Whew. I'm glad that's over. I kept waiting for some kind of blowup, but I give both Senators credit for keeping their cool. I have to admit, though, that as interested as I am in this, there were times when their political rhetoric made me zone out! ANSWER THE QUESTION! Jeez.
A few thoughts, and keep in mind that these are merely my opinions. I firmly believe that it is up to each of us to vote for who we believe will do the best job and be the best leader for our country.
When asked about an acquaintance who is a former member of the Weather Underground (a radical '60's group), Obama said that these are manufactured issues that distract from true issues, and wondered if all the views of anyone he knows can be placed upon or attributed to him or his policies or feelings. He said that he did not agree with the comments that were made by this guy, or his past activities, and that he disowns the remarks made by his pastor. (A little stronger than he'd spoken before--he actually used the word "disown," but said that he disowns the remarks, not the man.)
Hillary pounced, saying that these issues DO matter, it's a matter of integrity, and that it will be an issue the GOP will be sure to exploit in the general election. Obama countered that by her own standards, Hillary wouldn't stand up to GOP attacks on that, because her husband pardoned 2 members of the Weather Underground. Ouch man. Major score for Obama.
There was talk about raising taxes, and stabilizing Social Security. Hillary danced around the statement that she wouldn't raise taxes, but never really said one way or another. Obama said, "You can't get something for nothing," and that stabilizing Social Security may take raising the SS tax limit, but that there would be possible exemptions for those earning up to $250K. Both seemed to hedge on actually raising taxes, and Clinton finally said that she "would not raise taxes" on the middle class, and made a commitment to that. Again, ouch. Almost a "read my lips" moment, and not a good move.
As for the gun issue, Obama believes in individuals' right to bear arms, but with constraints in cities (which he likened to private property with zoning ordinances.) Clinton seemed to agree with that, but when asked if she supports the handgun ban in D.C., she wouldn't give a clear answer, even when asked a yes or no question.
When asked about affirmative action, Obama believes that there needs to be consideration of economic circumstances, not just race and/or gender. He said that his kids are privileged, and shouldn't get special consideration. He doesn't like the quota system. Clinton dodged the question about actual affirmative action issues, saying we should take "affirmative action" to make sure that every disadvantaged kid gets a chance.
Clinton had a good comment about windfall profit taxes on oil companies and Obama essentially agreed, saying he'd put part of that into research for new technologies and alternative fuels.
Clinton was asked about her statement that she believes in using former presidents to assist the country. DANGER DANGER Will Robinson! She said that she believes in asking all former presidents to help the country, although uncertain about the current president. Not a good response when her husband is a former President and many of us have major issues with him being back in any kind of advisory position, and when Jimmy Carter is off on a junket to meet with Hamas. (Seriously...what is he thinking?) Obama said he was more likely to ask advice of GHWB rather than GWB.
Clinton was forced to admit that Obama is electable--CNN analysts think this will come back to bite her, because her argument to the superdelegates is exactly the opposite: he is NOT electable against McCain.
Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were annoying (although I like them both), often interrupting both Senators with another question while they were already trying to answer one. Brian Williams is the best debate monitor I've seen so far. Post-analysis on CNN: Obama tried to focus on issues, Clinton kept taking it back to personal attacks, despite her soaring negative numbers.
Bottom line (my opinion): I think that Clinton will win Pennsylvania but not by a blowout margin, Obama will win North Carolina (probably a blowout), and I think it's likely that he'll win Indiana, but not by a blowout margin. Obama will win the nomination, and away we go!