An Edwards Fan's Take On The Debate
By: Mark W Adams

The debate was one of the best I've seen, primarily because it was a bit more freeform than previous "joint appearances" we are used to. This time, the candidates were allowed to mix it up more.

But it wasn't exactly equal time. Here's the "Talk Clock" via Booman showing Obama spoke for 16 minutes, Hillary got 14:26, Edwards 11:42, Richardson 10:48, Kucinich 9:02, Dodd 8:28, Biden 7:58, Gravel 5:37.

Informal Question Count: Obama - 18, Clinton - 16, Edwards - 13, Biden - 11, Kucinich/Dodd/Richardson - 10, Gravel - 9.

Obama certainly was given an opportunity to shine -- and given his cult-like following more interested in his promise than his policies, he blew the opportunity to add substance to his style.

There was some "mixing it up" off stage too, where Media Matter's Eric Alterman got arrested for trying to crash a WMUR-TV reception and got belligerent.

Big Tent Democrat (Armando):

First, from my point of view, it was a good night for putting pressure on the Congress to end the war, through the use of the Not Spending power. It was the early focus of the debate and Edwards pounded on Clinton and Obama on showing leadership in Congress on ending the war through use of the Not Spending power. It was the highlight of the debate.
CNN: Larry King found Elizabeth Edwards first and did a stand-up interview with her that was priceless. He said, "Senator Edwards leading the force in carrying on a very, very, strong presentation". CNN's panel was likewise impressed, even GOP strategist, J.C. Watts for being the only one talking about poverty. Donna Brazille said, "But Senator Edwards, I also believe, came out looking very smart, he was bold, he talked about his distinctions, the differences, with the other candidates." Candy Crowley's piece lead with Edwards' indictment of Obama and Clinton and seemed likewise impressed.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd's take:
John Edwards seemed very engaged and clearly carved out opportunities to engage Clinton and Obama. The press coverage will reflect this which the Edwards campaign will see as a victory. Bottom line, it was Edwards best debate performance to date (and I'm counting the one from this year and the ones from 2003-4).
So far, Edwards was winning the Daily KOS post debate poll and still ahead at MyDD's poll. It's not to late to VOTE, so do so if you haven't.

HuffPost's Arriana believed Edwards was most well briefed and impressed with Edwards’ admissions of past mistakes and overall performance and think it's about time Hillary admitted she screwed the pooch on the war vote and continued funding of Iraq until lately when Edwards pushed her and Obama to meekly vote against the supplemental after everyone else voted -- the performance Edwards blasted them on for not showing any leadership.

Unlike Hillary, who blames bad intel and Bush's mismanagement for what the war has become -- in other words, it's not her fault -- Edwards got applause from the audience for saying simply, he was wrong.
CNN: Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards got applause from the audience after saying he regretted voting for the Iraq war. 'I think I had the information I needed,' Edwards said. 'I don’t think that was the question. I think one difference we do have is I think I was wrong. I should never have voted for this war.'"
The implication is clear, Hillary doesn't think she was wrong, or responsible. If she were simply to say, "I F#$%ed Up, sorry." I might give her a chance.

Evidently she's also not responsible for the increase in terrorism world-wide since she defended the GOP metaphorical frame called the War on Terror. She said it's working to make us safer, but not safe enough. Edwards had rejected that frame as the sham it is -- a "bumper sticker".

Bite me Hillary. How much more of the Constitution shall we shred before you feel safe?

Obama got his licks in too, saying Edwards was "4 1/2 years too late" on his anti-war stance. Fine Barack, but what have you done for us lately? His policy stances are simply timid, votes too calculated, and as John said, "there is a difference between leadership and legislating." Edwards slammed these "leaders" (Clinton and Obama) and Gravel and Kucinich locked the door.

There's blood on the hands of all three of them, four if you count Biden. Edward for sponsoring the AUMF, Hillary for voting for it and defending that vote to this day and supporting every funding measure for the war except the last one. And Obama too has voted for all the funding bills he's seen until Edwards put enough pressure on him and the rest of Congress to vote against the last supplemental funding. Biden has no anti-war cred whatsoever, although he has articulated the best strategy for prosecuting the war throughout -- partition -- other than just leaving.

Only two of tonight's candidates not only voted against continuing the funding -- Kucinich and Dodd (Obama and Clinton come late to this position), but did so proudly. Only one of the four who voted for the AUMF has been a vocal leader in his agreement with Dennis and Dodd that we should not fund the escalation -- Edwards. Biden voted for the funding and Obama and Hillary might as well have phoned their votes in. Only one of the four says his vote for the AUMF was wrong and is doing something to atone for it -- again, Edwards.

STFU Barack. You say everybody on the panel supports the troops. Support them by getting them home, geez. You should be doing everything in your power to pressure your collegues and the President to end this war.

Richardson did nothing to move himself beyond the "second tier." Did you know he's a governor? I really like that guy, and his resume. But he doesn't stand any more of a chance than any of the other also-rans to compete on the same field with Edwards, Obama and Clinton. It's a shame. He's got to get mean to break through, and that's not his style.

Biden killed his chances tonight, and will now be considered just plain goofy for his red-faced rants. America doesn't like to be screamed at. Ask Howard Dean about that.

Senator Chris Dodd was ignored, and until his cheap six dollar haircut grows out, I'm ignoring him too and have already typed his name more than the journalistic style guide permits. He (and his lovely white hair) does not exist -- there is no Dodd. Except of course in New Hampshire where he got a lot of friends.

UPDATE: Corrections made to reflect Obama and Clinton's votes against the Supplemental Funding Bill and clear up my sleepy writing from late last night. Thanks Ara.

Observation: The back and forth between Obama and Edward on their Health Care Plans was interesting mainly for the way it put Hillary in the role of spectator at a tennis match. Not what I expected a year ago. She should own the health care debate, and seems like she wants to run from it.


Ara said...

There's blood on the hands of all three of them, four if you count Biden.

Wow. That's a bit harsh don't you think?

Only two of tonight's candidates voted against continuing the funding -- Kucinich and Dodd.

Huh? You can decry Obama and Clinton for being "calculating" (as though that were a bad thing) but you're not allowed to change the facts, Mark. Both Clinton and Obama voted against the measure along with Dodd and Kucinich.

As for Edwards, I'm not taking the bait. He's a great guy and I'd gladly vote for him in the general. My only misgiving about him relates to how easily he caved to Cheney in the VP debate. He had plenty of chances to slam Cheney's head against the wall and he passed.

Was he being "calculating" that time? I don't know -- but I wince every time I think of it.

Mark W Adams said...

You're right, it was late, and I was unclear. I am making the corrections.

But speaking of your own facts, I thought Edwards did very well against Cheney, he nailed him on Haliburton and even his hypocrisy vis-a=vis his position on gays and his daughter. He did WAY better than Lieberman, and was able to raise these points without it backfiring like it did against Kerry.

Ara said...

One specific example that I recall about the VP debate was Cheney's ridiculous (but stinging) accusation that, while he presided over the Senate every Tuesday, he had (until that night) never met Edwards before. It made Edwards out to be a preening pretty boy dilletante -- the worst possible casting of Edwards' character.

Of course, the facts were quite different -- and what's galling to me is that Edwards KNEW that.

He could've/should've demolished Cheney's fantasy right away. That should have been a Bentsen-Quayle moment. But he couldn't/wouldn't do that.

That made an impression on me, sorry to say.

Ara said...

Actually it WAS a Bensen-Quayle moment -- with Edwards playing the role of Quayle.

JohnnyB said...

Hey Mark,

I thought Edwards held his own in the debates. In general I thought he, Obama, and Richardson did well. Edwards made an eloquent case about the need to establish moral authority in America.

Is Bill Richardson running for Hillary's VP, or what?

Similarly, are Biden and Dodd just trying to get a position in the Clinton cabinet or something? Edwards and Obama were the only serious candidates who seemed to stick out in this regard and not kiss Billary's butt too much. As such I have a ton more respect for them.