Bottom line, before all the analysis:

Obama confronted Clinton in his way, Edwards confronted Clinton in his way, and none of us writing about the debate can say with accuracy which approach voters prefer.

In this discordant symphony – ‘A Clintonian Lament’ -- John Edwards’s instruments of persuasion were sharper and louder; Barack Obama’s were more resonant and more subtle.

In music terms, Edwards played the French horn; Obama played the violin. Or, as the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza told me during a commercial break, “It’s the difference between someone who goes to law school and becomes a prosecutor and someone who goes to law school and becomes a law professor.”

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