January 21st, 2008
10:09 PM ET
13 years ago

Schneider: Second half of debate calmer, better

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - I enjoyed the second half of this debate considerably more than the first. The different format - they were all seated in chairs - facilitated more of a conversation on the issues. It lacked the fireworks of the first half, but it touched on issues Americans actually care about.

Related: Watch Clinton and Edwards discuss their 'fundamental differences'

- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Schneider analysis
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Stacy Anderson

    I like the format, too. However... regarless of the significance of today's MLK holiday – why are questins regarding Dr. King, race, and poverty only asked of the Democrat candidates? Why wasn't that question asked of the Republicans last week?

    January 21, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. RRC

    In this second part, again, Sen. Obama showed he is strong with words, but very thin with policies and preparedness to be president. I believe John Edwards came up on top big time.

    January 21, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  3. Justin

    i think that the first half of the debate was much better than the second. The first half, though it was littered with the in-fighting that no one needs, was much more focused on the issues with a much clearer line on where the candidates stand on the issues. The second half of the debate, to me, was more about making nice with everyone on the panel and trying not to create any waves. The second half, to me felt fake.

    January 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Cecile

    The second half was much better. But given the fact the TVs will show the heat part more often, I would say that Obama missed his debate.

    January 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Donne

    But could you please run a good journalism? I have checked all your news and analysis on Obama and Clinton, but I come to believe that you are running a segregated journalism in this campaign. , I truelly enjoy Abc news.They are wonderful people representing wonderful politicians.

    Cnn should learn how to accomodate the minorities.

    January 21, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. Mike

    Hillary is Nurse Ratched

    January 21, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. Tim

    Although the second half was more civil I think we found out more in the first hour about Obama's character. He side steps the issues. He won't specifically address questions with a "yes' or "no". He is obviously doesn't like the fact that President Clinton "celebrity" overshadows Oprah's support of him.

    January 21, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. Etta Satter

    Barack Obama presents the best choice for the future. He is thoughtful, has good judgment and the kind of broadbased experience to be an effective leader that can unite our nation. His experience as a Constitution law professor who loves and respects the Constitution is particular impressive.

    I am particularly insulted by the inaccurate and personal charges made by former President Clinton against Senator Obama. It brings back all the negatives of the Clinton administration, and the distrust so many people have of them.

    January 21, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. Jerry

    Cream always rises to the top and tha's what John Edwards did tonight.

    January 21, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. Eric

    The Rezko issue is a lot more than Obama working for five hours at a law firm that defended Rezko but the fact that Obama had a special land deal with Rezko which he himself stated was a mistake. This is what should be investigated.

    January 21, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Aidyn

    Obama was nasty tonight!

    January 21, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. Joey

    I agree... more civil... I gave Hilary the win ....John Edwards 2nd and

    January 21, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  13. Charles

    They all did well, but given Obam's perceived frontrunner stats in SC, I hink that Clinton and Edards won the debaes.

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. Wayne

    Barack Obama won this debate. The second half, he handled himself very well. even though Edwards did very well, I think Barack just spoke with passion, power, and conviction. Sen. Clinton is way too divisive to ever unite the country. Obama is the one to unite us.

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  15. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Calmer, thanks to sitting down.
    Obama #1
    Edwards #2
    Clintons #3 (plural intended)

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  16. dean

    Edwards strong showing ultimately benefits Hillary>

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. JCoop

    It was interesting how the contentiousness of the first half gave way to some moments of genuine lightheartedness in the second half. After Obama's "a black man, a woman... and John" comment, I thought months of exhausting campaigning was about to give way to a stoner-grade laughing fit all around! But seriously, it was as if the first half of the debate was dedicated to attacking each other and the second half of the debate was dedicated to joining hands to sing praise for the Democratic party. Interesting. It was a revealing debate I think, all around. Obama can redraw the political lines and present a new image of America at home and abroad, Hillary knows the issues in greater detail than either of the others but will bring the wrath of the Republican political machine, and Edwards would love to be a serious contender, but probably can't get there.

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. Charles

    They all did well, but given Obam'as perceived frontrunner status in SC, I think that Clinton and Edwards won the debates.

    January 21, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Helena

    Hillary is the winner. Obama does nothing but make everything racial.

    January 21, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. Jane

    If only all 3 of them could work together what a positive force for change the people of this country could have. They each have strong suits and tremendous passion...squabbling only undermines what any of them have to offer.

    In order to defeat whomever the Republicans select, (I think it will likely be McCain) these Democrats need to take the high road and STAY focused on the hard issues.

    As a still undecided Democrat, I felt this debate provided more indepth and useful insights into each candidate. Still not 100% decided for Jan 29th– but leaning towards HIllary.

    January 21, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. Jedidiah Palosaari

    Edwards flubbed that last bit. It was a trick question. You don't say that the Rev MLK would endorse me! That's trying to appropriate his legacy without his permission! It's trying to control a black man and what he would say.

    Obama demonstrated a much better understanding of who the Rev. MLK was, and what he was fighting for.

    Also appreciated that he came right out and said that he was pro-Jesus. Don't hear that from Democrats that much these days.

    January 21, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. Tyrone

    The Race & Poverty question in the second half was brought up becasue Edwards kept pushing the issue, I was very happy the question was asked. I have always herd Edwards speak about poverty and race in front of every audiance he speaks to, but I must be honest that Obama and Clinton turned me off because I simply don't here them speaking on a consitance basice like Edwards dose. That leaves me to beleive that Obama and Clinton are only talking about it because there in South Carliona. It fells a little unreal to me.

    January 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. Larry, GA

    In the end, I think Obama wins this debate. He answered the questions smoothly and honestly. He gave the impression that you can believe what he is saying. He also demonstrated that he doesn't distort his platform just to give a popular answer (ie. his universal health care response). As a black Republican, I may disagree with some of his ideas on a few issues; however, he appears to be more likely to win the general election than Hillary or John.

    Write-in Ron Paul for '08

    January 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. SAL

    I agree.

    January 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  25. Amanda

    I was a little disappointed by the question posed by Malvo spotlighting Senator Clinton's husband's support of her. I understand Bill Clinton has been outspoken recently, but the spotlight is on HIM because he was President of the US. His remarks are naturally going to garner more interest and media coverage than the spouses of the male candidates. I would be willing to bet the cameras are in his face to capture every utterance he has at least 50% more of the time than the spouses of Edwards or Obama. However, I am sure if we were to dig there would be some rather biting comments by Michelle Obama and perhaps Elizabeth Edwards, who certainly is a spitfire if you all recall her banter with the anti-Christ...oops...I mean Ann Coulter.

    Malvo's question just personally offended me as a woman, and especially since the same vein of questioning wasn't directed at the other candidates.

    What's her husband supposed to do?

    January 21, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
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