Winners and Losers From the Democratic Debate in Philly

Last night's Democratic Debate in Philadelphia provided the most dialogue. Along with the YouTube Debate, this one was the best debate so far this election.

Here are my thoughts on the winners and losers of the debate…

Chris Dodd – He seemed the most presidential and stressed his leadership and experience. He successfully drew distinctions with Clinton and questioned her electability without sounding like he was on the attack. He mentioned the need for public financing of campaigns.

John Edwards – He pressed Clinton all night on her double talk on numerous issues and stayed on message. He made strong points against the culture of Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests and tied that to Clinton's campaign. He had a great line about Hillary's vote on Iran…

So.. to put pressure on the Bush Administration is … to vote yes on a resolution that [looked as if it] was written by the neocons? Has anyone read this thing?

Bill Richardson- He stressed his experience as a diplomat and his plan for Iraq. He probably gained points by taking the high road when he said Democrats are close to personal attacks on Clinton and we need to focus on the differences on the issues.

Joe Biden – He had the best line of the night about Rudy's experience. You could tell that Biden sees the big picture on terrorism when he was discussing Iran and Pakistan, but at times seemed to be in the background.

Barack Obama – He attempted to draw distinctions with Clinton, but seemed to feel uncomfortable doing so all night. Had a good line about Rocky, but stumbled through it.

Hillary Clinton – She was taking heat from Edwards, Obama, and Dodd all night on numerous issues. She really stumbled on the question about giving driver licenses to illegal immigrants and was called out on it by Edwards.

Dennis Kucinich – Made strong statements in favor of beginning impeachment procedures on Bush and Cheney and defending the constitution. However, he lost all credibility on the UFO question at the end of the debate.

During the post debate coverage, Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman, and Andrea Mitchell were amazed at Clinton's stumble on the driver license question and how the other candidates went after her on her Iran vote. In past debates, the talking heads have always seemed to think Clinton clearly won, but not this time.

Matthews was obsessed with the UFO question and Kucinich's response and kept bringing it up while interviewing Richardson and Biden. Matthews said the Republicans are the anti-evolution party and the Democrats are the pro-UFO party. Funny, but unfortunate that one silly question was the focus on a pretty interesting debate.

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  • Mostly agree...

    I mostly agree with your list, but I’d rank a few people differently.

    I’m not sure I’d count John Edwards as a “winner”–I’d say “so-so”. He landed some good punches on Hillary, but then so did Obama. I’m not sure he did a good enough of a job separating himself from the O-man to get more of the ABC vote though.

    And if you have to write a line out with ellipsis, then it’s not really a good line, in my opinion. Doesn’t roll off the tongue like a good “line” should.

    I’d also call Biden a winner, for sure. His “a noun, a verb, and 9/11” line is the winner of the night. That’s a real line…quippy, quotable and quick. Look for that to pop up again if Rudy’s the nominee.

    He also did a good job of looking like the elder statesman of the field. Played up experience, kept a cool head, no personal attacks.