Tuesday marked the 7th democratic presidential debates. Top-tier candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards went after Hillary Clinton’s record, making the debate arguably the most combative yet. Unfortunately, with a stage crowded with candidates, the debates seem like a confusing mess. Such was the topic of a conversation I had following the debates with a few friends not as tuned-in to politics. Why candidate A is a frontrunner while candidate B is a marginal force in the election was one question I attempted to answer. Another question to tackle was who was candidate C. After providing answers to the best of my abilities, I realized there are probably others who want to know more about the candidates. I’ve provided a cheat sheet of the seven democratic presidential candidates at the debates last night. Keep it with you during the next debates, when you watch the news or just need a quick reference.
Hillary Clinton: Chances are you already love or hate her, and since she’s been around forever, you probably know if she’s your candidate. Everyone can agree she has the best strategies in the game and so far has run a flawless campaign.
Barack Obama: If you caught him in Santa Barbara this summer, you know his charisma and dynamic speaking ability make him incredibly impressive during speeches. Unfortunately, this results in a bit of a letdown during debates. Obama’s real problem is that he needs to take on Clinton to topple her lead in the polls. However, his post-partisan “politics of hope” platform makes him look like a hypocrite every time he goes on the attack.
John Edwards: Southern white guy is so 1990s. Still, Edwards’ charm rivals Obama’s. He’s certainly been the most “policy oriented” and probably the most progressive of the top tier, taking a big risk by making poverty a central theme of his campaign.
Bill Richardson: On paper, Richardson has the most impressive resume of anyone running, having served as a legislator, a governor and an ambassador. However, he just doesn’t seem leader-like. Not to mention his boasting of an A-list rating from the National Rifle Association, as well as his touting of a plan for a constitutional amendment to ensure a balanced budget, hasn’t made him a favorite of democratic primary voters. His defense of Clinton last night in the debates indicates he’s either running for vice president or secretary of state in a Clinton administration.
Joe Biden: The other candidate with a great resume, at least as far as legislative experience. The Delaware senator seems like a guy who could get votes, if he only knew when to keep his mouth shut. Biden had a great line at the debates last night when he joked that every sentence Rudy Giuliani says consists of “a noun and a verb and 9/11.” However, it should be noted that at least half the time he is the punch line. His biggest splash this campaign season occurred when he misspoke and stated that Barack Obama is the first mainstream African American who is “clean and bright and articulate.” Still, that was an improvement from the last time he ran. (In the 1988 election, he dropped out after he was caught plagiarizing a British parliamentarian’s speech.)
Chris Dodd: The senior senator from Connecticut pushed the pack of candidates to the left by standing up to Bush both in the Senate and on the campaign trail by challenging the administration on issues like Iraq, Iran and unwarranted wiretapping. His failure to make a dent in the polls is mystifying, but hopefully he takes the message as one to stay in the Senate. We need him there.
Dennis Kucinich: If there ever were a hippie from an alternate reality who got transported to our world and chose to run for president, it would be Dennis Kucinich. The man admitted last night that not only does he believe in UFOs, but he has seen them before. Kucinich has more in common with Isla Vista’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral Man than with a politician, but who cares? You aren’t going to vote for him.
Well, that’s it for now, folks. But don’t forget to check back next week as the list continues and we go over everyone’s favorite Republicans.