– Adam Krauss of Foster's Daily Democrat (who filed, by my count, 15,029 stories last night) found the NH Democratic chairman (more with him here) and local radio legend Arnie Arnesen disgruntled with the debate setup.
Prominent talk show host Arnie Arnesen labeled CNN the debate's "loser" because it "made a decision for the rest of us that they (Clinton, Obama and Edwards) were going to remain the top-tier" candidates.
Those three candidates were seated next to each other and frequently framed in the same shot, especially, it seemed, at the beginning of the event.
Everyone I talked to was pissed about the hypothetical or "raise your hands" questions, a marked difference from the last GOP debate, when the candidates happily put on their VR helmets and gamed out an episode of 24.
I didn't spend much time with the protesters/rallyers last night. The 9/11 Truth squad was small and didn't chant anything while I was there. The Code Pink squad was small, too, about half the size of the groups that hit D.C. events. When I started snapping photos, one of the ladies spotted my press badge.
"Can I have your press pass?"
"What? No. I need this to cover the event for my magazine."
"I could cover the event! I could write something for ya!"
I asked her what she'd do if I gave her my badge; unfortunately I got a boilerplate answer about how the candidates need to be confronted with the truth. "You'll ask this politely?" "I'll ask it honestly."
I had to break the news that the press pass took us into an entirely different room than the debate hall, and that ended the conversation.
UPDATE: I've gotten a few questions about whether I saw Eric Alterman get arrested. No, almost nobody did. As Alterman explained, he went to the spin room while the debate was going on, when the main floor where the candidates and their spinners would be appearing was mostly empty. The only commotion was on a VIP balcony which wouldn't fill up until after the debate and on a set of bleachers where "citizen journalists" who'd won a contest to cover the debate were sitting. Alterman went up to the balcony and got a drink from the open bar. His arrest occurred before journalists poured into the spin room from the press center.