New Hampshire Debate Open Thread

The New Hampshire Debate just got underway. Is the nomination at stake? Or is it merely a step on the path? Any predictions? Either party? Who’s likely to triumph? Who needs a stellar performance tonight? Anyone’s future going to be decided tonight?

  28 comments for “New Hampshire Debate Open Thread

  1. January 5, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    It’s make-or-break for Edwards and Clinton, for different reasons. All the polling at RCP begun after the Iowa caucus returns news cycle had had its effect shows a trend heavily toward Obama… from RCP:

    American Res. Group (01/04 – 01/05) Obama +12.0
    Concord Monitor (01/04 – 01/05) Obama +1.0
    CNN/WMUR/UNH (01/04 – 01/05) Tie
    Rasmussen (01/04 – 01/04) Obama +10.0

  2. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 5:15 pm


    To a certain extent, I agree. It seems like you forgot the Suffolk poll showing Clinton up 7, but that’s OK. Obama got a bounce, but we don’t completely know what the bounce exactly looks like yet. That’s why tonight’s debate is SO CRUCIAL!

    This is Hillary’s chance to shake off bad memories from Iowa and give us the real specifics of “change” that Obama isn’t. This is Edwards’ last chance to prove to us that he can beat the new frontrunner and fight for us. Oh yes, and this is Obama’s chance to “show us the beef” and get us to believe the “change” he talks about with real policy plans. At the very least, tonight should be interesting.

    Oh yes, and the program begins (CReeps first, then Dems) at 7:00 tonight on KABC TV/Channel 7. 🙂

  3. January 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I think that Hillary can withstand a loss but as a volunteer on the ground I think she’ll win. The support has not swayed one bit and this debate should be great for her.

  4. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    the donny-

    WOW! So you’re actually on the ground for Hillary now? Where ‘ya at? And how do you think our girl is faring at the debate? I know I should wait until the debates airs back here in OC, but I’m not that good at being patient. 😉

  5. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 7:35 pm


    So are you watching the CReeps now? Ain’t it funny how they’re all (sans Paul) bickering over which one is “surgier” than the others? And which one hates the “Islamofascists” the most? I find it hilarious how “Crazy” Ron Paul is the one making the most sense of them all! 😉

  6. January 5, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Yes, my husband is watching them, I’m attempting to ignore them. I haven’t heard much so far other than talk of war and more war.

  7. SusanUnPC
    January 5, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The Republicans crack me up. But one thing is obvious: Both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have read, or read parts of, Lawrence Wright’s great book, The Looming Tower. Because they talked about the origins of the modern jihadist movement. I LOVE that book. I keep it at my desk as a reference. Sure wish I could see Wright’s stage show about his experiences in researching and writing the book. He did several shows in NYC and one in Texas (he lives in Austin. His site is — fascinating site to visit / he links to some of his New Yorker articles.

    Well, another 20+ minutes until the Dems get to debate. Can’t wait.

  8. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 9:12 pm


    So the Dems are on now. Obama talked about nuclear weapons and terrorism. Richardson is now going into detail on Pakistan. What are you thinking so far?

    I’m thinking that any of the Dems would know A LOT more on how to handle foreign policy matters like nuclear nonproliferation and Pakistan FAR MORE than any of the CReeps. 😉

  9. January 5, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Um, nationally Rasmussen shows that Edwards has gained six points in the last week and Obama one point. So far, Edwards has gotten the best bounce from Iowa, at least in this poll.

    I’m enjoying this debate because we are actually hearing lengthy and thoughtful answers rather than trying to get the zinger of the evening. Sadly, the one liners are the things that get headlines.

  10. Andrew Davey
    January 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm


    Agreed. I really appreciate what’s happened tonight. Obama’s been forced to show us some beef, and to his credit some of it does look hearty. Hillary finally showed some life again, and she explained so well why the one with the best experience can deliver the best results for change. Edwards seemed to revive Al Gore’s old “people v. the powerful” line from 2000, and injected even more pure populism that we haven’t seen on the national stage in a LONG time. Oh yes, and it’s too bad that Bill Richardson didn’t catch fire earlier in this campaign… Dammit, he can actually match his words with awesome actions!

    Whoever’s our nominee, I won’t feel bad voting for her or him.

  11. January 5, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Hmmm… here’s a You Tube focus-group of NH folks reacting to the debate… a vid clipped from Fixed News…

  12. January 5, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Okay, try again with just the link instead of the embed code:

  13. January 5, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Prediction: McCain and Obama win NH. McCain handily. The margin for Obama will be somewhat larger than the pundits predict – they say it’s a squeaker. I’m not so sure.

    Heather, I think Edwards did a magnificent job tonight. No question. I still think he’s a good guy even though I think my guy is better. Also, I think it’s too early for national polls to matter.

    Interesting that after the debate ended, Hillary headed backstage and Obama went to the audience.

    Opinions from some others,
    Chuck Todd: “The focus on this debate for so many in New Hampshire and the media was twofold — how would Obama handle being the frontrunner and how would Clinton handle be the challenger. Well, thanks to a subdued format, Obama seemed to pass his test with flying colors… I’m not sure David Axelrod could have scripted this debate better if he did it himself.”

    Rick Klein: “Edwards may have turned in the strongest pure performance. But that will be overshadowed by a couple of stand-out Clinton moments. She let it all out tonight — the entire book on Obama. But she opened the book on herself with those flashes of anger. New Hampshire voters don’t like candidates who feel entitlted to nominations — they get to decide, things are not foreordained and candidates are not inevitable. Sen. Clinton had some moments tonight she’ll want to take back.”

    Chris Cilliza: “The challenge Clinton faced in tonight’s debate — and the challenge she faces in the New Hampshire primary more broadly — is that Edwards clearly believes his path to the nomination requires bouncing out Clinton to create a one on one race with Obama over who is the true change agent in the field.”

    Marc Ambinder: “Iowa victor Obama had a target on his back, but he’s acquired a Kevlar vest as a frontrunner. Like Clinton tonight, he was unflappable.”

    James, you beat me to the punch with the Fox Noise clip. Good job!

    Me, I think Obama did what he needed to do: Make no mistakes. The format tonight suits him better than previous debate formats. Edwards was on fire. He was brilliant. Clinton reacted poorly under pressure.

    G’Nite guys. Be interested to see the rest of the comments tomorrow.

  14. ariaghafari
    January 5, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    “The focus on this debate for so many in New Hampshire and the media was twofold — how would Obama handle being the frontrunner and how would Clinton handle be the challenger. Well, thanks to a subdued format, Obama seemed to pass his test with flying colors… I’m not sure David Axelrod could have scripted this debate better if he did it himself.” -Chuck Todd

    Keep talking Hillary. Please. She made three attacks in one response. Wow. She really thinks voters are that stupid.

  15. January 5, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Immediately after the debate, George Stephanopoulos said, “The exception was John Edwards. I think he showed passion and vitality and energy tonight. He was on-message. He had a strategy tonight. I think this was one of his best debates.” [ABC News, 1/5/07]

    ABC’s Rick Klein: On Edwards, “If a Debate Could Vault Him Back into the Game, He May Be Having That Very Debate.” “10:30 pm: This happens at just about every debate: John Edwards comes back to his message again and again, in an effective way. If a debate could vault him back into the game, he may be having that very debate.” [] “Edwards Is Really Unparalleled When It Comes to Connecting Policies with People.” “10:13 Edwards is really unparalleled when it comes to connecting policies with people. I certainly find it very effective.” []

    TAPPED’s Harold Meyerson: “His Personal Narration Is Powerful… Edwards Is the Master Here.” 10:02 PM | “Edwards has just referred to his orientation as personal, not academic (read: Obama) or political (read: Hill). And his personal narration is powerful. Slowly, Obama moves to talking about his mother when she was suffering from cancer, but it’s almost as if Edwards forced the story out of him. Edwards is the master here.” []

    New Hampshire Presidential Watch: “The press center is eating-up John Edwards attack on the status quo.” “The press center is eating-up John Edwards attack on the status quo.” []

    TAPPED’s Tom Schaller: “R.I.P., The Clinton Era, 9:34 P.M. Est.” | Edwards Helped Bury Clinton as a Non-Agent of Change. “Wow. Get your kids out and put them in front of the TV: The Clinton Era officially ended at 9:34 p.m. EST when Edwards paired with Obama to bury Hillary as a non-agent of change. Wow, again.” []

    NBC’s Chuck Todd: Double Team Defense from Obama and Edwards Was Potentially Devastating for Clinton. “Clinton got her dig in on Obama (and it was a very fair hit) but the double-team defense from Obama, Edwards (and even Richardson) was potentially devastating for Clinton; it did her no favors.” []

    Matthew Yglesias: Edwards “Gave a Fantastic Response” on Answer to Rid the World of Nuclear Weapons. “John Edwards pivoted a bit to the broader issue of non-proliferation policy where he gave a fantastic answer about the need to combine short-term efforts with a long-term commitment to ‘rid the world of nuclear weapons’ as part of a broad push to revitalize the non-proliferation framework.” []

    Matthew Yglesias: On Pakistan, “Edwards and Obama both offered great responses.” “UPDATE: Given a second, clearer shot at the nuclear proliferation issue Edwards and Obama both offered great responses. Clinton’s decision to put bureaucratic reorganization of the non-proliferation apparatus — rather than substantive shifts in policy — struck me as a bit odd, but perhaps in line with her broader argument about experience. She knows the nitty-gritty details of executive branch organization.” []

    ABC’s Rick Klein: “10:45 pm: Some Final Thoughts on the Democrats. Edwards May Have Turned in the Strongest Pure Performance.” []

    Edwards has done so well tonight, he keeps reaffirming my support of him with every step.

  16. Bladerunner
    January 5, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Oh please. Please spare me the talking heads imported onto this blog courtesy of the Obama and Edwards campaign. I always appreciate original thoughts, but simply forwarding campaign e-mail links isn’t impressive.

    My thoughts: I thought Obama did well. He needed to avoid a blunder and he did. A little light on details sometimes but that’s his schtick to be general and it helps avoid getting bogged down in details which can be attacked.

    Clinton came across much better then some of the spinmeisters suggest . She landed some punches on barak but never knocked him down. probably did enough to stabalize her support. Edwards, as always, sounded good although a little more sizzle then steak. But the whining about Clinton attacking the agents of change was pretty laughable since Barak and especially Edwards have been doing nothing but attacking Hillary. She hits back and he whines. One of my pet peeves in this business: candidates who can dish it out but can’t take it.

    Edwards did tip his hand by his remarks on one matter: he’s available if Barak calls for the #2 spot on the ticket. The Candidates of Change.

    Richardson did better then any of them on substance(full disclosure- of the 4 he has my vote). More policy issues and certainly a lot more on the environment and Iraq and generating jobs. And he had the best lines of the night. But after some earlier debate performances that were, to be charitable, so so, and so much of the O2 as well as money in the campaign sucked in by Obama and Clinton, this fine performance may be too little, too late.

  17. January 5, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Bladerunner – You can tell I’m tired huh? I will comment more when I’ve had some sleep.

    I’ve never heard Edwards or Obama “whine” about being attacked. Hillary though, she has. She tipped her hat that she realizes why she’s losing here, she had to add the fact that she’s taken on drug companies, insurance companies, oil companies etc. Where have I heard that line?


  18. Bladerunner
    January 6, 2008 at 12:09 am

    Heather–get some sleep. Maybe you’ll remember(since it was in your earlier comment-)- Edward’s whine about Hillary attacking he and Barak now that she was behind. Duh, what does he expect, especially since they have both been attacking her since day one. I guess that must be part of his “change:: agents of change can attack but they must not be attacked.'”

  19. January 6, 2008 at 9:14 am

    On further reflection, I’m still pleased with Obama’s performance. I don’t remember hearing any zingers from him, and actually, that’s ok. Ultimately, I don’t think people make up their minds based on a one-liner. For example, the most memorable zinger of the night and the one most likely to get most of the play was when Bill Richardson made the remark about hostage negotiations being more civil. Good line, but it’s not going to propel him out of single digits. And it came early.

    Obama delivered sufficient detail and broad concept at the appropriate times. Though he was interrupted more often than I would have preferred, he was able at least, to establish that Clinton’s attacks were without merit, enough to discredit them. Obama made no mistakes and for any front runner, that’s sufficient because it doesn’t get in the way of any momentum.

    And I still think Edwards was on fire. I don’t think it will push him ahead of Obama, though. I was gratified when he repeatedly stood up to Clinton in defense of ending the status quo. I’m not sure it helped Edwards beyond enabling him to finish New Hampshire ahead of Clinton. Honestly, at one point I thought Edwards was going to break into a heartfelt rendition of Kumbaya. A home run’s a home run, no matter who hits it and John Edwards did just that last night. His home run isn’t going to win the game. New Hampshire is Obama’s to lose and I don’t think he will.

    Bill Richardson seemed to spend the entire evening saying, HEY!!! I’m here too! What about me? Dammit I have a resume. His is a good resume. He just doesn’t light a lot of people’s fires.

    And now to Clinton. Her attacks on Obama were overly rehearsed. She seemed to be loaded for bear and with a hair trigger. The criticism about her not bringing any of this up when she was ahead in the polls is accurate. Her response about having hurt feelings on being told Obama was better liked was cute and appropriate – and belied by her overall performance.

    Mild kudos to ABC for the format. Being somewhat more free-form allowed for more meaningful responses. That’s more than a little overdue. Letting the candidates speak directly to one another is also overdue.

    Prediction: Tusday results – Obama, Edwards, Clinton. McCain on the other side.

  20. January 6, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Bladerunner – There is a huge difference between merely pointing out a fact and whining. Edwards was right.

    And Clinton used every possible opportunity to publicly whine about being “attacked” by Edwards when it was all about her recent votes and where she was getting her campaign money.

  21. January 6, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Bill, this Edwards supporter would be thrilled with your prediction.

    Prediction: Tusday results – Obama, Edwards, Clinton. McCain on the other side.

    Edwards and Obama know they have to knock Clinton out. Edwards cares more about changing the system than winning. He did an amazing job of putting names to his cause, to humanize the effect of “corporate greed”.

    I would be happy to support Obama in the GE. His voting record shows he’s a progressive and even though I don’t believe he’s got the right way of going about change, I know he’s going to make a big shake up in Washington regardless.

  22. Andrew Davey
    January 6, 2008 at 11:06 am


    You make some valid points. Just don’t try to invalidate them by being too harsh on others here. As your guy Bill R would say, this thread doesn’t have to be tenser than negotiating over a hostage crisis. 😉

    Bill & Heather-

    You know, Bladerunner’s right. The talking heads have their own agenda, and they’ll do whatever they can to stick to their self-manufactured storyline. That’s why I take little stock in what they spin and how they spin it.

    Instead, I’d like to talk about what the candidates actually said. John Edwards had great things to say about fighting for working people, but it was still the same old stump speech without results to prove the rhetoric. Barack Obama waxed poetically about words having power, but he has yet to match his words with real actions to prove he can do more than just talk about “change”.

    But when Hillary Clinton spoke, she actually had actions to match her words. No matter how much one wants to call her the “status quo”, she disproves that with her 35 year record of fighting for better health care for all of us, better education for our kids, real support for our troops, and much more. While the 2 boys jostled over who has better “change” rhetoric, Hillary actually showed some results- kids in NH covered thanks to SCHIP, National Guard troops who finally have health care, kids with special needs getting the education they deserve, and much more.

    No matter what happens on Tuesday, I think Hill showed that she won’t go down without a fight. But honestly, I think she did what was exactly needed to get New Hampshire voters to take another look at these candidates and what they’ve actually done to make change happen. And while I won’t make any predictions, I have a good feeling voters may just choose someone who doesn’t just talk about change, but has what it takes to make it happen. 🙂

  23. ariaghafari
    January 6, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    bladerunner, keep being harsh, i like it

  24. Santa Ana Resident
    January 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Hey, people. By any chance, have you seen this?

    I just found it while I was surfing. Apparently, Mr. Obama wasn’t telling the whole truth when he was talking about that lobbyist chairing his New Hampshire campaign. You see, that’s why this guy gives me jitters. I don’t even want to think about what the Republicans will do to hit him on this inconsistency.

  25. January 6, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Obama has previously made clarifications on this subject. It is federal lobbyists he wants nothing to do with. This guy’s a state lobbyist. The distinction is not mere semantics. I must admit, though, the guy’s a real hack. He also represents B of A, the state troopers, case managers, and the manufacturers of prosthetic devices.

    Still, Obama’s running for a federal office and is not playing with federal lobbyists.

  26. ariaghafari
    January 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    santa ana resident:

    you worry about what republicans will do on this one little topic, and your solution is to nominate someone that voted for this war?

    he is our best candidate, just accept it

  27. January 6, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I’m shocked! Shocked to find inconsistency among politicians!

  28. Andrew Davey
    January 6, 2008 at 8:57 pm


    Oh, come on now! You know how much I love you! 😉

    And really, I don’t mind you kicking us around. Just don’t kick us with the boots with the metal spikes attached. That’s all.

    And other than that, you were right on as always. We already get enough of talking airheads elsewhere, so we don’t need to bring them in here. And yes, John Edwards doth protest too much when he complains about “attacks”. Who was it who went negative first?


    Ha! Really? So Obama isn’t our holy savior? I think that’s what I’ve been trying to say the whole time. 😉

Comments are closed.