMA CRITICIZE?

Posted by: ellioto1 | November 16, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The big loser was CNN. What an awful idea to let the audience manipulate the event. And Blitzer made a fool of himself by promising fair treatment to the candidates and not delivering it.
Hillary was well produced and ready but for me that just plays into the scenario that she's a good actress most of the time. Who wants that for President--- not me. The rest of the participants including the CNN staff fell pretty flat. I'm glad the thing was so boring so that most voters probably didn't stay around to watch the mess. Who wants to listen to the pre-positioned factions in the audience manipulate the debate? Who wants the American public to make decisions based on some rigged (intentionally or unintentionally ) circus?

Posted by: susjo | November 16, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Why should a presidential canddiate fit a 'niche', CC? What does that have to do with leading this country? You sound like you're talking about soap."

It's called niche theory. I learned about it in econ and political quantitative reasoning as an undergrad. It comes from an ecological theory of the same name and applies to most facets of life. See, there's only a limited amount of "x" to go around (where x=food, voters, etc). If you don't find your niche, your exclusive way to get "x," you will be eliminated as described by the competitive exclusion principle.

You dig?

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | November 16, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

We all know that the Clinton machine is playing the same dirty campaign tricks as those of Karl Rove and Co. The slight "booing" of Obama and Edwards likely were Clinton staffers or her "plants" in the audience. The MSM failed to widely report Wednesday's NYT/CBS poll that showed a whopping 70% of those polled think she is the least honest and forthright of all the Democratic candidates. To say that she did well last night is a joke, she only gave her typical campaign stump responses. Her "handlers" came up with the line "they attack me because I'm ahead", because her other tatic of playing the victim failed so miserably. Why did'nt Blitzer ask her again about her refusal to release her White House records? I am a Democrat who does not want another 4-8 years of secretcy and parsing of words from the White House. Those democrats who blasted the Bush Admin for the past several years for their secretcy, but support H. Clinton are hypocrites.

Posted by: bringbackimus | November 16, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm incredulous that anyone thinks it was a good night for Obama. He was so sneering towards Sen. Clinton, he seemed disrespectful. Obama had a difficult time framing his answers, hesitating and stuttering.

The substance of Obama's positions seems confused and exists only so he can be the anti-Hillary. Standing next to Clinton and Biden, Obama just comes off like a light-weight. Obama's "politics of hope" seems all based on wishful thinking.

Obama is probably a decent guy, but totally unprepared to be president.

Posted by: rick699 | November 16, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think there was two losers, Edwards and Obama. Edwards, mainly for the recent attacks on Hillary that he continued last night. Obama, plainly out of touch with real people. Winners, My favorite Hillary, and Joe Biden, with their one word answer on drivers license for illegals. I aslo think Wolf did a much better job than the other moderators in prior debates.

Posted by: lylepink | November 16, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

jaybram said, "Well, Hillary doesn't just plant the questions this time, she plants the whole audience."

Funniest....post....today.... LOL

Mark, glad to see you liked that route! You actually drove right past my house, if you stayed on 15. You're right, very very scenic, so much nicer that tolls/trucks on 95.

reispace, Obama didn't just say that it was just people making 97k+ a year were upper class; he said that making $97k/year puts you in the top 6%, and that raising taxes on the top 6% was a reasonable way to save SS.

Seems reasonable to me, if it's part of a holistic solution (ie, also raise the retirement age; 65 or 67 is a joke, based on what the expected lifespan was for Americans when this entitlement monster was created).

Posted by: JD | November 16, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Mark. Were you ever on Skyline Drive, on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Shenndoah National Park? Not too far, I think, from your inlaws and definitely worth a visit.Breaktaking vistas! Probably the most spectacular this side of the Rockies.Not for the faint of heart, however.

I notice that a great many people from both parties have expressed enthusiasm about Biden--because he deserves it, yet he remains low in the polls. There's something really wrong with this system.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Dodd and Biden had the best moments of the evening. Kucinick came off as a real candidate, though not contender, for the first time. However, his grumbling over others comments was distracting and somewhat petty. Bill Richardson played Jimmy Carter stressing human rights over security - a nice grab for the peacenicks, but not for the general public.

Edwards was a little off his game, but that audience was awful! Booing? C'mon, it was a college audience, but booing? Edwards didn't do anything to warrent that...if democrats resort to booing anything they slightly disagree with they come off as a lowbrow mob. How about some class?

As for Hillary - her preformance was better, but she still stumbled on some questions. The audience question that asked her how she would unite the whole country when so many people dislike her positions and personality was poorly answered. This question remains the biggest concern for those looking at her as the democratic candidate and she merely dodged it.

Obama was hit and miss. He was right to point out that a single earner making over $96,000 is not middle class. Hillary's response to his point was jumbled and awkward. However, his response to driver's ids for illegal immigrants was awful.

Posted by: novussapien | November 16, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Weird audience, seemed like half Clinton supporters and half Kucinich supporters.

Dodd could have spoken Spanish all night, end result would have been the same.

Posted by: RollaMO | November 16, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Biden for VP? He's certainly got a lot of experience...

Edwards should start looking for openings on hedge fund BODs. He's done, and his "angry at the system" routine only highlights how out of it he is (plus it's old and boring and hypocritical).

Posted by: billyc123 | November 16, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was the worst debate so far, with CNN determined to make it a superficial wrestling match rather than a substantive discussion of the issues.

I found it particularly offensive when Wolf Blitzer attempted to silence Obama on the question of driver's licenses for undocumented workers by insisting that the question deserved only a yes or a no response. I'm sorry, the issue is far more complicated and deserves serious exploration.

Hillary's simple "No" response, which conflicted with her answer in the Philadelphia debate, illustrated to me that she will say whatever she feels is necessary or appropriate to win support and suggests a lack of conviction.

Moreover, CNN's encouragement of audience cheers and boos and heckling of the candidates degraded the proceedings. Clearly, given the makeup of the crowd, Hillary had the "home court" advantage.

Overall, a very disappointing performance by CNN, and if I were the candidates, I'd demand better crowd control and ground rules before I'd participate in another debate.

Posted by: rontun | November 16, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with Chris's conventional wisdom, in part. I think Hillary probably won it, by not losing it, but her political mud criticism of economic populism, probably is a net loser in Iowa. Also, it is bad policy, IMO. In order to clean up Washington, you can't be in denial.

I am impressed by her pivot from making the good fight, to political expediency on the immigrant license issue. Much as I admire Obama's principled stand, I think Hillary's pivot to political reality is impressive as a strategy winning points with folks like me who are idealists, but don't like to let that get in the way of political reality. It is also early enough for Hillary to shake off the impact of the flack given her performance a couple of weeks ago.

I think Edwards and Biden had the most interesting things to say about politics as it is and how to move from "is" to "ought." Those along with Hillary were probably the biggest winners in my book. The only loser I saw in the whole bunch was Dennis Kucinich who seemed cranky. His recent voting against the $50 billion with strings appropriation for the war on liberal grounds, is rapidly putting him in the category of Mike Gravel. Pity, I like the guy.

Hillary should tone down the Republican mudslinging charge against the populist critique about how Washington doesn't work, since her most viable VP running mate is probably Jim Webb. It's ironic that Huckabee another economic populist is well positioned to run with Giuliani, if he wins the Republican nomination. I guess both parties feel if you give symbolic acknowledgment of the issue, you can ignore it. Warning, to prospective VP's, they may end up feeling that the Vice Presidency in a Hillary or Rudy presidency is not worth a bucket of the proverbial warm spit.

I think that Jonathan Chait makes an utterly convincing argument of where Washington culture has gone wrong in The Big Con. As Grover Norquist put it in his interview, there will probably be some in Washington who believe every word of Chait's analysis. Put me in that category. Right now, that makes me an adherent of unconventional wisdom in the eyes of the savvy set in Washington, I wish to god for the country's sake this wasn't so.

I remain an Obama supporter, but he doesn't shine in the debate format. He was dynamite at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | November 16, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Biden and Dodd once again showed that they have the gravitas to be president. I also thought that Richardson improved markedly over his last couple of performances. The problem is that these quality candidates were all but ignored by the questioners until the debate had degenerated into a slugfest perpetrated by the moderators themselves.

I would love to see a debate where the candidates- ALL the candidates- had an equal chance to answer substantive policy questions. It would be far more interesting than the 'gotcha' game pursued by Blitzer, Matthews, and their ilk.

Posted by: ancient_mariner | November 16, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion only Sen. Clinton, Biden,ad Dodd made any logical sense last night.All the others were muddled thiking. I think Clinton and Biden are a winning combination.

Posted by: lizard2 | November 16, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm totally against Hillary Clinton as president but she did saver herself in this debate. What I noticed most from watching and listening to Hillary are two things:

1. Great One Liners
2. Statistics

One of her biggest flaws is how vauge her credentials are outside of being the former presidents wife. She say's "My Record" but within that record are more defeats than losses.

Obama..did well and its crazy how the CNN political heads that came on after the debate dogged his campaign. But, if we think back two weeks ago at the least, a number of political analyst wanted him to "go after" Hillary but he refused..to attack her..directly. In not doing that he's shown that his critiques of her are not personal..but political. In short I don't think he could have done any better or any worse.

Joe..Biden was great..I would love to see an Obama-Biden ticked. Cause as stated earlier I like Obama, but Biden presented himself as possessing the credentials to work both sides of the aisle. And that is what this country needs most.

Posted by: Kappazkupid | November 16, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The worst political team in television was more interested in starting fights between/among Clinton, Edwards, and Obama (the audience was booing the questions as well as the answers) than in substantive issues. Biden, Dodd, Kuchinich, and Richardson deserve equal time at each and every debate.

The Annapolis meeting to be held later in the year is an important one. No questions. Richardson got it in incidentally but CNN was only interested in inside-the-beltway nonsense.

Give us a break.


Posted by: stockharry | November 16, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

From your commentary, I feel this is your best point:

Obama offered himself as a credible and -- more importantly -- safe alternative to Clinton in last night's debate.

HRC will lose the election for the Democrats if she is their nominee - plain and simple - no ifs, ands, or buts!!!!

Posted by: modernwoman | November 16, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I know it's our right to have our opinions heard, but stop with the applause already! It may make sense at the venue, but is a distraction for tv viewers.

Posted by: SW-DCWaterfront | November 16, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I thought Joe Biden was, again, relaxed, smart, eloquent, funny and commanding. Time and time again after the debates I hear many Democrats, numerous pundits and even quite a few Republicans say he brings so much to this campaign, that the audience loved him, etc., and yet, not many say they will support him because he doesnt have a chance. Isnt that crazy? This is a democracy, and we shouldn't be ordaining anyone, especially someone that either lacks experience or is too polarizing to unite the country. Lets all start giving greater due to a guy that not only is highly qualified, but can actually win in 08 and move us all forward together.

Posted by: crevaz | November 16, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

'Havo, you're surprised that CNN journalists actually did their job by asking tough questions?'

You mean about the pearls, JD?

I didn't watch the whole thing, I have to confess. Very little, in fact. I can't stomach it, because it makes me too sad, being old enough to remember actual serious policy debates, instead of American Idol.

But the questions? ' Social Security, Iran and telling the truth.' These are supposed to be the most important issues of the day? What about Pakistan, currently a nuclear powder keg and the most dangrous area in the world today? What about the price of gas, which was $3.50 a gallon yesterday at the cheapest place I could find? What about the $9 trillion dollar deficit? What about the fact that heating oil is projected to cost triple what it did last winter?

Social Security is not that big an issue--it requires only minor fixes to stay solvent--the worst case scenario is that benefits will be reduced over time. Iran, left unchecked will EVENTUALLY have a nuclear weapon, but other countries who are more dangerous [when was the last time Iran actually attacked another country?] already have one. 'Telling the truth." Sure that's important, but again the way the discussion is framed sounds like it's aimed at toddlers. And the driver's license question is a red herring. It's a state issue, and as Obama pointed out, the real question is enforcing the law against illegal employers.

The real issues that real families are faced with every day aren't even acknowledged.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree with many of the above posts regarding the nature of the debate. Wolf Blitzer is a total egomaniac and asks obnoxious questions. Can CNN not find a better proctor? Another thing...CNN and the other news channels are pathetic with their over the top graphics, grand stage, and intense backdrop. The use of such "flair" detracts from the seriousness of deciding on our nation's leader. This is not a U2 concert, its a forum for debating serious national concerns. Just another reminder that marketing and the ratings is CNN's major concern. Lastly, the post-debate review of who won and who lost conducted by a group seemingly designed to trivialize the entire debate. All the replays of zingers and quotes reminds me of watching sportscenter. It doesnt look good for us.

Posted by: johna54321 | November 16, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm reading all of the "post-game" wrap-up for this debate, and I assume Eric Severeid and Chet Huntley are spinning in their graves. Nobody seems to care at all about the substantive differences between the world-views of each candidate (and they do exist). Instead, it's all about high school level debating points scored. I probably agree most with Clinton's view of real world politik, and would support her, but Obama is fine and deserves to be president some day, perhaps after more years in the real world. As to Edwards, would someone pull the plug on this empty suit already? Lastly, as for Biden- oh, if only he weren't insane, he would be the best person in the race since the 1960s. As it stands, we can hope he'll agree to be Clinton's Secretary of State.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | November 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Every time I hear Hillary speak I relax. Guilliani will handily beat her in public debate, but Biden, that is a different story. That guy has the brains and the authenticity to be president. I am not certain there is a single Republican who can touch him. The best race would be McCain v. Biden. Were that the race I would have a very hard time choosing, even though they are so different on so many issues. This will be an integrity election, and neither party has a deep bench on that one. If Dems don't back Biden I actually think we will win again. 11% approval for Congress means Dems have no upper hand just because they're Dems.

Posted by: jdcarmine | November 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

This was an odd debate where I felt there were no winners, only losers.
Edwards and Obama both had points in the night where they stumbled. But they also had high points. Obama struggled early on but gained steam towards the end and he finished very strong. Edwards I thought handled the questions from the undecided audience the best and while his assertive tone led to booing by this particular audience I still think that helps him in the end as a democrat whose actually got some back bone.
Kucinich, however, also showed his backbone once again. As usual he riled up the crowd and proved that if people actually voted for him he could probably win. Unfortuantely they won't.
Richardson also did well in his home state, recovering for what I felt were a string of bad debates for him going in. But he didn't do enough to make up for the steam he has already lost.
While I despise Clinton and think she is by far the worst Democrat up there on the issues, I have to admit she did a decent job. It helped that the audience was clearly on her side. However, I thought she stumbled big time on the audience/undecided voters questions. Aside from the jewlry one (can we stop asking ridiculous questions at debates please) I didn't think those undecided voters bought any of her answers, at least not over the others.
Biden did well in the debate but he is not a winner because he is clearly just running to be Clinton's Secretary of State.

Now the Losers...
Dodd did well in the last debate but just failed to be noticeable here. He is probably the dark horse candidate after the firefighter support but he needs to make some moves NOW. This debate is a serious setback for him.
Wolf and co. at CNN, they did a horrible job right from the start. Don't try and tell us everyone will have an equal opportunity when you start the debate with your percieved top two arguing (I have never bought these media polls for a second). They just seemed annoying throughout the whole debate.

Posted by: mcgratsp | November 16, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, Hillary doesn't just plant the questions this time, she plants the whole audience. CNN continues its descent to beat Fox on a race to the bottom. This was, by far, the worst debate thus far. The rules were aimed toward creating a brawl, hardly dignified for helping select the next POTUS. Qualified candidates like Biden and Dodd once again are treated like ornaments while the simpleminded press concentrates on fireworks and reducing all answers to yes or no. I guess that's better than a previous debate's "lets have a show of hands." I suggest everyone read David Broder's column yesterday on the two headed Clinton presidency and what a disaster that would be. But, nostalgia rules, and it looks like the Republicans will too once the Dems continue their march toward more Clinton insanity.

Posted by: jaybrams | November 16, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

obama did well? in what universe?He looked inexperienced and silly

Posted by: newagent99 | November 16, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

obama did well? in what universe?He looked inexperienced and silly

Posted by: newagent99 | November 16, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

While I appreciate all the candidates and their remarks, Dennis Kucinich has the most powerful message, has been consistent in his positions and did the best among the second tier candidates.
Jon M. Ausman, Member
Democratic National Committee
Florida

Posted by: jon.ausman | November 16, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I thought Obama held his own very well. The media has spun this debate, favoring the first 20 minutes of exchange. What about when Obama called Hill-dog out about her SS plan in the last 20 minutes. It was beautiful - a moment this race has been waiting to see.

And I get tired of Joe Biden's slickness. His jokes about about as annoying as Edwards' character attacks. If I was Richardson, I'd slug him. Biden does have a lot of experience, but it sounds more like he's have a mid-life crisis and needs to get his frustrations out.

Posted by: mb63143 | November 16, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I know you've had a long week, but please use correct grammar: "The first 15 minutes were dominated by a back and forth between he and Clinton...." Make that him and Clinton.

Posted by: david.bobzien | November 16, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Quote from comment:"This is why I don't watch TV anymore. Every major network seems like it's directed at kindergartners. Every major pundit -- Blitzer, Russert, Matthews -- is a complete and total idiot. Jeezus, where are the Walter Cronkites, the Edward R Murrows? This generation of 'journalists' would have been better suited to be circus clowns"


Answer: TV Networks are designed and developed to reach the major comprehension point and understanding level of the typical, average American; that would be right around the 8th or 9th grade level. We get what we deserve. We elected and re-elected Bush (include me in that) and look what happened. According to a poll done in 2006, the most admired "man" in America was Homer Simpson. 17% of Americans believe that Elvis is still alive. We will elect the next president base on popularity, NOT based on which person has the possibility to do the best job. If you did a survey of people just after they voted and asked them to give you three reasons why they voted for the person they did, the answers would almost all be the same and in this order:

1.Because I "like" Joe or Jane Blow
2.Because I didn't "like" any of the others
3.Because I'm a Democrat, or, because I'm a Republican

The dumbing down of America is working. We are in big, big trouble.


Posted by: BobBoyer | November 16, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the advice to drive I 81 - US 15 instead of I95 from the north of DC. There is a pastoral valley beween Gettysburg and Frederick, in the north of Maryland, the viewing of which is worth the price of admission.
----------------------------
We reached my sister's house in Durham at 4:30P. After dinner and lots of catching up, my sister and brother-in-law watched their first debate of the season with my wife and me.

My sister is a D. My brother-in-law is an I who leans D. They both work out of the UNC Public Health School. He is a 'Nam combat vet who was raised in an R farm family in IA. They have both supported Edwards in the past, with reservations about his experience, but not his views.

First impressions from first time, but interested, observers:

My sister thought that Obama's halting style was a distraction.

My sister thought HRC made some good points.

My brother-in-law wondered when they began to encourage the studio audience to cheer and boo.

They both thought that HRC seemed thin skinned, complaining of criticism as "mud slinging".

My brother-in-law noticed that many of them had "As Joe has said..." moments.

My sister thought they were all acceptable, but thought JB was the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, and "Presidential".

My brother-in-law had never seen DK before and thought he had to be a plant to make everyone else look good. He ranked them JB, CD, BR [he loved BR's hero card for vets to get available health care away from VA facilities], JE, BHO, HRC,and far behind, DK. He thought BHO was thoughtful and smart, but a little green.

They wondered why JB had not caught fire and my brother-in-law suggested it was because he was truly centrist enough to be an effective Prez but not to get a nod from the Party faithful. My sis, who is the Party faithful, did not like that analysis, saying that she was not close minded and that she did not think most of the faithful were.

They both now want to watch an R debate. He always liked McCain. Both of them saw "The News Hour" when Podhoretz and Zakaria talked about Iran and they will not consider RG. They read the NYT on line and liked Brooks' article about MH.

They think HRC, if nominated, will lose.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 16, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised you thought Obama's answer about immigrant drivers' licenses was a fumble. I thought he did a great job pointing out what a red herring that question is; that the real issue is going after employers who hire immigrants. His crack about immigrants not coming here to drive but to work was excellent. I think Obama's style in these debates is a little too wooden, but what he says is so much more original and astute than any of the others. That is saying a lot because I think they all do a very good job of analyzing the complex issues that are put before them. Blitzer made me furious for incessantly boiling down answers to gotcha yes or no questions (abortion litmus test--yes or no?!, immigrant drivers licenses--yes or no!). Clinton is suave, but she is so scripted (how many times can she say her line about the kitchen heat without it being embarrassing); it makes me skeptical about her abilities to think for herself on the spot and make the right calls.

Posted by: CBNewman | November 16, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

'Dodd's problem in the debates is symptomatic of his larger problem in the race: he doesn't fit any niche.'

Why should a presidential canddiate fit a 'niche', CC? What does that have to do with leading this country? You sound like you're talking about soap.

And that is the larger problem overall -- everything is a commodity, a brand. It certainly seems to me that out of all the candidates on both sides, Biden is the one best suited for the presidency, but bcause he doesn't fit into Brand X, Y, or Z, he is ignored/belittled by the Poobah Pundits who choose our canddiates for us.

"If you aren't in that top tier" -- how do they get into that top tier, CC? Name recognition. And how do they get that? Why, you pundits give them more time and space. You put them there.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for pointing out that the pundits are not just dumbing down politics, but simply dumbed down in general. Somewhere along the way, Russert devolved into a panderer, Matthews morphed into a whiner, and Blitzer, after he successfully ousted Arnett, is an egotistical monotone blowhard. I would love to see a debate co-moderated by John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. . . hehehe. Then we'd really see some political questions fly!

Posted by: cymric | November 16, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

All Obama has is his anti-Clinton marching orders.

Let someone question him about how he could claim he has always been against the war in Iraq and then go to Connecticut to campaign for Lieberman's re-election. He praised Lieberman's "keen intellect" and urged Connecticut voters to return "Joe" to the Senate where he could "continue to work in our behalf". "OUR" behalf!

Compare this betrayal by Obama to Clinton's confusion about drivers' licenses.

But no one will confront him.

Not that there's anything sexist about that.

Posted by: lennyjazz | November 16, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why so much attention is being given to the issue of drivers licenses for undocumented (illegal) workers as I would think this is a state issue. Don't the states determine who gets a drivers license in their state? And aren't there some states that do give drivers licenses to undocumented (illegal) workers? When did this become an issue for presidential candidates? I think it would be better to talk about border security.

Posted by: marlene_j | November 16, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I watched the first 20 minutes before falling asleep (this debate could put ambein out of business) The biggest loser was CNN as they were totally lame. Give me Tim Russert anyday. Clinton Inc. more than likely stacked the audience with their paid supporters. The lazy press ought to check out that angle.

Posted by: vbhoomes | November 16, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I only watched part, but I heard Obama say that those making over $97K are 'upper class'!!! If he's nominated and repeats that during the general election campaign, he puts all of New England, the west coast, and Maryland in play --- for the Republicans!!!

Posted by: reispace | November 16, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

This was an important debate for the candidates to follow up on after the last one. I think Clinton and Obama did an excellent job doing what they had to do to shore up their support. They support that the two of them gain will come from Edwards supporters.

Clinton did a great job deflecting criticism, important to voters who know she'll be attack relentlessly by the Republicans and 527's and such.

Obama was mostly eloquent and framed the debate as between him and HRC. That was EXACTLY how the race needed to be shown for his success.

Edwards is a beanbag. I've never liked it and last night showed his main problem. Everyone else figured out the crowds mood but Edwards is arrogant and didn't see past his own ego. His attacks made him look like a d-bag.

At this point I'm hoping for a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Biden ticket. I'll take either and, I hope, be happy with the direction of the next four years.

But then again, I'm feeling really optimistic today.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | November 16, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ most of the analysis. Obama however seemed a bit weary and angry. His answers were muddled and unclear. I think Blitzer goes in the winner's column, he was fair and tough.

Posted by: flyguy14222 | November 16, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I think the composition of the audience for last night's debate and the booing of Edwards and Obama might warrant some journalistic investigation.

Posted by: dark_scot | November 16, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I thought the audience reactions were funny. After all, Kucinich, someone with no chance whatsoever, got the biggest cheers; I guess the true believers aren't exactly representative.

Havo, you're surprised that CNN journalists actually did their job by asking tough questions?

Posted by: JD | November 16, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame the moderators of these debates have stooped to Vince McMahon's Smack Down mentality. News these days is purely entertainment that's why I read the newspapers. I find it insulting that the dummying down of the country has reached this level. And this is why the Middle East hates us? All I can say is "Don't hate us because we are stupid!

Posted by: clyben | November 16, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with all your losers and offer my own list: Wolf Blitzer, John Roberts and especially CNN. Are they trying to rival Fox as the most biased name in news?

Posted by: havok26 | November 16, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is that I hope lightening strikes in Iowa and Biden is propelled into the first tier. He is the only one who seems ready to be president.

Unfortunately, I know that is pretty much a forlorn hope.

Posted by: jimd52 | November 16, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

So we continue with the jaw-dropping dumbing down of America...

'Clinton was asked if she preferred diamonds or pearls during CNN's Democratic debate Thursday night. The first and last questions of the night were directed at her and concerned her ability to make a decision and stick with it.'

I wonder, if during the next R debate, they'll ask this question of rudy. I'm sure he's actually given it much more thought. From the photos of him in drag, it's clear he prefers pearls.

This is why I don't watch TV anymore. Every major network seems like it's directed at kindergartners. Every major pundit -- Blitzer, Russert, Matthews -- is a complete and total idiot. Jeezus, where are the Walter Cronkites, the Edward R Murrows? This generation of 'journalists' would have been better suited to be circus clowns.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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