This pace is extraordinarily frenetic - as the candidates are trading barbs quicker than I can review them! But in any case, the democrats again gathered, bright and early, on the campus of Drake University and settled behind the podiums. This time however, the questions were directed by ABC News's George Stephenapoulis and his team of no-nonsense questioners. And direct he did.
Perhaps the most lighthearted moment of the evening occured late in the program when Stephenapoulis posed a viewer question on each candidates' opinion of a personal god, and whether prayer could have prevented disasters like Hurricane Katrina (no, seriously). When the spotlight finally shone on Dennis Kucinich, the always affable and humorous candidate, who had been asked two questions by Stephenapoulis by this point, turned to Stephenapoulis and said, deadpan, "well George, I've been praying for the last 45 minutes that you would call on me." The comment brought down the house including Stephenapoulis.
The Kucinich comment highlighted that this debate was more tightly moderated than any of the prior ones, as Stephenapoulis did not hesitate to cut off candidates mikes at some point. The debate hit on several themes: Barack's (in)experience, Hillary's (un)electability, Iraq, and farm subsidies, and religion. Hillary took shots left and right, or rather, mostly from the left. The dust settled without a clear winner. Some characterized Richardson's performance as his best, though that might be akin to saying Ernest Goes to Camp was the best Ernest movie. But as Edwards, Barack and Hillary continue to bicker over each other's support for the authorization and acceptance of lobbying funds, the winner may be a puzzled electorate, who are desperate to see more separation between the candidates' views.