This is how I ranked their performances from best to worst:
1. John Edwards: He really mixed things up with Clinton and Obama trying to move up in the standings.
2. Joe Biden: He gave some of the most impassioned responses of the night. I've always enjoyed his candor and demeanor. Strikes me as a more liberal version of Harry Truman.
3. Barack Obama: For standing your ground against attacks from John Edwards.
4. Bill Richardson: His answers were a little "heavy," but alot of Democratic primary voters like that. See John Kerry 2004. The media's giving you a hard time for some reason.
5. Mike Gravel: Love to see somebody pick on the big guys!
6. Hillary Clinton: I'm not sure she's trying to win the Democratic primary. We're safer than we were on 9/11? Is she running for Rudy's VP? She still has good stage presence. I'll give her points for that.
7. Dennis Kucinich: He just reminds me of the OLD liberal: Authoritarian, a spend thrift, and enamoured with all things European. We've got to keep him in the race to remind everybody that most Democrats are not to the far left.
8. Chris Dodd: I like Chris Dodd, but this was a pitiful performance. Partly it was due to CNN and the chuckleheads from New Hampshire. He needed (as did many of the lower tier candidates) to "insert" himself into the debate like Edwards was doing. When they don't do that, they look like they're auditioning for somebody's VP or Secretary of State. It's hard to get supporters if they don't think you're serious.
All in all a better debate than MSNBC put on. I can't stand Wolf Blitzer anymore. Some of the questions would have been better served in a "Rock the Vote" debate on MTV. We depend on CNN to be substantive. They're certainly not entertaining.
This debate probably didn't change much of anything. Edwards, Biden, and Richardson might get a bump. Hillary didn't do herself any favors with the core Democratic primary voter. In her mind, she's already "put this thing to bed" and is now running against the presumptive Republican nominee. I doubt we'll roll over that easily.