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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Thoughts on Last Night's New Hampshire Democratic Debate

George Wenschhof

First of all, I have to say that the moderator Charles Gibson throughout the debate was extremely annoying. His wearing of his glasses down on his nose and his appearing to speak down to the Democratic candidates as he asked questions made watching the Debate very difficult.

Gibson started off the Debate with questions about maintaining the security of the U.S. against the threat of nuclear terrorism. From that point on the questions were mostly antagonistic and aimed at creating disagreement between the candidates.

What developed and last the rest of the Debate was double teams of Clinton and Richardson against Obama and Edwards. It makes one wonder if any discussions among the candidates took place prior to the Debate.

Richardson and Clinton played on they were the most experienced. Clinton attacked Obama on his health care proposal and inconsistencies in his positions and said words were not actions. She said she was the one who could take feelings into reality. She went on to say she was the one who can get things done and the others could not.

Edwards pointed out that every time he and Obama spoke of the need for change the voices of status quo will attack. This was a bulls eye hit on Clinton.

The best line of the debate goes to Richardson and came after one particular Clinton implosion toward Obama and Edwards. Richardson said he had been in hostage negotiations that were more civil than this.

Richardson has long been rumored at hoping for consideration for the Vice President running mate with Clinton. While Edwards has no interest in a VP position, he knows this is the time to try to keep Clinton down for he needs to finish ahead of her in New Hampshire.

Bottom line was Clinton tried to tear Obama and Edwards down and paint herself as the most experienced and capable candidate for President. It did not appear as if she made any significant inroads toward improving her position. Her best line was when she said she was an agent of change for she would be the first woman President. However, this gives us an idea of what her campaign will do the next several days prior to the Primary and that is it will be more attack mode.

Obama basically held his own which is what he needed to do. He has never been exceptional in Debates - his strength has always been in giving speeches on the campaign trail.

While most of the candidates looked tired with this debate coming just two days after the Iowa caucus, Edwards looked the most relaxed, fresh, and alert and performed the best of any of the candidates. His impassioned statements on how this was personal for him and the need to go after special interests came across very well.

Richardson made some good points saying he was the only candidate who supported bringing all the troops home from Iraq. He also made some good points about the Musharraf regime in Pakistan and the need for him to step down as President.

Now the spin begins by the campaign operatives and it will be interesting to read the Sunday morning newspaper headlines.

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