So, I just watched the YouTube Democratic debate on CNN...

Even though the questions were cherry picked, and not all candidates got a fair shake of time, I liked the format. It was contemporary and snappy. Most speakers kept to the subject and the time limits. Anderson Cooper did a pretty good job. It wasn't as dry or rehearsed as the typical debates, and the facade of having the questions come from the people was a bit refreshing. The two hours went by pretty darn quickly. However, the CNN scrub of the questions, and the immediate talking-head followup naming Hillary "Gladys Knight" and the rest of the panel "the Pips" pretty much lets you know who CNN is backing. :)

So, here is a breakdown as I saw it:

Gravel - Who? Oh yeah, the crazy guy that spoke his mind when he was given about three minutes of a two hour debate to do so. Good advice on following the money trails, though.

Dodd - Angry eyebrows. Otherwise, kinda lackluster in his performance. Didn't really stand out, although his Youtube style campaign video was hilarious. White hare indeed.

Edwards - Worked the issues good up until the preacher nailed him with the religion in politics question. I still can't see how any candidate can truly say that they are deeply religious, but when they are on the job, they don't let their beliefs influence them in any way. His "no nuclear" energy policy seemed to set him apart from the others on the energy issue. I also don't like the fact that he wants to mandate what healthcare I get.

Clinton - I just don't like this woman for some reason. She seemed to be get her mileage out of Bush bashing. Grating voice. She did seem to have the more politically "experienced/correct" answers, especially when it came to having talks with the "Axis of Evil" leaders. I think she missed a beat on the Darfur question, though, stumbling through comments about US troop involvement.

Obama - Polished, but still doesn't have the experience to edge out Hillary. Seems hell bent on changing the old guard out of Washington, along with shutting down all special interests. I do believe that he edged out Hillary and Edwards on the other issues that they got to address. I like it that he thinks health care should not be mandated, but available to everyone. He also really seemed to be pandering to the Republicans/Undecided as well. He mentioned Ronald Reagan at least two times, and flattering at that.

Richardon - When I took the candidate poll a while back, this is the guy that matched up to me above everyone else. I think I understand where he is coming from and wants to go, but I'm still unclear on whether he knows how to get there. He is the only governor running, so I think he has a better understanding on how the issues will trickle down to the state level. He's also down with the Beetis.

Biden - My wife really liked his answers. He seemed direct and to the point on every answer. He really wants to tell the truth. :) I DO NOT like his stance on firearms. The last two minutes of the debate were just not enough to let people fully see how he wants to strip that right from every citizen. I think he was also the only candidate that insulted the question asker as well. So, people who own or want to own military style weapons are mentally unstable. Interesting...

Kucinich - I think this guy is so far left that he makes everyone else look moderate. No-eyebrow people scare me a bit.

Overall, a good twist on the typical debate scheme. It will be interesting to see how CNN handles the Republicans in September. I know they can't throw the same questions at them, because they could have time to rehearse. However, I think the format of this debate works and should continue to evolve until people can truly ask their candidates what is on their mind.

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