Isn't it amazing how an entire campaign can feel like it's entering the final stretch after only a handful of states have voted and there are still and over 20 still remain? But it's tru, and it does. After a year of debates, soundbites, press releases, electoral gambits, strategic alliances, smiling photo-ops, policy statements, cable tv spin by outspoken surrogates and obsessive multi-platform coverage, the race for the Democratic nomination has been narrowed to the final stage: Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama, and may the best candidate win. How it may have seemed to John Edwards aside, tonight is the first one-on-one debate between the candidates, and given the high drama (and low behavior) of the last few tense and testy weeks, it's sure to be contentious. Both candidates have basically stripped away the veneer of civility and fake friendship — he snubbed her at the State of the Union after snagging the endorsement she wanted and has spent years cultivating; she's been calling out his record — along with her husband — and unleashing the world's most, er, exacting campaign on him (that's a euphemism; I've heard the words "trained killers" applied). There is no love lost between these two, and a whole lot to lose. And there's never been more to lose than there is tonight, when both of these candidates need a win, to solidify their positions, each strong in their own right, and to land a body blow on the candidacy of the other. Who will win? What will happen? Where's Bill? These and other questions will be answered as we launch into this, the final presidential debate before Super Tuesday in five scant day — so join us, your humble liveblog team — John Neffinger, Glynnis MacNicol, Will Thomas and your humble moderator, Rachel Sklar (me) — because we've got the experience, we've got the hope and we're ready to go on Day One. Which is....NOW!
(NB: We're liveblogging from a Generation Obama rally in NYC, and we're going to post shaky, dark, hand-held camera videos of the scene here - apologies in advance for the poor, poor quality but we're doing everything on the fly here.)
The scene walking into the Generation Obama debate-watching party. The final attendee count was 818.
8:01 PM This is quite the scene...singles scene. Political scene.
8:02 PM Singles scene, though, 4 sure.
Glynnis: We're live-blogging from a Generation Obama event in mid-town Manhattan.
John:Did Hillary just get hissed?
Glynnis: If nothing else, Obama certainly has the best looking supporters.
Unfortunately, they are also the loudest.
8:03 PM Hmm - we may have to lipread this debate.
8:05 PM According to Wolf, the rules are THERE ARE NO RULES
John:People need to order their martinis stirred, not loudly shaken.
Here we are!
This is a SCENE. Wow.
There are about a zillion people here. Conservative estimate.
John:Obama opens with a paean to Edwards and a declaration of his enduring friendship with Hillary. Two nice notes.
Rachel: ...that Hillary is probably soooo jealous he got to say first.
Glynnis: Obama takes the high road into the debate.
John:Obama is apparently MC'ing this event.
Glynnis: Obama is giving his Super Tuesday victory speech.
Hillary is about to give her inauguration speech.
Glynnis: John and I are disagreeing over Hillary's state of relaxation. I think she looks extremely comfortable, fireside chat-ish.
Will:Hillary is sure to say her thanks to John Edwards. And it's true; John has had a huge effect on the substance of discourse in some of these debate. Nice to see that effect lingers, at least at the start.
John:Oy. She is sitting casually, leaning over onto the desk. Her facial expression is a pinched half-smile. If that's relaxed Clinton II would be a long 4 years
Will:First question: What is the most important policy difference between the two of you? Hillary gets to start.
Glynnis: Hillary says we are mostly the same..except...Health Care.
John:And jumping in on the mortgage crisis.
Glynnis: She points out there's not a lot of daylight between the two them...and literally, they are standing quite close together on the stage. Very team-like.
Hillary says: look at us, we are NOT more of the same!
John:And she again brings up the issue of Obama offering to meet with unsavory foreign leaders, "putting the prestige of the Presidency on the line"
Will:And we're back to summer!
Glynnis: The crowd here at the Grand cheers for that. First time HIllary has received a positive response from the room here.
Sent at 8:14 PM on Thursday
Glynnis: Barack seems very confident and comfortable standing next to HIllary, which has not always been the case.
8:16 PM John: His opening set a nice tone for that, probably put himself at ease as much as it tugged at democratic heartstrings.
8:17 PM Rachel: "I was opposed to Iraq from the start" - huge cheer here.
Will: Both candidates have claimed the mandate of John Edwards, now that he's not there to take the credit -- Hillary on health care and Barack on lobbyists.
8:18 PM Glynnis: John Edwards has assumed the role of Reagan thus far: more powerful in his absence and getting a lot of name mentions.
John: Obama notes -- surprise! -- that he opposed Iraq from the start. Hillary is taking notes on that, as if it is something new and interesting.
8:19 PM Glynnis: Only twenty minutes in and Obama is dominating...is it the thirty-two million talking?
8:20 PM Will: Gotta say, I'm amazed at the crowd. There are about 600 people, and outbursts aside, there's no problem hearing the TV.
The view from our seats on the far side of the room, in the makeshift 'press gallery' — all of us sitting up on benches typing furiously. Here's a little liveblogger ID for you, and a sense of how orderly the crowd was, and the scope of the event.
8:21 PM John: Obama has a talking point about letting everyone 25 and under get covered under their parents' health plans. No wonder he's popular with the kids.
8:22 PM Glynnis: This room is a great example of the demographic who is the basis for much of the health care differences between Hillary and Obama - "young people" who think they're invincible and don't need health care.
8:24 PM Hillary's school teacher qualities are never more apparent than when you are listening to her in a room full of well-dressed twenty somethings drinking cocktails in mid-town Manhattan.
John: Sigh. This is not at all an unimportant debate. A great health care symposium. But this debate throws very little light on the choice needing to be made next Tuesday.
8:25 PM Will: Hillary frames Obama's plan as political easier to accomplish, but not the right thing to do. Which means she is the fighter in the race. And just in case we don't get the reference, she mentions you-know-who.
8:26 PM Johnl: Voldemort?
Will: with great hair (too soon?)
Rachel: Obama is going to put the machinations of his administration on CSPAN for maximum accountability. Because, you know, AMERICANS LOVE TO WATCH CSPAN!
8:27 PM Will: Americans love transparency
John: Obama: No back-room dealing. Put the lobbyists on CSPAN too!
8:29 PM Are these people running for Secretary of Health and Human Services? Can we talk about beating some Republicans?
Glynnis: It is standing room only here. People are actually standing on the tables and my concern that we wouldn't be able to hear was unfounded...all ears in here.
8:31 PM Phill Walotsky, our press liason from Generation Obama (and M&M supplier) has just informed us that the room has topped 700pp.
8:32 PM Will: Here we go. The GOP is going to lace into any Democrat for being tax-and-spend. How do you counter? Obama first.
Rachel: "Somewhere along the line the Straight Talk Express" lost some wheels" -- crowd loves that one.
John: Thank you kindly - Obama is now smacking John McCain around for backing down on his criticisms of the Bush tax cuts. Amen!
Glynnis: Obama is swinging tonight: somewhere along the line the Straight Talk Express lost its wheels!
Rachel: Okay - the subtext here is, Obama isn't afraid to whack at McCain.He's electable! He can win in a general election! He can take on McCain and win!
8:34 PM George!
John: Obama is loaded for bear tonight - he is quoting Warren Buffet's point about paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. This is one of the best talking points democrats have EVER had on taxes.
Glynnis: George Kostanza is in the audience...the crowd here cheers GEORGE.
Rachel: Jason Alexander is spotted in the audience, and millions of people instantly flash back to Seinfeld.
8:37 PM Glynnis: Apparently "loaded for bear" means armed and dangerous. Which Obama definitely is tonight. This is really going to come down to a difference of personality tonight , more so than usual since it will be the last time we see the candidates together ahead of Super Tuesday.
8:38 PM Rachel: Big cheer for HIllary in the debate hall in Califronia; not so much in this room. They are a loyal bunch. Even when it comes to dissing the Republicans.
8:39 PM John: Hillary makes a nice gentle point about Clinton I -- we should return to those tax rates, and "My memory is people did really well" back then... Nice big smile from her, warm applause from the audience.
Glynnis: Obama is doing a good job of playing the confident, cool, somewhat aggressive visionary, against Hillary's well-prepared, school principal.
8:41 PM Obama gets big cheers here when he says blaming immigrants for unemployment problems, inparticular with African Americans in general, is scapegoating.
Rachel: Hillary doesn't look as relaxed as usual. It's hard to turn back the tide of momentum.
Rachel: Hillary doesn't look as relaxed as usual. It's hard to turn back the tide of momentum.
8:42 PM And they're sitting so close to each other, too. I still prefer the stnading-at-the-podium look. More room for elbows to fly.
Will: Now Hillary is being asked about licenses for illegal immigrants.
John: A politically interesting position for Obama to take on immigrantion. He wins big among blacks, but polls have suggested he faces suspicion from some Hispanics in part because he is black.
8:43 PM Rachel: Glynnis: just said to me, "they almost look like a team." Were it was true - that would be some kind of ticket. But if you're holding your breath, er, well, good luck ever breathing again.
John: Hillary pivots and talks about the plight of African Americans in the construction trades. She is right here, it is not entirely just scapegoating.
8:44 PM (Not that I'm the world's expert, but some studies have suggested that.)
Glynnis:It's interesting to be in this room because it becomes very apparent (keep in mind this is am Obama event) based on the rising level of chatter, how attention wavers when Hillary delves deep into her policy details.
8:46 PM John: Her explanation is strong here though, walking through the various difficult choices on immigration and ending with a strong call to roll up sleeves and get it done.
Rachel: Droppin' names: "I worked with Ted Kennedy, I worked with Dick Durbin, I worked with John McCain, though he might not admit it now..."
"Yes, THAT Ted Kennedy."
8:47 PM Glynnis: Opposing, flipping, running away: all things people have been doing in the face of the driver's license issue according to Obama.
8:48 PM Obama: people don't come here to drive.
Rachel: HRC drops the JC!
Glynnis: Wolf gets some hisses from the crowd here for suggesting that Obama was MIA when the immigration debate was first raised in the Senate.
8:49 PM Hillary trumps Ted Kennedy with a Jesus Christ.
John: Hillary is now feeling confident, hitting her marks strongly, and even even smiling genuinely at moments now.
Will: And a farmer's union on the side.
Rachel: "I was so honored to get the Farmworker's endorsement last week," she notes, because she gets endorsements, too.
8:50 PM "I see the people out there, thousands of people come to hear me...."
It's sort of amazing. People need so much help. People need so much hope. Whoever gets this nomination, they better make damn sure they win, and they better live up to every single promise they've uttered.
John: Barack does not look happy to be there, and has not shown off his million dollar smile, or its smaller relatives, much lately.
8:51 PM Glynnis: The driver's license debate refuses to die. The crowd here starts to head for the bar.
8:53 PM John: Barack reminds everyone that Hillary has been all over the map on this issue, though she now has a clear position -- but it took awhile. But he only brought it up to point out what a difficult issue this is. Yeah, right.
Hillary accuses Barack of having not taken a clear position on this issue -- huh? But Wolf goes to commercial before Barack can respond.
This is a little speech to the crowd from Tony Lake, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Obama and former National Security Advisor for Bill Clinton gave to the crowd during the commercial break. At the end he said he was "fired up and ready to go." Please ignore the exceptionally low production value; consider it a podcast, and anything else is a plus.
Glynnis:: Commercial break: Tony Lake is in the room...under the disco ball.
8:55 PM Will: The old rule still holds: they are more civil sitting down than standing up.
8:56 PM John: You know, one of the most famous lines in the entire history of American presidential debates was "You're no Jack Kennedy." A couple of days ago, the people who knew Jack Kennedy best declared that Barack was, well, basically the next Jack Kennedy. Not sure how he or anyone else could really work that in there, but hey.
8:57 PM Will: a friend just IMed: "Castanza... Stevie Wonder... Holy ****." How'd we miss Stevie?
8:59 PM Glynnis: Obama: Senator Clinton's record is a terrific record.
Rachel: God they're so polite tonight - it's like the last debate didn't happen.
9:00 PM Glynnis: What experience as a first lady qualifies you to be President? The room here errupts.
Rachel: "What experience as a First Lady qualifies you to be president?" Huge derisive cheer from the crowd, who evidently think that eight years of being an advisor to the President of the United States on pretty much every issue doesn't count for much. Osmosis. At the very least, but Hillary doesn't leave much to osmosis. Eight years. I consider it significant.
John: Barack is sitting off to the side here, and when he answer's Wolf's questions, he leans his head to the side in turning to look at him. It looks thoughtful, but not particularly commanding.
9:01 PM Rachel: I don't like when people snort at her experience as First Lady. It's not the only experience, but it's a singular experience, and a good First Lady can do much good.
Sorry, but I think that smacks of sexism.
Will: CNN's banner says "EXPERIENCE," in case we didn't know what's at issue
9:02 PM Rachel: Meanwhile everyone is saying about Bill Clinton is, "would she be able to keep him from being involved?" So which is it - is a First Spouse inert or a player? Because the standard must be fairly applied.
Lindsay Graham-drop - McCain BFF.
Crossing aisles! Working together! Getting things done!
Glynnis: Hillary answers by drawing attention to her entire career.
9:03 PM Rachel: "The United States is not a business, it is a trust....it's not out to make a profit."
Though she damns Mitt with faint praise by likening him to Bush - the CEO/MBA president.
Will: We're tackling the "What if you're running against Mitt Romney" question?
Rachel: OUCH! Obama zings Mitt!
9:04 PM John: If I may, these people are all but indistinguishable in their basic political orientation, and anyone who supports either would certainly choose the other much before the Republican nominee. There is ONE issue we should be talking about tonight, and it's not experience, it's ELECTABILITY.
Glynnis: Obama: Mitt hasn't got a very good return on his investment.
Rachel: Sorta below the belt, considering that Mitt is one of two front-runners, not unlike a certain junior Senator from Illinois.
("I don't think Mitt Romney's getting such a great return on his investment.")
9:05 PM Glynnis: It's a Kennedy-off!
9:06 PM Will: Well, to be fair, Romney's likely $40 million out of personal funds -- running against a candidate with public financing who was broke on New Years -- and I don't hear anyone calling him a frontrunner.
9:07 PM Glynnis: Hillary: This is a very exciting and humbling experience.
John: Obama smiled broadly and graciously for a good half a second. The camera caught it in profile, and then it was gone.
Glynnis: Any time this debate becomes somewhat contentious, one of the candidates never fails to bring it back to the middle by referencing its feel-good historic factor.
9:10 PM John: So this is Obama's oblique way of addressing the very brass-tacks issue of electability: we need someone who can call us to a higher purpose... But then he moves on to a little bit of analysis here, noting all the first-time voters who have turned out to vote for him.
9:11 PM Will: Obama says that he can bring new voters to the party, and references the Iowa turnout to prove his point. It looked like we might get to talk about electability, but the moderators take over.
Glynnis: Question: a 38yr old woman wants to know how Hillary will bring about change if she has never been able to vote in an election where there hasn't been a Bush or Clinton on the ticket.
9:12 PM Will: Hillary: I want to be judged on my merits.... It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, and I think it might take another to clean up after the second.
Glynnis: Hillary says she would like to be judged on her merits...and the rest of her answer is drowned out by the crowd here when the camera cuts to Pierce Brosnan.
Rachel: Star-studdend crowd! Diane Keaton! Rob Reiner! And I know Mickey Kaus is in there somewhere, because he sent me an email. Hi Mickey!
9:17 PM Will: And we're back, and right into Iraq.
9:18 PM Glynnis: Hillary is suddenly talking in a subdued tone.
Rachel: Here's an observation: This is RIDICULOUSLY well-organized. It was thrown together this week, I believe, and the level of organization and order is impressive. Even with wall-to-wall people, they managed to have an orderly area by the side couches (upon which we now perch), set up with plenty of outlets, and great, unfailing wireless (take note, ABC, hmph). There's a really nice guy named Philip who has made sure we have everything we need, and who just came by with bottled water to be sure. Anything could go wrong, and everything works. The crowd is even reasonably well-behaved (actually, they're ridiculously well-behaved, all things considered. And some of them are standing on TABLES to watch a debate between two Senators. Pretty awesome. Will be interesting to see how New York goes on Tuesday.
Uh, oh I spoke too soon - catcalling from the aud. "Six years ago!"
9:19 PM Glynnis: Hillary leans over to Obama during this exchange as though they are having a discussion.
Rachel: OMG THIS IS THE REPLACEMENT OSCARS!~
Will: apparently, only last Monday they were hoping for a turnout near 100 people. Not a bad sevenfold increase
Rachel: Who's she wearing?
9:21 PM John: Hillary has a nice stretch describing how to carefully get out of Iraq. Obama answers the same question by attacking McCain's 100-year plan and discussing the other security threats around the globe that he would take seriously. She is in manager mode, he is in leader mode.
9:23 PM Rachel: Maxine Waters gets a roar from the crowd. They're not fans.
John: Obama FINALLY addresses the point squarely: " I think I would be the democrat who would be most effective in going up against John McCain..." because of the centrality of the Iraq issue and the history of their positions on it.
Rachel: For Ted Kennedy though there was a HUGE cheer.
9:24 PM Will: Waters gets mentioned as one of the original "Out of Iraq Caucus" conveners, who also is in Hillary's camp as of this week.
Glynnis: Hillary is being very chummy with Obama tonight. She keeps leaning back and smiling: "we're having a great time here tonight."
John: She has a case to make on electability too, for sure, but she does not seem to be very confident fighting Obama on that issue.
9:26 PM Glynnis: The Iraq vote question is coming....
Will: Hillary also mentions Bush's push for long-term bases, and her legislative fight to stop him.
John: Obama looks even weirder when he is listening to Hillary speak -- in looking to his side at her, his head is tilted at almost a 45 degree angle. Bizzarro.
9:27 PM Will: who's got the question? Because here's her answer:
"Although I believed that we need to put inspectors in... ...the way that amendment was drafted suggested that the US would subordinate whatever judgement going forward to the United Nation Security Council."
Rachel: "Republicans are still committed to George Bush's policy...."
9:28 PM You know, eyes on the prize: That's TRUE. Damn, this country NEEDS a Democrat to be elected. McCain and Romney -- neither of them will commit to cleaning up Iraq.
She's very confident there. Fully in possession of the facts, as per usual.
Oh look,Wolf! Hi Wolf!
Will: (above, in reference to Hillary not signing legislation requiring the President to follow the judgment of Iraq weapons inspectors)
9:29 PM Glynnis: Hillary says if she'd known then what she knew now...not such a convincing answer considering that as President she will always be having to make judgment calls with out the benefit of hindsight.
Rachel: (I heard that Wolf made a joke about Anderson Cooper to the crowd before the debate went live. Damn would I like to know what it was. Anyone?)
9:30 PM John: Obama drops some nice imagery here - if what the surge has accomplished is "success, we have set the bar so low it's buried in the sand at this point."
9:31 PM Sure, what's the joke.
Glynnis: Obama says that it is much easier to have the argument about Iraq when we have a candidate who was ALWAYS against the war.
Rachel: "Equip our troops properly." Can you BELIEVE that is something that needs to be articulated?
Oy big cheer here.
9:32 PM Glynnis:Thus far, this debate has been a greatest hits version of the Dem debates. We're hitting well worn points here: Hillary's Iraq vote, drivers licenses...
Will: Barack ties Hillary's answer into his new stump speech, that Democrats need someone whose always been against the war if there are going to beat McCain on foreign policy. For the record, I think Hillary would make a better Commander in Chief than McCain, but Obama's making the right argument for his electability.
John: Obama is very good about remembering to mention Afghanistan at the end of his Iraq answers. It's a very easy, very smart way to make it clear he is no lilly-livered surrender monkey, he just has his priorities straight.
9:33 PMRachel: "When I went to Afghanistan for the first time..."
Has Barack ever been to Iraq?
John: Obama has made some strong points here, but Hillary has also handled herself well, smiling broadly, if somewhat mysteriously, when he answers strongly.
9:34 PMRachel: With Roberta Flack?
Glynnis: Hillary: it's clear if I had been President we would never have diverted our attention from Afghanistan.
John: Obama meanwhile is looking down his nose at her as she answers. Not so hot.
9:35 PMRachel: "Do you think you were naive in trusting President Bush?"
Will: Obama's been to Iraq. Back in January of 2006, I believe.
Glynnis: HUGE cheers in here.
John: Ok, here's the biggest moment so far.
Rachel: HUGE CHEER fromn this audience.
9:36 PM Hillary: Going to the resolution was a credible case.
John: Hillary waves it off, "no, no." Obama is suddenly smiling a very big smile.
9:37 PM Glynnis: Obama doesn't want to be-labor this....oh but he does.
9:38 PMRachel: "Senator Clinton has argued, I think fairly, that she has the experience to start on Day One. I think that it's importan to be right on Day One."
Will: Wolf rolls us out to commercial. I guess both candidates have been cut off from a chance to respond now.
9:40 PM John: When Obama says "it is important to be RIGHT on day one," and goes on to talk about the importance of judgment, Hillary is suddenly no longer smiling through his answers anymore -- she looks daggers at him, before catching herself and going back to her auto-chuckle.
9:43 PM Glynnis: You are definitely getting the sense in this debate that Obama is taking his recent momentum to heart. He is very strong and smooth tonight, and far more comfortable in his skin than I think we've ever seen him, especially this close to Hillary.
Will: Finally: the question on all of our minds. What about the sex and violence coming out of Hollywood?
John: Nice moment for Obama, painting a picture of himself as a parent. His daughters "know how to work that remote."
9:45 PM Glynnis: Since we've dealt with the kids , let's deal with the spouses...
Rachel: "Let's deal with the spouses for a second." Dang, what's Michelle Obama done this time?
Glynnis: The crowd here is getting a bit rowdy here...we're losing some of the answers to the noise
Will: Is it me, or are a lot of the negative questions aimed right at Hillary?
Rachel: "Greg Craig, who is one of your husband's top lawyers, and whose name rhymes in sort of a funny way, says, if you can't control him now what are you going to do with him in the White House?"
9:46 PM [Closeup on Chelsea]
9:47 PM John: The Chyron at the bottom of the screen reads "Could a Hillary Clinton White House "control" former President Clinton?" What exactly are they getting at here, hm?
Quickie interview with Jeremy Goldberg, one of the leaders of Generation Obama, the young professional arm of the campaign, (also HuffPo contributor, and friend of your moderator). Jeremy organized tonight's event and shares a bit of the process. p.s. I'm going on an unrelated weekend retreat with him and others tomorrow, hence the reference at the end.
Will: I liked this closing line from Hillary: At the end of the day, it's a lonely job in the White House.
Rachel: THE DREAM TICKET
Hey! Bradley Whitford from the West Wing thinks so, too!
So does Fran Drescher!
9:48 PM Glynnis:Hillary is not biting: I am the one running for President. I am fully prepared to make the decisions on my own (does anyone really doubt this? I don't think anyone can suggest that she wouldn't be the one making the decisions .)
Rachel: Go Wolf: Will you consider a Clinton-Obama ticket or an Obama-Clinton ticket?
Alas, the people in this room dont' really think so.
Will: O: Obviously there would be a big difference between those two.
John: They both smile broadly, but neither one looks over to catch the other's gaze. This campaign has been a little hard on their friendship, I'd say.
9:49 PM Glynnis:It's hard not to look at the two of them framed on this screen and NOT think they are absolutely the dreamiest ticket.
But Barack says : we have a long road ahead.
Rachel: Is this...deflection?
What is Obama talking about? How did we get from Dream Ticket to education and blah blah blah? STEP UP OBAMA! AMERICA HAS A DREAM! TICKET!
9:50 PM "I'm sure Hillary would be on anybody's shortlist."
Glynnis:She's likable enough, after all.
Rachel: There was a simultaneous intake of breath in the room, and a slow, "oooooooh!" Faint praise, indeed.
Obama's way or the highway.
9:51 PM I guess having Kennedys on your ticket means you don't need Clintons.
9:52 PM Rachel has left
John: Hillary is suddenly in infomercial mode, plugging a national town hall on Monday. Obama yuks it up chuckling good-naturedly at the plug.
Glynnis:And the debate ends...we lost the last lines to noise in here, though Hillary was certainly plugging her town hall.
9:53 PM Will: ...on the Hallmark Channel AND the Internet
9:54 PM Glynnis:The two of them make a great show of almost embracing one another...almost as though they were at a high school slow dance!
Will: with all this peace and goodwill, I have to ask... where's Bill?
9:55 PM John: Interesting little maneuver there at the end, as Hillary grabs his arm and pulls him slightly down to her to talk into his ear over the roar of the crowd. She knows all the "alpha male" tricks. That whole category may need to be renamed in her honor.
9:57 PM So, "Tainted Love" is now pumpin' on the stereo.
9:58 PM Glynnis:On the whole, the visual of tonight was the most striking thing about it. Personal feelings aside they really are a dream team.
9:59 PM Otherwise, on the whole, it really did feel like a greatest hits selection of previous democratic debates, except as a duet.
10:02 PM Not a lot of new ground covered here. But depending on the outcome of Tuesday it may the last time we see and hear them together.
10:03 PM John: I am not sure the dual "minority" ticket looks all that dreamy to the rest of the country. All of both of their negatives remain on the table. Not really a practical worry though.
10:08 PM John: Each candidate had some nice moments in there. We'll have to see which clips the media choose to rerun constantly over the next few days.
John: Does that seems right to you all? A handful of memorable moments, no killer moments.
10:10 PM Glynnis:In the end, like it or not, it's going to come down to personality. And the catch phrases, like it or not, are going to be change and experience.
10:20 PM Rachel: I agree. I think the big moment of the debate was when Wolf identified them as a "dream ticket" and asked them if they'd run with each other - if they'd ask, or consent if asked. And they both punted. The thing is, as Glynnis commented to me live, VPs and Prezzes often hate each other. *It's how democracy works, dammit! Etc. etc. They did pledge to support each other. I think the eyes have to be on the prize: Kicking the crap out of the Republicans.
Glynnis just said,"I want them BOTH to be the nominee." (That's how you know we're not biased.) Well, if the dream ticket catches fire, they both just might. But see above re: breath-holding -- I don't see much of a place for them in each others' campaigns.
I'm going to make the call: I think Obama is going to be the nominee. BUT -- the Dems are lucky to have two such great candidates.The important thing will be to not lose sight of what's important: Ending the war, and kicking the Republicans to the goddamned curb. Eyes on the prize. Yep. We're unbiased!
And with that, dear readers, we will pack up and leave this almost-emptied club. The disco ball is turning on an empty floor, the lights are up, and "Funkytown" is playing (really). All things considered, the people here still look pretty good! (FYI if you're free and there's an Obama rally near you this weekend.) Thanks for joining us in our own Funkytown tonight, aka for liveblogging the debate. We'll see you on...Super Tuesday! HuffPo Liveblog over and out.
Glynnis and I noticed a restaurant near the Generation Obama party, cleaning up after closing down, TV tuned to CNN and the debate wrap-up. This is an important election and everyone is interested. It's exciting to see.