The first debate of the 2008 Presidential race is behind us. The Democrat side was represented by far too many people – so much so that the wide view made it hard to distinguish between the candidates. The flag backdrop was nice though:

Dem Debate

The bottom line is this pretty much means nothing in the bigger picture. I didn’t see anything that happened that might shake up the current balance other than Edwards appearing to fade somewhat. The show of hands questions were idiotic. They should have limited the questions, but it had to be tough with such a large field.

Watched most of the *cough* debate *cough*. I was a bit late and forgot the Buckeye State Boyz were having a live chat thingy. One of them has his take up too.

Here is a quick PlunderTake(tm):

Gravel: Um, spirited? Yah. I’ll go with spirited! Plundergrade: D

Kucinich: Well, he’s Dennis! Lucky for him Gravel made him look way less kooky (gotta give credit where due here. Matt Dole nailed this one!). Not that I disagreed with him, but um…well. Plundergrade: B-

Edwards: Bizarro questions (haircut, hedge funds) and handled them poorly. He also got the “who do you consider your moral leader” question. I thought storms had knocked out my cable he took so long. One of the silences that makes you look up from your live chatting…Ugh. Edwards faded in my mind. Plundergrade: C

Biden: Suprisingly well. He improved his stock the most. His “Yes” answer when asked if he could not be so verbose was an insta-classic. Very well done. Plundergrade: B+

Obama: No surprise here. He was the most composed and had the best message overall. Didn’t shake things up any, but didn’t fuck up either. Handled an attack by Kucinich very well. He’s still the one to beat in my book. Plundergrade: A-

Hillary: She came very close to shrieking in trying to be firm and strong. BSB Bryan kept saying she was yelling. Jill thought otherwise until later, but then agreed she might be. It wasn’t volume it was tone. The tone your mother used to take with you about eating peas. She got easy questions, but the most disappointing moment was when she had a chance to hit one out of the park when asked about Giuiliani’s recent assertion that we’ll be attacked unless a Republican is elected President. Dribbling grounder to third. Plundergrade: B

Dodd: Bad. Just…bad. Dodd’s a dud. Plundergrade: F

Richardson: I expected way more from him as well. I was actually hoping he’d be a darkhorse that would rise to maybe take a ride on the VP train. Not gonna happen. He struggled to answer questions, answered questions not asked to him, and generally had a poor showing. After some deft moves early, I did expect more from the Governor. Tighten up Bill. Big leagues now bro. Big leagues. Plundergrade: C-

So overall we have a situation where the top two are still the top two. The three spot probably is still Edwards, but he lost ground and Biden gained. Richardson is 4 and fading. Gravel and Kucinich are corrective forces and the equivalent of a 3rd party in this. They’ll continue to force issues upon the leaders and that’s a good thing. Dodd can start packing.

Thanks to Jerid and all the chatters. It was fun. We’ll have to do some live hook-ups for the bigger ones.

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  • mw

    Good summary. My take:
    Clinton was presidential. Obama and Edwards were not. Biden was funny and sharp. Gravel was entertaining. Kucinich was articulate and insane. Richardson hurt himself, but it was just a flesh wound. I forgot the other guys name.

  • Thanks for stopping by. I might agree that Edwards was a bit non-Presidential. he wasn’t on top of his game, but then again the questions his way were horrid. Don’t see the Obama point or that Clinton was overly “Presidential”.

    Besides, I don’t necessarily think this is the time for Presidential-ness. You are appealing at this point to the base of the party you are trying to get a nomination from. You can’t do anything dumb that will be lasting, but you also shouldn’t worry much about “appearing Presidential”. That will come later once you are actually running.

    Articulate and insane. I like that. When the going gets weird…

    You forgot Dodd’s name. Perfect!

  • bryan

    very nice write-up, eric. obviously, i disagree w/ the kookoonich grade. just can’t get on board w/ the new-age/stardust stuff. yeah, it’s my personal bias…

  • #3: no worries. i don’t particularly like the way he presents it, but can’t say i’ve ever really disagreed with much he’s said. presentation? yes. read an article in a buddhist journal about 3 years ago with him and since then I’ve been endeared to him somewhat. He had alot of good things to say in it.

    I fully get the point of abandoning his district, etc. I do get tired of the non-stop bashing and “kook” stuff. My take is with the status quo we’d all do good to get a little “crazy”…

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