Every person who watches a debate like last night's is likely to walk away from it with a different opinion as to who did well and who didn't. After reading many, many stories covering last night's debate (I was busy last night and didn't see the debate myself) I'm left with several impressions.
Biden surprised many. I don't think this really elevated him into the top tier, but it may place him a strong fourth in "stature"; we'll have to wait a few days to see if this trickles down and is reflected in the polls or not.
Richardson was so-so. Noteworthy only because several of us here at Wizbang Blue like Richardson as a VP candidate, and if he's going to fill those shoes he'll need to look more presidential than he has so far. He gets good marks for his campaign ads, but low marks in the spotlight (a phenomena that I predict Fred Thompson will duplicate as well).
Edwards came out swinging. In third place in the polls and slipping, Edwards had to make a stand and get noticed to set himself apart from Obama and Clinton. It appears that people noticed that he was fighting to get noticed, but weren't too impressed with the substance behind the swinging elbows.
Obama did "all right." He doesn't seem to impress people and do as well sharing the stage and spotlight as he does when he's alone. That may hurt him in the polls over next few months. Everyone I've talked to who has met the guy in person walks away blown away with the guy, so maybe it's time for Obama to start walking precincts, and keep walking them until election day.
Clinton held her ground.I enjoy games and competitive situations quite a bit, and I've noticed that in some instances it is quite possible in a competition to "Win by not Losing." The consensus I've seen regarding Clinton's performance last night mirrors that - she won by not losing , by not making any mistakes. Pure Clinton. She's clearly held onto her advantage.
And now the final grades. I've chosen Mark Halperin at Time Magazine to hand out the honors and accolades, as his thoughts appear to be the best matches with the impressions I've received from reading news reports and opinion pieces on the debate.
So here are the candidates' final grades on last night's debate -- with a link to the Time Magazine webpage where Mark explains his rationale behind that person's grade.
- Hillary Clinton clinches the top spot with an A-.
- John Edwards elbows his way up to a B+.
- Joe Biden makes his move on the front runners, securing a surprising C+.
- Barack Obama muddles through in this showing, garnering a C+.
- Dennis Kucinch brings his peace train into the station with a C.
- Bill Richardson ropes and wrangles a C-.
- Chris Dodd struggles forth with a C-.
- Mike Gravel... well, there's always 2012 - F.
Steve Crickmore, writing this time in the comment thread, added this link to a full transcript of the debate.
More June 3 debate coverage on Wizbang Blue.
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