Reaction from our KY3 U.S. Senate debate is coming in fast and furious . . . from the posts here, to e-mails, phone calls, text messages, news stories and the blogosphere.
But first, I must thank the tireless production staff and news crew who worked tirelessly to put this thing together. Kudos to all! Live debates. This is why political TV is so important.
Now to the fallout . . .
CHATTER blogs the debate live (Props . . . we know how tough it is!) and declares Claire McCaskill the marginal winner.
KC Buzz Blog notes a "far more negative tone" than previous debates.
STL Post Dispatch - One of the few "deans" of political coverage in the state, political reporter Jo Mannies calls the debate "a barrage of attacks." She also gives KY3 a thumbs-up, saying we did "an outstanding job." Shweet.
The News-Leader focuses on the mud, with a particular focus on the tax question.
The Associated Press puts the Talent tax attack in its lede, notes Talent "on the offensive."
Immediately following the debate, I received numerous calls from viewers. One conversation that stands out is the talk I had with Don Maloney, a self-described Republican who plans to vote for Sen. Talent, but was not impressed with his performance and is worried that his Republican friends are thinking of abandoning the junior Senator this November.
"I'm voting for for Talent because of his position on gun rights. McCaskill once told me she didn't see the use of why people needed to have firearms, and I resent that," said Houston, Mo. resident Don Maloney.
"But what I'm worried about is a lot of my conservative friends staying home and not voting at all," he added. "They won't vote for McCaskill, but they're not going to come out for Talent."
What would drive them to stay home, I asked?
"They're not going to vote for her necessarily, but they are talking about not voting or voting Libertarian because of the spending deal. He was part of that big prescription drug spending deal, and he stumbled on the spending thing tonight. He didn't answer a damn thing. He cottonballed it," Maloney said.
"This is going to be so damn close it's scary. McCaskill is obviously part of the big government expansion group. But if either of them got helped a little by the debate, it was probably her. The good ole boys out here fed up with Iraq and spending are going to stay home," Maloney added.
"I'm very concerned about this whole damn election, but I wouldn't bet on it," Maloney said. "I wouldn't bet a dollar on him. I think you folks on the panel did a good job. If I was there, I'd been thrown out halfway through the thing, because neither of them answered a damn thing."
Then there are my instant-views from non-Missourians, friends of mine of all political persuasions who I asked to watch the debate on CSPAN for a fresh perspective. No, none of them are Missourians. They won't be voting in Missouri, but here are their impressions. They aren't very kind.
-Moderate Married Female from Chicago, IL - She didn't answer the questions, but neither did he. I like strong women, and she looked strong so I liked that.
-Conservative Married Female from New Jersey - Why does the Democrat just blame everything on Republicans? There's something I don't like about her (McCaskill.) Just because you're personally opposed to abortion, doesn't mean anything.
-Conservative Single Male from Charlotte, N.C. - Man, I wasn't impressed with Talent. Why didn't he answer the questions? He looked on the defensive about too much. I wanted someone to interrupt him and force him to answer. It was great that you had the questions up on the screen while they talked about something else. Made them look soo stupid.
-Moderate/Liberal Single Male from Chicago, IL - Neither of them really impressed me, they just weren't personally inspiring.
Man. Rough reviews for both.
Personally, I wished both candidates would have done a better job staying on point with questions. I credit both candidates for agreeing to a live debate in Springfield. But in phone calls and emails from voters afterward tells me that they picked up exactly what we did . . . the avoidance of specific answers to specific questions.
The bottom line is Sen. Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill don't fool voters by pivoting to another answer or attack, they just infuriate voters.