Tuesday, February 26, 2008

That's a wrap...

Right off the bat, let me just say that Tim Russert almost, almost blew this by being overly aggressive with Clinton early on.
Thankfully he evened it out by coming down on Obama in the second half, thus avoiding a possible claim of bias.

That said...

I have never been as proud to be an Obama supporter as I was during this debate.
He didn't just have his best debate of the primaries. He had the best debate of the primaries.
He was incredibly "Presidential". Calm, focused, on point, aggressive but not overly so, and willing to compliment ideas admirably.
He showed an impressive, sure-footed command of the majority of the issues discussed.

He wasn't perfect. He had his waffling moments (particularly in the area of public financing in the general election), but his overall performance was sharp and solid.
He also displayed both his brilliant skill at deflecting non-issues, as well as a smoothly-handled ability to concede where Clinton's points warranted it.

Despite my committed support of Obama in this blog, I have been forthright in my past criticism of Obama's debating skills in other forums.
I'm not shy about pointing out where he needs to pull it together.

But tonight, due credit has to be given. He. Kicked. Ass.
Perfect tone to end the final debate on.

Clinton, as always, displayed her impressive command of policy minutia.
But beyond that, I think her tone in the beginning of the debate hurt her considerably.
Whether or not you feel that a debate moderator is acting in a way that is biased, there is simply a right and wrong way to react to it.
She reacted the wrong way. It came off sounding like one of Mike Gravel's notorious sarcastic rants.
Contrasted with Obama's coolness, Clinton did herself a disservice. Her objections looked foolish as it became clear that the she was not being unfairly questioned first the entire time (indeed, there were just as many first questions for Obama, and a few questions that were asked of them both simultaneously which Clinton jumped in to answer first on her own accord), and that Russert nailed Obama on some controversial issues for his campaign as well.

The second half of the debate was much stronger for her, but it was not the performance she needed to deliver to slow Obama's momentum.

A candidate was clearly chosen tonight, and his name is Barack Obama.

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