To understand just how bad Richardson's performance last night was, Liz, it's important to realize this: the event was likely never planned around the possibility of a candidate truly losing.
The nature of the Logo forum was that the candidates were facing a group essentially pledged to support the Democratic nominee. The hosts might have given a candidate a tough question or two in order to put them on the spot, but they would not have asked anything intentionally damaging. After all, the same gay activists who arranged this thing would not want to be seen publicly attacking/humiliating a candidate, only to have to publicly support the candidate next year. It simply wasn't in the HRC's interest to be tough.
Think about the format. You had a nice Oprah-style couch, Melissa Etheridge fawning over the candidates, and the they all took questions one at a time instead of together. This way Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel didn't have the opportunity to attack the others for not endorsing gay marriage. This was set up to be just a series of softball questions, masquerading as a genuine political dialogue.
This all meant that in order for a candidate to be damaged at this forum, he/she had to really screw it up, bringing forth a gaffe that angered the folks there to no end. And Richardson managed to do it.
It was a hell of an accomplishment.
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