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June 3 Democratic Debate Roundup: Final Grades

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.

  1. Hillary Clinton clinches the top spot with an A-.
  2. John Edwards elbows his way up to a B+.
  3. Joe Biden makes his move on the front runners, securing a surprising C+.
  4. Barack Obama muddles through in this showing, garnering a C+.
  5. Dennis Kucinch brings his peace train into the station with a C.
  6. Bill Richardson ropes and wrangles a C-.
  7. Chris Dodd struggles forth with a C-.
  8. 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.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

  • Currently 4.2/5
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Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

Comments (5)

Lee Ward:

I came across one or two progressives who had Biden as their choice for winner of last night's debate, and Mark Halperin at Time says of Biden's performance last night:

If he somehow becomes the party's nominee, he'll be able to say it began here tonight.
Lee Ward:

And CNN put Biden out there are the winner of the debate:.

Although there was no consensus on the winner of Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate, CNN analysts were largely impressed with Sen. Joe Biden and disappointed with Gov. Bill Richardson.

Democratic and Republican strategists analyzed the the New Hampshire debate along with CNN's own political team.

Biden was "on fire," Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile said. Brazile said Biden's answers set him apart from the other seven.

CNN analyst J.C. Watts, a former Republican congressman, also thought the Delaware senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, performed best.

"I don't think there was anyone who broke out, with the possible exception of Joe Biden," Watts said.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, for those like me who didn't see the debate, here is the transcript.
Did Hillary really blame the Iraqis for the failure of the occupation? "They gave the Iraqi people a chance for elections and to have a government. It is the Iraqis who have failed to take advantage of that opportunity." and her anxiety that "President Pervez Musharraf, he has..become quite antidemocratic" ...I wonder what her first clue was? Could it have been when General Musharraff seized power in a military coup in 1999...Still, she must be an improvement on Bush's paternalism, but I must admit I hope the Democrats choose someone else.

civil behavior:

Everyone takes the medias position and clings to the top three.


What would you do in the first 100 days?
Restore our constitutional rights.

Best answer of all.

Go to Chris DOdd's website and tell me his platform isn't the best.

Steve Crickmore:

Now, thatI have now had a chance to see much of the debate, on CNN video I can see why pundits think Clinton gave a strong polished performance, but I still don't warm to her.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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