The debate was Clark’s. The format and tone suited her. Her softer approach, which showed us the person behind the role was very good. In fact, I would say that was the best I have ever seen her. At times, Key seemed tacked on to a Clark interview (be interesting to she if she actually spoke longer, it felt like it). The lack of interjections helped with the more settled tone, whereas Clark was put off balance by Key’s interjections in the first debate (for the record, I’ve read a transcript and he interrupted in each of the first five questions Clark answered, her first interjection was on the sixth).
No knock out blow but what do you expect? It was a cordial debate in which substantive issues and tricky questions were addressed. The kind of issues and questions that a Prime Minister has to face every day. It was good that both leaders could have a laugh.
It’s not that Key made any real mistakes. It’s not that he lied. It’s just that this debate gave us a good measure of the two as people, as politicans, and as leaders. And Clark showed herself to be a class above Key.