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Edwards wins SC debate

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2008
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SOUTH CAROLINA FOCUS GROUP: EDWARDS WON THE DEBATE
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CNN's Focus Group of Undecided South Carolina Voters: "They Thought That Senator Edwards Won the Debate." After the debate, CNN reported that a focus group of seventeen undecided South Carolina Democrats said Edwards won the debate:
Anderson Cooper: "Erica, did your undecided voters in the room say who they felt won?"
Erica Hill: "They did. The interesting thing is they thought that Senator Edwards won the debate." [CNN, 1/21/08]
 
CNN's Focus Group Had a Great Reaction to Edwards When He Jumped in After the Clinton-Obama Personal Attacks.
Erica Hill talking about CNN's focus group: "What didn't pay off were attacksŠThat may have played well in the debate hall, but it left our voters cold and left an opening for John Edwards to grab his best reaction."
John Edwards: "This kind of squabbling -- how many children is this going to get health care. How many people are going to get an education from this?" [CNN, 1/21/08]
 
NBC's Matt Lauer: "I thought it was a particularly strong night for John Edwards, who seemed to walk the fence and try and calm down the bickering, at the same time calling attention to the issues." On the "Today Show" this morning Matt Lauer said, "I have to say, I'm not one, I don't want to handicap this thing and call a winner or a loser, but you have to echo what John Edwards said, aren't there three people in this debate. I thought it was a particularly strong night for John Edwards, who seemed to walk the fence and try and calm down the bickering, at the same time calling attention to the issues. How do you think he did last night?" Tim Russert: "Well, John Edwards was able to be the odd man out and look reasonable and much more focused on issues than personal positions." [NBC, "Today Show," 1/22/08]
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CNN's Amy Holmes: "I thought the winner was John EdwardsŠThis actually ended up being John Edwards' night." "And like many of the guests you've had on previously, I thought the winner was John Edwards. I thought he really helped himself tonight where he could come in above the fray, refocus the debate on the issues. This actually ended up being John Edwards' night." [CNN, "Larry King Live," 1/22/08 (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0801/22/lkl.01.html)]
 
KIRO Radio Talk Show Host | Seattle Times Contributor Carl Jeffers on CNN: "I believe that actually tonight was John Edwards' best performance. And actually he came out better than he has in any other debate." On CNN immediately after the debate, Carl Jeffers said, "And I believe that actually tonight was John Edwards' best performanceŠBut, Edwards clearly came out very well tonightŠhe certainly helped himself, and I believe now, even if he comes in third, as a result of his performance tonight, can keep going to the convention where he may still have a role to play." [CNN, 1/21/08]
 
CNN's Candy Crowley: John Edwards probably won - he "was the one who was on message, who kept bringing them back and saying, what does this have to do with children's health care." Larry King: "Candy, if you were keeping score, who won?" Candy Crowley: "Probably John Edwards simply because he stayed out of it. I talked to people who were in the room during the debate and I said, well, what did you think and they said, well I thought it was too much arguing. So, if you buy into the old political saw that when A and B argue, C is the beneficiary, John Edwards was the one who was on message, who kept bringing them back and saying, what does this have to do with children's health care, that bite that you played. So, if I had to guess, it would be him." [CNN, "Larry King Live," 1/22/08 (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0801/22/lkl.01.html)]

The Hotline's Jen Skalka: "I'd score this one for John Edwards." "This was the rowdiest debate by far in the Democratic contest. And while each of the candidates had fine moments, I'd score this one for John Edwards. Especially in the standing portion of this two-hour rumbleŠ tonight, he was the catalyst for the action." [http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2008/01/rough_and_tumbl.html, 1/21/08 (10:06 PM)]
 
CNN's Bill Schneider: "John Edwards got himself back in it - he showcased his style and his key issues, and is clearly back in the game." 10:37 PM | "Here's some quick post-debate thoughts: John Edwards got himself back in it - he showcased his style and his key issues, and is clearly back in the game. He showed he continues to deserve to share a debate stage with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and voters here will likely give him another look after tonight." [http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/01/21/schneider-some-final-thoughts-%e2%80%93-two-different-strategies/, 1/21/08]
 
The Nation's John Nichols: "Edwards effectively pointed to the heated squabbling between the two frontrunnersŠas a deviation from the issues that matterŠIn short order, Edwards had gotten the best of both his opponents." "John Edwards effectively pointed to the heated squabbling between the two frontrunners in anticipation of Saturday's South Carolina Democratic primary as a deviation from the issues that matterŠIn short order, Edwards had gotten the best of both his opponents. That was the order of the night. Again and again, Edwards took the side of one of the frontrunners against the other, effectively serving as an arbiter between the two. It was an ideal position for Edwards, the outsider candidate who is struggling to distinguish himself from two opponents with more money and better poll positions." [http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?bid=45&pid=273581, "CLINTON, OBAMA COME TO BLOWS; EDWARDS WINS ..." 1/21/08 (10:47 PM)]
 
NBC's Andrea Mitchell: Edwards "did very well in the debate." [MSNBC, "Morning Joe," 1/22/08]
 
The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn: On universal health care, Edwards "had the best argument of all," asking Obama "whether he would make the same sort of argument about Social Security." "Clinton and Edwards would require everybody to obtain health insurance and Obama wouldn'tŠClinton and Edwards framed the argument perfectlyŠIt was Edwards, though, who had the best argument of all. When Obama said, as he has frequently, he doesn't want to force people to buy health insurance, Edwards asked whether he would make the same sort of argument about Social Security: 'The problem with this argument is you can make exactly the same argument about Social Security. ... I mean, you think about the analogy. What George Bush says is he wants people to be able to get out of the Social Security system, choose, elect to get out of the Social Security system. Well, that's exactly what this argument is. ... This argument is you shouldn't have to have health care. If you choose not to have health care, you shouldn't have to have it. And that is a threshold question. It is a judgment. It's a fair policy debate.'" [http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/01/21/debate-blogging-hard-truths-and-half-truths-on-health-care.aspx, 1/21/08]
 
The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn: On Edwards, "From the day this campaign began, he's driven the policy agenda." "Right now, John Edwards is talking about poverty. And that alone is reason to be thankful he's on the stage, even now. From the day this campaign began, he's driven the policy agenda--not just by embracing ambitious policy initiatives but also by focussing everybody's attention on people who, frankly, don't get enough explicit attention in politics." [http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/01/22/is-this-debate-too-ugly.aspx]
 
The Hill's Sam Youngman: Edwards "likely won favor with viewers by repeatedly trying to take the high road and stay above Obama's and Clinton's demolition derby." [http://thehill.com/campaign-2008/clinton-obama-throw-sharpest-elbows-yet-at-debate-2008-01-21.html, 1/21/08 (10:40 PM)]

Wall Street Journal's Susan Davis: After the Debate Descended to the Personal, "Edwards said to applause 'How many people are going to get an education from this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this?'" "The biggest benefactor of the fight might be former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards who is fighting to regain a foothold in this race. Edwards has repeatedly been given the opportunity to take the higher ground as the two frontrunners throw insults. 'I also want to know on behalf of voters here in South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this going to get health care?' Edwards said to applause. 'How many people are going to get an education from this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this? We have got to understand - you know, and I respect both of these - my fellow candidates, but we have got to understand this is not about us personally. It is about what we are trying to do for this country and what we believe in.'" [http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/01/21/obama-clinton-trade-jabs/, 1/21/08 (9:23 pm)]
 
TPM's John Marshall: "8:58 PM ... Edwards comparison of 'choice' in health care to 'choice' is Social Security is a pretty good analogy." [http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/064342.php]
 
TIME's Mark Halperin: "Made the best of the situation: On a level playing field, Edwards would have won the debate by a wide margin." [http://thepage.time.com/excerpts-from-mark-halperins-debate-report-cards-3/]


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