Thoughts on the Democratic ‘Unity’ Debate

My first thought on tonight’s debate is that all of our candidates were great. The format being more of a round-table worked very well after the rough and tumble bitter infighting that has plagued our front-runners in recent days.

Barack Obama admitted that he, ““not only in hindsight, but going forward,” regretted that members of his staff had prodded reporters to pursue” the ‘racism’ issue that stemmed from some people interpreting “comments by Mrs. Clinton as minimizing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s role in the passage of the 1964 civil rights amendment.” (See The Trail for more on the S.C. memo that was the focus of this discussion.)

Our supporters, our staff, get overzealous,” Mr. Obama said. “They start saying things that I would not say.”

Hillary Clinton agreed with Obama on the “overzealous” supporters and said that the “comments by the founder of Black Entertainment Television, Robert Johnson, were inappropriate.” Clinton also said, “We need to get this campaign where it should be.” I agreeBack on the issues

I felt that each of the candidates were strong on the issues and in truth we’d do well with any one of them as our next president.

John Edwards was stronger than I had ever seen him and his passion shined through when talking about the domestic issues that have been the hallmark of his campaign, and in fact his life. He was strong in all of his responses and I felt had a very good command of the issues.

Barack Obama came off to me as the softer candidate. His answers to questions, I felt were a lot more vague than Edwards or Clinton on many of the issues. Clearly, the two more seasoned candidates, Clinton and Edwards came off in my opinion with a better speaking style tonight and a greater command of the camera. My concern tonight watching Obama is how he would come off debating anyone of the Republicans in the general election.

Which brings me to Hillary Clinton. She owned the camera and the debate tonight. Time after time, she spoke clearly and directly in response to questions and she simply had a better command of the issues and policies. From the economy to health-care, early education to Yucca Mountain, Clinton showed herself as a champion for the people. Here’s a clip from the debate that speaks for itself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvdpT3ZUPdU&

Finally, I think the economic picture is going to get worse before it gets better. The latest economic news out today clearly indicates we’re in for a rough ride. In discussing solutions for the economy tonight Clinton made it clear that this is not an issue we can’t “wait” on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCFL0VQoPrg 
Clinton said she felt a sense of “urgency” which I think is exactly what voters caught up in the mortgage mess are feeling. Once again in addressing this issue, Clinton showed voters that she is “listening” to their concerns. I think that plays big to the women voters particularly. Hillary Clinton knows how to capture the “gut values” and I think that now that she has found her “voice” as she said after her New Hampshire win, we’ll see resonating with more and more voters.

The full transcript is here.

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3 Responses to Thoughts on the Democratic ‘Unity’ Debate

  1. alrudder says:

    I agree with the assessment of Clinton,…and the others. I thought the best part for Clinton is that she was attacked for fear mongering on terrorism. Obama accused her of Rove political tactics without saying how he would be tough on security. As I think George Lakoff would see it, even though Hillary was criticized, the takeaway is that she is identified in people’s minds with security.
    Obama also missed a chance to criticize Edwards who suggested taking out all troops from Iraq, before admitting he’d keep some. Obama should have said in active voice “I will keep sufficient troops there to fight terrorists and protect our interests. But the vast majority of troops will come home soon.”

  2. Daniel Bruno says:

    While all parties may have fared well last night, Obama stood head and shoulders above the others. One small step towards becoming #44. See just why he won’t lose at http://www.WhyTheDemocratsWillWinIn2008.com

  3. Daniel:

    I realize that Obama is your personal choice, but please look at his performance in an unscripted setting, a debate, and the performance with teleprompters. He is inspiring when on script.

    Offscript his answer wanders under his mind chooses a specific answer and he pulls it from the memory bank.

    I know the scenario as I’ve staffed for two candidates who would wander in the beginning of an answer then get ‘good’ at the end. I never did completely break them of the habit.

    Ronald Reagan had the same issue but found his answer in beginning nearly every answer exactly the same. “Well…..” Then he would look down to his right and pause for a second or two until he choose his answer. It was an effective tool.

    Edwards doesn’t need any practice at unscripted debate as a result of his career as a courtroom attorney. A Debate is one of his strongest places. I’m certain he welcomes all the debates as his most effective forum.

    Clinton has spent so many years under fire she developed into a fine debater and public speaker.

    Sorry but Obama seemed the weakest of the three in unscripted discussion. He simply doesn’t do well under fire or unscripted.

    Is he better than average? YOU BET.

    Is that good enough to risk in the general election? No.