The Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach tonight was quite the battle. The candidates pulled the typical debate tricks with attacks on each other and twisting the questions to their talking points. All three candidates were in good form, speaking well and able to interact with each other in a manner that switched between forceful and playful. For all their efforts I doubt we’ll see much change in the way South Carolina voters are thinking.
If anyone gained from the exchanges, I think it would be John Edwards. If nothing else he was the most successful in avoiding the most personal attacks and in directing the discussion onto topics that he feels he has the strongest positions on while prodding on the nit-picking attacks Clinton and Obama directed towards each other’s campaigning style.
Obama has the lead according to polls since his campaign with Oprah in the state and I doubt anything in the debate will change that.
One interesting thing that came up was the belief that the candidates thought John McCain will lock up the Republican nomination, or at least wanted to use that possibility as a way to promote electability.
All things considered I think this was a win for Edwards, not one that will matter in this election, but maybe one that will help him in whatever it is that he’s using this election as a setup for.