I finally bit the bullet

and watched my first Democratic presidential candidates debate of the season. I thought it was a great night for Kerry. Sounding assured and knowledgeable, he seemed a cut above everyone except Lieberman, whose spirited defense of the war isn’t likely to help him much. Of the other major candidates, I thought that Clark was easily the worst. I don’t know whether his unwillingness to disavow Michael Moore’s statement that Bush was a deserter will hurt him with the Dems in the short-term. Ditto his view that the ACLU should help determine homeland security policy. But, at a minimum, Clark was on the defensive all night, whether the question was Moore’ statement, Clark’s lobbying, or his “guarantee” of no more terrorist attacks. Edwards either got tougher questions than Kerry or made them look tougher. I don’t think he helped or hurt himself.
Dean tried to repair his image with mildly self-deprecating references to his Iowa screetch. But his only really good moment came when he reacted gracefully after Sharpton told him not to feel bad because he would still be hollering too if he had spent all that money and only received 18 percent of the vote. When you’re living off scraps from Al Sharpton, you know you’re in trouble. Dean may have beaten the referee’s ten count, but if he did he’s still in his corner looking slightly dazed.

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