The Plank

Covering The Debate Coverage

By and

The votes are in: commentators mooned over the format (this will change all Presidential debate forever!), identified some mistakes (both gun nut- and blouse-related), appreciated Edwards' boldness, and were pained, pained to declare Hillary the winner.

YouTube Forever!

Katherine Q. Seelye, The Caucus
"The videos added such a personal element and an unpredictable element, and made the debate seem so broadly open to everyone in the country, that it seems unlikely that future debates will not include them."

Rick Klein, The Note
"The biggest winner? The format--and here's guessing that presidential debates will never be quite the same."

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish
"If you're sick of people like me on television, or worse, then the direct questions from regular voters and non-voters must have been a breath of extremely fresh air ... I was fearing it would be lame. It wasn't."

Biggest Blunders

Ryan Sager, The Latest Politics
"Biden's obnoxious response when he insulted the gun owner ... It wasn't so much a personal gaffe as a moment that projected an ugly image of the Democratic Party as out of touch with rural voters and gun owners--big problems the party has been trying to overcome. He got a huge cheer from the audience, but that just compounded the problem."

Joe Klein, The Swampland
On Edwards: "Wildly stupid to say that he didn't like Hillary Clinton's blouse."

The Bold and the Beautiful

Chris Cillizza, The Fix
"While the dominant dynamic of the night was between Clinton and Obama, it was former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) who seemed the boldest of the three in his call for bold action. 'If you want real change you need someone who has taken on these people and beat them over and over and over,' said Edwards."

Roger Simon, The Politico
"John Edwards has found a theme: He is angry and he is on your side. He is bold and he will use his boldness for you."

The Lamentable Winner

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish: Hillary Clinton
"[Hillary's] response to the dynastic question - a difficult one - was the first time she has ever brought a smile to my lips. She's so much better a debater and performer than she used to be. You know how much I hate to say this: but she destroyed the opposition tonight: out-classing it, out-debating it, and avoiding the usual pitfalls. I wish it weren't so, but it's what I saw. If she keeps this up, it's hers."

Jennifer Rubin, The American Spectator: Hillary Clinton
"Although it pains me to say it, there is simply no peer to Hillary. Obama's promised tour of the world's tin pot dicatators highlighted the gap in experience, judgment and preparation between the two. All but the most rabid of the Democratic base I think will come to see that."

--Samuel Jacobs

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