by Todd Beeton, Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 10:58:38 AM EST
It was a pretty staid affair, although somewhat more lively than yesterday's GOP debate. I was surprised that Barack Obama didn't step up his debate performance today I have to say; while he looked more relaxed than he usually does at these things, his answers did not project the confidence of someone with all the mo' and unlike on the stump, he still hasn't found his debate voice (although he did score with the invitation to Hillary to advise him.)
John Edwards actually did step it up today I thought, combining his Washington crusader rhetoric with his new more mellow Iowa-friendly persona; my only complaint would be that he repeated the same themes and language in every question to a distracting degree. While I agree with Marc Ambinder that it allowed him to weave his answers into "a larger argument," there was a bit of a broken record aspect to his answers for me.
Hillary Clinton, after a lifeless first half hour, returned to her impressive debate style for the final two-thirds and I thought probably did herself some good, if indeed this debate is potentially "seismic." I thought she appeared presidential and pretty well embodied her "strength and experience" rhetoric with her answers today; I don't know that the same can be said of Obama.
While Biden usually shines in these forums, he was a bit of a snooze whereas Dodd and Richardson were excellent. I thought Richardson was particularly good when he used his 2 minute statement to bring up Iraq, which as he reminded us, has been neglected at the last couple of debates.
Overall, there was an odd sense of calm to the whole thing, wasn't there? As though not much depended on the outcome...
What did you think?