[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/01/art.california3.ap.jpg caption=" Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama at last night's final Democratic debate before Super Tuesday."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Last night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was a surprise. It was pleasant to watch. They were cordial and polite to each other. The discussions were about real issues such as health care and Iraq, and they were conducted by two adults who didn't resort to hackneyed clichés and tired, old campaign slogans.
I actually learned something. I suspect a lot of other Americans did, too. Gone were the insults, innuendoes and accusations that have marked previous meetings between these two. And the fact that there was just the two of them allowed the audience to focus in and not be distracted by seven different answers to the same question from people who have no more chance of being the next president than I do.
If the tone of last night's debate could somehow be transferred to Washington – replacing the bitter partisanship and gridlock that are currently destroying the country – the possibilities would suddenly seem limitless.
And, at the end of the night, Hillary won. She was smoother, more confident and more in command of the facts. Obama was good, but she was better. Assuming the audience was as large as I think it was, she did herself a lot of good last night.
Here’s my question to you: How important will last night's debate prove to be on Super Tuesday?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Last night was a pleasure compared to the children who debated the night before. I am a registered Republican and was appalled at the Republican debate. I will be voting Democratic this time around; it was a pleasure listening to two adults compare the issues. Hopefully, we will have them both in the White House.
Mr. Cafferty, With all due respect, you could not be more wrong: Barack Obama won the debate. Why? Because the "pleasant tone" you liked so much is part of the kind of change Obama is bringing to American politics. After her rudeness towards Obama hurt her in South Carolina, Senator Clinton realized that she had to change her tone. Obama has always been polite and focused on issues: Clinton had to change her approach to stay competitive. Obama set the tone and won the debate.
If nothing else, the debate last night pumped up the Democrats to take on the Republicans. I think Democratic turnout to the polls on Super Tuesday will be record-breaking, and in November we will have the first black male or the first female president this country has ever had!
Roland from Fort Collins, Colorado writes:
This was Obama's best debate. He was substantive, eloquent, presidential, and humorous. One of his best points regarding judgment was made: It's important to be right on Day 1. The Clintons had to clean up after the first Bush and now the second Bush? No way! The two central issues in this campaign are character and the past vs. the future. Only Obama had the night and our future.
I really enjoyed the debate between two dynamic, intelligent people. All things being equal, Hillary got my vote. And, Jack, I am impressed by your question. Actually, I'm floored!