The blogosphere may have debate burnout — most bloggers ignored last night’s festivities, which looked to Campaign Desk more like a dinner party or perhaps a semi-celebrity poker tournament than a dog fight — but there was some argument over who really won: John Kerry or moderator Larry King, nominally a softball interviewer who finally proved, says Mickey Kaus, that “he’s not such a wuss after all!”

Ryan Lizza explains Kerry’s debate strategy: “Every time Edwards tried to draw a distinction or make a cutting comment at Kerry’s expense, Kerry came back at him with proportionate force. In the last couple of debates, Edwards succeeded because Kerry sat back and declined to engage. Last night he fought Edwards to a draw on every issue.”

A blog called Just One Minute parses Kerry’s position on gay marriage, highlighting the fact that, under questioning from Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times last night, Kerry conceded that he has had second thoughts about his 1996 position that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

Still, he may have some more explaining to do: Commenting on the cordiality of last night’s event, Wonkette! says, “if John Kerry and John Edwards respected and liked each other any more, we’d have to pass a constitutional amendment against it.”

Bob Somerby moves beyond the debate, claiming Kerry is getting manhandled by The Washington Post’s Jim VandeHei, who has written numerous “misleading” stories about Kerry’s fundraising. Writes Somerby: “According to VandeHei, Kerry has been criticized ‘for lambasting special interests after accepting more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator in the past 15 years.’ But that formulation is grossly misleading. As we have noted, lobbyist money is just one small part of what is referred to as ‘special interest’ money; Kerry actually ranks 92nd among U.S. senators when it comes to receipt of such money…” (italics Somerby’s).

But Tim Graham at The Corner is complaining of media bias in the other direction. “The ABC News ticker carried liberal semantic biases today at the start of ‘Good Morning America.’ The House passed a bill that would protect the quote-unquote ‘unborn child.’ Then Rosie O’Donnell weds Kellie Carpenter, makes stand for gay marriage. No quote marks.”

Campaign Desk “agrees” with both “points.”

Brian Montopoli

Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.