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. Ethen

    Can anyone tell me who Barack Obama is running against? Bill or Hillary Clinton?
    I think it is getting more difficult to identify who the candidates are? may be we should include him in the debates next time.

    January 21, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  2. Leah DiMarco, TX

    Senator Obama has proven this evening that he is more than able to stand up to the Clinton machine. The only way to fight against the misinformation of the Clintons is to stand up and speak the truth which Senator Obama did very graciously during the debate. Now if Bill Clinton will just go home and stop causing conflicts then the candidates can stay on point and discuss the issues at hand.

    Ms. Clinton needs to remember that when she shows her claws and is catty she is not setting a good example for all of us women out here in America.

    Bravo --- Goooo Oooobama!

    January 21, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  3. Linda

    I have invested a lot of time checking out Obama. You cannot believe his answers on the Chicago Slumlord argument. He was involved with his client Tony Rezko and he's named in a federal corruption case. This Rezko corruption case is set to go to trial Feb. 25, 2008. This is after the primary, so if he's chosen candidate in our primary, we won't know how much he was involved. THIS SHOULD BE A REAL PROBLEM FOR ALL VOTERS. He needs to explain this in further detail with documents.

    Also, he never did answer the charge on why he voted present 130 times while in Illinois. Why don't you news people bring this up and get to the bottom of this. We have had a president for 7 years now, and you never ask questions of him and get correct answers, so why are you doing it again.

    Wake up and work for the people that watch your shows.

    January 21, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Dennis Harter

    Mr. John Edwards has my vote. I will write him in if thats the way it has to be. I am tired of the gradeschool bickering about nothing. I see a president in John Edwards that will not be matched by any of the others. As far as helping the quietest voice "The Poor, aka. the middle class". He has a plan i believe that will be better for the enviroment that is in dire straits. Both have been neglected far to long. I believe this will be my last vote. Because if the american people ignore the facts about the future of not only the enviroment, but also the poor, We are indeed headed the way of the dodo.

    January 21, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. EK

    The second half was boring.....

    January 21, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. Don

    The clintons back in the white house would be this countrys worst nightmare come true.They are the most divisive and polarizing couple in America,plus it would in affect be Bill clinton;s third term,and hillary's third also,she believes she was ,as much president as Bill was during his terms in office. How can she bring the country together when 50% of the people despise her,while of course an equal amount worship her.Barack Obama would be much better for the country,in the general election,if Hillary wins the primary,this nation will be forced to live thru the clinton scandals all over again and Bill being Bill,will no doubt bring more scandal and disgrace to the country.The main reason I could never vote for Hillary,she sold her soul for political gain,if she never married Bill clinton,would anyone know or care who she is?? I think not.

    January 21, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  7. giorgio sorani

    I think this debate showed, one more time, the difference between the two main candidates; I like John Edwards a lot but I don't think he can win.

    Hillary and Bill Clinton – because Bill is probably more involved than her – are running a "restoration" campaign. Let's go back to the 90's when things were good i.e the economy was doing great but NOTHING happened at the political level. Hillary, like Bill, is not ideological. All she cares is to become President and all he cares is to be President again. And they will do whatever is necessary to do it.

    Barak Obama has the virtue of being a lot more honest with the obvious liability that he will say things that will open him to attack from the Clintons – mostly Bill. But, he may be the one person that will put an end to 16 years of political bickering in the US. History tells us that Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning; our current political leaders bicker while the country is floundering.

    So, if you want or hope to cahnge things Barak is the answer. If you want more bickering then vote for Hillary. Although she may not be the next President anyway; the only thing that will truly unite the Republicans is Hillary

    Giorgio Sorani

    January 21, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. Vanessa

    Yes, I agree- I did like the second half more. We tuned in to listen to what they will bring as President and during the second half we got to hear some of that.

    January 21, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  9. Bastien Beauchamp (NYC)

    It's hard to say but Obama made the best performance. Clinton had the best body language and really, killed Edwards on the "lobby" issue. Edwards had great comments about bringing the best out of the situation. But Obama, really made his point about the true, dishonest, Clinton campaign. He is not competing against Hillary. He compete against Bill that isn't there to address his positions.

    January 21, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  10. Josh and Stacey

    This is a first for me ... emailing a station, but I am upset about the Democratic debate.
    If a candidate can make stereotypical comments about minorities and not get called on the carpet by the other candidates or the press then some one is not doing their job. Obama has continuously made stereotypical remarks about African Americans. If Clinton made jokes or remarks about women being barefoot and in the kitchen
    she would be pounced on. Likewise if Edwards made remarks about Yankees,
    he would never hear the end of it. I would support this because no candidate should make such harmful statements. So, why does Obama get a free pass to stereotype African Americans?

    Please consider this
    Thank you
    josh and stacey

    January 21, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  11. Kay

    I am so sorry but when Obama was asked if he thought Bill Clinton was the first true black president Obama shot himslf in the foot!
    "Well...I don't know how well he dances???????????"
    Talk about a black stereotype.
    AND this from the first black man running to be President of the United States.

    January 21, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  12. dem

    Lost Obama tonight.What a low blow against Hillary.Totally agree on a completely partisan crowd ,moderators should not allow audience responses.

    January 21, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  13. Michael Ebury

    I concur Bill Clinton should stay out of Hillary's campaign as he said enough and damaging. I really want to hear from Hillary alone. Not Bill. Bill's loud words just clogged up what I think of her. Was it what Bill said came from Hillary, or did Hillary say it? Can't tell. I am voting Obama

    Michael Ebury

    January 21, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. bill banks

    To us up in Canada, we want a president of the U.S. who will be able to govern, in most areas-Ms. Clinton appears to us to have the overall experience, and chutzpa
    to be that person. Mr. Obama, despite many attributes, lacks the experience in the larger arena, but we don't think he would be willing to stand for vice-president. The debate to-night was great if one is a democrat, with three good candidates. But I don't know if any of them know anything about Canada-which happens to be your best friend, and oh yes, your biggest trading partner-lest you fine folks forget
    And despite some spirited rhetoric, I would wager a couple of good Canadian dollars that nothing substantive will happen in the realm of Health Care, until there are large majorities in bothe house and Senate, there is a democratic congress AND president, and the lawmakers finally agree on the typr of
    healthcare We still believe that there has not been enough examination of Mr. Obama's past record. The press is still giving him a free pass, yet holding Ms. Clinton to a higher standard, quite unfairly.
    Obama would be massacred by Mcain, Democrats should be very careful about nominating a rock star. Especially after these out of control cowboy years.the world is a very dangersous place-Clinton is the obvious choice

    January 21, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  15. Tommy in SD

    Bill has every right to be a part of helping his wife in her Presidential bid, and especially when most of the attacks from Obama have been attacking Hillary when was first lady and attacking her record when it comes to issues with poor people and black people and minorities, or issues with the WTO, or NAFTA those are attackes leveled directly at Bill and so you bet he has every right.
    I know the Clintons not personally but from growing up in Little Rock, AR while Bill was the Governor from the time I was in the first grade until I would graduate Bill Clinton was Governor and Hillary then worked so hard for Children and Minorites spending alot of time in schools, with youngsters even in my 3rd Grade class she came and read to us. So I know she is the right person to lead our country and I am not at all saying Obama is not but we need expierence to lead our country back within reach of being saved from the abuse of the Republican Congress and Mr, Bush.
    People give her a break and lets stop the bitter divide going on within our own party.

    January 21, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  16. Nancy

    Barack Obama has continued to show me that he wants to transform politics in this country. Hillary's comment that she can play the GOP game just tells me she'd be happy to get 50.5% of the vote and then use partisanship to get re-elected, just like Bush did. Jonathon Alter of Newsweek thinks Obama is the only candidate who has the potential to win a landslide, picking up independents and disgruntled GOP'ers. Imagine what he could do with a real mandate.

    January 21, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. John

    If Obama can survive everything the Clintons can throw at him and get the nomination, whoever the Republicans nominate should be a walk in the park. 🙂

    January 21, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. concerned citizen, Mesa, Arizona

    Obama can not answer a question without taking 5 minutes then you don't know what he said.

    January 21, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  19. No more whining

    Obama has frequently used Clinton's statement and voting records especially on Iraq even questioned her judgement,he simply has to defend his positions as well.Less and less impressed with him.

    January 21, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  20. Kat, Huntington, West Virginia

    whether or not I agree with Obama on certain issues or not I will never vote for him because he is irrogant and condescending. Clnton/Edwards 08!!!!!!

    January 21, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. Jim

    Right on, Marianne and Dennis – now when will the media give John Edwards equal billing with the celebs? It's a sad commentary that the majority of the media – CNN included – devote so many words and video to the WOMAN candidate and the BLACK candidate and ignore another very viable candidate – is it PC to say because he's a white male. Come on CNN, Washington Post, NY Times, et al., give John a break. He's an electable person with a message that needs to be heard and not ignored because he's not the media favorite! He's the only one of this crew that strikes me as honest, compassionate and caring. The other two certainly do not.

    January 21, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  22. christine

    Iwas glad to see Sen Obama confront the Clintons on their misrepresenting his words and record. I was especially impressed with Sen Obama's explain regarding race issue. The media acts like a school yard full of jeering peers instigating and pushing two peers to fight. The media, in my opinion has problem trying to understand the issue of race. Even the questions in my opinion appeared skewed to giive Senator Clinton and upper hand. I feel so bad that in2008 that this country is still stuck on the race. Other than being economically deprived,we are all the same and want the same for our famlies. I seems the more things change the more they stay the same. I'm happy to see Dr King's dream in the makings.We haven't gotten there yet, we are trying.To the media give Hope a chance regardless of who you think should be the winner.Let the people make up their own minds. Stop trying to shove your choice on the people. The voters are intelligent.

    January 21, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Jennifer Emerson

    I watched the debate tonight and was just amazed at what I witnessed. I was really turned off when Obama and Clinton took a lot of shots at each other. They spent really valuable time sparring and trying to one-up each other. So much so, that if they had behaved better, we the voters of America (and not just South Carolinians) could have gotten so much more information as to who really is going to be the best leader in our country.

    Whereas Clinton displayed remarkable ability to stay focused under fire, and to stick to the facts, I can’t really say that I would vote for her. Obama may well be the most gifted orator of a generation, but where the hell does he really stand on important issues. My vote would go to Edwards. He seemed the only one tonight to keep in mind that this debate is about America, not about the candidates.

    Once again, the media love affair with the ones labeled front-runners by the polls, has managed to marginalize the one candidate who has actually framed so much of the stances and issues in the national conversation. If the debate had really been balanced and truthful, equal time would have been given over to all three of the candidates. And to hear that the CNN focus group thought that he was the best tonight, but wouldn’t cast their votes for him because he isn’t ‘electable’ is bull! John Edwards has what it takes to lead our country and the world.

    January 21, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. ken

    I think the debate was good for Barack. He addressed a lot of the misleading statements the Clintons keep putting out about him. I am glad he let everyone know he is a CHRISTIAN. I know the CLINTONS are putting out the information that he isn't. Hillary is so fake.

    January 21, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  25. Laura

    What a great ticket it would be of Clinton as President with Obama as VP. Thats the strongest, most effective way to enjoy the power of the Democratic wave.

    January 21, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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