MY THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT'S U.S. SENATE DEBATE
It was really more of what a debate should be, and I give most of the credit to moderator Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press. I liked the format of having the candidates and moderator sitting around a table, as they would on the Sunday morning talkfest, and I especially appreciated that Mr. Russert pressed both candidates to directly answer the questions posed to them.
My big disappointment was that several issues that could and should have been addressed --- such as immigration, universal health care, and education --- were not even touched. Discussion on the issues that were brought up --- Iraq, taxes, in particular --- went longer than they could have (Iraq took a full third of the debate), thanks mainly to the candidates' answers running much longer than they could/should have.
Both candidates were, obviously, well prepared, and it was more lively while remaining civil. While not as entertaining as Monday's gubernatorial debate, it was not the snoozer we saw last week. Overall, it was the way a debate should be conducted, the way Russert explains Meet the Press: “a thoughtful exchange of ideas, sometimes tense, even feisty, occasionally humorous, but always fair and always civilized.”
The winner: Bill Nelson. While Katherine Harris may have helped herself slightly with her performance, it was simply a case of too little, too late. Nelson didn't slip on the banana peel, and Harris didn't hit the home run she needed to.