Quick observation -- and I was only able to watch about 2/3rds of the debate, but Obama scored quite well with the New Hampshire focus group assembled by CNN to give live reaction during the debate, as indicated by the consistently higher approval score while Obama was speaking.
Who didn't do well? Richardson consistently failed to move the crowd except when he became passionate in his response to a question about "No Child Left Behind", which he proposed scrapping.
COOPER: Governor Richardson, you have had to implement No Child Left Behind in your state. Would you scrap it? Revise it?
RICHARDSON: I would scrap it. It doesn't work.
It is the law. It is not just an unfunded mandate, but the one- size-fits-all doesn't work.
It doesn't emphasize teacher training. It doesn't emphasize the disabled kids.
It doesn't -- English learning kids don't get help.
The worst thing it does is it takes districts and schools that are not doing well, takes their funds away, penalizes them. If a school is not doing well, we help that school.
The last thing we need to do, relating to teachers, is the key to a good education in this country is a strong teacher. I would have a minimum wage for all our teachers, $40,000 per year.
And I would emphasize science and math.(APPLAUSE)
RICHARDSON: And I would also bring, to make sure our kids that are not scoring well in science and math, 29th in the world, to unlock those minds in science and math, I would have a major federal program of art in the schools...
... music, dancing, sculpture, and the arts.
My off the cuff conclusion? Hillary is still the front runner, but Obama as VP and Richardson as a top-level cabinet member would be strong team behind her.
If I have time in the morning I'll try to assemble a reaction/poll roundup on the debate.
- July 23rd Democratic CNN/YouTube Debate transcript.
- L.A. Times TV Review of the debate.
- Interesting Early Impressions
Over on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes," pollster Frank Luntz asks a room full of voters if they liked the YouTube-citizens-ask-the-questions format. Everyone in the room (at least 30 folks) raised their hands. Everyone.
A small sampling on CNN's rival network, but a good sign for this new format.
UPDATE: Mary Snow from CNN with the final tally of the 24 member New Hampshire focus group that provided the live reaction cited above:
"We're here with 24 Democrats, Independents, who thought that Senator Hillary Clinton would be the best performer here tonight, but the results that we just got in, this is a focus group; show that Barack Obama got the most favorable in terms of the best performance from the 24 people who are here tonight"
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