Democratic Debate Final Analysis… From Someone Who Didn’t Watch

Funny how things work sometimes; I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to watch the debate, but then I did only to have the chance stolen from me by something beyond my control.  For that I apologize for not being able to provide the usual liveblogging we do around here.

Still, from someone who didn’t even watch, I was able to pick up a few things of import.

-I’m a much better liveblogger than even I realized.  Seriously, I had up as many as six different liveblogs at one point and I still felt like I didn’t know what was going on.  Won’t get that here, nope, nosiree.  When we liveblog, we’re talking minute by minute commentary and analysis (/shameless self promotion and psuedo snark).

-MSNBC sucks on live video threads.  This is what prevented me from watching at least the first hour of the debate.  Now, I’ll cede a little ground in that my work computers are not nearly as internet friendly as my trusty little laptop here, but I’ve yet to be hobbled by a CNN debate.  It was made all the more frustrating by the fact that while I could usually at least count on C-Span to carry the audio, for some reason they weren’t doing so tonight until the debate actually ended.

To MSNBC’s discredit, though, I know I’m not the only person who had trouble with the live feed and skimmed complaints from other folks who were getting bogged down with frequent buffering periods.

-Based on live reactions, this debate is going to go down largely as a tie with both candidates acting a little more feisty than usual but neither landing a KO.

Now, as I’m fond of saying, the significance of a debate is not necessarily what happened during it as how it gets spun in the 24 to 48 hours following, so, without having watched it first hand, we’re going to have wait and see how this plays out, but before I get too far down this road, here’s a quick look at how some political media types are calling it.


10.36 pm. Obama won it – quite easily. It was overwhelming before the final break. But decisive nonetheless. I can’t see how she manages to rescue her campaign now. And his momentum will continue. It’s over, right?

(Okay, so maybe that’s not an unbiased opinion, let’s move on to the folks who are a little more middle of the road)

Chuck Todd:

Overall, it’s hard to see this debate as changing the trajectory of this race; Obama was a bit more defensive tonight than last week and had more stumbles tonight than in more recent encounters. Clinton really flubbed that “SNL” line and she did so early so it made it into a bunch of writeups; she should have saved it until it was more appropriate. It was a contentious debate, but civil; and both will probably be better nominees for it. 

It’s hard to pick a winner; Clinton was more prepared but Obama survived and that’s probably the name of the game for him at this late date in the campaign.

Rick Klein:

On one level — no clear winner is good news for Obama, the frontrunner, who avoided any significant missteps. But there are plenty of scattered moments for the Clinton campaign to be proud of (though that bizarre reference to the SNL skit, to me, was a low point). All told, she made it substantive, kept the focus on Obama’s record (or lack thereof).

They did not break much new policy ground this evening. But for a Clinton campaign that’s looking to fight out the final week before Ohio and Texas, maybe, just maybe, there’s some pieces here that she can work with. Obama entered and leaves Cleveland State as the frontrunner. But there’s a big week left…

Chris Cillizza:

* Neither candidate scored a knockout or even a knockdown. That’s probably good news for Obama, who came into the debate on a roll and simply wanted to make it through the night without breaking that momentum.

All in all, what one should have expected.  Contentious and heated, but not to the point of actually spilling blood.  Funnily enough, at the beginning and at the end of the Democratic primary, such an outcome would favor Obama.  The beginning because it would have signified an up and comer capable of standing toe to toe with the battle hardened veteran, and now at the end because we see a frontrunner protecting his territory and momentum.

What this all means is that without a crucial knockout, Ohio and Texas is going to be all about the ground and pound; a scenario that thus far has proven to be to Obama’s benefit.  Tomorrow is a new day, and brings with it all the spin fit to print.  One moment that may have seemed insignificant at the time may rear a particularly ugly head to bite either candidate in the rear, but in the afterglow of the event itself the story seems clear.

No knockout, overall tie, advantage Obama.  Obama stumbled here and there, but kept his composure.  Clinton brought the persona that has done herself and her campaign the greatest disservice this primary season.  We now enter what feels like the final week of the Democratic nomination race with Obama’s status as frontrunner and his momentum still intact, and no clear path for Clinton to win back what was hers to lose in the first place.

Count them, by the time I hit the publish button, there will be t-minus six days until this whole shooting match is ended.


4 Responses to “Democratic Debate Final Analysis… From Someone Who Didn’t Watch”

  1. i did not wtch stopped after number 12 LO i can specuate if u want LOL

  2. Dynamic says:

    I’ve picked up a nasty bug after a weekend of admittedly excessive partying (Club DJing may not pay the greatest but the benefits are AWESOME 😆 ) so I managed to sleep through the debate, but I’ll agree – the liveblogging here is excellent, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

    And now, back to bed.

  3. Hehe. Yeah, well, I guess you’re right RDB, it can’t have ventured too far from the typical Democratic debate. And thanks D, no go get yourself better.

  4. terry says:

    What we saw again last night was Barack Obama on message, the same message he’s had since last February. He was calm and even-tempered and handled the awkward moments well, like when they played the video of HRC mocking him. And, as the poll numbers show, that’s what people respond to and that’s part of why they like him.

    On the flip side, Hillary Clinton was a little all over the place. She had some good moments. She fell flat when she complained about getting the first question and when she referenced SNL (not sure everyone got that). She whined a little. She looked liked she was going to tear up again. She kept repeating that she’s a fighter. And she had moments where she evaded the question, about her tax returns and papers from her years as first lady.

    Basically Obama’s doing well because Obama’s doing well 🙂


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