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Last night, watching the debate, I felt like I had walked into an old hangout and seen a long-lost friend.  When 2004 ended, I was pretty sure that I would focus my energy on local politics in North Carolina.  Then, I saw this video, and it was like I had met a best friend I never knew about, and, in the local vernacular, I realized: "It. Is. On."

And, so it was with great pleasure that last night, I walked into that hangout, and I found THAT John Edwards waiting to talk with me - with us.  Seventy-nine percent of Daily Kos readers have a positive opinion of John Edwards and last night we saw why. Speaking truth to power.

Update [2007-7-24 14:47:11 by chuckles1]:: WaPo also declares Edwards the victor.

"The only way they are going to give up their power, is if we take it away."


From WaPo: Edwards Works Hard to Stand Out

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is coming out fighting tonight with an aggressive attempt to differentiate himself from the rest of the field.

"Do you believe compromise and triangulation will bring about big change?" asked Edwards. (Triuangulation, of course, came into vogue during the Clinton Administration. ) "If you want real change you need someone who has taken on these people and beat them over and over and over."..."We can't trade their insiders for our insiders."

Health Care? John Edwards was on fire, his anger over Universal Health Care is unique.  No one else is fighting for Universal Health Care like John Edwards.

ABC Political Radar:

Edwards finds his voice on healthcare, and even Anderson Cooper can't cut him off. "We should be outraged by these stories." An effective answer -- Clinton's talk of a "national commitment" and Obama's promise to fight the insurance companies come off as rather hollow by contrast.

With regard to Iraq and casualties, NBC's Mark Murray caught the same image I did, but which I haven't seen others mention.

Turning to the question of Iraq -- finally! -- Anderson Cooper referred to a Citadel grad, Shane Childers, who died in Iraq. His picture was on the big screen in the debate hall.

When the camera turned to the candidates, some were scribbling notes, except for Edwards (in that particular screen shot), who just stared at Childers' photo. It was a pretty powerful moment.

What about George Bush and Iraq?

"What we need to do is turn up the heat on George Bush."

And, the what about the haircut?

For last night’s debate each candidate was asked to produce a 30-second YouTube-style clip. Unfortuntately, CNN ran the videos in a format that made them almost impossible to see. While a number of candidates went with standard commercials, John Edwards’ campaign got the homework assignment right.

What really matters?

The Edwards campaign comments on why his $400 haircut shouldn't be what's focused on, using the anti-Vietnam war musical Hair. The messages gel quite effectively.

Tom Schaller:

"Is there really any doubt that John Edwards' video spot was the best -- both in production quality, content and the sheer brilliance of turning the haircut story into an indictment of the media instead of him?"

Politico's Ben Smith:

"Like Dodd, John Edwards uses the new media forum to criticize the old media focus on the superficial, but with a bit more of an edge: The song 'hair' juxtaposed with images of America in crisis."

And, in case you missed it, Senator Edwards spent his post-debate time talking with us, the online community, through a live-streaming chat.

Update [2007-7-24 14:47:11 by chuckles1]:: More reviews are in this morning.
Health Care from CNN.

...The biggest spike of the night went to John Edwards. He may be trailing Clinton and Obama but on health care, one of his key issues, the meter movers thought he was tops.

EDWARDS: We have got to stand up to the insurance company and the drug companies that Barack just spoke about. It's the only way we're ever going to bring about real change. We should be outraged but by those stories.

Roger Simon at Politico: Edwards is mad and he won't take it anymore.

It was a very close competition and the best debate yet. The numbers do not lie. And here they are, once again guaranteed accurate to three decimal places:

FIRST PLACE: John Edwards

Analysis: John Edwards has found a theme: He is angry and he is on your side. He is bold and he will use his boldness for you.

Here was his key response, his voice rising as he went along:

"Do you believe that compromise, triangulation will bring about big change? I don't. I think the people who are powerful in Washington -- big insurance companies, big drug companies, big oil companies -- they are not going to negotiate. They are not going to give away their power! The only way that they are going to give away their power is if we take it away from them!"

The triangulation line was a not so subtle whack at Bill Clinton and, presumably, Hillary Clinton. Edwards was not able to sustain his outrage for a full two hours, but he scored enough points throughout the debate.

From Message Jury:

A plurality of our group (four of 12) thought Sen. Edwards won the debate. And we heard a word used to describe him afterwards that any campaign would want to be associated with their candidate: "genuine". When asked, most of this group thought he was, indeed, "genuine." These two clips, related to nuclear power and the separation of church and state, show how much Edwards was on-message in this debate:

And, about that Hair video?

As of 9:45 a.m. the morning following the debate, Edwards’ video presented during the debate, "Hair," had been viewed 24,245 times on YouTube.  Barack Obama’s video was viewed only 6,422 times, and Hillary Clinton’s video had only been viewed 3,939 times.

Originally posted to chuckles1 on Tue Jul 24, 2007 at 08:45 AM PDT.

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