- John Edwards: Stayed strong and on message. Sided with Obama as a candidate for change, and put Clinton on the spot as the status quo candidate. He came off as articulate, clear, and as the viable alternative to a non-confrontational unity politician like Barack Obama.
- Bill Richardson: Didn’t do anything good, didn’t do anything bad. His one big flop was calling Russia the Soviet Union. But he’s tired, just like the rest of the candidates. He’s not going to be the nominee, but he isn’t going to be left out of the race. He’s clearly making the case as an experienced vice presidential candidate.
- The people of New Hampshire: Compared to the Republican debate, the second half of the Democratic debate was quite engaging on the issues, on the race, and on substance. Clearly, there is a push for new policies and ideas in the Democratic party. We want real leaders who will talk clearly and our Democratic candidates are willing to do that. While looking exhausted when not answering, they were engaged when the camera was on them. New Hampshire has a tough choice ahead of them.
- Barack Obama: He didn’t shine like he could’ve as the front-runner, but Gibson made sure he got the first and last word. He seemed more tired and lackluster than he is on the stump, but that seems to have been the case for most of the debates he has been in.
- Hillary Clinton: Her angry moment sure didn’t help her (though it is quite clear she has the energy and is quite committed to the race) and Edwards’ double-team with Obama against definitely portrayed her as the third wheel of a two-person race. She’s falling fast in New Hampshire and needs to dump Mark Penn.
- The Republicans: After watching most of their debate, I can’t see how American or folks in New Hampshire would want their old grumpy grandpa or their sleazy corporate boss as president. Huckabee’s the only one who looked presidential but his policy offerings have largely been substance-less. Bill Clinton had the advantage of being an intellectual and Rhodes Scholar to overcome the fact that he was really only the governor of Arkansas. Huckabee doesn’t have that advantage.
- Charlie Gibson (And his NH counterpart): Maybe it was just me, but his cynicism towards the Democrats in general seemed to make him look just as grumpy and frumpy as most of the Republicans in the hour and a half before the Democrats. I’m glad they challenged the Democrats but it seemed a bit harsh and a bit more than needed.
Feel free to call me out on these and offer your own thoughts and reactions. We all know I can be wrong from time to time. And if you’re curious, Time’s Mark Halperin offers his grades of the candidates here.Continue Reading...