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Rehashing the YouTube Debate

1:56 PM, Jul 24, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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The Democratic candidates got together at the Citadel and all we got was this lousy T-shirt. Actually, we got a range of opinions on who won, and a few moments to chuckle at or worry about--depending on how you look at things.

But there is joy on the left as the Democratic base surveys the debating prowess of its candidates. As Pamela Leavey at the Democratic Daily sums it up:

I think by now we've all got the clue… We are stuck with what we've got

With such a spirited base of volunteers, how can the Democrats lose?

You can read the debate transcript here and here. Allah has also put together a range of highlights, including the Democratic party's global warming crusaders admitting to having come to the debate on private planes.

There were plenty of highlights, but we have to go with Barack Obama's promise to meet with Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chavez, Castro, and Kim Jong Il in the first year of his administration--without any preconditions:

Obama seems to think that once the threat posed by the U.S. is removed, Ahmadinehad and Assad will become responsible parters, and will take on the serious work of maintaining 'stability' in Iraq. His answer shows a Carter-like misperception--that if we just talk to our adversaries, we'll realize that we all want the same thing. Expect Obama to get hammered on this if he wins the Democratic nomination. (Looks like Senator Clinton won't wait for the general election to see him hammered.)

It's worth noting that Obama's answer has earned some applause on the left--notably from the Huffington Post, which admires his plan to 'bridge the gap that divides our countries.' No mention of who'll play the guitar while we all sing kumbaya.

On to other reactions. Marc Ambinder (now of the Atlantic) has a number of interesting comments, including this broad observation:

Barack Obama moves into his comfort zone when the argument is about change; when it's about strength and experience, Clinton (and Biden) excel. Monday night, the argument was about change, and Hillary was peppered with some hard questions, and if there is a disjuncture between the press's evaluation of Obama's performance and the voters' evaluation of his performance, it can probably be attributed a larger change orientation in the Democratic primary electorate. Focus groups conducted by CNN and Frank Luntz gave Obama the win.

Taegan Goddard on the other hand, points out that the polls show Clinton and Biden as the winners. Chris Bowers gives a reaction from the point of view of from the Democratic 'reality-based community,' and says that the group he watched with probably liked Senator Clinton more than they would have wanted to. Ann Althouse noticed that Senator Clinton seemed at pains to avoid mentioning her husband.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza names John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as the winners among the top 3 Democratic candidates. (Yes, he could have just named Barack Obama the loser--but where's the fun in that?) Jim Geraghty, on the other hand, says Biden, Obama and Dodd won. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Polman argues that the other Democratic contenders better start taking Hillary down a notch, or it will be too late to stop her. And Ryan Sager has a range of trenchant observations, including some analysis of John Edwards's critique of Senator Clinton's dress. And over here, a little item on Joe Biden's fuzzy memory.