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Yesterday's debates

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Washington Post on the back-and-forth between Democratic Senate candidate Paul Hodes and Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte in yesterday’s debate: “Hodes, who spoke publicly about running for the U.S. Senate barely a week after being sworn in for his second term in the House, told a debate audience Monday that his Republican opponent Kelly Ayotte is driven by political ambition. Ayotte, a former attorney general who's never run for office before, countered that Hodes was attacking her to avoid talking about his record.”

NEW YORK: NBC’s John Yang was at the Cuomo-Paladino debate, and Paladino had a hard time standing out: During the debate, Paladino seemed bland and listless. He faded into the background and came across as just what he railed against in the Republican primary, when he beat establishment candidate Rick Lazio -- just another politician. He criticized wasteful Medicaid spending, unfunded education mandates and the bureaucracy of New York City's public transit authority. But there were none of the outbursts of the past. Never once did he mention Cuomo by name. "My critics, they say I'm angry," Paladino, whose primary election slogan was, "I'm Mad as Hell," said in his closing statement. "No, I'm passionate about saving New York."

Or maybe it was just tough to stand out in the seven-candidate event that included Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, who kept repeating that very phrase with greater and greater emphasis. Or Kristin Davis of the Anti-Prohibition Party, who claims to have run the escort service that provided former governor Eliot Spitzer with prostitutes and is running on a platform of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana and prostitution. At one point Davis said that unlike the New York City transit system, she "delivered on-time and reliable service." She also said politicians in Albany were "the biggest whores in the state, and I may be the only person on the stage with the experience to deal with them."

This is why you don’t invite every candidate to a debate. The New York Post’s headline sums it up: “Jokers wild in debate debacle.”

The New York Daily News calls it: “One bad comedy show,” and “Andrew Cuomo won Monday's debate, just by sitting up straight.”

While there were no "fireworks" directly between gubernatorial opponents Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino, the first -- and possibly last -- debate between the seven candidates running for governor had plenty of entertainment value, according to the New York Times, which described it as “90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night, with a format that allowed even cursory discussion of issues like taxes and schools to be interrupted by random one-liners and sometimes inexplicable answers.”

WEST VIRGINIA: NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell has some quotables from the Senate debate: John Raese (R) on global warming: "Gov. Manchin … he does believe global warming is caused by man, and the fact that we do have global warming. And that's where he and I have a difference: I don't believe that." Manchin on cap-and-trade: "I respectfully disagree with President Obama. He is dead wrong on cap and trade." Raese on health care: "I don't like socialism to tell you the truth. … I'd like to repeal every part of it because it is pure unadulterated socialism. It is the worst bill that has ever come out of the United States Senate and House." Manchin: "I'm not prepared to scrap the entire bill. There's parts that need change. There are parts that need to be repealed I am sure of that and we have never passed a piece of perfect legislation.”

Raese on the minimum wage: "We have to start lifting jobs and manufacturing where they should be. Not like Manchin and Obama they enjoy people working for 7 dollars and 25 cents. Quite frankly I don't. … I know a lot about creating jobs in my lifetime I've created a lot of em."

Manchin praised the commanders for their decision Afghanistan, saying the president “followed”: "I support the commander's decision for the building up and the president followed that recommendation and with that we must support our troops and we must give them needed support to complete mission.” Raese: "Gov. Manchin might have it a little bit wrong, because when Gen. McChrystal requested troops, he got troops. He only got 70%. Once again Obama did not listen to his generals." Manchin: “I have to inform my opponent Mr. Obama's name will not be on the ballot. … I'm not a rubber stamp for anybody; never have been in my life."