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(Note this is all reaction that was sent to me.)
REACTION FLOWS IN . . .
CONSENSUS FORMS AROUND . . .
"You witnessed a Total Knock Out Tonight! His administrative experience is being a Washington intern??? He defended Washington waste all night. Didn't and couldn't answer questions on earmarks. This was a classic Washington mentality vs. Missouri experience debate. He flat out did not show up tonight," said Spence Jackson, Steelman spokesperson via Blackberry.
"I just wanted to tell you how favorably impressed we were with Sarah Steelman tonight, how focused she is. When her record is criticized, she doesn't feel it. Kenny Hulshof seems to think when his record is accused it's a personal attack, and you need thicker skin than that to be Governor. We were very impressed with her. This has swayed our vote, the ads and tonight together," said Joyce Tracy, Marionville, via voicemail.
"Hulshof won, but Steelman held her own. Aug 5th will be very exciting," wrote Heidi Kelly, via e-mail.
"I thought Hulshof won, but not by the margin Hulshof supporters would've liked. All of his points seemed backed up, where a lot of Steelman's defenses and points seemed like we were supposed to take them on the strength of her character. Also, Hulshof definitely made her look nasty when you asked the candidates what they thought of the other and she responded "he's a smooth talker." He then seemed like he could contribute several positive qualities he saw in her (incidentally, I disagreed with his points of view on some of her better qualities, but I digress). She did, however, get some really good sound bytes on him, like when he asked which of his congressional actions she liked and she said "of all the earmarks, the 'perfect Christmas tree' interested me..." and similar rhetoric. He was able to explain all her claims away, including why he supported the earmarks he did, but he didn't get the soundbites he needed, and sometimes, that's enough to swing it," wrote Eric Mayle of Springfield via e-mail.
"Hulshof did marginally better, his closing was great. Steelman was effective, on message and relentless. This was practically a tie. It reminded me of late in a boxing match when the two opponents are tired and do a lot of clinching. No one got knocked out. Here's the question-- given Hulshof's skill as a debater, is any debate where she effectively ties him amount to a win for her?," wrote Matt Lyons of Springfield via text message.
"It was a tie. You have Hulshof the slick talking attorney and then Steelman came off better than I expected. They both talked around questions at times. I really hate that. Just answer the question then explain more if you wish. Get to the point, stop talking in circles. They aren't as bad as some. Still have not made up my mind," e-mails Janet in Hurley, Mo.
"Could you tell me why it is that the Governors race seems to be the biggest smear campaigns that I have ever seen? I have no idea what either of the candidates stand for. I am from Sarah Steelman's home territory and will vote for her out of loyalty, but the smear tactics on their TV spots needs to stop," e-mails Christine Abmeyer.
"As a voter, I am disappointed with the debate. I didn't learn anything new from the discussion. To me neither candidate seems "gubernatorial;" and neither offered an insight into how they would govern Missouri or what the real issues are, other than healthcare, or why they should be elected (or nominated). Given current economic conditions, the ethanol issue is really a non-issue. It is not surprising that neither candidate took a potshot at Gov Blunt or offered any insight into what they would bring to the job. The comment on Nixon was gratuitous. I know you all only had an hour, but the questions did not touch on matters of real interest to Missouri voters. I am still not ready to choose come August 5th," e-mails John Gauthier of Mountain Grove, Mo.
"After watching the debate tonight my opinion is that Kenny Hulshof is a very politically savy, slick, lawyer with a partially disguised nasty disposition. I'm voting for Sarah Steelman," e-mails Shirley.
"I enjoy your political blog and your email updates. We are lucky to have you in Southwest Missouri. You are providing a great service. As a political junkie, your blog is a must read. The debate was well done with thoughtful questions. I don’t know who won between Treasurer Steelman and Congressman Hulshof, but the viewers definitely won. Thanks for a job well done," e-mails Hal L. Higdon, Ph.D. President Ozarks Technical Community College.