22 February 2008

Debate thoughts

I stayed up last night to watch the Clinton-Obama debate online. Overall, I'd say it was close to a draw, perhaps tipping slightly toward Senator Clinton. She seemed more on the ball in the first half, including her opening statement, whereas Senator Obama felt a little flat. She was surprisingly courteous (with the obvious exception of the "change you can Xerox" gaffe), defying the conventional wisdom among the pundits that she was going to come into this thing with guns blazing.

Obama picked it up in the second half, including his mature handling of the plagiarism swipe. One thing I wonder about is why he doesn't cite his impressive legislative record when Clinton tries to label him as inexperienced, or full of hot air. By some relatively even-handed accounts his record in the US Senate is actually more impressive than Clinton's.

Also interesting is the media speculation that this was Hillary's valedictory appearance, or an attempt to go out with class instead of in a blaze of glory. Too soon to tell, but I agree that she was surprisingly mild in her criticism of Obama.

Best comment I saw on the debate, though, came from Slate's politics blog:

Obama looks like a Roman senator. Hillary looks
like a guest star in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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