Did you watch the Democratic presidential CNN/YouTube debate on June 23?
The positives were that it was an interesting new format and Anderson Cooper did a good job of (sometimes successfully) trying to get candidates to stay on topic and answer the questions asked. To the latter point he sometimes asked a good follow up question to get the candidate to clarify an earlier answer. It was also appropriate that the front runners got to answer more questions and get more speaking time, while the second-tier got their due. Another plus was that some of the questioners were present in the debate to react to the candidate responses.
The negatives partly related to the choice of the final 39 questions picked by CNN out of the 3000+ submissions. Several of the 39 questions were indistinctly mumbled or of poor sound quality, or hard to see as in the case of a guy using poster slides. When broadcasting nationally CNN should throw out all the videos with poor audio or visual quality. Especially since none of those questions were knockouts in content either.
Also, some questions were plain stupid even if they were designed to put candidates in a spot. A guy asked if the candidates would be willing to be paid the minimum wage (implying it was too low) if they were elected President. The candidates answered politely, though the response in my head was, "Listen, turd, why should the person with the wisdom, talent and abilities to lead the whole nation be paid the lowest wage of any American?" I guess I'll never win political office. :-) Another hollow question, this a follow-up by Anderson on wasteful practices - how many candidates flew in for the debate by private jet? Yeah, big deal. With their crush of activities and so much at stake they should be wasting long hours (not to mention security implications) catching commercial flights. Yet one more question - did candidates send their children to private schools? If they have millions, why shouldn't they?
So who did best? I was most impressed by Hillary's direct, intelligent and realistic answers that did not sound canned. I already like her and am not a neutral judge. Most CNN and MSNBC commentators reflect my view though 11 of the 12 focus groups polled by CNN felt Obama did best (one plumped for Richardson.) Obama did have some very nifty lines, speaks well and keeps his composure. May be that's why he's so popular with the younger (and the Hillary-hating) set who are easily swayed and lack maturity. :-)
I was pleasantly surprised by Biden even if he's lagging too far behind in the polls to matter. Edwards did okay in spite of some platitudes and stump lines (e.g., his son of a mill worker spiel.)
Anyone have different perceptions? The Republic CNN/YouTube debate is on September 17.