I watched the entire AFL-CIO sponsored debate from Soldier Field in Chicago. The field of candidates is impressive but we all know that reasonably only three or four of them have the potential of being the nominee. Today it was reported that Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over the other contenders.
In the debate it was Hillary Clinton in my estimation that came away the winner if only slightly. Dennis Kucinich gave by far the best answers to questions but he is not a viable candidate at this point so he had nothing to lose.
In being completely truthful I must admit that the only candidate I have contributed to has been John Edwards although I did donate to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
Most pundits after the debate felt that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had won the debate. I could agree on Hillary Clinton but not on Barack Obama. I have tried to fall in love with candidate Obama because at first I thought he represented the greatest hope of a real change. Through the debates I find my hope in his candidacy fading. He has the presence necessary to be President but for me he is missing that intangible characteristic that would make me give my all to support him. I don't think I am alone in this thinking since the national polls show his numbers slipping slightly.
Hillary Clinton has done what is necessary. She seems Presidential, has a command of the facts and has run a very smart campaign. She remains the front runner for those reasons.
John Edwards lost a chance tonight to shine. Although I thought he did well he did not deliver any knockout punches to help improve his standing. He will need a win in Iowa or his candidacy may be over. Hillary and Barack are not in that same precarious situation.
Bill Richardson is probably on paper the most qualified to be President but he has yet to have a strong enough performance in any of these candidate forums to improve his numbers. He simply has not seemed Presidential.
Chris Dodd has not gotten the traction that I feel he deserves. He is a smart man with good ideas but for him and the other second tier candidates it is hard to get any real face time. The Hillary and Obama juggernauts make it very hard for any other real candidates to break out. His debate performances have been very solid and his record is one of accomplishments on middle class issues is impressive. If he were ever to be the nominee, he would make a formidable candidate.
The debates so far have done nothing to shake Hillary Clinton from her front runner status. I am very interested in hearing the candidates this Thursday when they will all be involved in a LOGO network debate on Gay and Lesbian issues.