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John Neffinger, Glynnis MacNicol, and Rachel Sklar Headshot

Liveblog! Realizing MLK's Dream On A South Carolina Stage

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Good evening and welcome to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — five days before the historic SC Democratic primary and on this historic Martin Luther King Day in this historic election year. Historic! Why? Because there's "an extraordinary, young African-American man" running, in the words of Senator Hillary Clinton, plus a "Son of the South" in John Edwards, born in South Carolina, and "a formidable opponent, actually two formidable opponents at this point between Senator Clinton and President Clinton" — in the words of Obama today on "Good Morning America." Yes, folks, it's a four-person race these days, with Bill and Hill tag-teaming along the campaign trail, she all smiles and warmth ("Please fasten your seatbelts, friends in the press corps!"), him speaking not-so-softly and carrying a big, swinging stick. Unintentional mixed implied metaphor! In any case, tonight there will be all sorts of fun — between the last debate's love-fest and tonight's impending brou-ha-ha, there has been a primary (Hillary won! Barack got more delegates! Edwards, um, didn't!) and a very public three-way tussle between Obama, Bill and Hill. Oh no they didn't! Yes, they did, and they will....so join us in liveblogging every exhilarating, sweet-heroin-in-the-veins-of-political-junkies-minute. Tie off, ladies and gents, because here we go! Wow, this may be the most unfortunately- metaphored liveblog intro thus far. Let's hope that John Neffinger and Glynnis MacNicol can help me, Rachel Sklar, raise this discourse starting...now!


8:09 PM Rachel: First question: How would the average SC taxpayer benefit from Clinton's Economic Stimulus Plan?
She's glad he asked that!
Clinton is, as usual, prepared and sure and in command of everything she wants to say.
This is her bailiwick: Facts. Figures. Wonkery.
The rise of this economic issue has been great for her -- plays right into her COO image.
8:11 PM John: Nice close: economic justice is part of Dr. King's unfinished legacy.
Rachel: Great segue for Obama - noting that the March on Washington was for jobs.
8:12 PM And goes for the jugular on the war immediately: "A war that I believe should never have been waged." He'll show YOU a fairytale, Bill Clinton!
8:13 PM Edwards, reconnecting: "A debate sponsored by the Congressional black caucus" - it took the white male to say it.
8:14 PM It is impossible for me to hear the word "stimulus package" and not want to giggle. I'm just sayin'.
John: Now Edwards makes his case as the true heir of King's legacy.
Ahem.
Rachel: "The cause of my life - to end poverty in this country."
Haaa.Well, if MLK's dream is truly implemented, then that role should not be limited to black people!
8:15 PM Which is the point here: Even though it did sound a mite trite, I will confess, it was sort of nice to hear Clinton and Edwards saying how cool it was that there was a candidate like Barack Obama running for president, how meaningful it was to appreciate that on MLK day.
It is a serious measure of how far that dream has come.
8:17 PM John: Obama again is drawing the distinctions - Edwards brought up NAFTA, Obama calls it a mistake and points to Clinton's support for it.
8:18 PM Rachel: This is where they are now - their attacks have to be targeted, smart, on point. Drawing distinctions between themselves and their leadership style and their records.
8:19 PM I believe that Obama needs to come back from the COO comments. He floated on the wings of his rhetoric after Iowa, and fairly or unfairly, now that is coming back to bite him as everyone finally wakes up to the fact that he's been under-scrutinized. So he's got to be sharp. In addition to having sharp elbows.
8:20 PM Since this is TV, a visual medium, I have to say that Clinton looks great tonight. Much better than in Vegas, where lighting gave everyone a slightly putty-faced look.
I like them behind podiums, standing.
It's a configuration that works for Obama, too - he's got the stature.
8:21 PM John: All three are speaking more forcefully than they did when they were sitting around playing nice at the last debate. They are still mostly trying to out-wonk each other.
Rachel: Zing! "In a year's time it will be me who's enforcing them."
Podia?
John: Podiae?
Rachel: God, John, isn't Barack just light years from where he was?
Look at him. Animated and comfortable and confident.
He doesn't look slightly unhappy to be there, ill at ease. The furrow in his brow is gone.
John: God he looks good, doesnt he?
8:22 PM Rachel: I know - like he finally decided, okay, I really AM gonna do this.
John: When they cut to the shot with Edwards in the foreground and Barack in the background, you really see the contrast in posture. One of these guys looks like a president.
8:23 PM Rachel: Can you imagine how good Mitt Romney would be if he had a similar conversion? Just said, damn it, I don't care, I'm a damn good candidate and I'm up here to win because of my convictions? (Assuming he's capable of it.)
John: Sad to say, he really would have to find some first.
Rachel: We started out these liveblogs seeing Romney looking like the most presidential figure - but these people are animated by how they behave on the campaign trail. I think you can see that here tonight.
Both Clinton and Obama are really very impressive.
8:24 PM Even when they're bashing each other.

John: Here we go. Barack lays out the case that the Clintons have been lyin'!
Rachel: Hillary is obfuscating here - saying that Obama "liked" the ideas of Republicans. He called them the party of ideas, but he didn't say he LIKED them.
Oooh that shot with him TOWERING over her.
WOW.
TOWERING.
8:25 PM John: She looks cool and confident in replying.. but repeats the mischaracterization of his remarks -- exactly.
Hillary is now talking about "our" criticism, referring to her and Bill. They are as one.
Rachel: Oh gosh! We are getting Clinton directly confronting Obama on the war record!
8:26 PM Oh no Blitzer's mixing in? Let's get this out in the open!
"Let's talk about Ronald Reagan."
8:27 PM "You just said I complimented the Republican ideas and that is not true." Eh - that's not true, either. He certainly framed them in a positive way.
"I spent a lifetime fighting against Ronald Reagan's policies" -- he has to put that out there, to undo the damage of his original comments. Because he DID invoke Ronald Reagan.
Ohhhh he mentioned theh Brokaw book!
8:28 PM It's a BRAWL!
"We're just getting warmed up." Nice save, Hillary.
"I have read the transcript" - Yes!
John: This is a full-on throw down. Edwards will presumably be allowed a half-hour soliloquy later on in the program.
8:29 PM Rachel: "You or your husband? I can't tell who I'm running against!" OH ZING!
8:32 PM John: Edwards gets his opportunity, pivots off the squabbling next to him and the recounts his case, highlighting all the great plans he has put forward... And then takes a shot at Hillary for not putting out a plan to raise revenue to pay for Social Security.

8:35 PM This Edwards guy, he should be a speechwriter!
8:37 PM He articulates the economic distress well, but goes on a bit too long and loses his momentum.
8:38 PM Hillary speaks stridently about the mortgage mess, sounding more alarmed than commanding.
8:41 PM Rachel: Wow - this is getting tense!
John: Obama does well in answering the charge of him doing legal work for a slumlord - he explains it, and then says "It's okay for her to throw that out." He contains the damage, accepts responsibility and moves on.
Rachel: (Sorry, was finishing the intro and publishing the first batch.)
8:42 PM Yes - five hours of work as a young associate - please, who hasn't worked for a slumlord?
Now do we think that John Edwards is coming back around to attacking Obama? Because he sees the wind changing and bringing Clinton's fortunes with it?
8:43 PM John: I would rather not characterize the clients I worked for in the private sector. Let's just say I am not in those jobs any more.
8:44 PM Hillary goes a little too far? She accuses Obama of not "ever" taking responsibility for his votes. The audience boos.
Rachel: Well, more like hisses, I think. But it wasn't good.
8:47 PM Damn. In discussing Obama's voting record, Hillary mentions him voting "present" on an issue of privacy for victims of sexual abuse, and Obama asserts he has had family members who were victims of sexual abuse.
Rachel: Did he say that? He mentioned his kids...wow.
8:48 PM Edwards is almost moderator here.
He's the swing vote - now he's hammmering Obama on his votes.
8:49 PM Obama sounds frustrated - because vote by vote there probably WERE badly-drafted bills that needed to go back to the drawing board.
He is going back to the fact that he votes with his conscience and does what he thinks is "the right thing to do" - and follows up with "I have not simply followed, I have led."
He is REALLY commanding here.
John: Obama looks chastened here when he needs to look indignant. He looks fine in the transcript, but he looks beleaguered on screen.
8:50 PM Um...
Rachel: Okay - everyone take a breath - Suzanne Malveaux has a question for Hillary! They both have VERY shiny lips.
John: Might wanna revisit that.
Rachel: Ha - we disagree!
It's interesting - we are a mini-microcosm of voters. Everyone brings something different to their interpretation.
John: [He ended stronger, but he was not standing tall while the attacks were being leveled.]
8:51 PM Rachel: Like our emotions, right David Brooks? Gosh you're so clever and prescient!
Oh okay, that's a good point.
John: Ha.
Rachel: You know, I see Obama writing something down - I may be naive but I always sort of thought they got up there armed just with their wits. I like it better that way.
8:52 PM Seriously? Clinton's eyes are shining. Her lips are glistening. Her skin is gleaming. Obama's skin looks great too. CNN is by far the most flattering name in news.
8:53 PM Ooh, he respects that Hill and Bill tried to get universal health care passed...
...too bad they FAILED!
John: I think Obama's scalp may be glistening through his closely-shorn hair... almost like he had a touch of grey.
Rachel: Harry and Louise, your shadow looms long through history.
8:54 PM Edwards looks good too. I'm not sure he will end up being such a kingmaker - his numbers are too low, his influence has to correspond with that - but man he plays a good spoiler here tonight.
8:55 PM John: Edwards gets a bit of applause for saying forthrightly that none of their health care plans covers everything.
Rachel: Yes - Edwards is doing well here.
Oops, did the cameraman just sneeze? Wobbly.
8:56 PM John: Edwards has a little smile on his face here. He's having fun with this.
Rachel: Obama is droppin' his success at fundraising...ouch. Poor Edwards.
Oh see, I thought that smile was a tight little "Yeah I know I don't have any money, you sonofabitch. But I'm ON you tonight. Fundraise your way out of that."
John: Obama is not having fun. He looks like he is struggling a little with this double-barreled barrage of attacks.
Rachel: smile
8:57 PM I agree - he was on stride more at the beginning.
John: More or less, yeah. This is the same fun he had running cross-examinations as a trial attorney.
Rachel: Glynnis is here, YAY!
GLYNNIS IS HERE! ALL HAIL GLYNNIS!
John: Er, Hail!
8:58 PM How was dinner?
Rachel: She's not on yet. She's unbuttoning her coat. Rawr.
8:59 PM Okay, back to Edwards - he is doing great tonight. Perhaps released from the worry about actually having to be a contender? Now he's just enjoying the process, the message?
Uh oh someone needs to give Edwards a pat down.
John: He's enjoying all of this, especially attacking Obama.
Rachel: (Mickey Kaus, insert undernews joke here.)
9:00 PM Hillary: "Universal healthcare is such a core Democratic principle that I am willing to go to the mat for it. I've been there before, I'll do it again."

Glynnis: I'm here
9:01 PM John: A little joke - try to be brief - yeah right, exactly, gets Obama smiling his million-dollar smile for just a sec.
Glynnis: Wow! fireworks. There's a lot of first names flying around here.
And Hillary looks great.
9:02 PM John: You like the brown/orange? I was wondering...
Rachel: I wasn't bullish at first - it's severe - but
Glynnis: Was it my imagination or were Hillary and Edwards nodding along with each other? All bets are off, maybe?
9:03 PM John: Yes, Obama is definitely in the crosshairs tonight.
Glynnis: Question to Hillary: Are you looking to end this war or win it?
9:04 PM Hillary says: I'm looking to bring the troops home.
Interesting that the issue that "winning" in Iraq is an issue that's been off the table for a while now.
9:06 PM John: It is back on the table now that Ragin' John McCain is in the lead
Glynnis: John Edwards' eyes perfectly match the CNN backdrop. Just sayin'. Hard to miss.
9:08 PM John: And his tie!
Glynnis: Obama has directly addressed Edwards twice now since I walked in. And Hillary has turned to face him directly. No one is avoiding name dropping or eye contact here.
9:09 PM And Obama's tie matches his CNN background!
Rachel: Maybe it's because I'm looking down typing, but I've seen him looking down more than at his co-candidates.
John: This is a big moment - the candidates auditioning their arguments against McCain's Iraq strategy. Obama points to the ruinous financial cost, and then moves on to the threat of Al Qaeda that Iraq distracts us from.
Nicely done.
9:10 PM Glynnis: Hillary is strong and confident without seeming "inevitable" right now. It's a good tone for her
9:11 PM Wolf says that after the commercial break, no more rules!!
Oh my!
9:12 PM John: Hillary sounds good railing against the latest ridiculously twisted Bush administration legal arguments, but did not address the larger strategic arguments that Obama hit.
Rachel: Break! 5 minutes.

9:18 PM Glynnis: Hi John!
John: Hey Glynn!
9:19 PM Chairs?
Rachel: John we just ordered pizza. JEALOUS MUCH?
John: Ha! I am halfway through a bottle of wine!
Glynnis: Wolf Blitzer has this endearing awkwardness, of trying to be cool and yet...
Rachel: ...and yet, the beard. Just kidding! I hear you. I like Wolf too. He's gotten better at this, too. I just really can't bear to hear him talk about the Best Political Team on Television.
Rachel: Charlie Rangel: "Black voters should not do what makes us feel good, but what's good for our great nation."
(Quoth Wolf)
9:20 PM Barack: African-Americans should vote for what's best for them, their children and their country. And he's sure Hillary thinks the very same thing about women.
(But women on Oprah messageboards are way conflicted about it, dudes!)
Glynnis: Ha! Obama just pigeon-holed John!
9:21 PM John: You think they get less puffed up when they are behind those podiums? Suddenly they are all nice again.
Rachel: Then John Edwards pipes up. How does it feel to be in the minority now, chump?
Yeah - chairs = love.
9:22 PM You know, all this talk about how whites see African Americans and how African Americans see themselves...one of the cool things about this process is that this is HAPPENING NOW. It's truly a case of the journey being just as important as the destination.
This really is an amazing moment in the campaign, on this day.
I'm not even American and I feel it!
Glynnis: Edwards makes a bold-ish move considering the day and the other candidates and says no-one has been bolder on issues of race and poverty than him.
John: You are raising the level of this liveblog, my friend.
Rachel: Do you notice that Obama is often looking down, or not at the person speaking?
9:23 PM John: He is the Thinker!
Rachel: Edwards: "Try to walk in the shadow of Dr. King" - hell no, walk in the LIGHT of Dr. King.
Glynnis: Who would have ever guessed ten years ago (or even four) that the good-looking white candidate would have been in a minority/defensive position.
Rachel: Ha
They're ALL good-looking, actually.
John: Oh, are you sweet on Edwards?
9:24 PM Rachel: She misses Biden.
Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiden. Mwa mwa mwa!
Glynnis: They seems less comfortable addressed each other now that they're sitting down.
9:25 PM Ah Joe. I do miss. I imagine we will see him again, sometime after Feb 5.
John: Celebrity sighting!! Dave Chappelle!
Rachel: "I think John has run a terrific campaign..."
Sounds like Obama is giving him the wish-well
9:26 PM Glynnis: John Edwards likes to make physical contact... and bad jokes.
Rachel: Obama: "I don't have time to read all your stuff and you don't have time to read all mine" Edwards: "Maybe I can read it when I'm having trouble going to sleep." Laugh, and swat - John Edwards likes the swat.
Trouble is it didn't quite fit the moment. And honestly, what I thought he was going to say for a split-second was "Maybe I can read it after I'm out of the campaign...."
9:27 PM Glynnis: Obama: The media has been really focused on race as we move down to SC. But I am really convinced people want to move beyond our divisions. NICE. And only a statement that Obama could make.
9:28 PM "An African America, a woman, and John." Best quote of the night!
Rachel: But this is interesting about Obama. It's he who is setting the mood here, the tone. So Edwards throwing in a joke - that felt off, because Obama didn't brook it. He is very focused on creating the moment he wants when he wants it - it was the same thing before his victory speech in Iowa, when the crowd was cheering and he was saying "thank you" in a decidedly shushing manner - he was focused on the tone he wanted to create, and that wasn't part of it. It's part of how Obama commands a room, and it's indicative of his natural authority.
9:29 PM Glynnis: That is the best thing we've heard since "A noun, a verb, and 9/11."
John: Yes, he is definitely back on track.

9:30 PM Rachel: Edwards' tale of the mother who was forced to choose between paying rent and paying for heating bills - that was a really great and forceful story.
John: It will be interesting to see if the coverage uses any clips of Obama's rougher moments earlier. There were many, but not necessarily very quotable ones.
Rachel: And very, very sad.
9:31 PM Zing! Do you think Bill Clinton was our first black president?
Obama, there's only one way out of this: Gracefully.
Glynnis: Youch. He'd going to have to dance a bit on this, considering this morning's GMA interview.
9:32 PM Hillary is also going to have to muster some grace on this.
9:33 PM John: Nice move - "like John..." Obama is very inspired by white folks who rejected discrimination. Nicely done, and nice way to take the focus off of Hillary.
Glynnis: Wow. Race relations come out of the closet. Good finale from Obama: I would have to further investigate his dancing abilities before I could judge whether he was a brother.
Hillary: that could be arranged!
Rachel: Bill Clinton: Undercover brother!
9:34 PM Rachel: Hillary: "Right has no sex, and truth has no color."
That makes me think of "If it's wrong, then baby, why does it feel so right?"
But I've been listening to a lot of Barry White lately.
Glynnis: Hillary: it would be unbecoming of us to not share in our differences.
9:36 PM The chairs they are sitting in do not promote good posture!
9:38 PM John: But they do promote good vibes. This is actually a nice moment for the democratic party.
Glynnis: It's a great moment. It's a team moment. Team Dem!
9:39 PM Hillary makes the very good point that the GOP is not addressing race relations (or health care for that matter).
9:41 PM Edwards is delving in now, saying the Dems don't talk about certain things also, like the black/white neighborhood divide in America's cities. These are good and important issues to get on the table.
9:42 PM Suzanne asks Hillary whether Bill is crossing the line. Hillary says he's just enthusiastic! He's supportive. Just like Elizabeth and Michelle.
9:43 PM John: Now they are back to drawing contrast among one another. Oh well.
Rachel: Barack: "I have been troubled by the degree to which my record is not accurately portrayed...but that's standard practice in some rough political battles."
Glynnis: Obama says yes, all our spouses are enthusiastic, but yours also happens to be the ex-President!!
9:44 PM Rachel: He wants to get back to taking on the Republicans.
"We as Democrats have not had a working majority in a very long time."
Glynnis: Barack says not only can I reach out to Independents but also dissatisfied Republicans.
9:45 PM Taking a rather drawn out side swipe at Hillary's polarization factor, perhaps.
John: Edwards calls the GOP primary campaign for McCain.
9:46 PM Glynnis: Who will be tough enough, who will be strong enough...to compete against McCain? Edwards wants to know. Is McCain a Chevy truck?
Rachel: He is walking a fine line in the going after the Republicans thing.
9:47 PM Asking them to cross party lines in Nev...running some ads without mentioning he's a Dem...it's risky. Though a brilliant way of saying "I can't fight the Republicans? I'm courting their votes, dammit!"
9:48 PM Wolf Blitzer: Roundest Face On The Best Political Team On Television
9:50 PM John: Edwards is not out of bounds to be discussing electability here. That is something democrats should be thinking seriously about at this point.
9:51 PM Rachel: Yes but he doesn't really qualify. Which may be why he's throwing it behind HRC this eve.
9:52 PM Glynnis: According to Wolf there is a RAGING discussion going on on CNN.com.
Rachel: Barack: The polls I've seen show me beating John McCain and every other candidate.
Ohhh, polls.....
Glynnis: And then takes it to rural Nevada specifics.
9:53 PM Rachel: Issue of faith: "I am a proud Christian" -- aaaand that gets applause.
He's saying that if Dems aren't' going to Church, then they're not talking to people who are going to church.
OMG Jesus Christ namedropped in a Dem debate???
Wow.
9:54 PM He really IS going for the Republican vote!
Glynnis: Hillary: according to the polls I'm beating everyone!
Rachel: I believe that of any one of us, I am better able to take on John McCain on any issue!
Glynnis: Hillary steps away from religion and dives into national security.
John: Hillary lays it out there: she is the strongest democratic candidate on national security.
Rachel: "They've been after me for 16 years and much to their dismay I'm still here."
9:55 PM John: She ends that answer with a nice smile too. Nicely played.
Rachel: You know, that does say something - about her, about the Clintons. They don't back down. It takes a certain type of person, and it's not quite Teflon, but they keep on stepping back into the fray.
Glynnis: Wow, John McCain is the new Hillary, or maybe Reagan if names mentions are anything to go by.
9:56 PM John: Edwards is pinning Hillary down now on not employing corporate lobbyists.
Rachel: Hill: "You keep drawing these artificial distinctions" on lobbyists - ziiiiiiiiiiing!
Glynnis: And Hillary is not taking it!
Rachel: You know, I think lobbyists have supplanted lawyers as the most hated profession in the country.
OMG John Edwards' secret plan!
Glynnis: When someone buys you a million dollar dinner they expect something, Hillary! says John.
9:57 PM John: Hillary does well here, smiling and chuckling through this exchange.
Glynnis: Hillary does well in the fray. It suits her far better than staying above it.
9:58 PM John: When she is not being angry, she does very well.

9:59 PM Glynnis: Barack is falling back on talking points here: "the politics of fear."
John: Obama goes back to his war vote to illustrate how he would campaign against McCainism.
10:00 PM Edwards whips out "foreign policy of convenience."
10:01 PM Glynnis: Is Edwards suggesting that the world is going to side with Al Queda if America doesn't repair its reputation?
Because, I know the French don't like us, but that seems a tad extreme.
10:02 PM John: More the "Arab street," I think.
Glynnis: Ah, I thought I might have mis-heard that.
John: Or he may have mis-spoken.
10:03 PM Glynnis: Obama: I don't think Dr. King would have endorsed any of us.
Nice and brave of him to say.
Obama: King would hold the American people accountable.
And then takes the punch out of Hillary by giving the credit to women making change.
10:04 PM John: And Hillary responds by calling out John Lewis in the audience.
10:05 PM Rachel: Hillary gets the last word!
Glynnis: Hillary brings it back to Johnson being the one who implemented King's dream, but in a far more round-about fashion.
10:06 PM Rachel: Wow, look at that crowd. Huge crowd!
Glynnis: Hillary is shaking John Edwards' father's hand...he was a mill worker, for God's sake!
10:07 PM Rachel: Anderson Cooper: "Rough and tumble debate" - Gloves are off! Paging Jon Stewart!
Cate Edwards and Chelsea Clinton chatting - CUTE!
10:08 PM Glynnis: Having only seen the second half of this debate, what I think is most striking is how incredible the Dem line-up is.
Rachel: Check this out: John Edwards, Chelsea Clinton and Howard Dean standing together - all smiles.
10:09 PM John: so...?
10:10 PM Glynnis: Also, both Barack and Hillary have seem to be increasingly comfortable arguing forcefully with eachother, without it becoming angry or shrill.
We are family!
10:11 PM John: That was some very real fighting there - not nasty, but seriously mad.
Rachel: Yep. Rough and tumble!
10:12 PM John: When things got heated, Barack did not defend himself as gracefully as he might have, or score serious points against Hillary for her misrepresentations. He was a little too courtly for his own good tonight.
10:15 PM Rachel: Oh, I thought he held his own, absolutely.
10:16 PM John: Obama had some nice moments in there -- he's a smart guy and had good points to make. It was noticeable how once both Hillary and Edwards went ofater him that his body language became noticeably less regal and authoritative.
Rachel: CNN is replaying that long clip
10:17 PM John: The man was a little bit on the ropes there.
10:18 PM Rachel: They both were, I think.
But this was a good debate. Better than Nevada.
Much more fun to watch, too. I am a big fan of the podium thing.
Glynnis: Watching that clip is interesting. It's a change to see Obama lose his cool, but also very humanizing...it takes him off the pedestal a bit, which I don't think is a bad thing.
10:19 PM Rachel: Mark Halperin: "These are two candidates who don't like each other...anyone who didn't know it before tonight knows it now."
10:20 PM Glynnis: But also, I don't think the swipe he took at Hillary for sitting on the board of Walmart, is badly thought out. Hillary has been way too active for too many years to be vulnerable to accusations of sitting on the sidelines.
Rachel: He notes that they brought a LOT of oppo research tonight - he says that the political people he spoke to say they haven't seen a debate like this in a long time.
I agree, Mark Halperin!
10:21 PM Okay let's talk Themes of the Night!
John: Yes, they were bringing the dirt tonight.
Rachel: Everyone came to the table armed with darts
Ready to throw
Glynnis: But I think it was good dirt.
This debate was forceful and at times angry, but it wasn't dirty.
10:23 PM John: This debate at least had the virtue of showing us a side of these candidates we have not already seen 1001 times.
Rachel: Both HRC and Obama were ready with their zingers: Obama saying he was fighting Reagan's legacy as a lawyer while HRC was on the board of Walmart; HRC said she was fighting the power while he was working for a slumlord. Ouches all around.
Glynnis: And there were a number of racial issues brought to the table, in particular the racial divide in America's neighborhoods, that should be discussed, but so rarely are.
10:24 PM Rachel: I agree - it was a good one. Great moderating, Wolf was practically invisible.
Next: Edwards! The spoiler! The swing vote! The Sandra Day O'Connor of this particular slate!
What was he up to tonight - secret deal with HRC?
Or just protecting himself now that the wind is blowing a little differently?
Glynnis: There's definitely been a lot of talk lately of Edwards as the King-maker.
10:25 PM He certainly doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon.
Rachel: Yes but I think he won't have that power. He's too marginalized when it comes to actual votes/delegates.
But right now he's got the platform. And platform = power, just ask Alan Keyes.
10:26 PM (Who disappeared without so much as a goodbye. I never liked that man.)
John: Recent press suggests that no one, himself included, believes he has any chance of winning under any scenario at this point. Tonight he seemed to be enjoying himself in a way we haven't seen before.
Rachel: Yes! He said he "got his butt kicked" in Nevada. He likes being the underdog, saying that he's running against "celebrity candidates" - even though he's the only one who has actually run before, all the way to the end.
10:28 PM Also: Bill Clinton.
10:30 PM Glynnis: Watching a replay of an interchange between Hillary and Obama, I think it's interesting that when they engage with each other it somehow shows them both to an advantage.
10:31 PM John: The clips that CNN had been picking of Obama during the testy early exchanges make Obama look very good. They are picking his highlights, not focusing on the times when Edwards had Obama off balance.
Rachel: The fourth candidate.
He had a rough day. The Atlanta mayor taking a hit at him probably stung, more so than any call from Rahm Emanuel.
Look for him to back off.
Concilatory, like his interview with ToBro last night.
10:32 PM That's how the Clintons have to go through South Carolina - he laid out the strategy clearly last night on NBC Nightly News.
Glynnis: In this replay it is clear that Edwards is no longer Obama's wingman...wow...he's just flying around zapping whomever, whenever.
Rachel: I'm predicting that they'll both step off the offensive and retrench around their record and their relationship with the black community.
10:33 PM Any other takeaways?
10:34 PM Other than maybe I should have stopped at two pieces of pizza?
10:35 PM Glynnis: The Dems have a fantastic line-up and it's gratifying to see them engage, sometimes angrily without tearing each other to pieces.
Rachel: Also: Obama may have had the line of the night: "Sometimes I don't know who I'm running against."
OH! The Obama religion and faith tangent.
10:36 PM Rachel: He brought that up specifically - it was not a question - it was not a sidebar. It was something he specifically mentioned. Specifically for South Carolina? One would think.
John: I gotta say, despite the testy exchanges, I thought as a whole this event represented the party well tonight. We saw a human, emotionally honest dimension to these candidates.
Rachel: I agree - it made you think, dang wouldn't' they make a great ticket.
Glynnis: I think the line of the night was "An African America, a woman, and John."
10:37 PM Rachel: BTW did we see any spouses in the audience? Chelsea and Cate Edwards, but no Michelle Obama, Eliz Edwards or Bubba.

10:38 PM Wow - great Obama ad just ran. Outstanding. Gorgeous ad.
10:40 PM Glynnis: It's his big national ad ahead of Tsunami Tuesday. A biographical ad to "introduce" him to the rest of the country.
10:45 PM Rachel: I hate that term. I can't see the word "tsunami" and separate it from what happened in December 2004.
Okay - are we done here? We're outta pizza.
10:46 PM John: I'm outta wine.
(I had help.)
Rachel: Well then, you go ahead and have yourself a good night then! Thanks for sharing!
This is your over-sharing HuffPo liveblog, over and out. See you on Thursday for the GOP in Florida! Apparently Rudy Giuliani is still in the race. Haaa, that and more political humor in our next installment of the HuffPo Liveblog Series — thanks for reading! Goodnight!