More reaction from the June 3 debate last night. This time a younger perspective, from Mike Wacker of the Cornell Daily Sun:
But enough on the format of the debate. Let's discuss the actual debate itself and my take on the top four performers in the debate. Even though I approach this from a liberal perspective, I probably have a different take since I'm naturally conservative, but hopefully you will appreciate this analysis from a former debater in high school.
Obama really differentiated himself on Iraq from other candidates by how he magnified the impact of Iraq, discussing on how it affects the real war on terror in Afghanistan and on the ability of the United States to deal with other nations such as Iran and Pakistan. No other candidate laid out the negative externalities of the Iraq war like he did. [...]
On the issue of Iran, he [Edwards] delivered a very intelligent answer showing his excellent understanding of the political situation there. Also, I liked how he focused on reestablishing America's moral authority and standing in the world as his number one issue in the first 100 days. Furthermore, whenever Edwards answered his questions, he often made it a point to distinguish himself from other candidates, showing how he's better.
Biden obviously took an unconventional approach by supporting the war funding bill, but I really liked his approach and how he defended it. Discussing his reasons to continue to fund the war, Biden focused on why he was right and refused to focus on why others were wrong or even call them wrong. That put him on a higher ground than the other candidates in terms of character. Also, he cited specifically how voting against funding would have a real impact on protecting troops' lives from I.E.D. attacks. Everyone supports the troops as Obama mentioned, and Biden played off of that well, putting himself above politics on the vote.
Clinton had some good humor, some nice anti-Bush jabs, and some powerful sound bites, but she lacked substance beyond that. Obama opposed the war from the start but said little on Congress's war funding bill until he voted "No" in the end. Edwards voted for the original war but vocally opposed the new war funding bill. Hillary voted for the original war and stayed silent on the war funding bill until she voted in the end. While Obama and Edwards debated specific details of the other one's healthcare plan, Hillary had to discuss her unsuccessful attempt for universal healthcare back in the '90s.
Also, she refused to discuss how to deal with Iran if diplomacy does not work, dismissing it as a hypothetical situation, not even going into the topic of sanctions as others did. Hillary spent too much time dismissing "hypothetical" scenarios and questioning the questions. It can be done effectively once as Obama did on the question of English as the official language (he argued that it divided America and distracted from the real issues on immigration), but Hillary overdid it. While Obama gave specific reasons on why to target Osama bin Laden if civilian casualties would occur, Hillary asked for specifics on the question. She came off as indecisive and pretentious.
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