Tentative, mushy, and sometimes distracted. If his biggest challenge is to project presidential strength and experience, he failed badly in his initial answers, and didn't improve much over time, although he offered up a few solid ideas and the occasional forceful moment. Crisply parried Edwards' challenge on Iraq, but in general seemed more like a process-oriented legislator than the embodiment of change, which, along with his charisma, remains his biggest advantage. His natural thoughtfulness got him swallowed up and occasionally the length of his answers set him adrift.
by Mark Halperin
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