MANCHESTER—Gleanings from the second Democratic presidential debate:
*Obama, Clinton cut it close.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer just opened the debate and all the eight White House hopefuls are standing behind podiums. If you thought this is the kind of important political event where candidates make sure to arrive well in advance—well, you would be wrong.
The debate started at 7 p.m. and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who spent Saturday in California, flew in on his charter plane, landing somewhere between 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. according to Obama New Hampshire spokesman Leslie Miller.
Sen. Hillary Rodham (D-N.Y.) touched down in Manchester near 5 p.m., said spokesman Howard Wolfson.
I spotted Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) eating lunch—leisurely-- with his family at the Radisson Hotel in the afternoon. I saw former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) leave the Radisson for the debate before 4 p.m.
Later in the two-hour debate sponsored by CNN/WMUR/Union Leader the set will change and the candidates will switch to chairs.
Blitzer issued this warning to the D-8.
“Candidates must” stay on topic!
If they don’t Blitzer said he will stop them.
*European journalists endure no-smoking filing room
There are some 600 journalists who signed up to cover the debate; some 100 from non-U.S. news outlets.
There are dozens of lot of foreign press reporters here in theprint media filing center, where I am right now. I am watching the debate on television, as are most reporters. CNN has provided If you thought reporters were observing this all from inside the debate—nope. But watching on television is a good way to judge what happens because that is what voters see. CNN is serving a buffet dinner. Entrees salmon, chicken Kiev and some kind of pasta. Soft drinks, water, no booze.
Some French reporters stepped outside to smoke.
The spin room is a big gym. Platforms for the Obama and Clinton campaign are next to each other so there may be post-debate gridlock.
The debate is on the campus of St. Anselm College. Spinners for Clinton include Wolfson, Ann Lewis, Mandy Grunwald, top New Hampshire Democrat Bill Sheehan. Spinners for Obama include David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs and top New Hampshire Democrats Jim Demers and Ned Helms. Spinners for Edwards include David Bonior, Mark Kornblau, Jonathan Prince and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders.
*Goal for Edwards
Get away from talk about his haircut, hedge funds and haircuts.