January 21st, 2008
10:15 PM ET
14 years ago

People Meter: Viewers weigh in on debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/21/art.meter.cnn.jpg caption="Take a look at how viewers reacted to Monday night's debate."]
(CNN) - Viewers watching the South Carolina debate Monday night had the unique opportunity to weigh in on the Democratic candidates as they discussed the issues. The red line graph over the debate footage indicates the voter response.

People meter: Watch Edwards fight for his chance in the debate.

People meter: Watch the candidates spar over health care.

People meter: Watch Clinton and Obama argue on their economic standpoints.

Related: Watch CNN's Erica Hill report on the real time viewer reaction

–CNN’s Emily Sherman

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Laura

    After watching the debate...Hillary needs to change her name to Shrillery..she was shrill and annoying. It's politics as usual with her. No wonder Obama's message of change has struck a cord with so many Americans. Edwards had grace and style and came across as the most rational. He tried to keep the debate focused. I believe John Edwards knows that Hillary would be a disaster for the country. He definately leaned more with Obama than her. My take on the debate is:

    1. Edwards
    2. Obama
    3. Clinton

    I also believe Bill Clinton thinks he is running for president. That is frightening. He has continued the Clinton deception of "say anything and something will stick" to try and defame Obama. I also question why Hillary stays with a serial philander. I don't think she is stable enough to have her hand on weapons of mass destruction....and we have them.

    January 22, 2008 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  2. marie

    Senator Obama confronted the Clinton's with great elegance. This needed to be addressed – I'm glad it is out the way.I do feel the Clinton's willl continue to attack as part of their stategy to make Senator Obama defend himself so she can talk about the issues. Senator Obama can bring unity to the party and to the nation. I support Senator Obama on the economy issue consisting of a tax rebate, particularly the rebate to seniors. I had a lot of respect for the Clinton's in the past; There lowball politics is hurting them, It is time for a change in the White House. I am really surprised at our former President Clinton,;he needs to let his wife, Senator Clinton run her own campaign. I really have had enought of the Clinton's, and have really lost alot of respect for them during the last month.
    Senator Edwards made a very good showing,.
    It is the media who keeps bringing up race when addressing a question. We are a nation of color, let us all unite.

    January 22, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  3. Nina

    These debatees are a joke, Cnn ask the same quesions over and over. They didn'T ASK ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. tHEY DID'T ASK ABOUT JOB CREATION. They just wanted to keep the fights begtween Obama and Clinton going. The debates are a waste of time.

    January 22, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  4. Leah DiMarco, TX

    Obama (won)
    Edwards
    Clinton

    Bill Clinton was NOT the first Black President!
    Hillary Clinton would not vow to keep lobbyists out of the While House.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    January 22, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  5. kenac

    Obama really needed to show he can stand the heat and he did so royally tonight. For those of us who have been following every step of all candidates, he needed to respond to the Clintons who started the mudslinging when Hilliary lost Iowa. Obama was still contained after Iowa and rightfully so, but when Bill Clinton joined in the mudfight in Nevada, Obama really had to respond, and I am glad he did.

    Unfortunately, a lot of comments here earlier tonight show that most have not followed the sequence of mudslinging and who started and who perpetuates it.
    The same old politics, with the same old game, with the same old players must stop. The biggest decision for us as Americans is to stop the old guard and move this country forward. That's what Obama stands for. For those of you in doubt, please go to the websites of the 3 candidates way before Feb 5th and not just look at the debates. The issues of all 3 candidates are about 95% the same. We want the Democrats to win this time, so let's not lose sight of our priorities.

    Obama is the only one of the 3 that will get enough Independents and Republicans to form a majority with Democrats to get anything substantial passed like Energy, Healtcare, and affordable College.

    I have discounted Hilliary too because she's "agnostic" about nuclear energy as well as Edwards who is totally against it. Nuclear energy is critical to our energy equation, and what Obama has said is he'll form an Apollo/Manhattan project to study and recommend a mix of solutions including safe Nuclear. McCain is the only other candidate who has said something like that. Energy is Americas biggest issue related to the economy which is the country's main concern now.

    I think that Obama's version of Healthcare is the one most realistic for all and most apt for Congressional approval. Hilliary's healthcare method of doing things behind closed doors did not work, and will penalize all those who cannot afford it..so many will end up not paying rent or mortgages to pay for healthcare...is that choice? Bear in mind that Healthcare proposals by all 3 are not free. Obama's focus is to reduce costs to make it affordable by all and not mandate and penalize like Hilliary's and Edwards.

    January 22, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  6. Fatima

    I think Edwards won the first half and Obama the second. Clinton just sounded petty and catty.

    January 22, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  7. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    Neither of these candidates have a clue. If ANY of these children get elected, we will be in for a long four years.

    January 22, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  8. Marie

    My scoring of the debate:

    1. Edwards
    2. Edwards
    3. Edwards

    Edwards is by far the best person for president and deserves a lot more respect in this election than he's been getting. Are you serious about changing America? Then how can you not vote for Edwards?

    January 22, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  9. swede

    I hope Obama suppters think about the General Election. Ma Caine will tear him apart with all the years and knowledge he has and Indepents will go to Ma Caine. Hillary can take him word for word and Ma Caine will be the one studdering.

    January 22, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  10. Leslie Somerville, Seattle, Washington

    Smooth talking intelligent (I am going to be President Obama) stuck his big fat foot in is mouth tonight by throwing the first arrow directly between Hillary Clinton's eyes. That Walmart dig was uncalled for and just lowers Obama in the food chain to insignificant. It was a free for all after that, and I don't believe Clinton should have just stood there in a room full of African American's cheering Obama on, to take garbage like that. Second arrow through the skull was about Bill Clinton and his powerful image in the Black communities all over the USA–hey Michele Obama is one big old scarey spouse who speaks her mind also, so their even. My hope as a black woman living in the USA is that we keep the Republicans away from the White House–Obama and Clinton and Edwards play nice, and
    Clinton/Edwards team for the P and VP. I don't trust Obama one bit, he is not experienced, and he acts so very young. He may have big hopes and big dreams for the USA, but it just isn't his time for what needs to be down in the White House.

    January 22, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  11. Lou, Memphis

    Gerry,

    What a wonderful analysis of what actually happened. Establishment Democrats have been wondering if Senator Obama could take a serious punch. He took them all and answering them with his classic counter punches.

    I'm not a fan of the bickering either, but if Senator Obama would have just stood there like a deer in headlights, O'bamai...I would question his ability to take on the Republican nominee and his ability to take on our enemies.

    He was getting hit from both sides tonight and he did well.

    January 22, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  12. jep

    I am still wondering why people don;t listen and watch when these candidates are asked questions. Hillary is always attacked for nothing and when she hit back then she is the bad one. I watched the whole debate, and the first person always to attack is OBAMA, come on now be fair to all people. Clinton knows her content Obama beats the bush all the time and never answers any question directly, why? because he has no substance. Hillary knows what she is talking about and ready to be our president on day one.
    Clinton/Edwards '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  13. jep

    This is not about race or gender, but ability. Hillary has the ability to lead, she cares and would reach all Americans. We are not electing a president for the blacks only, but AMERICANS. The media is to blame for asking questions leading to race andgender all the time so as to blame Clinton. Stop doing that Wolf and the rest. Can't you learn from the past?
    Hillary '08

    January 22, 2008 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  14. SelenaC

    I just want to ask this question:
    Who thought it ironic that the screen flashed DEMOCRATIC BLACK CAUCUS and then the leading sponsor is BURN CLEAN COAL?? Did anyone else find that unforunately humorous? I DID!!! VOTE REPUBLICAN, WE DON'T DISCRIMINATE!!

    January 22, 2008 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  15. TJ Stulir

    I am a 46 yr old 2nd generation Democrat,..a native of Phoenix. I have never missed an election from time I was eligible to vote in 1980 when Ronald Reagan ran for President.

    I have absolutely no problem electing a deserving and forthright woman to become our President. Someone like Diane Feinstein or Condelezza Rice.

    I have a huge problem with Hillary Clinton. It began in 1999 when she went to Palestine and sided with Yassar Arafat and ends with Hillary shamelessly using Bhuott’s death as cheap opportunity to soapbox herself as to what she would do with Afghanistan as President.

    We United States are sensitive to both sides and I believe both sides need to be heard to be fair including Palestine. But we support Israel. But in November of 1999 while on a purported State visit to the Middle East ,..she listened to Yasser Arafat's wife Suha.

    Suha Arafat made the deliberately false allegation that "Our [Palestinian] people have been submitted to the daily and intensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children."

    When Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Hillary was asked how she might respond to the situation in Afghanistan as President. She wasted no time denouncing President Pervez Musharraf's administration as a way to draw attention to herself.

    The appropriate and courageous response would have been to completely refrain from that type of question and use her presence as a way of calling on our Country to offer sympathy and condolences to Benazir Bhutto’s 3 children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar, and Asifa.

    But what bothers me the most isn’t that she told people that “We Are The President” when the FBI was searching for documents when her husband was President. (Referring to herself as President).

    Rather than say what bothers me most about Hillary,..let me tell you what I like about Mitt Romney. I like the fact that Mitt Romney married his wife because he loved her. Not because she was a Rhodes Scholar and he felt she could help him get to the White House.

    This does not mean I am voting for Mitt Romney. But I admire something that he has instilled in his heart and serves as an example to shine the light on something that Hillary does not and never will not ever have. Integrity.

    Character. The clear fact of the matter is that Hillary would sell out her own mother to become President of the United States and that is character we don’t need in this country.

    Sincerely,

    T.J. Stulir
    Mesa, Arizona

    January 22, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  16. CJ

    Hillary did a great job. She was absolutely right to call out Obama on all the issues he's so vague on, and as John Edwards correctly pointed out, too, quite a few of the things Obama attacks Hillary for are things he constantly does himself. Obama may be a good candidate in about eight years when he gets a little more experience to back up his message. In the meantime, Hillary's my girl and I'll be proud to vote for her. Maybe she will pick Edwards for VP.

    January 22, 2008 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  17. Veronica

    Wow! Hillary is a strong woman. I found Obama to be hesitant, but more worrying than that, he seemed to misunderstand–several times–what had just been actually said by the other candidates when they were challenging him. This says to me that perhaps he doesn't deal well with confrontation, which may be part of why his platform is "unity." I would've preferred a debate a little less confrontational, myself, but I sure do want to see candidates who maintain their sense of reality under pressure. I hope Obama runs again in 8 years.

    Edwards did wonderfully tonight.

    Clinton/Edwards 2008 Head/Heart

    January 22, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  18. Dusty

    I say Edwards won tonight and he won my vote too.

    While I think all three of the candidates are attactive in some capacity – I think John is the most attractive on the issues I believe in and seems the most sincere.

    The fact he has pledged no lobbyist in his White House and that he does not take lobbyist money – speaks volumes. For a candidate that clearly needs money to keep up with these two powerhouse fundraisers – he is sticking to his beliefs before bowing before the all might dollar.

    I feel he is the most trustworthy and consistent too.

    Good luck John it will be a uphill battle.

    January 22, 2008 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  19. jane

    It's about time! I am so glad to FINALLY see them (Hillary & John) hold Barack accountable for his record. Although I think John won the debate, I think Hillary and John came on hard on Obama which shed some light on his views and records that has never been questioned. The frustration was showing on Obama when he couldn't answer some of Hillary's questions on his record or John's attack of him too. He completely went around the "slum lord" remark from Hillary.

    Way to go Hillary! Way to go John! American's finally get to see what he's all about!You just can't run America on hopes and dreams, but on experience, hopes and dreams!

    January 22, 2008 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  20. Tim

    Gee, why would the media focus on John Edwards equally with Clinton and Obama? When CNN and other media giants are the ones that control the playing fields from which our canadaites pitch to us from, so they can sell more products and air time for the huge corporate conglomerates that Edwards vows to take on.....Such as the ones that OWN CNN and the other major media networks.

    January 22, 2008 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  21. Val

    I've never "blogged" before, but after viewing tonight's debate, I felt compelled to do so. It's a sort of "average American" observation and commentary on the events. I'm a white female, registered Democrat, and an LDS. My long-term partner is a black male, registered Republican, and Baptist, so one can imagine the political debates we have. Both of us are leaning toward Barack Obama, for his positions on the issues, his ability to clearly state his positions, and for the attitude of positive, progressive change for our country that Obama represents. Both of us are weary of the recent squabbles that border on personal. It would be preferable to hear true debate – a candidate stating his or her position or plan regarding an issue, a defense of the position or plan, supported by facts, and a clear, viable strategy for implementing the position or plan. We need to be able to judge the merits of one position versus the merits of another, and how it will realistically benefit the citizens of our country, both individually and as a whole. The issues need to be relevant – health care, the economy, both nationally and globally, education, achieving socio-economic equality for all, the environment, strengthening our infrastructure, domestic crime and international terrorism – all quality of life issues that boil down to the questions of what and how are you going to make my life better, how are you going to ensure I have the tools necessary to feed, clothe, shelter, educate, care for, and protect myself, my family, and my community? These are the fundamental questions I believe most citizens ask, and want answered by the candidates. If there is going to be criticism, let it be on the merits, or lack thereof, of the relevant issues.

    Imagine my surprise and delight to see John Edwards not participate in tonight's squabbles, instead taking the opportunity to voice his positions and concerns in a straightforward and sincere manner. I agree with tds1273, in that Obama and Edwards appear to share similar views on the issues, and that both express those views passionately and sincerely. At this point, even though I believe Barack Obama is the best candidate for the Democratic nominee, I would have to agree with Gil from California in his scoring of tonight's debate regarding John Edwards.

    January 22, 2008 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  22. hallie

    i LIKETHE CLINTONS BUT hILLARY HAS THIS AIR, THAT SHE HAS THE ONLY RIGHT TO BECOME THE PRESIDENT. THERE HAS NOT BEEN THIS MUCH EXCITMENT SINCE the1960 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. I LIVED THROUGH THE DAYS OF SEGREGATION AND ACTIVELY MARCHED AND PROTESTED IN CHARLESTON, SC.. IT'S SAD THAT WE HAVE REGRESSED AND SO MANY STILL DOUBT OBAMAS'S QUALIFICATIONS.

    I DID NOT GET CAUGHT UP WITH THE RANTINGS OF THE PRIMARIES RECENTLY BUT SINCE 2004 I'VE READ, WATCHED MANY NEWS ACCOUNTS AND READ CURRENT EVENTS BOTH NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY.

    THE ATTEMPT TO USE AN ATTACK ON AMERICA TO SCARE UP VOTES, OR HILLARY IS READY TO START OFF DAY ONE IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH. BILL MAYBE, HUH?

    I AM NOT VOTING MY RACE, BUT OBAMA IS JUST AS QUALIFIED AND MORE CAN UNITE THIS COUNTRY AND CONVERSE WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.

    A PROUD AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN & OVER 60

    January 22, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  23. REDC

    Hillary Clinton operates on the assumption that exposure equates experience. It does not. This is not to deny that she doesn't have some White House experience, but certainly not to the point of lauding it over Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, or any of the other main candidates. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are all experienced leaders; all three have definitive plans for our country. But tonight's discourse raises the issue of perspective.

    It is often said that one cannot see the forest for the trees. The campaign strategies used by the Clintons over the last two weeks are reflective of those living in the forest of the political past. It reflects a candidacy that sees the glass as half empty. Sniping at the opposition and labeling the opposition by race, gender, or ethnicity is old style politics.

    Obama stands on the edge of the forest with a fresh perspective that promotes change through citizen evolvement, unification, and hope. Although he had to defend himself, he continued in tonight's debate to make a sincere effort to make his argument for his candidacy, while refraining from personal attacks.

    Clinton represents past; Obama represents the future. and the future is now!

    January 22, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  24. Will

    Honestly, I am getting sick of the bickering between the candidates. There is not very much difference between the candidates, so I understand they have to highlight issues such as character, consistency, and experience. But when you go on stage and and sling mud for 2 hours you are not doing anything but dividing individuals.

    For that reason, and that reason alone, I believe JOHN EDWARDS won that debate. He did not get caught in the arguing.

    However, I need to say something. Since the last 2 days of New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton has been playing the sensitive woman, while Bill Clinton has been on an almost constant assault of Barack Obama. Instead of focusing solely on his campaign, Obama has had to clarify "half-truths" set out by Bill Clinton and other Clinton supporters over the past weeks. At least if the media scrutinized Obama, the attacks would be fair.

    Finally, I am sick of this whole idea of "race". Obama has avoided it and never used it to bolster votes. Even if he tried, it would just make people hate him more. Race was avoided until HILLARY CLINTON brought it up in reference to Martin Luther King. However, Hillary uses women to save her time and time again. What kind of crap is "No women should be illegal?" (Yes, she actually said in Nevada.)

    January 22, 2008 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  25. William

    I am a NP CA voter and I am delighted to finally see a better list of candidates to face the republicans in the next election as I find no TRUST so far in any of the republican candidates except for McCain. I admire the ability of making the best of any debate as John Edwards did in the NC debate. I believe we are heading for some real fun in this election and the first time we get to see a diversed participation. Obama, is really great in speaking, I am concerned he can actually convince and perform once in WA but; so far, he is causing a stir for which most of us the voters are delighted to see and admire. Clinton, comes too selfish but with vast knowledge… Edwards, probably the best VP for the two front runners; I would also give Edwards #1 in this debate; I agree the squabbling DOES NOT help!

    January 22, 2008 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
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