With the first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls having been analyzed to death, I think it's safe to add my 2¢ worth.
First, why was the first debate so damn early? The first caucuses and primary won't be for nine months. I doubt that there aren't one or two other possible candidates that are considering a run that haven't declared yet. At this point, why bother? I think it's safe to say that many of the existing candidates will be adjusting their campaigns over the next few months in an effort to gain wider support.
What purpose did this debate serve? I'm not sure, other than it seemed more of a showcase for the candidates and wasn't meant to be a serious contest. But I can safely say that it showed that Barack Obama has a lot of work to do to be better prepared for future debates. He appeared unsure of himself, not something he can afford if he wants a shot at the nomination.
Who was the “winner”? Does it matter at this point? I think not. But one thing it did do was get former Senator Mike Gravel into the public eye. Will it help him in his bid for the nomination? Nobody knows right now..
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