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June 03, 2007


Passing Shot

I do believe Ben Franklin's maxim. What I don't appreciate, however, is Kooch and Gravel labelling this "the Democrats' war." This is not helpful.


i agree with your mid-debate roundup, ezra...
clinton appears capable,engaged, "competent", but not very inspiring....
i guess she would be good enough.
a dependable brand.
i find her frequent references to "my husband" are somewhat irritating.

obama looks like a very respectable and competent vice-president...
....it is not a shining hour for john edwards.
........i still wish that al gore would stride out onto the stage. i dont see his brilliance or visionary grasp or inspiration on that stage.
there is no al gore up there.


I can't at all keep up with the threads at Kos and MyDD.

You kids are doing a good job. I've been following you.


Same here, I really enjoyed the liveblogging here... easy to follow, hitting the high points and giving a bit of good commentary.

Good work, thanks.


Which one is batman and which one robin in this blogging duo?

What impressed me is that the Dems have a really outstanding field of candidates, even including the outliers - which contributed to moving the left border of respectable progressive discussion more than a bit.

My proudest moment was the unhesitating, unqualified uniform response to the question of whether 'don't ask, don't tell' should be abolished for gays and lesbians.

No cracks there in the unanimity with a resounding 'yes' from all (with hands raised quickly, too). Was it Gravel or Dodd that said the president should do as Harry Truman did and just tell the military chiefs to end the discrimination? (and, obviously, have Congress repeal the law as well)

Good live-blog guys.


I'd generally agree, though Biden came across as a bit cranky, though his emotional rises aren't new nor unappreciated to a degree. I felt Edwards and Dodd gave the more substantive responses though it seemed to take Edwards a while to warm up. Obama did excellent and Hillary seemed to come off as a "me too" on just about every subject. Gravel is a joke, please send him home.


Good job! Hope you'll do the same for the republicans... maybe give some pre-debate predictions and/or ask your readers to do the same.


Hey Brian (and Ezra), I guess I'll have to try to do some heavy lifting to fill up your comments section. Here are some superficial comments about how the candidates looked, actual policy questions ignored. (It really seemed like there was a fair amount of agreement on how a Democratic president should act.)

I was really pleasantly surprised by Hillary, actually, obnoxiously frequent references to "my husband" aside. Primarily just that I wasn't filled with a visceral hatred whenever she spoke... But she really tended to say the right things. As one of youse guys noted, when she reprimanded Blitzer for the ridiculous hypothetical questions, that was a strong moment. I still don't plan to vote for her and don't want her to be the nominee, but I sort of wonder if I've been too hard on her.

Agree with you on Edwards underperforming -- it felt like he was too focused on criticizing Obama and Clinton at times and that he didn't have the same articulation we've seen at other times. The health care spat with Obama and Clinton, where he ought to have shone, misfired.

About some of the second/third tier candidates -- Mike Gravel's fidgety body language is sort of fascinating to watch. However, he's stopped being interestingly quirky in that grumpy grandpa way and now just goes after the other candidates for highly mixed reasons. I've had enough of Chris Dodd. I definitely wasn't as high on Joe Biden as you were. His immigration spiel was a definite low point and didn't sound so smart on Darfur (although nice job with the Iran question.)


Great work here guys--much appreciated. Brian, your comment threads might be modest but keep the good stuff coming.


Thanks, all. It was fun. On Biden, I think he performed well. That said, I think he's a pretty disagreeable blowhard. Likewise, I think Edwards performed medium only, but the bulk of people out there, including many who will define the mainstream memory of this debate, are giving him very high marks.

Here's is a strange, lame media quirk. A friend and I were just joking about how most big commenters can't help but append a candidates actual performance quality with their perceived chance of winning:

Talking Head A: Chris Dodd (who does not stand a chance of winning) is performing wonderfully.

Talking Head B: Hillary Clinton (who will win the nomination) took a shit on stage.

And this is one reason numbers tend not to move much.


I thought most of them did well to make the debate truly substantiative, given the type of responses Blitzer was trying to elicit. The questions from audience members seemed a lot more intelligent and less manipulative to me. Too bad they didn't get to pick who responded to them. Or that each candidate didn't get the chance to answer.

Clinton's appearance, manner and even her voice were greatly improved over the last debate. She handled questions well. Didn't lose ground, may have gained even more.

Obama also came off very well. It's hard to see how he could be hurt by this outing.

Edwards was disappointing to me. I've been leaning more toward him than otherwise and this appearance kind of gave me pause. It's understandable that he took the opportunity to rap the others in the Top Three. It was a debate, after all, and where their positions differ his are often just better. Nonetheless, it came off sounding off key somehow and, of course, it looked like he was playing the moderators' game while the others refused to go along. He should be able to improve on this performance in the future. He'll need to.

Richardson should just give up TV appearances. They're not working out for him lately.

Biden looked good to me, but nothing seems to give him any traction anyway, so I guess that doesn't matter.

Kucinich was being Kucinich. Sometimes he brings up points that belong in the discussion, sometimes it seems like he's living on another planet.

Dodd's did just fine, but like Biden, it doesn't seem to matter.

Gravel is way out there, but without the benefit of adding comic relief.


Was Chris Dodd wearing a cloaking device during your live blog? Mr. Chen got more play. Was Biden that more impressive than Dodd? I kind of lump them together yet Biden got a lot of play in your liveblog and Dodd none.


Biden seemed to be doing an imitation of George C. Scott doing an imitation of a president. He seemed more angry than presidential. He probably went home and kicked his dog. He might make a good moderator for the Republican debates. Or serve as a villainous dean in a coming of age film about students in a second rate military college.

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