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Debate fallout


Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times breaks down Obama's performance on Thursday. "'Last night I was a little nervous,' Obama said at a rally in Charleston on Friday, where he filled the gym at Burke High School. Constrained by a 60-second limit for replies that worked against Obama's speaking style -- a very long windup to the pitch -- his tendency to generalize meant he did not directly answer some questions. Even when asked something noncontroversial, what he personally did to improve the environment, he said 3,000 campaign volunteers planted trees on Earth Day. With a prod from moderator Brian Williams, the NBC anchor, Obama added he's "been working" to install energy efficient light bulbs at home. He sounded out of touch.

More and more analysts are picking up on the fact that one of the front-runners (John Edwards) does not believe there is such thing as a "Global War on Terror."

The Los Angeles Times writes about Richardson's response that Byron "Whizzer" White, who dissented in Roe v. Wade, is his model Supreme Court justice. "Richardson was asked Sunday to square that response with his support for abortion rights. He fumbled at first, questioning whether White was on the court at the time of the 1973 decision. He then explained he had been 'thinking really fast during the debate' and had chosen White because White was appointed by Richardson's hero, President Kennedy, and 'was an All-American football player besides being a legal scholar.'"

More: "The misstep, Richardson said, reflected his take-me-as-I-am philosophy. 'You're getting somebody who's candid, who's honest, who's not going to be a consultant-driven candidate,' he said. 'That's pretty obvious, eh?'"

In the wake of Thursday's debate, the Hartford Courant noted how Dodd was disappointed he didn't receive more question -- but still remains upbeat.