Last Night's Democratic Debate

For the first time, Hillary Clinton faltered. Gone was her smile and characteristic pre-programmed laughter. Being the front runner doesn’t come easy. Even Tim Russert, one of the moderators wanted to come after her! She came across as a candidate with calculated positions (as her husband Bill Clinton did). Unfortunately she lacks his charm and presence of mind. If this perception lingers, she could be in for some setbacks.

Obama, despite pre-event rhetoric stuck to his “politics of hope” mantra and went after her rather selectively and somewhat reluctantly. His opponents are bound to say that he does not have the stomach for a hard fight. On the other hand, he seems to be better equipped to win the “who would you rather have a beer with” question. He showed some excellent presence of mind and good humor in responding to the question about life beyond the earth. However, overall, he seemed too serious, sounded like he had a cold, and appeared subdued and unduly restrained. His body language could use some work!

John Edwards on the other hand went on the offensive at every possibly opportunity against Ms. Clinton. I suspect that his attacks helped Obama as much as it helped his own cause.

As for the rest, Bill Richardson has a good resume but can’t seem to engage the audience. Joe Biden sounds the best when he talks about foreign policy (and Guliani!); Chris Dodd brought up the issue of Hillary’s electability and indirectly helped Obama and Edwards’ case; Dennis Kucinich seemed too obsessed with impeaching George Bush than stating his own case!

The moderators particularly Tim Russert appeared blatantly out to attack Ms. Clinton. In summary, this was one of the better debates of this race.

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