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February 1st, 2008
06:01 PM ET

How will Clinton-Obama debate affect Super Tuesday?

 Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama at last night's final Democratic debate before Super Tuesday.

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?


William writes:
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.

J.C. writes:
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.

Kayla writes:
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.

Elena writes:
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!


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Diane

    After viewing both the Republican debate and the Democratic debate, it is my fervent hope that viewers will vote Democratic in the general election, no matter who wins the Democratic nomination. The intelligent and thoughtful responses to all the questions by both Obama and Clinton, should convince anyone that either of these two is preferable to any of the Republican candidates. The republicans are truly living in an "alternate universe."!!!

    February 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  2. mike studders

    the turnout is going to be nothing short of fantastic..the real america may emerge. i listened intently for any promises that were impossible to fulfill and i didn't hear any. it is going to be a democratic year.

    February 1, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Lisa

    We found somebdy that talks more than the Blitzer. Hillary Bobbed n Weeved, Duck questions while blathering on for 10 minutes each question...and she's ready to be President on Day 1?. God Help Us. Vote Obama!

    February 1, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  4. JP AUGER

    Jack, I thought last night's debate was the best so far since the beginning. It was a tremendous help to me in making my decision The only negative was Wolf Blitzer contiuously taking jas at Hillary. A moderator should not try to insert his own bias opinons. He was not the one that was debating issues. A Tim Russert he is not.

    February 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  5. Kevin

    I think that people have already chosen who will be for them the best nominee and the debate emphasized no real winner, so I don't think that it would affect Super Tuesday.

    February 1, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  6. AJM

    In last nights debate, Hilary Clinton mentioned that Syria, Iran and other neighbouring countries should be brought to the table on the Iraq issue. I was of the Opinion that Hillary (Billary) wasn't going to negotiate with Terrorists? Is this flip flopping or what?

    Also Billary's mentioning of Experience in the white house. Hmmm. Let's see,

    -NAFTA jobs going to immigrants, predominantly Latino, while she was trying to attract Black votes last night,
    – Trip to China promoting women's right's while Bill makes China USA's greatest trade patner and USA's greatest Creditor,
    – approximately 1 million people die in Rwanda on Bill Clinton's watch,
    -Yugoslavia is decimated so that Dick Cheney's companies roam the wreckage scoring ludicrous deals.
    – Blood diamonds wars in Western Africa on Billary's watch.
    – The Lewinsyk saga? Bomb Iraq.

    February 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  7. Gene

    Who cares? It doesn't matter who gets elected (democrat or republican).
    It will be business as usual and the average guy/gal on the street will end up getting screwed as we have for so many years.

    February 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Sue Covington

    I think the debate last night was very important, as many people pay little or no attention until it is time for them to go vote. I thought each candidate did very well,
    but why would we vote for a woman president when we are in a war in the Middle
    East and those people do not think of women as much of anything. Clinton's chances of doing anything about the war are slim and none.

    Sue
    Cedar Rapids, IA

    February 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Kenneth C. Kennedy (Ken)

    I am an independant, were I a Democrat I would now have to flip a coin.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  10. dan in mass

    If it proves to have any effect I think it's a plus for Hillary. She once again showed her unparalleled understanding of all the issues. One did their homework, and one read the Cliffs notes.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  11. Ken KS

    Jack, finally, a debate of issues instead of bickering. Perhaps if these two stay on that course, they will both gain respect and become candidates for the people instead of two spoiled children. I am sick and tired of politics as usual and whichever of the four we get, we'll still get the status quo. The original question? People will finally use it to see whose plan they like best. I personally think Clinton emerged the winner, although I'm not too keen on either of their platform. I'm an Independent, though, so I guess I don't care.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Scott B

    I think it stopped Obama's ralley of late – Clinton was at her best when she is not spatting and just going issue by issue and talking about why she believes in her plans – I though Barack really stumbled to try to answer some of his questions last night and looked a bit undecisive.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  13. W B in Las Vegas

    I think the big question is which way John Edwards supporter will break even though they were only 10 to 15 percent of the primary voters. that is still enough to put one or the other over the top.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  14. Nikolas Keramidas

    Jack, i would consider myself an independant and leading up to the recent debates, i was struggling to see a candidate that i would be willing to support. After watching the republican debate, i was completely turned off by McCain and Romney's childish bickering back and forth about who said what and when they said it, completely avoiding the issues being discussed. I watched the democrate debate last night with low expectations to see anything different.

    it was incredibly refreshing to watch Obama and Clinton actually talk about the issues and act presidential.

    i think if both side keep up what they did during their respective debates, the democrates wont have any trouble winning the White House.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  15. Elizabeth

    For me it has made my decision harder. They were both very good and seeing them in conversational tones answer questions and give details it seems more difficult to determine that one is better than the other. I will vote for Hillary, you can't get more different than a women compared to a man but I think both are astronomically better than the drumbeats coming from the republicans that haven't changed their tune at all. I still believe Hillary has the experience that Obama can't touch. Even her time as first-lady opened up possibilities of discussion and learning that otherpeople just can't get.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  16. Mike McKibben, Fl

    I'm sure that the debate between Obama and Clinton last night will be the deciding factor for many voters that were on the fence, but as for me, I am still undecided as far as the general election goes. It will depend on who the candidates pick for their VP and Cabinet members. We don't need another Cheney like VP, and a Bush express Cabinet running this country.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  17. John from Calsbad, CA

    Jack

    I don't think the debate had much impact. I knew Hillary was bad for this country before it and it only confirmed it for the 1000th time that she still is bad for this country.

    As an independent in California who is locked out of the option of voting in the republican primary my mission in my vote is not to pick the best person (sadly there isn't one) but to keep the worst people out. I am really tired of doing this. I had to do this twice before to try to keep Bush out without qualified people I really liked. I just hope someone of quality gets into this race!

    February 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  18. Francois - Brockton, PA

    Their debate will definitely give them an advantage compared to the sleepy, quarrelsome "debate" of the Republicans. Theirs (Clinton's and Obama's) was passionate, pivotal to issues and even, in some instances, supported each other. Jack, they were awesome and have shown a real human edge to each other that the public could not help but notice in last night's debate. This "x-factor" so to speak (their ability to even support each other) will not go by unnoticed on Super Tuesday and will be evident in the numbers.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  19. joe m

    it was a bore. the fact is most analyst on the right are correct, from a policy stand point, these two are not reallyh different. for the undecide voters, the question is one of character, electability, and their ability to appear presidential. these qualities would only have emerged in a debate where the sparks were flying. clinton would have needed to attack and defend without looking manipulative and sounding shrill. obama, on the other hand, needed to show that he was capable of being tough without appearing too intellectual or detached. this debate was a yawnfest.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  20. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Doesn't affect me. I already voted absentee ballot.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  21. Charlene

    I'm not sure how the media keeps coming to the conclusion that Hillary won the debate. The only thing I know for certain is that in the general election my vote will be against anyone with the last name Clinton. That includes the so-called "dream ticket" (which sounds like more of a nightmare to me).

    The democratic party needs to wise up. Younger voters do not like Billary and do not want to vote for "more of the same." Obama is at least tolerable on this point.

    A vote for Hillary is like a vote for McCain or not a meaningful change to government as we know it.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Robert Finn

    I think that until Sen Obama figures out how to be in command during a debate,
    that shortcoming, along with his inexperience, would not bode well in a confrontation with Senator McCain. Senator Clinton clearly shows her superiority
    in each and every debate and would have no problem with Senator McCain.
    However, if the Republican nominee is Mitt Romney even George Bush could
    beat him.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  23. Beverley Boyle

    Again during the debate, Senator Clinton claimed that her experience makes her the best person to be the next President. Her experience should have guided her in voting against the war, but it didn’t. So what really prompted her to vote for the war anyway? Ambition? Last night Clinton claimed that she made a “reasoned judgment” based on the facts that were presented to her regarding the war. She says as well that knowing what she knows now, she would never have voted for the war. Her hubby could easily have given her the facts or contacted someone who really knew what they were. So why did she really vote for the war? Could it be that her support of the war was based on what she thought was best for Hillary?

    On the war, Senator Obama right from the start stood up and did what was right for his country – Senator Clinton did not and that is a fact.

    She tried to explain her vote during the debate but everything she said about her initial support of the war sounded pretty lame. I hope that on Super Tuesday, Americans think about this horrible war started by George W. Bush and the millions of lives that were destroyed and remember who stood up and who did not.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  24. Michael "C" in Lorton

    Last night's debate will prove to have a significant and positive impact for Barack Obama on Super Tuesday and will add additional momentum to his campaign. As far Hillary Clinton, it just proved that she can act "presidential" when it serves her purpose....and we all know that a leopard doesn't change it spots. If the Democrats have a "dream team" for the convention, I can assure you that it will not be Obama and Hillary or Hillary and Obama.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  25. Mary Steele Yorktown VA

    Jack,

    That debate re-enforced the disgusted feeling I have for both of them. It shows that neither of them plan to represent what U.S. citizens want. They plan to let 11-20 million illegals remain in this country and not have to apply just like everybody else has, including the ones legally waiting outside of our country.

    If they were representing the American people they would know that is not what we want, what other issues are they going to ignore the will of the people?

    February 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Mark from Michigan

    Jack:

    As much as this country wants to talk about the Economy as the issue, neither one of these two will be in office soon enough to do anything about that. That is the Congress and Bush's problem to fix.

    By November, voters will decide one thing, and just one thing with their vote: Keep fighting in Iraq, or bring the troops home. That's what we will be voting for...period.

    And if that's the case, last night's debate proved important for Obama because he absolutely hammered her on Iraq. She can't win the Iraq argument against a guy like McCain because of her vote-and thus Super Tuesday voters may not realize any importance, but the longer this race drags on, the more Iraq will come back to the forefront, and give Obama the nomination.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  27. Swannie

    While it was deeply gratifying to see both candidates bring the ,seriousness and civility that is due such a historical event , it was apparent to me that Hillary Clinton was significantly more comfortable with and well versed in the particulars of the issues . It was completely obvious she is ready to begin as she states she is , and she inspired me with the confidence that I have felt she has had , but she demonstrated that my confidence was well placed .
    The candiates are applying for the job of president and we the voters are interviewing and evaluating them , and while Obama is deservedly in the running , she gets the job as far as I am concerned.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  28. phyls esparza

    If the voters of these states use their brains – and not follow the idiotic ramblings of the news media folks – they will see that Hillary is truly the best to run this country. I, for one, would like to see the 90's – the old days of Bill Clinton return. I had a job, brought into the stock market, paid on my mortgage, and had friends who lived near-by and not in Iraq, dying for a Bush War that was a lie and an irreresponsible act by a man who smoked, drank and ducked his war duty.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  29. LeeAnn/PEI Canada

    Hi Jack
    I agree Hillary won the debate last night. Hopefully America (I suspect many may watched) saw Hillary as a strong and confident individual. She is a worker and I also believe her "roll up our sleeves" mentality will be her mantra in the White House. If people vote for Obama they will be voting for the vison of something better – however they will yet again be disappointed. She has visited 82 countries and met with leaders of nations... how many countries can he even name?
    The way I see it Jack is this – Hillary wins the election and gets this country back on track. Obama joins her cabinet or some high office and learns the ropes increasing his knowledge of foriegn relations etc. and runs for the president spot in 8.

    PS I am an American living abroad (Canada) and have already sent in my ballot for Super Tuesday.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  30. David B

    I think Hillary showed a side that America has been waiting to see. Softer with more emotion in her voice. Although I am leaning towards Obama I think she won the debate. I am also glad that Bill was nowhere to be seen. Look for 6-7% margins of victory in CA. for her as well as double digit margins in NY/NJ. MA might be different. Obama will do very well mid-America. I wish he could debate as well as he gives speeches. My folks saw him in KS and eventhough they`re in their mid 80`s he was electrifying.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  31. John from CT

    Jack,
    I think it was John Edwards who set the tone last night. Since he hasn't endorsed either one yet, I'm sure he told both candidates to cool it for the good of america and the democratic party. I don't think last nights debate swayed any undecided voters but the weekend is just starting.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  32. Don Switzer

    Last night's debate will burst the"balloon" that has been floating around about Obama, the one that he has already been annointed as the next President because of his personal aura, his great intelligence, and his ability to capture an audience. Now people will see that Hilliary, though perhaps not possessed of as "pleasing" a personality as Mr. Obama, is more well-informed, knowledgeable and experienced in every area that pertains to the Office of the President. Because of her articulateness she comes across as head and shoulders above Obama in every area that is important.

    "Likeability" is not the be-all and end-all of politics. At some point competence takes over–especially when one candidate differs so little from the other in what they believe is the proper direction of the Country. Last night helped get this message across to many people who were "on the fence"–or deluded by Obama's intangibles that were supposed to make his election inevitable.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  33. Bill Quarryville, PA

    I hope we are talking about the same debate. Because the one you were describing, the thriller in Manila, I apparently missed. I didn't see any one getting hit with a tremendous left hook in the 14th round. But what I did see was too well educated people having a great debate and respect for each other. they didn't leave themselves fall into any traps set by the news media. I think the people will have a hard time selecting the democrat candidate next Tuesday. But whoever wins the nomination for the democratic party I will vote for. Because they will pull our troops out of Iraq and I don't hear any of that coming from the Republican candidates.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  34. tom

    i am a decorated wwii veteran who is sick and tired of listening to those militaristic windbags like mccain et al who keep telling us that sacrifice is necessary to make iraq and afghanistan democratic.. the only people sacrificing are the troops fighting these bloody battles with politicians rooting from the sidelines..the american people are merely spectators who are more interested in the super bowl .

    if we are in an all out war why dont we have a draft........roughly half our armed forces are immigrants doing their part.. FOR SHAME. i guess the examples set by bush and cheney on how to avert military service has filtered down to our youth.

    GET OUR BOYS HOME......

    TOM hobe sound fl

    February 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  35. chris from california

    I think it will have more of an effect on the general election than Super Tuesday because they were debating the key issues that will affect the outcome in November. Put either Obama or Clinton against McCain and he (McCain) will look and act the snarky old man that is just a Bush mouthpiece. Especially true if it's Obama – the Nixon/Kennedy debate redux.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  36. Scott

    the lady kicked the guy's butt, she'll be the next president and that you can count on
    ,
    bowling green,mo.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  37. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    The average American has the attention span of a flashbulb, so it all depends on what happens immediately before Super Tuesday.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  38. Jama Ali

    Jack, I disagree with you. I honestly believe that Obama had the upper hand in the debate and won it as well. I watched the debate and was really excited about watching it. One thing i could not stand was the fake, manipulative smile of Hillary. Anyway, I can go on and on just exploring the things she did poorly, but answering your question, according to the recent national polls, Obama is closing the gap, that indicates how well he did in the debate last night. Will it help him to win Super Tuesday?.....The results are in already Jack.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  39. George Wilson

    I believe the tone of the debate last evening shows that even though the candidates have differences in the way they will run the country shows that there is unity in the Democrat Party. It certainly wasn't like the Republican debate where one of the candidates made a ninny of himself by lying about his vote on the Bush tax cut. I believe that the Democrats have finally stopped bickering, and are uniting to take back the White House.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  40. russell blackshear

    Little if any. The axe is already sharpen and take flordia's vote and chew it up and there is your answere.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  41. Jorge from California

    Jack,
    I learned that H. Clinton was a well traveled First Lady... and that she cannot win against a Republican... She is not a CHANGE!!
    Hillary voters will vote for Barack Obama... Obama's supporters will NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton...

    February 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  42. Tina

    If might change a few minds but most people already have their minds made up and either way history is going to be made which ever Democrat you vote for if that is the way you are going.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  43. chris from california

    It may decide if Bloomberg will enter the race.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  44. Greg from PA

    I gotta disagree with you, Jack. If you paid attention to their body language, you could tell Barack sincerely believes in his message of hope and unity. Hillary on the other hand was more like Ms. Umbrage from Harry Potter, complete with sardonic smile and glaring eyes. Obama offers a break from lobyist and special interest control of our government. Hillary offers more of the same. That's an important difference for a lot of younger voters like me–I'm 53.

    February 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  45. Mary Miles

    How refreshing to sit and listen to the candidates debate the issues. That being said, Hillary is the candidate that embodies what a diplomat, a negotiator, a states(person) should be. She is confident and unflappable, cool and actually quite charming. I can picture her rubbing elbows with world leaders and being very comfortable doing so. I do however, question Mr. Obama's ability to function at a high level in such situations. Hillary appears to speak from the heart; Mr. Obama appears to speak from a script. That would explain why he is so frequently at a loss for words and stumbles along. It is a real handicap for him and indicates to me his insincerity. He still has so much to learn. Maybe someday – but at this time, Hillary is my choice and after last night's debates, I would bet a lot of minds were changed.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  46. ben

    The debate was great and the setting was perfect, Hollywood. Obama plays the part of Kennedy and Clinton plays the part of Nixon. The Bush/Clinton show has been running for 28 years and I look forward to it being cancelled.

    Ben
    Louisville

    February 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  47. TLC

    As much as it pains me Jack, I have to agree with you that Hilliary was smooth and appeared to be better at last nights debate. Unfortunately, this will probably help her on Super Tuesday and gain her some more delegates. Of course then again she has had more years of living a Washington life, corruption and deceit as it's best, which started with her involvement with Walmart types and her husband. I know that to err is human and to forgive is devine, but we should not forget the under the table deals the Clintons have made and continue to make to get votes. It is my hope that we Americans don't let history repeat again and again.

    TLC from Texas

    February 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  48. Mary Whartnaby

    Jack – Last night's debate might or might not have an influence on Tuesday's Primary. It does not matter who scores. These candidates make promises-
    promises and when they are elected, we, the people are left "holding the bag-
    an empty bag"!

    February 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  49. George

    Last nights debate did nothing to sway the voters either way. This race is about the Status Quo(Clinton) vs Change(Obama). If America wants more of the same they will vote for Clinton. If they want change they will vote for Obama.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  50. Jeff

    Apparently it is not about what you say but how you say it in this country. Obama's plans were practical and his vision is one that this country needs.

    Hillary gave insufficient answers on Iraq and especially regarding her husband. How are we to believe that Bill won't have alot of sway in her presidency? Watching her was like watching the consummate politician: well spoken words coming from a forked tongue.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  51. Roger

    Jack, the winner in last night's debate was the democratic party. Both Obama and Clinton can be credited with uniting the party by showing their friendship with each other while discussing their differences. If they had been contentious as in the previous debate, they would have caused bitterness between the supporters of the 2 candidates which would have been bad in the general election.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  52. Jackie

    Jack, I have heard numerous reports and TV news personalities state what a polite conversation the Democratic debate in LA was last night. If the news people want blood (Donna Brazile said she liked blood sports) then they should watch a sporting event. For the first time since this horse race started I actually had the opportunity to learn about positions and views on issues that are important to me. This election is the most important one that has occurred in my lifetime, or at least since Viet Nam, which was pretty intense. Voters are turning out in droves to vote on both sides. The country is in a crisis of the likes we have not seen in years. The people of this nation want to hear about stands on issues not a fight that keeps our attention on who is going to punch who out. I am not interested in petty bickering and in-fighting. I am trying to pick a winner out of a bunch of unknown candidates and it will be the most important decision I will probably make in my lifetime because it will decide whether this country survives as a nation at home and abroad. The news people should understand that more than average citizens. I am disappointed that news people would rather be entertained than educated on the facts since I am assuming that all of you will be voting in this election as well. Give me more facts not fights.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  53. CHARMAINE

    Hi Jack,

    Thank you Hillary and Obama, the debate was well done. I think that Hillary won, she was more in command and showed more cofidents. The most humorous part of the debate was after. The analysis they had nothing to say because the debate was conducted in a civil way .

    Bill was right all along. SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON YOU, the press.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  54. Jerry Wilson

    Hopefully last night's debate will have little effect on Super Tuesday's results. Because we want informed voters, and informed voters would be aware of the qualifications of the candidates, and would not cast votes based on sound bites made by a opponent at the last minute.

    Look at what happened to Mitt Romney in Florida after voters cast votes influenced by McCain fibs.

    Now granted, the Supreme Court elected Bush in 2000, but, there will never be the likes of him elected again if voters become informed. A informed voter is a marginal candidates worst nightmare.

    Jerry Wilson

    February 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  55. Wings

    There certainly was an adjustment in her bearing last night. It's possible Hillary may be more comfortable with Obams then with Bill on issues. I was particularly amused by both their body language during the discussin of Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton. Definitely not ruled out, but nonetheless, not commital either; I think it wouild present an almost unbeatable team for the general election. And as Obama said, the GOP economy issues are their downfall. Neither wants an MBA CEO as president. We've already seen how those people "decide" important questions. I'd say off hand, they would be facing McCain-Huckabee, with Bi-principaled MBA CEO Romney out of the picture.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  56. Beth

    Jack, I think it is of great importance! And as you, I think there is no question on Mrs. Clinton running this country. She did a great!! job last night, as did Mr. Obama. What this country really needs to do, is put Clinton in as President and Obama as Vice President. If it is the other way around, I really don't think Obama would choose Clinton as Vice President. If we have it the other way this country can't lose. And we all know in eight years that Obama would be our next President with alot of experience under his belt. So as you can see I am look ahead for the next sixteen years. And with this ticket everyone wins BIG TIME!!!!!!! I really hope this country votes wisely and not just because they like someone because they are young and good looking , or not elect someone because you don't like the name. This election is of upmost importance! We need to vote wisely. Go! Clinton and Obama. What a WIN!!!

    February 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  57. California voter

    Jack, I hope it was important since an informed voter is better than one who votes for someone because of who a friend votes for. I'm glad people had a chance to hear the candidates in a venues other than their stump speeches. I can almost provide Obama's answers to the questions by now.! I will give the man his props. He is an excellent speaker and gives a very good sermon. However, It will take more than that to be President of the United States in these troubling times, and I do not believe he is experienced enough or tough enough to take this country in a positive direction. He ducks when asked tough questions and doesn't vote even when he feels strongly on an issue - his non-vote on Iran for example that he criticized Clinton for voting on. And finally, I seriously question how he can call himself a unifier when he belongs to a church that comes off as separatist.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  58. Carole

    This historic debate exemplifies the proven credentials of both candidates for the Democratic nomination. However, I give Hillary the edge and would be very satisfied having her lead this country in a new direction.

    Come super Tuesday,Hillary will be rewarded for her years of dedication and hard work.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  59. Ralph from New York

    While it was refreshing not to be in the middle of a battlefield, Obama needed to score some points before Tuesday. It appeared that while both had their strong positions (Clinton on her medical programs and Obama on Iraq), the debate appeared to be a draw.
    Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the whole debate was to watch Wolf attempt to bait either one of the candidates, with no luck. You predicted wrong in New Hampshire, and in Los Angeles, where there was no rumble. If the polls and your "political team" can't succeed, what's next: tea leaves or a crystral ball?

    February 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  60. Linda Brooks

    Last nights debate with Hillary and Obama was fantastic and gives you hope for our country. I can't wait to have a democrat back in office. I like Obama but I think Hillary would do a better job as President. Obama is very charismatic but Hillary I believe can get us out of this mess. I say VOTE FOR HILLARY!!!!

    February 1, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  61. Tim

    Jack,

    The affect will be huge. The debate put to rest lingering questions about differences between the two democrats. Obama represents a new era in Washington; Clinton is politics as usual. And after watching the Republicans on Wednesday night it should give independents and moderate Republicans an opportunity to make up for 2004.

    Tim in Boone, NC

    February 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  62. Rosemary

    Its amazing to me how people see things so different. Hillary went on and on. So much so, that I started tuning out her answer. If her point was to look like she was very knowledgeable on her subject, she ended up sounding like a lot of noise. I don't know why the Media keeps giving her the edge on how Presidential she looks.

    The woman knows how to dodge a real answer and talk all around a question. Say what you want of Obama at least he tries to give an honest answer, even to his own detriment sometimes. Isn't that what we want instead of double talk?

    Hillary will be learning on the job also, oh wait a minute she has Bill who will be our 2 for 1 Presidency again.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  63. Jake

    Those who don't care about Sooper Toosday have every right to be fearful. It means the Bloomberg-Nader Independent ticket will have a hard time catching up. They may have to call in Lou Dobbs as a consultant.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  64. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,
    Last night Hillary won the debate, but so did Obama. They were both articulating and coherent in addressing the major issues that are important to all voters. This will have a small affect on the out come of Super Tuesday for each of them. However I think the one thing the debate accomplished is it keep the dream alive of Clinton-Obama in 08.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  65. thelma

    CLINTON won the debate and anyone with common sense knows she would make a better PRESIDENT than any of the other canidates. she could start from DAY ONE where the others will have to be taught the (LANGO)....go HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON 08........

    February 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  66. R. W. MOORE

    No, I am still going to vote for Ron Paul.
    R. W. Moore

    February 1, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  67. DAK

    Jack
    Hillary will gain by the "conversation" last night.
    I was personally put off by Mr. Obama when he dismissed the question, and called it "scapegoating", which a MN woman legitimately asked about the costs in American jobs and wages from illegal immigrants. I found his defense of "immigrants", meaning illegal, and his tone offensive. She must have hit a nerve! It just proves further that he is either too privileged OR too Kennedy-like (elitist) to really understand the plight of the poor and middleclass.
    I hope John Edwards realizes this too before he endorses him.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  68. Judy

    Hillary sealed the deal last night. She's more knowledgeable on every subject, composed, was clear when outlining her plans and was not afraid to explain her reasoning. She’s strong and she was very presidential. Obama is good, but needs more time to develop. Being inspirational is not enough to resolve the problems in our country today. I'm not saying I would never vote for Obama in the future, just not now. There's too much at stake. I need to feel comfortable knowing that we have someone who's competent and can get things done. Hillary has proven herself with both her contributions to our country over the years and her experience with working with both sides. She's also proven she can handle anyone. I am an independent and she has my vote hands down.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  69. sheila conrad

    Hi Jack, I watched the debate and felt very proud to be a democrat. I want to know how you and others at CNN can include questioning the candidates as to a detailed stand on public financing: which would affect so many issues that the American people care about: health care, the economy, corruption in D.C., immigration, Iraq. It is only when politicians are responsible to we, the American people, because we finance them, that they will truly represent us. thanks, Sheila

    February 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  70. Ruth McInerney

    Academy Award worthy performances in the perfect setting. How ironic?

    February 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  71. J. D.

    It was a great debate and both candidates are far superior to any of the Republican contenders. In the end, however, I can't get past Senator Clinton's vote for the Iraq war resolution – and that's what it was – and her current position that she didn't expect George Bush to actually use the authority he was granted. The majority of the American people believed it was a vote for war and, apparently, so did Senator Obama. If her judgement is that faulty, she should not be president.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  72. paul W.Dc

    Thanks Jack,

    I thought Hillary was better too ( though nobody hit anything out of the ballpark ). It seemed that she draws from a deep well when she presents her ideas and plans.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  73. Julie VanDusky

    I think the debate helped Hillary. I know of at least two potential Obama voters who are now seriously considering Hillary. Obama is really good at getting people to vote for him when he talks about "Hope" and "Change" but once he starts talking about the details of his plans, it's all down hill from there. It's clear that despite he says he will be right on day one, he won't; his health care plan, for example, has a serious flaw- people will opt out of buying health care even when it's in their best interest to buy it, so we should mandate it. I was also disappointed that a question about NASA wasn't asked; I really wanted Obama to explain why he thinks it's appropriate to cut funding from NASA to pay for his education bill.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  74. Ben

    Obama is the victor of last nights debate because he is the only one who can win against a republican against the Iraq issue which is a BIG issue! If it is in the background now, wait until McCain talks about staying in Iraq for 100 years.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  75. Jeri

    A Clinton-Obama ticket could transform this country and is the only thing that could undo what 8 disasterous years of Bush-Cheney has done! It's pretty clear to me that the United in United States needs help! There are States that could go it alone and be better off!

    Clinton will win!

    February 1, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  76. JIM LAGO

    Hello Jack

    I dont see any impact on the voting on Tuesday/ The endorsement
    by Senator Edwards may tip the scale slightly.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  77. Sharon

    I think both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama performed well in last night's debate. Overall, I thought Senator Clinton had a better command of the various issues. I'm not sure their debate performances will impact Super Tuesday. In general, Senator Clinton is treated to a harsher standard by the media, and I don't know how much all of the media bashing, spin and over analysis may harm her. Additionally, voters may view Senator Obama as a more progressive choice. Although, many of his supporters on this blog actually come across more as old style Clinton haters/bashers than real progressive minded individuals.

    I'm not sure which candidate would perform better against the Republicans in the general election. But, I hope everyone who blindly reports all of the Republican talking points against Senator Clinton realizes that Senator Obama may not seem as good of a candidate once the Republicans start working on him. (I happen to like him, but believe he is more of a regular politician than he lets on, and also needs a few more years of experience.) Both Senator Clinton and President Clinton may have their faults, but when you really look at their records, you can see they have clearly dedicated their lives to public service. Although President Clinton has been painted as a pit bull of late, I think it is admirable that he chose to raise so much money for various charities since leaving office.

    If I were voting on Super Tuesday, right now I would vote for Senator Clinton. I would also be very much in agreement with having Senator Obama as Vice President.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  78. Hagar the Horrible

    There was no distinct winner last night, Hillary got in her clean up after Bush sound bite but nothing overwhelming. Barack held his own, didn't stumble and for once was given time to explain his ideas his rediness. The highlight for me was his idea of involving Americans in the process by televising government and the drug companies on C Span. Having the Congress or Senate scrutinized live for all America to see may just keep them in line and accountable.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  79. justobserve

    Of course Hillary is a smooth talker, a talented debater but her 35 years of experience as she now claimed is only one part of her life. The Clintons made the White House a joke, a soap opera for the whole world to watch. All I can say is she has a selective memory, she only remembers the goods and ignores the bads and the uglies. But just as they said if you repeat the lies many times, people will believe them as truths. If you judge people by their smooth talking not their actions, you will misjudge them.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  80. Kim Cucoch

    Jack,
    As a Canadian I find American Elections very facinating but often confusing. Thanks to the CNN team and website I am slowly putting it together.
    I have tried to watch all the debates but get frustrated and turn them off when the bickering starts. I found last nights debate was great. I actually watched the whole debate. I was able to hear and understand each candidates views on each issue. The questions were very good as they covered all the important issues. Will it make a difference on Super Tuesday? It should because those who watched should be able to make an informed decision after listening to both candidates.

    Kim,
    Ontario, Canada

    February 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  81. Vicky

    Jack I agree with you. How many times did Obama say I agree with Hillary. When he is left alone with only Hillary in the debate he finally starts to give some facts on issues. His people did a good job with him but the guy is not going to be president. I'm sure he will find out on tuesday that being the ra ra man is not going to get him in the white house. One other thing, Obama you were not in on the vote to use military power so would you stop acting like you were.Give me a break

    February 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  82. Daniel From Tempe AZ

    Jack,

    Sounded like they are all ready running mates, it is just a matter of who is going to be the president and who is going to be the vp.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  83. Karen P

    Look behind the "words". Hillary, even though relatively gracious, always changes her mind and vote. All of us know that. Barack is the only leader and has the ability to unite the Party...Hillary will still only divide the country and certainly lose to the Republicans just due to the anti-Hillary voters. Barack displays an intelligent, composed, likeable LEADER with good judgement. Hillary is always voting for, against, for, against for a single issue...enough of the roller coaster ride. Just the fact Hillary couldn't admit to her mistake on the war and pretended she didn't even read the title of the bill for war...well, literacy IS a problem in this country.

    I discovered a blog where someone stated many Southern California independents "not stated" voters don't know they can vote in the primaries and need only to ask for a Democratic ballot on Super Tuesday. How come these people don't know about that? Or do they? Shouldn't California educate their voters that one can be an independent and still vote in that state in a primary for Democratic Party? Don't know about how Republicans work in that state. Please explain.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  84. Ben

    Huge impact! If I had not voted yet, I would want to vote both!
    "Dream ticket"! Yes! They have no one else but each other. These are the super candidates and they should forge a united movent together!
    Go Obama/Clinton
    Go Clinton/Obama

    February 1, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  85. Najam, New Jersey

    It was refreshing to see Obama not taking cheap shots at Hillary except the one about her voting on Iraq war. What would he say if a Republican does what Obama suggested, sends troops to Pakistan and starts another no win situation?

    I am Democrat but if Obama gets the nomination, I will vote as a Republican. Our President should be someone who looks at the reality and not the rhetoric.

    Najam

    February 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  86. Fran Omaha, Ne

    Last nights debate has no bearing at all on Super Tuesday. Here is the deal. You have 2 candidates left on the Democrat side. Each wants to be President. So far it is a 50/50 race give or take a few poll points. One of them is going to come out swinging in an attempt to take the head off of the other one. My guess is Hillary will be the one to pull the first punch. She has done it time and time again. Then Obama will come out fighting.
    This is for all the marbles folks there is no second place when you are running for President of the United States. If Obama does not have any fight in him now he sure as hell won't make it as a President.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  87. Rex in Portland

    I wasn't going to watch under the supposition that it would be just another mud-slinging personal attack one upon the other. But since the scheduled Star Trek show was not shown as advertised I watched most of the debate anyhow. I was pleased that I did, pleased that Clintobama showed respect for each other.

    As to the effect: who knows? The Clinton supporters were satisfied, the Obama supporters were satistied. The Edwards supporters are probably still perplexed.

    I will still support Obama, not because I hate Hillary but because I feel that she does not represent the change needed as well as Barack. Still in all I am concerned that neither seem overly concerned with the overburdening government subsidies to virtually all large businesses and with the de facto corporate control of my life and your life without our permission or representation.

    Obama / Edwards with Clinton as Secretary of H.E.W.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  88. J.S.

    Jack,
    I think the debates were good. So sad that more people go to vote just on what the T.V. shows tell and show on programs. Voters don't check out anyones records or really what their lifes work has been. I don't care about the endorsements from T.V. show host, movie stars and politicians..after all they are only saying this is who I like and will vote for. I don't need any of them to help me in my voting..and as for truth they are only trying to get in the lime light and maybe some kind of a job in the white house . Like Kennedy, he missed his time to be in the top when he left that girl dead in his car and did not report it for 24 hours. So he is trying for the last chance to get an appointment in higher places. He couldn't get into the Clinton white house, and sure could not get in there in the Bush white house. So he is looking at his last chance whith Obama.
    If I am going in for brain surgery I sure want someone with experience to do it not just someone that can make a good speech, and telling me I will make the change. I might end up with a eye ball turned sideways.
    Voters...please get educated on what both these candiates records are.. How they really have worked for this country.. Don't just vote because you like what you see on T.V. shows or debates. I like Obama but just don't think he has the experience..maybe in 8 more years he would have the experience to be the president but I just don't think this time is right. Hillary does have experience and has a record of many years of service. You may not like the Clintons but please remember what they did for the betterment of this country and how much better off we were during that time. Hillary has devoted her life time of service for this county.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  89. Ron SD CA

    Good Afternoon Jack:

    This debate was very important. Now we know what direction we are headed in and the prescribed course in which they intend to take us there. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama did a wondeful job at last nights debate. I would be honored to vote for either one of them. Although, I'm leaning towards Mrs. Clinton.

    Ron – CA

    February 1, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  90. Patrick Monk.RN. SF Ca.

    THE GOLDEN $TATE.
    How refreshing, a civilised discourse, maybe important issues might finally be the focus. I don't think either of them 'won', but hopefully Edwards votes will tip the scale in Obama's favor, the MoveOn endorsement may also help. While I disagree with most of his positions, I do believe John McCain is an honorable and principled man, the contest should be lively and offer clear choices.
    However last night's debate was a little boring and bloodless. In order to keep things hot and juicy, promote pompous egos and provide some lightweight relief, why don't you organise a roundtable with Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul and, oh yeah, toss in Larry Craig and Ross Perot for good measure.
    Patrick Monk.RN. SF. Ca.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  91. Aillyn Kulick

    The debate was quite important. With Edwards dropping out, his supports have to choose between Obama and Clinton. Hillary said many good things at the debate, however Obama let everyone know where he stands on issues. While I think Hillary won the debate, Obama has won over Edwards supporters.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  92. Dennis

    It is out in the open that everyone wants the so called "magic ticket". Come Wednesday we will all be able to find out if that is a reality. Before the debate last night I was scared enough to vote republican but towards the end I thought maybe there is a chance of real reform and change. take it from a Forida boy the Demos scare the hell out of the republicans. Tax the rich, they earned it!

    February 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  93. Laria

    Last night's debate illuminated some important differences between the two Senators, and I believe it may have helped some undecided voters. The rest of us already had our minds made up, and the debate was just a source of entertainment. Was anybody else counting how many times Obama threw Ted Kennedy's endorsement in Hillary's face?

    February 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  94. Donna in ID

    It was nice to see Obama cool his jets a bit. I may have imagined but I think he did a couple backdoor digs. I picked up on tones of voice a couple times. I wonder if he does that at home?
    I am still going for Hillary. I like more of her ideas. To bad that they didn't get into what they are going to do about out from under oil cartels and companies.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  95. linda fortney

    Jack,
    Anybody who believes only the Clintons make the under the table deals needs a mental health check up. I am just as sure Obama has made a few deals himself. He didn't get where he is today on his own. My complaint still remains with the unfairness in broadcasting today. Never before have I been more aware of the media's roll in a presidental election and how they push one candidate (Obama) over the other (Clinton). What's more upsetting is the public's response to this bias. I see blogs simply repeating what they have heard on this show or that one. People need to learn to think more independent of the media.

    February 1, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  96. june

    Super Tuesday voting will be more affected by the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy for Obama, the man she said would be a president like her father.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  97. Louis

    I think the glamour of having the debate at the Kodak theater and movie stars all lined up on the front rows made it exciting to watch. Wolf was excellent in his moderation of the debate and asked some great questions too. My favorite question that Wolf asked Hillary was if she was too naive to believe that President Bush on the issue of Iraq. I think it would have been fair game for Wolf to press Hillary on this a bit more since the national debt is attributed in large part to the Iraq war. Iraq aside, most other issues had very few policy differences and was more of a regurgitation of what you would find on their campaign websites. As a voter I'm not sure if it changed my mind about Super Tuesday but the debate wonderful to watch. Everyone at CNN should be proud!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  98. Judy

    I don't think it will have any affect. These people have been campaigning for a year or so. Super Tuesday can't come soon enough. Anyone who is only slightly informed will know by now who they want to win the primary.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  99. Brian Nancoo - Trinidad

    The day-to-day changing of images is really throwing a huge monkey wrench in the voters' minds. Last week, especially after the coldness at the State of the Union Address, we all knew fer sure that Senators Clinton and Obama were going to kill each other in California. With only the two of them on that stage, and the civility in their tone and behaviour, they looked like a made-for-each-other team. How will this affect super Tuesday? Depends on how people view the dream ticket. I think the Clinton/Obama view will prevail,i.e. Obama as the VP, which will help Clinton in the primaries. One more thing Jack, can you do something to get John King to shut up? His obvious anti-Clinton bias is starting to be an embarassment for CNN. It's a joke so see him scrounging to find both the pro-Obama and anti-Clinton spin on the same storyline.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  100. jeannie

    This time I think you are wrong. Obama looked,acted and spoke as if he were a president. We have a picture of how a dignified president would look . He answered the questions given to him, not skirting around the issues, and let us see just how competent he is. I also liked seeing him pulling out the chair for Hillary. He's not just the "right" candidate he's also the decent and honorable candidate.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  101. Mary Kish

    I think with some of the questions aimed at tryiing to get them to go at each other...they won and the media lost this one...Thumbs up to both of them..for the first time we heard more on the issues...there were a few shots at Hillary but she held her cool...She still has my vote..

    February 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  102. Richard Sternagel

    For once I enjoyed the Presidential Debate! There was no mudslinging as in previous debates. And yes one of the contenders will be President. Go Obama!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  103. David S

    Polished performances aside, I can't get past one glaring fact about Senator Clinton - that she is riding the questionable coat-tails of her husband. I support Senator Obama because it is time for more significant changes and new blood. Senator Clinton is, by many accounts, a supremely capable individual in her own right, but - as difficult as it is that candidates personal lives are so publicly scrutinized - one can't help but wonder out loud about her personal judgement. However - OBAMA – RODHAM - that might be the "dream" ticket.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  104. John

    Jack, I believe that last night gave all of the people who were undecided, the push in the right direction to decide.
    Many people have been saying that they like Obama, but he had no substance to the hope he was peddling.
    Well, they got the what to hope in, for and to!
    Just what the Dr. ordered!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  105. Jenny from New York

    Yes, the debate WAS civil despite Wolf's repeated attempts to turn it into a "rumble." And I hate to disagree with you, but I think they were doing equally well until Hillary rambled on with her attempted explanation as to why she voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Obama was clear in his opposition while Clinton was twisting herself into a pretzel, making it obvious why Obama would be the best Democrat to run against the Republican nominee. He helped himself enormously.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  106. Fred

    It is hard to make a prediction on what will happen on Super Tuesday. However, here is my take on it: The Jan. 31 debate was polite. Consequently, there was a good chance to see where the candidates stand on a variety of issues and to measure the electability aspect for both candidates. The debate could be classified into three major categories: Domestic Issues like Health Care, Immigration and the Economy; Iraq war and foreign policy; Electability. Mrs. Clinton had a slight edge on domestic issues and she had an incredible knowledge of the health care issue. She is as good as anybody in this regard. Mr. Obama showed also a great deal of knowledge and was quite impressive when he talked about his plan of health care. He certainly put to rest the perception that he mainly put up slogans with no great substance. In terms of Iraq and foreign policy, Mr. Obama was the clear winner as he showed consistency, thus enhancing the electability aspect, as it would be hard for the Republican nominee to make a charge of flip flop. He was comfortable and confident. In terms of electability, I think both candidates can win the usual blue states. But the last 2 elections prove that this is not sufficient. Many people in rural parts of the US do not like big government and do not like the government to interfere in their own affairs. In parts of the debate, in particular the 1st part, Mrs. Clinton displayed some tendency to control the debate, she talked a lot despite some remarks of the moderator to stop, brushed aside 1 or 2 questions. For those in rural areas, this might be interpreted as big brother wants to take care of you. Also, talking about the Clintons cleaning up the mess left by Bush may sound good for the Democrats, but will not have the same effect in general election. Despite the unpopularity of the current president, many people will not put the blame entirely on him.

    In summary, both candidates are quite competent, but Mr. Obama, in my view, has a better chance of winning the national election.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  107. Tom Bulger

    John King spoke of Obama's better chances in the general election, in post debate commentary. Because everyone listens to "the best political team in television, " Democrats will think about that and elect the man who can win the White House.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  108. danny

    Jack: Hillary was already the favorite to win on Super Tuesday...i live in NJ and am so happy she got that chance to show the country how much better a candidate she is then over-rated Obama. She will secure the nomination with a HUGE Super Tuesday showing, including a crushing of Obama in NJ.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  109. Christopher Earle

    I actually disagree with your assessment. I think Obama showed that he had the experience to govern, and in many ways countered Clinton's many strengths with his own positives. In my opinion, they both won....which makes its effect on Super Tuesday minimal.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  110. Kevin

    I believe that Obama will surge forward in front of Clinton. People got to see last night that Obama is just as smart as Hillary. No, he was not as polished as Hillary, but Barack Obama thinks before he talks. So smoothness necessarily doesnt me command. I can be viewed as rehearsed. Obama has substance and the leadership abilities to bring people together. Republicans and Independents would do everything to make a second Clinton administration unsuccessful.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  111. Andrew

    The debate, I imagine, will leave the race largely unchanged. Both candidates were excellent and have clearly become extremely good appealing to their own base of supporters. The question remains, who's base is larger?

    February 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  112. Bruce Marshall

    Jack the debate was good and very important as it was the first time we got into substance and see where they differ. Maybe a little to calm but better that than a dog fight. I want info so I can vote right and fighting doesn't tell me anything.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  113. Janet White

    If the media will act like grown ups instead of ratings hogs and actually report facts, actions, events, and positions, this could start a real trend for the American public: The chance to see their leaders as they are instead of how the noise twisters want you to see them. Nice climate for an election.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  114. Chris Diamantopulos

    Barack Obama will win on Super Tuesday!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  115. Tammie

    Jack,
    Were we watching the same debate? In no way did the Clintons win, Obama was by far better.
    Yes it will affect Super Tuesday for me because I am no longer a Clinton fan.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  116. Corinne

    I think the best thing was they showed we need to vote for the winner in the general, which ever. But Jack, I disagree, Obama won last night!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  117. Shari Miller

    Senator Clinton didn't win the debate last night.

    Senator Obama didn't win the debate last night.

    The America people won it because they are starting to become involved.

    And, that's a good thing.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Jeremy from NY

    It'll probably have an effect in states where the numbers between the candidates are insignificant.
    But it had a profound effect on me – I'd be extremely proud to have either of these candidates as my president.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Carmen

    Jack, the debate was good last night. I think each of the candidates did equally well. It is my prediction that the debate will impress many undecided Super Tuesday voters enough to vote for Obama. He had a clear command of the issues and looked more "Presidential" than in previous debates.

    Carmen in Atlanta, Ga.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  120. Trang from Utah

    The debate was good. Both candidates held their own. However, even though I agree that Hillary took the cake, it may just be a little too late to stop the Obama's train momentum picking up speed

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  121. Kayla Parrish

    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!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Jen

    I believe this debate was good for both candidates and good for the democratic party who just came off fresh, new, and the best party to lead as the next president of United States.

    I will vote for Obama because of overall campaign issues. I also liked his clearcut answer about Iraq and think he had a point when it came to Health Insurance.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Jane from Philly

    For the first time during this election year(s) we actaully heard substantive answers. Hillary Clinton was as smooth as snake oil, no surprise there as she's had years of experience lying with a straight face. Once again, Barack Obama presented himself well. A man who has worked hard, cares deeply for America and will work tirelessly for all Americans.

    Obama 2008!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  124. Maurice Johnson

    I really don't believe that the debate last night will affect the voters too much on Super Tuesday. If you are an ardent Obama or Clinton supporter then the debate did nothing but reinforce your support of them. For those who are still trying to decide on who to support, the debate last night was so cordial they were likely bored to death. I'm sure people were tuning in to see the two of them go at each other's throats and since they didn't, they probably tuned into the season premiere of Lost.

    Maurice
    Texas

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  125. Carolyn

    With the excitement going into the debate and with the number of viewers, I don't see how it could not have a positive effect on Super Tuesday. For the first time in my voting memory, people are actually enthusiastic about going to the polls. The civil discussion can only be a positive.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  126. Elena

    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!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  127. Tamar Jacobson

    If Barack Obama is not the nominee I will certainly be in a fix.

    For, if I hear the droning arrogant sound of Hillary Rodham Clinton's privileged, know-it-all voice for the next eight years I will definitely have to leave the country.

    And, yes, I am a feminist!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  128. william mehl

    Last night was a pleasure compared to the children that debated the night before, I am a registered republican and was appauled at the republican debate, I will be voting Democrate this time around, it was a pleasure listening to two adults compare the issues, hopefully we will have them both in the white house.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  129. eric

    Jack: I agree with you Hillary won and did so very eloquently, strong and presidentially. She has stronger command, more experience, a sense of humor when needed and tact and firmness too if necessary.
    Obama could play for VP, but not Pres.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  130. Keith

    What struck me during the debate was this:

    It seemed to me that Hillary was saying she gave Bush the authority to wage war in Iraq under the assumption that he would not use it. This is when Wolf used the word "naive." Isn't Wolf right!? This highlights the issue of judgment vs. experience. Experience means little if you do not exercise the right judgment. She did not.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  131. Mary Lois Adshead

    The debate was civil, polite - I might even say elegant. It was also rather boring. I don't think either of the participants said anything that would change any voter's mind. It will have little or no impact on the way anyone votes, Tuesday or next November.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  132. Art Callesoe

    Jack,
    The key difference between Obama and Clinton is she is polarizing and would energize the Republican base. Obama is inclusive, attracting Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  133. john

    It wont do much. I think it was a good debate, but usually when people have there mind set they dont change

    john
    rahway ,new jersey

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Mike

    I live in San Francisco and until last night I was going to vote for myself as President of the United States.

    I must say Hillary won my vote last night. It apears to me she can actually answer questions, unlike Obama. Obama just runs around the question for about 10 minutes, confuses the poor uneducated people, and then tries to divert to another idea or thought. I think in about 10 years Obama might have what it takes, but for now I agree with HIllary...it will take another Clinton to clean up after the Bush administration!

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Jonathan Silverstone

    As a young voter in the upcoming Super Tuesday primary, in New Jersey, the California Debate allowed me to get a better sense of the small details of their respective plans. I was never positive with which candidate I would side. After hearing them speak, everything has been clarified.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  136. Derrick Baer

    Jack, I believe this Debate will indeed be important to Super Tuesday. But the most important one? I don't think so. At times this Debate seemed almost too friendly. I had to wonder for a moment if either of them was really running for President. But when the dust settled and fog cleared, I have to say I believe Barack Obama won this one. He was clearly on top of his game, he had the clear facts and was able to clear draw a disticntion of the differences without alienting voters, especially the youth. A Visibly tired Clinton was very noticeable and she seemed to be a bit off step as of late, lacking the competitve fire she is known for. So my answer....again is Barack Obama is the clear winner in my opinion.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  137. Charlie

    It will have no effect on my vote. I was one of the many early voters. Only those who have waited until the last minute to make up their mind may be affected. How do you think early voting is being taken into account my the major campaigns? You really can no longer count on everyone voting on the same day.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  138. Michael from Kentucky

    Jack, the thing that struck me the most was at the end of the "conversation" as Wolf put it, the Senator from Illinois held the chair for the Senator from New York. Of oourse if this was in South Carolina, he would have made a very fast move and would have pulled it right out from under her and she would have hit with a "thud". Oh wait, he did that by winning by the larger margin. Yet, this is a different week and a different place and these two candidates seemed more presidential and more civil than what transpired the night before, with the yapper "maltese" McCain going after that little yorkie yapper, Romney. At least last night, one could watch, listen and concentrate on well thought out answers to the questions. Did they have differences, sure. However, unlike the night before, they went ahead and discussed and debated their differences like adults and did not resort to the yipping and yapping of the maltese vs the yorkie, I mean, Romney and McCain. Have the Republicans gone to the dogs? Time to put them in the kennel and have the Senators from NY and IL throw away the key.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  139. tom lynch

    I'm a 52 year old white male, and have always voted republican.
    I am however very impressed with Obama and will more than likely vote for him, unless he picks Clinton as his running mate. Obama responds to questions with well thought out and very consistant answers. Clinton on the other hand side steps the answer and goes off on a political ra-ra speach about the democrats beating the repulicans. This is not a party popularity contest and americans want direct answers as to what the new president will do to better the country for all of us. Most of the people I have spoke with do not care about what party the candidates belong to we, want the best person for the job.

    Tom Lynch

    February 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  140. Wanda Feeney

    I am a Canadian neighbour, fond of my Amercian friends, and a landowner/snowbird . Last night's debate gave me hope for the future of the world. No, I am not gushing...the USA does influence the world and the debate last night was classy and informative and encouraging. Would not the whole world benefit from this kind of debate? I think so.

    February 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm |