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Dodd: What Debate?

With less than a half hour left in the debate, Sen. Chris Dodd's campaign issued a press release insisting he is getting a raw deal.

Sen. Chris Dodd at the Democratic debate Sunday night in New Hampshire (Getty Images)

The release notes that Dodd has only been asked to answer four questions and has spent less than four minutes total talking. "Really nothing about the debate was equitable, from the unprecedented assignment of podiums to the allotment of time. We'll count on the DNC at future events to mandate some even-handedness," said Dodd spokeswoman Christy Setzer.

The problem with this argument is that it is totally aimed at insiders. Regular folks watching the debate aren't likely to be upset at the lack of questions directed at Dodd. For a second-tier candidate, the task is to make yourself known -- no matter what. See "Biden, Joe" for an example of this strategy.

Here's the release sent out by the Dodd campaign:


Debate Fails To Achieve Full Discussion Of Nation's Most Important Issues

Despite very real differences in the presidential candidates' positions on the critical issues facing our nation, the format of tonight's CNN debate allowed for disproportionate amounts of time for candidates to discuss their positions. Below are the number of questions posed to each candidate, with the corresponding amount of time allotted per candidate.

BIDEN 4:45, 5 questions

CLINTON 9:25, 9 questions

DODD 4:00, 4 questions

EDWARDS 7:06, 8 questions

GRAVEL 2:59, 5 questions

KUCINICH 2:28, 3 questions

OBAMA 8:19, 9 questions

RICHARDSON 7:23, 6 questions

(Blitzer 8:38)

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 3, 2007; 8:46 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Bill Richardson: Governor


For Mr. Edwards, please stop trying to engage Ms Clinton and Mr. Obama in arguing among yourselves.Clinton wisely said this is Bush's War, he made all the mistakes that could have been made.Stop picking on them, you voted for this God awful war,you're showing how they've got you on the ropes. You look weak and desperate.Stop infigting and get that criminal administration out of there, the least of you are more than any money and power grabbing repugnants.

Posted by: ecoleman | June 4, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | June 4, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If we can measure candidate presence by time allotments, then why not by staging?
In the "sit-down" portion of the debate...8 candidates, 4 small tables with water. Logic and equity would place one table between each pair of candidates.
But there was Joe Biden with tables on each hand, leaving Richardson, Obama and Clinton clumped together in the middle of the wide shot. Did a stagehand screw up, or did someone make a switcheroo to be better postioned with the Top Tier?
And, ohbytheway, where id they find the old chairs from the Mike Douglas Show?

Posted by: Rick in PA | June 4, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Now that was a debate! I hope that what we saw is the future of presidential debates. Candidates were forced to answer the questions, and the moderator controlled the format. We got to look closely at the top tiered candidates, and the gadflys had their brief moments.

I haven't decided if I suppoort Hillary or Obama. Both impressed me. Hillary was evasiuve, but she has been and always will be. A White House Press Conferences with Hillary will be games of duck-and-weave.

Edwards and Richardson confirmed my previous decisionm that they are not qualified. Edwards going on the offensive on an issue where he admits he was wrong. Richardson may believe he's been running the country for the last decade or so, but he was a minor figurehead in the CLinton administartion, a sloppy diplomat (by his own admission in the many stories he tells), and a backbencher in the House.

Dodd and Biden were interesting, and I would give them consideration if they had a resonsbale chance of winning. Both showed intelligence and maturity. Either would make a fine president.

Kucinich and Gravel were amusing, but did not add to the debate.

I sure hope we have more debates like theese.


Posted by: Mike Dowling | June 4, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I too would have liked to have heard more from Richardson and Biden, and actually quite a bit less from Clinton and Edwards.

Posted by: Bokonon | June 4, 2007 1:12 AM | Report abuse

In the final times released after the debate, Kucinich spoke more than Dodd or Biden, and I just don't think he offers anywhere near the qualifications of either of them. He may be genuine, but his ideology is so far to the left of even most mainstream Democrats and the last time he was in an executive role he bankrupted Cleveland. My problem is also that all he is trying to do is drive the other candidates to the left, which hurts the party, and politics in general. Most Americans are towards the middle. This idea of both sets of candidates running far to the fringes is awful. I respect Biden even more for voting for the funding for the troops, and ignoring the politics of it.

Posted by: Brian | June 3, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Speading out Dennis and Mike's time? They spoke less than six minutes combined, not two thirds the time Hillary took up on her own. There are already being marginalized literally, with Clinton, Obama, and Edwards in the center and Gravel and Kucinich on the ends.

While I am not much on Gravel, Kucinich is definitely overlooked. He strikes me as the only genuine person on that stage. He is not just anti-Iraq war, he is against all war. He was the only one who called out his rivals on their connections to special interest groups. Sadly, he lacks the policy specifics and polish of the "serious" candidates.

Posted by: Simon | June 3, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

The real solution is to remove the 2 third tier candidates- Kuchinich and Gravel from debates, and spread their time around the 6 real candidates. We also need slightly longer debates. When you have 6 real candidates, all of whom are arguably more qualified to be President than any of the Democratic candidates from 2004, you need longer debates, and you really have to weed the less serious candidates out so that people can get to know the candidates better.

Posted by: Brian | June 3, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Shutting people who have something different to say about the issues out of the debate merely shows how disconnected the media is when it comes to fostering a proper debate. Disgusting.

Posted by: Disgusted | June 3, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The format definitely rewards people willing to ask for (or insist on) time to comment.

Posted by: DTM | June 3, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Not related to anything anyone is saying - but is everyone in New Hampshire either a teacher, student, or a small business owner?

I'd like just one question to come from "Mike, a crane operator with a crystal meth problem"

Posted by: THB | June 3, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

How about the second tier candidates having tables put in between them and the other candidates to push them out of the camera shot.

Posted by: Gem | June 3, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

That almost tracks the opinion polls perfectly.

Except for Richardson, but he enthusiastic talker.

Posted by: THB | June 3, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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