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. Tyran

    Barack did not praise Reagan. I find it very dangerous when we can live in America where comments can be taken out of context or not presented in their full context and then employed by a candidate to support their agenda while attacking another candidate's platform. It takes away from us dealing with the real issues and it portends bad things for the way in which that individual might work in the White House. After all, George Bush is KNOWN for taking things out of context to support his one-sided agendas.

    Barack pointed out just as he stated that Reagan was able to pull individuals from varying political perspectives together at a time when America was needing change. He also stated that the Republicans have presented ideas for 10, 15 years and that we've heard them all before, intimating that the Republicans candidates are only presenting the same hackneyed arguments on what needs to be done with this country. Barack never said those were good ideas. Philosophically, he was right about Reagan's transformative power in drawing people together even if it was for the wrong cause. Reagan did something that others did not do to the detriment on this country. Barack is simply making the case that the strategy by Reagan is right even if his politics are TOTALLY WRONG! He's also suggesting that the Democrats must employ the same strategy in pulling people from across the aisle to support their interest while presenting a different agenda to America–one that will offer change and hope to a a people who have lost confident in their government and their basic belief that America cares about each and everyone of its citizens.

    To parse words and try to offer shibboleths for the media and to manipulate the public is totally unfair. It is very clear that Barack was not asserting that the Republicans have good ideas. I can't say it enough, it frightens me to see these sort of tactics coming from the Democratic party. I think Barack is right–some of us will do anything to get elected. It should be about the vitality of the American people but it seems more about visibility for certain candidates.

    January 22, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  2. jep

    Hillary came out top and showed that she can handle anything even internationally. Obama can't even explain himself other than "yes we can" Yes we can what? Change should be translated in to actions not theory. Time will tell , and super Tuesday is coming. Obama you better be ready for more punches.

    January 22, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  3. MissDeal

    Clinton divides; Obama unites ... which makes more sense? Are we really that unevolved that we need to "fight the Republicans" ?? Something is very wrong there.

    January 22, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  4. Kevin

    Could you even call the second-half a "debate?"

    Was really hoping for some more tough questions. Instead we got a 90-minute "feel good" session on why Bush has ruined the country and how we need to stick together as democrats. ZZZZZzzzzzzzz

    January 22, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  5. Kelly

    Dear Neighbours,

    Canada's Universal health care is the way you should go. Many western nations have it. Don't keep listening to repuplicans. We don't have people on waite lists who are ready to die as you have heard. Unless of course its for a organ.

    Re your debate tonight

    I liked Obama's unity and lets work together message. However, he doesn't appear to handle the attacks well. Also doesn't seem to have a very strong record especially those votes where he only voted present. What's with that.

    Hillary can take and give. I think she's your best bet to win against the Republicans.

    For what it's worth from a neighbour to the north.

    January 22, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  6. Big Al

    I don't give a rat's rump about Scneider's opinion

    January 22, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  7. Scott

    I hope all you partisan-candidate Democrats remember one thing: there will be only ONE Democratic nominee for president and some of your snipping comments at one candidate over another (Clinton over Obama, Obama over Clinton, Edwards over Obama and Clinton...) is just as petty as what went on between Clinton and Obama tonight. I am an uncommitted Democrat living in Canada and watched tonight's debate with great interest. While I am leaning toward Obama, I feel Clinton make take the nomination, but feel Edwards was the best on the stage tonight.

    January 22, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  8. AW in Santo Domingo

    Watching Hillary, all I can think about is how polarizing she is, how many political debts she has, and how she'll deal with Republican congressmen and women who hate her. Shock radio and 'fox' pseudo-news programing will have a field day with her in office.
    I think Edwards and Obama can navigate getting legislation through and realizing a mandate more than Clinton. Bill had the possiblity of a mandate and squandered it on failed healthcare reform (led by Hillary) and his affair. How much of that sticks to Hillary? In reality, he was a centrist who helped usher us out fiscally away from Reaganomics – not much else. He lost congress and the presidency (not backing Gore sufficiently against Bush).
    Edwards stands for reform and Obama talks the talk. Together, Edwards and Obama are much more unifying figures who can capitalize on that when it comes to leading the American people and getting Congress behind that agenda.

    At his death, MLK was talking about us getting out of Viet Nam and global economic injustice. His legacy was not yet realized as a global leader, of social justice, beyond race.
    In his letter from a Birmingham jail, he challenged everyone (the majority) sitting on the sideline to become "creative extremists," which in my view was for every one of us to step into the frame of social activism and social enterprise initiatives to help and pick up those being left behind. We all have a role in re-making this democracy what it can be, rather than letting the haters make cynics out of all of us.
    Who will get us there? Edwards/Obama

    Hillary wants to win at any cost – even if she brings down her own party. Her only chance of gaining the nomination is to alienate and diseffect enough traditional Dems to take the center. She's a hawkish centrist who plays old school politics. Same old/same old thing. Is that what we want? It makes for a risky general election for the general campaign for us Dems.
    We Dems need to keep our eyes on the prize. We win with either Edwards or Obama. Edwards delegates are much more likely to go Obama than Clinton. A vote for either Edwards or Obama will help broker a true winner for the general election.

    Did Hillary answer Edwards' question about campaign $$$ from lobbiests? She poo-pooed the question as so many degrees of seperation She extrapolated that if she took $$$ from a lobbiest, who is to say Edwards didn't take money from the spouse of a lobbiest, as if to imply, who really cares!!?. Well, I care. I think America cares. Doesn't it matter if we're going to change 'politics as usual?' I thought her answer was flip and showed disdain for those who really want to see change.

    Did you notice that at the beginning of the debate, Hillary paid homage to the Black Congressional Caucus, but went right into policy wonk mode and overlooked the opportunity to say something about the MLK legacy. I was surprised that Obama kind of fumbled his openning. Yet, it was Edwards who gave the most respectful, succinct response, bringing up his unfinished legacy of economic justice, that also dovetailed nicely into the overall economic question. But, Hillary's brazen pandering to the congressional representatives in the audience was astonishing. She got something in later, but, whew, her focus is clear to me… win through expediency.

    January 22, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  9. Anye c Niba

    Just to keep it short safe and sound, Obama was the winner of tonights campaign. We all need to take a closer look at his policy in order to spot the future treasure to be tapped out of this icon.

    January 22, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  10. Adrian

    Its obvious from the debate that the audience is biased against Hillary. Obama was the one who started to make a personal attack on Hillary with his Walmart remark and got applause from the audience and when Hillary started to do the same to Obama,she was jeered by the audience.If this is any indication of the South Carolina primary, Obama should be winning it, with huge support from the African Americans.

    This back-and-forth attacks between Obama and Hillary are a distaste and do not clarify the issues for the voters. The voters,of all political stripes, are the ones who lose in the end. That's politics and its a fact that voters have to know and learn to distinguish the real issues behind the smokes thrown up by the candidates. But still, what is particularly disappointing with the Obama campaign is despite their avowed promise to stay positive, they have made personal attacks on Hillary behind the scenes. His campaign's prodding of journalists to Hillary as Senator from Punjab and her remarks about MLK are examples. This is worse than Hillary's campaign attacks as at least, they have never said they would stay all positive in the campaign. James Carville was right to point out that Obama and his staffers come from the school of the rough and tumble of Chicago politics and would use negative tactics in the campaign.

    Hence, let's all wake up and be clear that Obama is every bit as political as Hillary and others, despite his words of hope and opitmism. Talk is cheap. Only actions matter and Obama's actions is not necessarily more positive than others.

    January 22, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  11. Veronica

    Canadians: Yes! Yes!

    On Obama running against both Clintons: Obama is running against the Republicans. Remember?? And he's going to face a lot more opposition as President of the U.S. than he could ever face from either Clinton. My, my.

    It is WAY too early to speculate about who could beat the potential maybe Republican nominee.

    January 22, 2008 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  12. Michael Ebury

    Obama for President!!!!

    January 22, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  13. Roy

    Wake up America! I have come to the conclusion that some Americans just don't get it!!!! They re-elected Bush to run for a second term and look at what he did to America's image globally....not to mention the war, economy, yada yada ya.... I could go on forever! Why they would want to make the same mistake with the Clintons is beyond my imagination. Who are they trying to fool; this is clearly about their restoration back to the white house! Bill is clearly trying to make up for his mistakes and make good his legacy which was cut short as a result of his impeachment. As for the comment about Bill being the "first black president", Martin Roland of CNN hit the nail on the head; why then did he let the genocide happen in Rwanda. ...pleaseeeeeeeeeee!
    Obama is the only candidate who speaks & stands for "Unity", a word hardly mentioned by Hillary or any other nominee. All she talks about is fighting the Republicans. Who are the Republicans most likely to work with? ....Yes, OBAMA! The sign of great leaders like MLK Jr., are people who can share and persuade others to see their vision towards a common, good cause. How can American progress this way....think really hard about this! This is not about Race or Gender; please use common sense for god's sake when making your voting decisions; although it is said common sense isn’t that common!
    I rest my case!

    January 22, 2008 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  14. Ousmane Deme

    If the Democrats make the mistake to nominate Obama for the 2008 presidential elections,America will end up with a Republican at the White House.
    And God help them then!

    January 22, 2008 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  15. Rich in San Diego

    Saddest moment of the night: John Edwards again returns the debate to issues, mentions the tragic story of a Kansas City mother bundling her kids up to stay warm because she can't afford the gas bill, and then tells those kids not to say anything at school or else social services will take them away from their home, and the next question is about whether or not Bill Clinton was the black president.

    When your cities are burning, your people are starving, and you wonder why "God is angry" or seems to be frowning on you...think back to those little moments in your life, when you cheered silly moments like this one. And there was CNN – "the most trusted name in news" egging the stupidity on.

    January 22, 2008 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  16. BRYAN

    I find some of these comments posted idiotic here. Canadians telling us they prefer HILLARY., who cares who they prefer ? Taking words out of context from OBAMA will not work for you HILLARY supporters, and her and her husbands distortions and lies are burying her campaign. I am a registered democrat and I for one am sick of the CLINTONS. The CLINTONS have no ethics whatsoever and very little if any morality to speak of. I think they are both conniving pathological liars who will say anything and use anybody to get back in the WHITE HOUSE. Hell will freeze over before I vote for either of them ever again, but there is a clear choice for DEMOCRATS this time, BARACK OBAMA. A TRUE LEADER

    January 22, 2008 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  17. Christine

    My concern about Edwards and Clinton is that they seem almost flabbergasted that Obama is in the race. Does anyone remember all the coverage about whether he was "black enough?" early in the race? Or all the other mud-slinging.

    Does anyone notice that Obama AND Edwards EACH have held more years of elected office than Mrs. Clinton? And more years of public service prior to that? Or that although she claims 35 year of experience, she doesn't mention that includes her many years as a Republican? And if she gets to claim "being First Lady" as part of her record, then surely she should get the negative credit for how few "little people" got the benefit of pardons and how the White House was a revolving door of rich lobbyists and "Friends of Bill." Remember all the complaints about the Lincoln bedroom being "for sale?"

    The problem I have with this race is that it was supposed to be coronation, not a choice for the American people. Now that we have a choice, the parties are all sparring like two year olds. I think the Democratic party should step in and set a standard – or realize that the squabbling will result in another Republican in office. I know of many people who are Independent, like myself, who are starting to like John McCain much better.

    There's plenty of blame to go around, but I'd like the candidates to stop ganging up on each other like spoiled brats and focus on their job – representing the American people, not their own egos.

    January 22, 2008 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  18. More BS from Obama

    Obama's supporters were an absolute disgrace during the debate – they behave like spoilt brats who are not getting their way.

    January 22, 2008 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  19. Aron

    Clinton's political speak is not answers to questions–it is an unfortunate need to not come clean and speak clearly to the American People.

    January 22, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  20. George Ebong

    I think Bill Clinton should have been called to stand on the podium too because I am seeing four people running as democratic candidates. Bill is the fourth.

    January 22, 2008 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  21. Roberto Rizzo

    If Obama becomes President will he vote PRESENT if we were, supposed, attack againg by terrorist.............? as he does, he did in the SENATE....... Obama is a very ambitious person, I don't think he cares for anything else. His EGO is enormous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It was obvious that Hillary WON last night, and smashed Obama.
    Obama was nervous, I don't want a president like him.

    January 22, 2008 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  22. Sérgio, Porto, Portugal

    Tom Davie,

    Instead of consistently bashing Obama, can you bring something to the table?

    Ron Paul has completely different ideias than most of the Democrats, but still he is very respected. How can one not admire how a person can stood by his/her values, even when they are different?

    Also, about Clinton's legacy? Which Clinton are you talking about? Bill or Hillary? Cuz if you talk about Hillary's magic 35, you have Obama's 20 years of experience. You cannot have it both ways. Maybe you should research before bashing.

    January 22, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. annie

    I watched the rebate in S.C.I will add is this Obama trying to get President just to prove he can to say the 1st black man to make history.We need A president who stands out with the truth knows what he are she is doing.Not to say I will be the first black to become President.This is not telling me he is good for the people nor run our country.

    January 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Cozie M. Lassiter

    I am an African American female who left America in August 1986 to live, and work abroad to support our country, the United States of America. I left America because there were no equal opportunities there for Black Americans, Negroes, or African Americans, rather for "colored folks."

    While I am an educator and highly equipped with educational credentials, I find myself to be "meek" and "humble" and open-mined. Although I miss my three adult children, painfully, I thank God everyday for the opportunity to live and work in four different countries since August 1986. I've lived and worked with some fantastic people from other countries and I've had some wonderful learning experiences with these people.

    I am terribly humiliated, embarrassed, and offended to see African Americans support and praise the Clintons, opposed to supporting one of their very own kind. As far as I am concerned, Bill Clinton is not black. He is as white as the paper that I am writing on. The few crumbs that he gave to support a few African Americans, and a few black organizations does not warrant the praise he has received from some of the "so-called" black leaders in America. They certainly do not speak for me.

    I have not seem any President support any legislation to keep black males and females from the prison system. I have not seen any President support any legislation to keep the abundance of drugs from entering and engaging in the economy of our country. I have not seen any President support any legislation which will keep the black homeless men and women from sleeping on benches in parks that houses statues of the white heroes overlooking them.

    I am so very proud of Obama. Other than the leadership of Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X, I am very disappointed with the past leadership of blacks and black organizations. What have you done for our people?

    Obama should be the next president of the United States. He has a brilliant mind. He is honest. He is kind. He shows compassion to all people from different walks of life, race, color, creed, culture.

    The Clintons have ruled long enough. Give one of us a chance. I am certain that Obama's presidency will make a big difference to our country and his leadership in the position of President of the United States will certainly repair our damaged image.


    January 22, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. PNK

    I saw the second part of the debate, and now some of the "fireworks" of the first part in recaps. I do like Obama but having now seen him in a couple of debate formats, I see he's not really very good at forming good points, focusing, or straight-up answering. I'm getting the sense that he's good at the inspiring-speech kind of talk... but formless on issues, debates, and in-your-face challenges. Just not ready. Hillary is solid on these, well-formed answers, gets to the point, gets her point out there, doesn't falter, knows the issues and topics, and is strong and formidable. Edwards just had the unfortunate role of trying to scrap in there and be noticed, and he came off desperate and kind-of mean sounding. Ugh.

    Obama needs to stop whining about Bill Clinton – hello, if your spouse was the former President, duh, you'd use him/her as much as possible. Hillary answered that question well last night. And Bill C being a master campaigner, of course he's going to get in the face of any challengers. Obama looks like a wimpy whiner when he complains about this.

    I'm seeing a winner in Hillary, and a wanna-be in Obama.

    January 22, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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