I was nervous as hell tonight.
I’m an Obama supporter (full disclosure, I’m a precinct captain here in San Francisco). Debates haven’t been his strong suit, let’s be honest. Not that he’s bad at them; he’s fine. He just doesn’t live up to the expectations we set for him based on his abilities and intellect and incredible oratorical skills.
And given the obsessive nature of the media coverage at this point, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Any miscue was going to be shown incessantly over the next 72-96 hours leading up to Super Tuesday.
So it was a relief to see Obama tonight. He looked, well, Presidential.
I’ve seen some early reports suggesting that Hillary was in command in the early part, Obama in the latter, and called it a draw. The last part — that the debate was a draw — may be fair, I thought both candidates looked good (but Obama has a winning argument if you think judgment matters).
But I saw something different in the first part. I saw Obama — with the extra time afforded him in a direct one-on-one debate — showing as much command of the details, without the wonkiness. He looked like someone ready to be President. From day one.
ADDENDUM: I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Hillary has enjoyed an advantage among those who perceive she has more experience. And her debate performances relative to Obama’s have been one of the main emblems of this perceived advantage. Tonight, I would venture most voters saw no difference between the two on that score. And that counts as a big win for Obama given his advantages on so many other fronts (inspiration, judgment, etc).