Overall grade: B+
Subdued and secure, but often peevish and cross, seemingly fed up with Clinton's fight and impatient to claim the nomination (the less attractive part of his personality shining through). Showed his vast improvement as a debater he was familiar with the material and with his platform, and exhibited an understanding of the process of governance rather than relying on vague concepts and rhetoric. Like Clinton, was firmly anti-McCain without expressing undue belligerence. Despite his aloof, frontrunner's air, sometimes seemed angry, distracted and worn. Nevertheless, he took pains to stress his core message of change, used his opening statement to smoothly pay homage (and offer an implicit apology for his "bitter" commentary) to the thoughtful people of Pennsylvania, and was well practiced and careful when responding to questions about Rev. Wright and patriotism. Sometimes took liberties with the truth when defending his past actions or the campaign's tactics (falsely denying, for instance, that his team has pushed the Clinton/Bosnia story). Gave a direct answer on his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, but there, and elsewhere, may have created potential general election problems. Inexplicably, went on stage with one of the worst makeup jobs of the campaign. Bottom line: a surly, tepid night for Obama, but he still emerged stalwart and in the lead.
Next Hillary Clinton