Monday, July 23, 2007

Thoughts on the CNN/YouTube Debate

I really liked the format of the debate. I think the questions brought out more in depth answers on the topics and it was funny. I laughed out loud way more than I usually do while watching political things on TV. (PoliticsTV compiled all of the YouTube questions.)

My only complaint would be all of the candidates should have had the chance to answer the questions. There were a couple of questions that I wish a certain candidates had the chance to answer and they didn't. I was surprised there weren't many questions on immigration. At every campaign event I have attended the most passionate questions were about immigration.

You can read liveblogs of the debate at Iowa Independent and the Rocky Mountain News.

As far as the candidates performances, I don't think any candidate really hurt themselves at all.

Here are some thoughts on each candidates performance...

Joe Biden - He didn't come across as angry in this debate like he has in past debates. He tackled the issues strongly, especially about the ability to pull troops out of Iraq immediately, saying it would take at least a year to do so. Even though I disagree with on this, I respect his view and it has merit. He was strong on Darfur when he said...

Kids will be dead by the time diplomacy is over.
Biden gets points once again by bringing up public financing of elections.

The funniest answer came from the question about gun control that asked, "Are our babies safe?" Then the person asking the question held up a semi automatic. Biden responded by saying...

"If that's his baby he needs help."
Hillary Clinton - She didn't do anything that really hurt her, but I don't think she was the flat out winner of the night like some of the analysts on CNN thought. It was interesting many of the talking heads gave the nod to Hillary, while the citizen panels had her towards the bottom (Obama, Biden, Edwards were the top 3 of the citizen viewer panel poll on CNN and Hillary came in 6th, ahead of only Kucinich and Gravel).

Hillary was asked to define the word liberal and if she considered herself a liberal and she ran from the word. It seemed she got applause when she talked about it being time for a woman to be president and not as much applause on her stance on the issues. I will give her credit, she probably had the toughest questions.

Chris Dodd - Dodd didn't do as well in this debate as he did in the last one. He did get in about his carbon tax and his call for national service. I really liked his commercial he submitted and hope it hits the air in Iowa. Dodd has been on TV with typical boring ads and didn't see a bump in the polls. Richardson had humorous ads and started doing better in the polls. Dodd's ad tonight was funny, highlight his experience, and would help people remember who he is.

Dodd went ahead and answered questions to the top rated questions submitted on YouTube and posted it on DailyKos.

John Edwards
- Edwards pushed the need for bold leadership and came out more strongly than in past debates. You could see his passion when on the question about health care. Edwards had perhaps the best line when he had this to say about big oil, pharm, and insurance companies...
Big power will not negotiate, we need to take it from them.
He gets points for this line...
"Anybody who's considering not voting for Obama because he's black, or Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want your vote."
The question from the Reverend about using religion to support not being for gay marriage was a tough question and I think Edwards handle it well for knowing his answer would not go over well with some.

His submitted commercial was great and tackled the hair issue.

Mike Gravel - Gravel complained that he wasn't getting the time to talk. Gravel has yet to campaign in Iowa this year, so I want to extend him an invite to come to Iowa and talk to caucus goers as much as he wants. I am starting to think that candidates that don't make an effort to actually campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, S. Carolina, and other states shouldn't be able to participate in the debates. Gravel's only campaign events are these debates.

Dennis Kucinich
- Kucinich's best part of the night was at the end when he said CNN didn't have anyone to the left of him. Anderson Cooper responded by saying he wasn't sure if it would be possibly to find anyone to the left of Kucinich. Kucinich laughed and said it is interesting that his views on health care and the war are mainstream ideas. I agree that Kucinich has the right message, it just happens that he is the wrong messenger.

Barack Obama - Obama did a lot better in this debate than in the past. He had some very good soundbites. He had two jabs at Mitt Romney, one about Romney forgetting that he once supported age based sexual education, saying Romeny must have forgotten about that. Obama shined on the question asking if they would work for the minimum wage when elected. Obama said...
"we can afford to... because most folks on this stage have a lot of money."
Obama then says they may not be Mitt Romney rich, but they are better off than many Americans.

Obama was exactly right on his answer about gay marriage. He said we should do everything under law to give equal rights from the state and that includes the transfer of property, civil unions, benefits, etc. However, marriage comes from religious institutions and they should decide about gay marriage.

I think Obama made a good case that he is the one that can bring about the change. He separated himself from Clinton saying we need to change attitudes and can't have the same people. He made a great comment directed towards Hillary when he said the time to think about how to get out of Iraq was before we went in. He also mentioned numerous times that he doesn't accept money from PAC's and lobbyists and we need to get the big money out of politics.

Bill Richardson - Richardson also improved from his past debate performances. I don't think I heard him talk about any of his 5 points plans and he stuck with the basics of what he will do. He pushed hard to separate himself on his plan for Iraq calling for the withdrawal all troops in 6 months. On a question if their health care plans cover undocumented workers, Richardson received applause when he said they should. He got big points from this teacher when he said we should scrap No Child Left Behind and then backed it up with his experiences as a Governor.

Here are my final rankings of tonights debate...

1. The format
2. Barack Obama
3. John Edwards
4. Joe Biden
5. Hillary Clinton
6. Bill Richardson
7. Dennis Kucinich
8. Chris Dodd
9. Mike Gravel

Check out the past debates here, here, and here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still haven't seen the whole debate, but Hillary's campaign seems to be based on her personally rather than any big ideas about what needs to be done. She's a woman, she has experience.

I think six of our candidates have enough experience as well as the right temperament to be capable presidents. I want to hear what they stand for and how committed they are to getting it done.

Will they push for progressive change as W has advocated for his right-wing agenda? Or will they move half-way toward the Republican position before negotiations with Congress even begin?

I loved what Edwards said about triangulation not being the way.