Thursday, September 25, 2003

The “Debate”

Clark’s best line of the night:

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, as the only New Yorker, I want to welcome General Clark to New York and I want to welcome him to our list of candidates. And don't be defensive about just joining the party. Welcome to the party. It's better to be a new Democrat that's a real Democrat, than a lot of old Democrats up here that have been acting like Republicans all along.

This will probably be the most replayed soundbite and only a small percentage of Americans watched the actual debate. Sixty and thirty second chunks of time don’t really lend themselves to detailed plans or thoughtful analysis. Clark held his own, especially considering that campaigning is a brand new experience. He referenced his jobs plan, but missed the opportunity to hit its high points. I doubt Clark is fond of being repetitive, and was probably thinking that was yesterday's speech, but he's going to have to get used to it. Other positions need to be clarified and more detailed, as he indicates he is the process of doing, but also distilled down to the soundbite. More time on the stump will bring a greater sense of comfort.

No homeruns or strikeouts for any candidate tonight. Brian Williams kept it moving probably as well as anyone could, although 10 candidates is simply too unwieldy. Gloria Borger and Ron Insana seemed to go into the debate intent on trying to diminish Clark with smug critiques not offered to other candidates, but he survived it. Borger is perpetually wound pretty tight.

Most reviews I’ve seen were mostly favorable, the clips I’ve seen played are positive. Keys for the coming days: 1) continue website improvements; 2) flesh out positions before the vague meme takes hold; 3) improve the organization so that grass roots momentum isn’t lost; 4) control the message/set the media agenda; 5) tons of face time in NH and SC; 6) raise lots of bucks; 7) continue daily swims, role modeling that executive fitness program—gotta stay fresh!

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