Mark Halperin of TIME has produced a nifty scorecard for the candidates in yesterday's Democratic debate. It's a nice card, but here's the real deal:
Barack Obama: A
In my opinion, Obama won because he seemed comfortable, didn't yell, didn't insult anybody, looked in command, knew what he was talking about, mentioned his wife Michelle and offered a much needed moment of levity.
Bill Richardson: B
Richardson also seemed comfortable in his own skin (which was nicely tanned), spoke calmly and with knowledge--and spoke respectfully to the mostly African American audience. Oddly, that didn't seem to go down well with the ultra-verbose Tavis Smiley who harshly cut-off the Latino guv.
Hillary Clinton: C+
She yelled, slipped in and out of a semi-black accent, and shamelessly pandered--especially with that harangue about how America doesn't care about AIDS because it's victims are disproportionately African American women. But worst was when she turned maniacal and proposed bombing the Sudan. But she didn't say or do anything that would dislodge her from her role as queen of the Clintonites, so she passes.
John Edwards: C+
Edwards shouts "lightweight"--and he's such an unrelenting panderer. I mean, what self-respecting person of color believes that this man is the poor black man's best advocate? And if that's what he is, we're in deep trouble. Like Hillary, Edwards didn't do and say anything to disqualify him from being viewed as a "serious" candidate by liberal Democratic groups, so he passes, too.
Dennis Kucinich: C+
All the pundits discount Kucinich, but he's feisty, energetic, focused and a pretty good debater. I'd love to see Kucinich in a real debate go toe-to-toe with some of the "scripted" types and see who comes out looking "serious".
Chris Dodd: C
Dodd was seemed steady, knowledgeable and quick with proposed solutions. However, failed again to convince anybody that he's presidential material.
Joe Biden: E
Biden was his usual erratic, patronizing and loud self. Very unpresidential.
Mike Gravel: I
What's to say?