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. Annie

    I'm one of those people who, at the beginning, wanted Hillary in because we would "get Bill" along with her. In spite of the unfortunate bickering, she still stands out to me as the most competent leader and I have begun to have great respect for her commitment, her ability and her strength. I agree with the gentleman who stated, "I want Barack to be president, but in 2016." In spite of his intelligence and 'holistic' politics, I question his true strength in the areas necessary to become president, as Hillary says, on Day One. Edwards is a very honorable man, and I hope that he will have a strong position in the government, if God Willing, we can reclaim the White House. They all have strengths and I wish they would consider the statement that ' the higher form of competition is cooperation'.

    January 21, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. Maurice

    Mr. Schneider, I agree, even if I am not an American. I just can't imagine how voters must feel, if they see that their candidates are going after each other in such a personal way discrediting each other up to a degree, that probably will hurt them in a rally for the Nov. 4th election process. One thing they should not forget is, that they might be teaming up as Obama/Clinton, Clinton/Obama or with Edwards.

    I liked all candidate keeping it on the issues and playing nice once the issues Bill Clinton or race was raised. I think all candidates handled those issues nicely.

    Best wishes from a early Tuesday morning in Cologne, Germany!

    January 21, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Robert

    Barack has claimed that several of her comments where simply "untrue", can you tell me if they were true or where they false.


    January 21, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Garth

    Yes, I would agree most Americans prefer a more calmer debate, in opposed to back-and-forth petty attacks on each other. Most people might favor the candidate who doesn't engage in this heated exchange.

    January 21, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Constance

    I disagree with the assertion that Clinton and Obama 'clearly don't like each other'. The 2nd half showed some mutual respect. Hillary made the point, which Obama & Edwards echoed, that they are each passionate about their candidacies and that the open disagreements between them help to clarify their views.

    Also, I think Obama was dead on in his comments about the Democrats 'not showing up' on issues of faith. That's got to change, and I'm hopeful it is.

    January 21, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. Charlie

    I feel that am your average conservative voter facing an interesting delima this year. I am strongly motivated, and intent, on voting the Democratic agenda this year. I am tired of the Bush years, and I am equally adverse to returning to the Clinton years. As a result, I now see myself as someone who now represents 2 votes this year. If Clinton is the Democrative nominee, I vote Republican regardless of the candidate. If Clinton is not the nominee, I vote Democratic, regardless of who is the candidate. As I see it, that means I represent 2 votes against Clinton.

    Am I alone?

    January 21, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Rich

    The debate was a big dissapointment Wolf talked and talked about race,gender,race,gender-– what about issues like Hillarys push for H1B visas for people from India to come here to take American techs jobs at one third the pay? What about the immagration problem in this country? MSNBCs debate wasn"t about substance either. When is a reporter going to ask these type of questions at a televised debate? LOU DOBBS WOULD mabey this is why he wasn" the moderator. CNN you did a great disservice to this country tonight. If you care to respond you have my e- mail address.

    January 21, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. Don

    I don't care what CNN tells me to believe. Hillary Clinton won this debate. She talked about issues that matter. John Edwards is trying to act like and angel and Obama avoided serious questions, not answering many important issues that I as a South Carolina voter need to know. Hillary is the strongest canidate that we have and she will be a great President.

    January 21, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  9. Diego chick

    To be brutally honest this was one of the better debates. Please stopp spinning this as "nasty' or personal. It was real, raw and stong. I like that. Only conflict-avoidant,
    'let's play nice americans" are having a difficult time. This is the same debate that is going on in households workplaces, unions, churches and it is important. I saw nothing inappropriate or even controversial about what Obama or Clinton did, not unlike how siblings settle differences..stong, passionate, raw. The media should stop being "reductionistic" about it. Donna

    January 21, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Rene

    Yes it was calmer but it was also a time where they just sat there and played kissy face with each other. Hmmmm Lets see who can be the most politically correct? I wanted more substance. It was a little repetative as far as comments by each. John seemed to win debate he is logical and good facts stayed above it all with no BS

    January 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. LoryKB

    I enjoyed this debate – HOWEVER......

    If the corporate American media MANIPULATORS (CNN included) could just get past the race and gender issues – and concentrate on the most important issues facing Americans today........instead of cherry picking issues and candidates........we might actually be able to choose a candidate that best suits the needs of all Americans – and, ultimately the global community.


    January 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  12. shupikai

    OK. Whatsup with the anti Obama reporting on CNN? Anyway, I am trying to see if anyone noticed that Hillary was mesmerized by Obama's response to the last question of the debate (which she totally failed to respond to). Well, can't wait for MSNBC commentary tomorrow. Wolfe was not good moderator either, this debate was out of control and I am concerned it will divide the democratic party (so I am bracing myself for more of the same in 2008!).

    January 21, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. Sarah

    I think, of the three, Edwards spoke with most depth and managed to stay above the fray when Clinton and Edwards attacked each other's records. They each have their strong-points issues, and weak-point issues. The first half of the debate took a nasty tone, which I think, irritates voters or seems less impressive to them. As much as I want to root for Hillary Clinton (looked strong on visionary thinking and the economy), I think Edwards beat out Obama on health care and brought the correct tone.

    January 21, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. Adam

    In all honesty, it was wrong for the moderators to not tell the audience to remain silent until the end of the debate.

    The constant clapping, and even booing when HIllary made a point about Obama's very bad voting history was one of the more unclassy showings i have seen from a crowd that is in the room with a potential next president.

    It is one thing to boo if you favor one person, but to boo because you favor someone and your person just got accused of a true happening is wrong

    January 21, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  15. joeisrightstill

    What a joke of debate without Joe Biden or Chris Dodd.

    January 21, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. Kevin. H

    go obama

    January 21, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Cristina

    I really believe that Obama's intimidating, "Let me finish," when he has tripled the time alloted to him should not be condoned. I considered it highly unprofessional and disrespectful to the other candidates. i think he is not a very nice person at all. His record is his record and instead of moving on from that, he is adding lies to lie and selling himself. I felt like I was listening to a sales person, not a presidential candidate.

    January 21, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |


    January 21, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  19. Kofi Brinkley

    The fireworks are a societal norm and necessity. If I had to sit through another Bush/Kerry like scripted debate I'd turn the TV off and check my stocks (during a holiday). It showed the candidates as people with emotions and I applaud the "realness" of this debate. I hope the future debates force the candidates to give concrete measures of planning just as they want timelines to gauge the war in Iraq.

    January 21, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. John from Carlsbad, CA

    I too enjoyed the second half of the debate more than the first. The first half I found myself changing the channel out of frustration at the old school dirty politics handed down by Clinton. She showed me why I will NOT vote for her. She is an old school traditional politician that will plan everything and do only what makes her more powerful.

    I found myself only changing the channel once or twice during the latter half of the debate. It had more to do about policy differences and less about personal attacks. I am a registered independent and I am that way because I am tired of the politics of today and yesterday. Both the republicans and democrats sicken me at times and I am still waiting for that man or woman who is truely a leader that will lead and change our country for the better. The first part of the debate only flourished my frustration with the democrats and especially old school politicians like Hillary. Sad state of affairs.

    January 21, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Anthony

    I am a Democrat, who has been undecided throughout this whole process, but tonight I have made up my mind. After watching this debate, I now support Barack Obama. He has an authenticity about him that is unmatched by the other candidates. I believe that Hillary is sincere in her comments, but I believe Barack more. Obama's remark that Democrats can have a majority and that we can really pass legislation in this country that benefits the middle class hit home for me. I am tired of the division in America, and tonight Hillary only spoke of more division. I now see that Barack sees the big picture, and he now has my support. I have never liked Edward's sarcastic and condemning demeanor, and I believe he has no place in this race.

    January 21, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Obed Okyere

    Bill Schneider you're the smartest political analyst in the world, I actually enjoyed your political ticker than watching these candidate going after each other. It was a good debate but a little nasty, but Obama did a good job not representing himself as a black candidate.

    January 21, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  23. zb

    The national security and foreign policy question sealed the debate. Obama offers up the same kind of ethereal emptiness of his campaign slogans about change and unity. It is the same kind of simple mindedness Bush offered when he ran in 2000. As we have learned during the last eight years it is far more complicated than can't we all just get along. Obama has his foreign policy slogan based on talking with your friends and your enemies to match is equally hollow domestic slogan of "change you can believe in". We all know what happened with "peace in our time". Foreign nations are going to eat him alive.

    Similarly, he keeps relying on his position against the war in Iraq as his one claim to fame. In reality, first he was against the war before he was for the war and then he was willing to pay for the war. Republicans label Kerry a flip flopper and for sure they will label Obama a waffler. zb

    January 21, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. Harrison

    The only difference I perceived was that both Edwards and Clinton were much clearer in their responses. It was easy to follow their logic and note the key premise of their arguments. Obama was lost most of the second half. It seemed he spent all of his time attempting to defend himself and his positions. Hilliary emerged as the winner for the evening!

    January 21, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Murali

    Yes Bill! the second half was much more quieter but it was the first that helped us public see through who was speaking the truth. I am specifically referring to the back and forth debating between Hillary and Obama. Plus, the heated phase only had the complete attention of the audiences based on the applauses as a measure.

    January 21, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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