Monday, June 4, 2007

Any Given Sunday

Gov. Richardson struggled in the national spotlight for the second Sunday in a row last night, this time at the New Hampshire presidential debate. The bite marks from Tim Russert's serrated teeth were still fresh after last week's Meet The Press feeding frenzy but a lack of camera time probably hurt The Guv more than anything during the debate.

Richardson had trouble shrink-wrapping his points into short sound bites and, when he did get the conch, moderator Wolf Blitzer was nipping at his heels to stay on-topic so aggressively that the governor's positions ultimately seemed more vague and less coherent than they actually were. He wasn't unhinged (like, say, crazy uncle Gravel) but he also didn't do anything to separate himself from the pack. That is, other than making a seemingly off-hand comment about boycotting the Beijing Olympics if China doesn't step up its efforts in Darfur. That's probably the only position of Richardson's that will get any pub, which could do more harm than good for his campaign.

The top three candidates (Edwards, Hillary and Obama) had the lion's share of face time, but worse for the BR4P campaign was Joe Biden's strong showing. For weeks, Richardson has been widely acknowledged as the top "second-tier" candidate but Biden's forceful performance may have chipped away at that distinction.

SFR will have a more detailed analysis of Richardson's debate performance later this week. In the meantime, here's my debate score card and whether each candidate's stock rose, fell or stayed the same afterwards:

1. Barack Obama (stock up)
2. John Edwards (up)
3. Hillary Clinton (even)
4. Joe Biden (up)
5. Dennis Kucinich (up, as much as it can be)
6. Bill Richardson (down)
7. Chris Dodd (even)
8. Mike Gravel (down, if that's even possible)

The good news for the Richardson camp is that there's still seven months until the Iowa caucus and most Americans were probably more concerned with the Sopranos finale and/or the Red Sox/Yankees game rather than the debate.

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