Thoughts on last night's Clinton-Obama debate

With the exception of Hillary's very strong close, this was my reaction to last night's debate: Hillary was good; Barack was better.

To sum it up, Obama was confident and well-spoken. Clinton did well, but not enough to get major mileage.

Her campaign is trying to spin it differently.

Howard Wolfson tells me via e-mail:

What we saw in the final moments in that debate is why Hillary Clinton is the next President of the United States. Her strength, her life experience, her compassion. She's tested and ready. It was the moment she retook the reins of this race and showed women and men why she is the best choice.

In a separate e-mail, her campaign compiled a list of favorable observations:

CNN's Campbell Brown notes a 'standing ovation' in response to Hillary's closing remarks. [CNN Univision debate, 2/21/08]


CNN political analyst David Gergen - Hillary's last statement 'was the most effective moment she's had on television, I believe, since the New Hampshire primary… [Hillary] really scored on that.' [CNN post-debate analysis, 2/21/08]


Politico's Ben Smith - 'Clinton's answer was a stronger performance.' "Clinton's answer was a stronger performance; Obama seems like he's about ready to get out of here." [Politico, Ben Smith, 2/21/08]


CNN's Bill Schneider - Hillary 'just made an effective argument against John McCain.' "Clinton just made an effective argument against John McCain: Though the Arizona senator is a champion against wasteful spending, Clinton pointed to his support for the Bush tax cuts and the war in Iraq - both colossal expenditures unpopular with most Democrats." [CNN Political Ticker, 2/21/08]


NBC News' Chuck Todd - Hillary 'had a couple of very good moments on health care and the economy.' "Did she potentially win this debate on points; I think so; it was close but she had a couple of VERY good moments on health care and the economy that probably scored well in the various focus groups of undecided voters watching this debate." [MSNBC First Read, 2/21/08]


New Republic's Michael Crowley - 'The subject of health care always brings out a formidable passion and policy fluency in Hillary.' "So much of the time politicians just seem to be going through the motions when debating the issues. But the subject of health care always brings out a formidable passion and policy fluency in Hillary. People can call her a phony for all kinds of reasons but it's clear she really gets and cares about this stuff." [New Republic, The Stump, 2/21/08]

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