MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign strategist Mark Penn praised her debate performance to CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King and said that besides Clinton, Delaware’s Senator Joe Biden "had a strong night."
"I think the net is she went in a frontrunner and came out a frontrunner," Penn said.
Former President Bill Clinton was mentioned throughout the debate as someone to fill a role in another administration, with Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson naming possible positions for him if they were elected president. Penn said "dial groups" showed a strong response and said that "may have been the most interesting question of the debate."
Responding to former Sen. John Edwards' criticism of Clinton's approach to her vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, Penn said, "she was able to explain her position and her three point plan to end the war and I think the net of the entire Iraq discussion was that she made her points."
When Sen. Barack Obama charged Edwards for being "late on leadership" for initially voting to authorize the Iraq war, Penn said Clinton "was able to rise above it." Penn said the Obama and Edwards argument was "telling" and that it showed they are fighting to be number two to Clinton.
–CNN’s John King and Lauren Kornreich