So, other than YouTube, who won the debate last night? Scanning the blogosphere, it seems that if not everyone found something to like about everyone, at least someone found something to like about each one. “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s dominating CNN/YouTube debate performance tonight flipped the script on America. Or it should have,” says Douglas Burns at Iowa Independent. “No longer should the question be: Can a woman be president? With her fourth in a series of crushing Democratic debate performances, the question everyone in America should be asking themselves: What have we been missing by eliminating more than half our population from the application process for this job since the late 18th century?”

Chris Cillizza at the The Fix feels Clinton did well, but that John Edwards broke through by making “a compelling case as to why his life experience and willingness to propose bold solutions made him the right choice for voters looking to make a clean break with business as usual in Washington. His performance for the first 118 minutes of the debate was enough to overcome the foible of criticizing the jacket Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) was wearing. Why do that?”

While Barack Obama received a lot of criticism (mostly from Ms. Rodham-Clinton) for saying he would “meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries,”
the Republican pollster Frank Luntz did a minipoll for Fox News that gave the Illinois senator some good news: “We took a group of 30 South Carolina Democrats and they watched the entire two hours. They came in here supporting Hillary Clinton, a plurality did, and they left here supporting Barack Obama.”

Jim Geraghty at NRO liked Joe Biden: “If there is justice in this world, Biden’s comment about voting for a recent appropriations bill that included upgrades for military vehicles to protect from IEDs, lambasting Hillary, Obama, and Dodd for voting against it, would be the sound-bite of the night. He points out the actual consequences of their pandering to the antiwar base of the party.”

Similarly, Ben Adler at Tapped was most struck by “Bill Richardson’s shrewd answer that he’d get the lesbian couple from Brooklyn ‘everything I think is politically feasible’ thus hinting that he has no problem with full marriage equality but avoiding taking the political risk of saying so outright.”

And the gang at MSNBC’s first read felt that another longshot, Chris Dodd, “with the limited time he got, was strong as well.”

Further to the fringes, Lynn Sweet at Huffington Post thinks that Dennis Kucinich was “candid and pointed, connected the dots between global warring and global warming.”

So, if I’m counting correctly, that makes seven candidates covered, which leaves us with only Mike Gravel. Mike Gravel compliments, anyone? O.K., if nobody else will step up, let me just say the former Alaska senator has likely shown a more, uhm, original grasp of what YouTube is all about this campaign than any other candidate. Just check out “Rock” and “Fire” and tell me whether, if this whole president thing doesn’t work out, he might not have a future as a brooding art student.