Reviews from Voters: OBAMA Wins Debate

CNN: Randi Kaye on Focus Group Votes for Debate Winner: “When the debate ended the same group moving meters actually rated each candidate’s overall performance. And here is how they stacked up: take a look, Obama, Biden, Edwards, and on the bottom Clinton, Anderson back to you.” [Image: Who do you think performed the best during the debate you just viewed?: Obama33%,Biden 21%, Edwards 17%, Clinton8%] [Video]

Fox News South Carolina Focus Groups (Frank Luntz): “He is off the charts. I mean, this is as high as it can go. He’s explicit. He has drawn the contrast. He has hit a homerun. What I would like to do is I want to play for you the sound of what they had to say about Barack Obama so you can really understand it's not that he is a good politician and not his experience. It's as much his presentation and more importantly it's that he seems to represent people rather than politics. If you guys back there can roll the sound, this is why Obama will be shown as the winner of tonight's debate.” [Video]

CNN New Hampshire Focus Groups (MarySnow): “We're here with 24 Democrats, independents, who thought that Senator Hillary Clinton would be the best performer here tonight, but the results that we just got in, this is a focus group, show that Barack Obama got the most favorable in terms of the best performance from the 24 people who are here tonight.” “Senator Barack Obama was showing some favorable responses to his answers. Some of the things that he got favorable responses were when he talked about fighting lobbyists, particularly on health care.” [Video]

…And the Pundits Agree

Blue State : Editorial: Obama Wins Democratic Debate :The CNN-Youtube Democratic presidential debate came and went. Our editors have voted, and we agree that it was Barack's night. In what was definitely an improvement from his past performances, Obama was always prepared when confronted by his Democratic opponents, where as in the past he tended to lose his temper. Tonight he also appeared very presidential, pragmatic and charismatic. Here was how we thought each of the candidates did -- from best to worst. Remember, we are grading on effectiveness: 1. Barack Obama- Independent, thoughtful, charismatic and trumped Hillary on looking "presidential." [LINK]

The American Prospect: Tapped Blog on Overall Performance: Barack Obama owned this debate. He started off with a series of clear, crisp answers that deftly turned questions to his advantage, and he was doing that Obama thing that he does where he manages to look luminous and transcendent, as if he just stepped out of a Wordsworth poem, trailing clouds of glory. (He doesn't do this all the time, but when he does,watch out -- this is when he binds people to him.) [LINK]

Time: Mark Halperinon Overall Performance: Grade: A- : When he was good, he was very, very good... Still, his best performance to date, positioning him to return in laterforums to the change-change-change contrast he wants (and needs) to define hiscandidacy. [LINK]

Newsday: Theanything-goes format coincided with a more aggressive and sure-footedperformance from Obama, accused of being flat and long-winded in previousdebates. Obama, who opposed the war from its start, said he was unimpressed by Clinton's recent push to get the Pentagon to releasedetails of their strategy for withdrawing eventually from Iraq. [LINK]

CNN: Amy HolmesReaction to Sen. Obama’s response to Race Question: “Oh I thinkit’s very important. I think both candidates knocked it out of park. Imean as someone who can speak on both of those issues I thought that those werehigh moments especially when Barack Obama, he referenced the fact that hebelieves in the core decency of the American people. I think that holds him ingood stead in the democratic primary but even more importantly in the generalelection where if he were to be the democratic nominee where he would becampaigning for all of America,not just Black America.” [Video]

New York Post: “Obama Chills Hill”:Sen. Barack Obama ripped into front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton lastnight on the Iraqwar in a sometimes-absurd debate that had voters on video - and even a talkingsnowman - tossing questions at the presidential contenders. Obama, eager tobloody the poll-leading Clinton, jabbed theformer first lady for her recent spat with the Pentagon over whipping uppullout plans from Iraq."I think it's terrific that she's asking for plans from the Pentagon, andI think the Pentagon response was ridiculous. But what I also know is that thetime for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraqwas before we went in," poked Obama as Clinton stood expressionless next to him onthe debate stage at the Citadel military college. [LINK]

ABC News: If theObama video is an indication of the ad war to come, wow, this Obama guy couldbe for real. I jest, but that was a nice piece his campaign put together. Obamawith a good summation of sorts. He definitely came in with a message he wantedto deliver this evening -- which has made this perhaps his best debateperformance to date. [LINK]

Washington Post: Time and time again Obama sought totake specific questions and broaden them into a conversation over whorepresented real change in the field. He castigated lobbyists and special interestsin Washington,offering a sweeping condemnation of business as usual (by both parties) in thenation's capital. "We don't need just a change in political parties,"said Obama. "We need a change in attitudes of the people representingAmericans." [LINK]