Democratic Debates: Round 2

Well folks, we’re almost there, the second Democratic Debate in New Hampshire is set to happen this Sunday evening, and of course, we here at Comments From Left Field will be liveblogging the event with our usual pith and political insight!

As with all other liveblogging events here at CFLF, we do our liveblogging right in the comments section so that you guys can join in on the running commentary as well, the kind of innovation and interactivity you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

What’s at stake:

Anyone who has been watching the trends lately knows that for the most part the candidacies have been in a kinda lockstep since the previous debate. Hillary is still leading the pack, but overall has been undergoing a very very gradual downward slide (nothing that would put her in danger, as of yet). Obama has seemingly plateaued, and while Edwards is still dragging the bottom of the front runners, he is on a slow incline.

Of the lower tiered candidates, the big news seems to be Richardson whose overall national polling still has him hovering between 2 and 3%, but some successful and innovative ad buys have garnered him a boost in support in the early primary states.

Keeping this in mind, here’s what I think we are going to see. Hillary’s lack of increase in support stems largely from the long held public images of her, images that have only been bolstered by a couple of biographical books released about her by prominent journalists and not GOP hitmen. This points to probably the biggest challenge of the Hillary camp and that is to portray her as something other than the overly ambitious, calculating, and manipulative person so many people see her as. Look for her to stay strong on National Defense and Foreign Policy, but at least try and inject a softer less aggressive side in other arenas.

Anyone watching the first debate has learned that Barak Obama really does take sixty seconds just to clear his throat. As one commentator put it, he has a wide turning radius. But of the mistakes made from all the candidates in the first debate, I think Obama’s were possibly the biggest and probably the easiest to correct. In national defense and foreign policy, I think he knows he needs to appear more firm and surefooted. But in general look for Obama to at least attempt to streamline his answers, and attempt to cram that charisma that has won him so much support early on into the sixty/thirty second answer format.

For John Edwards… First… Let me say that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those with whom I work with here at Comments. I have to throw that out there because I’m pretty much of the mind that Edwards can go eff himself as of late. Healthy primaries are cool, but at the same time, I’m of the mind that one shouldn’t bloody up your opponents too badly, and in this context, I find his constant braying about how the Senate has voted on the Iraqi War Appropriations is pretty cowardly considering he himself doesn’t have to vote. There, I said it, I personally probably won’t vote for the man except maybe in the general election, and only if it is looking really bad for him against a republican, but then, I never said I don’t hold a grudge. As for his performance on Sunday, despite Obama and Clinton cutting him off at the pass by voting against the War Appropriations bill, look for Hair Boy to keep on the war path, and possibly even making things exciting. He definitely does seem to be the candidate most willing to draw first blood out there.

Richardson is going to make a big effort to turn around his performance from last time. If you’ll remember he often seemed confused and nervous and out of place. Since then both he and his campaign have pointed to him having a hard time hearing as the reason for his poor performance, so look for the Governor to reappear in the debates as much more surefooted and presidential.

As for Joe B, I have one fear regarding him. He delivered what has now been called the best moment of the first debate. His infamous “no” answer as to whether he will be a verbose gaffe machine. What scares me is that I think he may try and take this act on the road. I say this because I was watching him on Hardball the other day, and Chris Matthews asked him a question, can’t remember what, and again Biden said, “no.” And waited. Expectantly. It looked almost as though he were waiting for Chris to break out in laughter, and I could have sworn I saw the Senator’s face fall when Christ asked him, with a very stony face, to expound upon the one word answer. If Biden tries to pull the one word answer off again in this debate, write him off now, he’s done.

So that’s that… hope to see you folks on Sunday!

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