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The Senate race:

Media deems Senate debate disappointing draw

Reid Angle Debate - Oct. 14 2010

Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid exchange pleasantries after their debate, moderated by Mitch Fox, center, on Thursday at the Vegas PBS studios. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas pundits raced to declare Sharron Angle the victor after Thursday night’s first and only face-off between the Republican grandmother from Reno and Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat.

But beyond the Silver State, most major news outlets cast the debate as a disappointing draw. Save for the birth of what may become the Tea Party’s 2010 midterm mantra, “Man up!”, (counting the seconds until somebody comes up with an auto-tuned YouTube remix) there were few surprises, game changers or memorable moments, the national media complained.

Midterm elections writ large can be a referendum on national politics, but rarely does one race capture so much national attention.

Perhaps that’s why so many national media outlets were disappointed the debate fell short of truly dastardly displays — Reid and Angle have been whetting our appetite for wonky attacks with the way they’ve been trading barbs in TV ads.

But this is Nevada we’re talking about — not the WWE. (Tune into Connecticut for that.)

And although the gaffe-prone grandparents have promised many things, Harry and Sharron never pledged to be prime-time.

THE PRINTED WORD:

The New York Times steered clear of casting judgment, highlighting “a vivid contrast of philosophy” on display at the debate.

The Washington Post may have put it most succinctly with this article title: “In Reid vs. Angle debate, neither side wins.”

Letting the Post elaborate:

“Neither rose above in Nevada Senate debate, but Reid left door open for Angle.”

“Angle is the aggressor … tough and salty … Reid is an erratic public speaker … but he committed none of the verbal gaffes that have become his hallmark over the years.”

“ … neither Reid nor Angle shone in their one-and-only debate of the race.” (The Fix blog)

USA Today bucked the trend, calling the matchup “a sizzling debate.”

“ … neither seemed entirely at ease. But Angle, a neophyte in such a high-profile political contest, never lost her smile and aimed a series of zingers at Reid.”

CABLE NEWS:

Fox News gave a slight edge to Angle.

“ … she didn’t come off crazy, and arguably won.”

CNN called an even score.

“Both sides landed some punches, but there didn’t seem to be a knockout in the high-stakes debate Thursday night …”

FROM THE BELTWAY:

Politico said “ … while neither gaffe-prone candidate committed a major error, both struggled … the much-anticipated showdown here had more flubs than fireworks.”

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