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February 27, 2008



Agreed, the written commentary was a bit off. Certainly, there was some sniping back and forth on some contentious issues, but it was very civil by the standards of a 1-on-1 debate.

In general Matthews seems to not like Hillary, which is well-documented I guess. It's nothing explicit, really, but he tends to push the discussion in ways that make Hillary look bad. I thought it was a bit weird how big a deal he (and others) made out of Hillary saying she would "like to take back" the Iraq vote. I understand why Russert coaxed the line out of her, as many people haven't watched the other debates and Russert wants things made explicit. But as another commentator (eventually) pointed out, this was only a new LINGUISTIC height of regret. She's basically said the same thing, but in different ways, for a while. Matthews' extended metaphor about Russert "pulling in the marlin" was really over the top.

Olbermann doesn't seem to have any problem with Hillary, but he definitely seems to have taken a shine to Obama. I tend to give Olbermann a pass, though, because he's never pretended to be an impartial journalist. I thought both of the guys who actually conducted the debate were fair, though, and I thought Russert's tough interview style really added some good content to the debate. I hope we see him at debates in the fall.

I found Hillary's half-complaint about question order pretty strange. She's the sort of debater who benefits from speaking first - she gets to rattle off her bullet points and frame the debate, often forcing Obama to spend half of his time responding to her. Moreover, she got the last word in each of the last two debates, which is probably the most important last word. Hillary's "pillows" line was a bit forced and drew some muted jeers. That and the "reject/condemn" line (although Hillary certainly had a point there, Obama just did a nice job deflecting it) were probably her only missteps of the night.

d. cupples

I think that her admission of regret (war vote) was a good thing. Given that GWB almost never admits mistakes, any politician who can admit one will at least appear honest.


Oh, I agree. I think it was good that she said it and good that Russert coaxed her into making it more explicit. I just think that commentators are making a big deal out of not very much here; she had already said that she would have voted differently if she knew then what she knows now.


The media is desperate for drama. This campaign has been a snoozer.

I thought Obama looked testy and tired. I thought Hillary's attempts to change the momentum were weak failures. I thought that, except for the discussion of health care, it was an awful debate. But then I think most of them have been (NPR did a serious debate).

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