The way last night's exchange was set up, it was hard to declare an actual winner or loser in terms of substance and reference to the issues (especially since they all seemed to finish each other's sentences and agree for the most part, save for Gravel and Kucinich). Without trying to sound racist, Obama seemed poised to make a huge splash with the audience–he is, after all, an African-American man speaking to a largely African-American audience. However, that didn't happen. And maybe that's a good thing.
Overall, it seemed that a lot of candidates stood out. Clearly, Clinton stood out with her response that garnered her the only standing ovation. Biden stood out for the ridiculous things he said and the look he put on Al Sharpton's face (it must prove that the pundits and media elite really are his biggest constituency). Richardson again demonstrated that while he may be an excellent person-to-person on the ground campaigner, he still has a way to go in the debates. And Chris Dodd seemed to sound like the most invigorated, presidential-esque candidate up on the stage.
Did anyone do exceptionally poorly? Of course not. But it is clear that there wasn't really a favorite last night, someone who swept the field and dominated.
MSNBC's First Read documents a lot of the different responses from media outlets and the pundits last night on who stood out, who 'won,' and who bombed (though I don't understand how they thought Biden stood out, as they said so here). Clearly, the media elite seem to think that Clinton and Obama continued to stand out. But that's because the Clinton-Obama race is the horserace for them to follow and cover. The tit-for-tat between the two campaigns is what they're looking for.
So, I'm putting the question to you, registered Bleeding Heartland users: Who do you think stood out the most or performed the best (in essence: won) last night's forum? And don't just limit your answers to submitting your response in the poll; leave a comment explaining your vote, too. This is your community site. Make it worth your while.