Democratic Debate Recap

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When I first tuned into the Democratic debate tonight, I started taking copious notes on who was saying what. Then I stopped. Most Americans will be going more on general impressions than word-by-word analysis, so I should too.
On policy, the most important takeaway, for me, anyway, is Gov. Richardson’s support for a permanent UN peacekeeping force. That bodes extremely well for a better thought out and more politically viable proposal to establish the UN Emergency Peace Service, that I’ve been working hard to build momentum for over the past few months. This is an idea that’s going from zero to 60 and is all of a sudden squarely in the policy mainstream.
Tonight’s debate is the first Democratic debate that I’ve recapped. I was disappointed that few if any of the questions touched on America’s declining influence in the world or the importance of cooperating with others in an interconnected world.
On the flip side, I’m very happy with the Democratic slate of candidates. Nearly all of them would make fine Presidents and most of them are solid candidates, too.
Without further ado, my impressions:
Hillary Clinton: Clearly the most polished and effective debater, Clinton came off extremely well tonight. Her message is tight, her knowledge of policy is deep, and she played to her strengths at every turn. Still, primary voters wondering how committed she is to ending the conflict in Iraq will come away unsatisfied. And more importantly, half a year into the campaign, I’m still not sure what her campaign is fundamentally about. Clinton’s rhetoric is very safe and generic, highlighting the “need for change,” for example. She still hasn’t communicated clearly what’s fueling her desire to be President. Until she does, she’ll remain vulnerable to allegations that she’s driven by raw ambition and puts politics ahead of principle. All that notwithstanding, Clinton’s effort tonight substantially helped her cause.
Barack Obama: A mixed performance. Obama’s cerebral disposition, careful use of language to highlight nuance, and ability to connect hot-button issues with more fundamental questions has made him a talk-show darling, but it’s not winning him points in a debate. Interesting to note: Obama has started lashing out at those ubiquitous special interests. I haven’t heard him do it before. My guess is that someone advised him that if you’re not going to bash Republicans, you’ve got to find another villain. Generally, Obama is going to need to answer questions more directly; I think his reluctance to say Americans in Iraq have not died in vain could leave potential voters with a bad taste in their mouths. That said, Obama started hitting the mark in the second half of the debate and by the end of the night, his responses were extremely compelling.
John Edwards: I think Edwards gained ground tonight. He clearly came off as an action-oriented candidate on poverty, health care, Iraq, and stuck to his populist, anti-special interests message. He was put on defense more than most other candidates and did reasonably well. The one question that put a chink in John’s armor, I think, was whether or not he stands by Elizabeth’s contention that he’d be a better President for women than Clinton. Then again, that’s not an easy one to parry. Edwards’s supporters will be happy with his performance on the whole.
Bill Richardson: Since he stated his support for something like UNEPS (but even more bold), I would love to say Richardson made gains. I really would. But Richardson seemed a bit scatterbrained tonight. He showcased his accomplishments and depth of knowledge effectively. But Richardson didn’t get to answer questions in his strongest areas, energy and diplomacy. And his comments were chock full of wonk-speak. He’s going to have to remember how to explain complex issues to voters on their terms. I should also note that Richardson’s YouTube ad (all candidates were asked to submit one), a reprise of one of his Presidential job search spot, is the winner in my book:

Chris Dodd: Dodd didn’t have many memorable moments tonight, good or bad. His understanding of complex issues, his boldness on energy policy, and his views – especially on diplomacy and foreign policy – are second to none. But Dodd comes off as a New England intellectual. He’s not as boring as Gore in 2000 or as wooden as Kerry in ’04, but so far, he’s no more accessible than either. My guess is he gains ground in the Northeast and in university communities but loses ground elsewhere.
Joe Biden: Biden’s trying to emerge as the straight-talk candidate for the Dems, and for the most part, it’s working. He’s avoided longwinded answers and stayed on message. His understanding of how a withdrawal from Iraq would work – coupled with his plan for federalism there – was impressive, whether or not one agrees with him on the merits of his argument (I’m sure that some who are itching for a quicker withdrawal would take issue with his position). But Biden lost big time points with me by suggesting that we need to send American troops to Darfur and, more importantly, that those who favor other options were being soft and tolerant of genocide. As Clinton, Gravel, and Richardson pointed out, there’s no way American troops could perform a peace operation as well as a robust UN force could in Darfur. American forces aren’t trained primarily for peace enforcement and nation-building and they’re stretched thin as is, thanks to deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, people in the region are very wary of American intervention – even the good guys who are pushing hard to end the atrocities in Darfur, Chad, and the Central African Republic. They don’t want American personnel on the ground; they want American diplomacy and logistical support to pave the way for African and Muslim personnel to successfully intervene through a UN mission. Biden knows better.
Dennis Kucinich: This was hands down the best debate performance I’ve seen from Kucinich. He was articulate, on point, and activist in the best possible way. He also showed a lot of discipline and foresight by articulating and repeating a message point that concisely explains his world view: “Strength Through Peace.” It’s a good one, and it will help Americans figure out what he’s about. Kucinich explained well the need for international cooperation, and his indictment of Congress’s failure to de-fund the war is clearly making the frontrunners uncomfortable. On the negative side, there were a few eyeball rollers, most notably his unconvincing effort to connect Iraq, Iran, and energy. The connection is there, but it can’t be explained in 100 words or less and isn’t as simple as Kucinich would have voters believe.
Mike Gravel: Gravel had trouble putting together coherent ideas. I often had a tough time understanding the basic gist of his arguments. His brand of righteous anger is getting old.
Anderson Cooper: Didn’t talk much – so good job.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this shakes out tomorrow.
— Scott Paul

Comments

26 comments on “Democratic Debate Recap

  1. MP says:

    Kathleen writes: “Russ Feingold to the rescue!!!!”
    Why doesn’t he run? I believe he was considering it awhile back. What were his reasons for bowing out?

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    Russ Feingold to the rescue!!!!
    He’s the only one who is tough enough to do what needs to be done…. Hold those power hungry petty tyrants accountable.

    Reply

  3. Sandy says:

    And, on other fronts….WE MUST GET THE WAR AND CORRUPTION PARTY OUT in 2008:
    http://www.atlargely.com/2007/07/republican-mora.html#comments
    « BBC: grandpa Bush linked to attempted FDR coup | Main | Raw Story: National Intelligence Estimate sloppy and possibly politicized, intelligence officials say »
    July 25, 2007
    Republican “moral victory” over the mentally retarded and disabled in Texas…
    Remember that little Texas scandal involving massive rape of children by the officers of the Texas Youth Commission? No? Oh, sorry, was Lindsay Lohen arrested again? Well then, some background:
    “Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, both already under siege for other matters, are now being accused of failing to prosecute officers of the Texas Youth Commission after a Texas Ranger investigation documented that guards and administrators were sexually abusing the institution’s teenage boy inmates.
    Among the charges in the Texas Ranger report were that administrators would rouse boys from their sleep for the purpose of conducting all-night sex parties.
    Ray Brookins, one of the officials named in the report, was a Texas prison guard before being hired at the youth commission school. As a prison guard, Brookins had a history of disciplinary and petty criminal records dating back 21 years. He retained his job despite charges of using pornography on the job, including viewing nude photos of men and women on state computers.
    In the Texas Youth Commission scandal, Texas Ranger official Burzynski received a July 28, 2005, letter from Bill Baumann, assistant U.S. attorney in Sutton’s office, declining prosecution on the argument that under 18 U.S.C. Section 242, the government would have to demonstrate that the boys subjected to sexual abuse sustained “bodily injury.” Baumann wrote that, “As you know, our interviews of the victims revealed that none sustained ‘bodily injury.'”
    Baumann’s letter continued, adding a definition of the phrase “bodily injury,” as follows: “Federal courts have interpreted this phrase to include physical pain. None of the victims have claimed to have felt physical pain during the course of the sexual assaults which they described.”
    Baumann’s letter further suggested that insufficient evidence existed to prove the offenders in the Texas Youth Commission case had used force in their alleged acts of pedophilia: “A felony charge under 18 U.S.C. Section 242 can also be predicated on the commission of ‘aggravated sexual abuse’ or the attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse. The offense of aggravated sexual abuse is proven with evidence that the perpetrator knowingly caused his victim to engage in a sexual act (which can include contact between the mouth and penis) by using force against the victim or by threatening or placing the victim in fear that the victim (or any other person) will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping. I do not believe that sufficient evidence exists to support a charge that either Brookins or Hernandez used force to cause victims to engage in a sexual act.”‘
    Apparently, those are not the only abuses in Texas the DOJ turned a blind eye to. Having the above as your background, here is the latest news that the bobble heads on TV are failing to address:
    “Abuse, neglect and humiliation are a stark reality for hundreds of mentally retarded children and adults living in Texas’ state schools, employee disciplinary records show.
    With disturbing regularity, employees pushed, hit, kicked, knocked down and dragged residents. One of the worst cases occurred in December 2005, when a caretaker at Brenham State School hit or kicked a resident hard enough to cause three cracked ribs and a lacerated liver.
    Workers also frequently neglected their frail charges, in some cases allowing them to eat cigarette butts, scald themselves or be sexually abused by other residents.
    The records show that problems already surfaced at Lubbock State School, which is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division. A report on that facility, delivered to the governor’s office in December, was sharply critical of inadequate staffing, poor sanitation and treatment practices.
    About 4,900 adults and children live in 13 residential facilities in Texas. All of the residents have been diagnosed with mental retardation and some also suffer from mental illness and physical disabilities.
    Officials with the Department of Aging and Disability Services say outside state investigators confirmed nearly 300 cases of abuse and neglect during each of the past two fiscal years. But they maintain that the majority of direct care workers do a good job.”
    I wonder if Gonzo and Karl Rove thought it best not to embarrass the Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry by taking action on such a scandal that defies the whole notion of “family values.” I would wager a yes. I also wonder if some prominent Texas Republicans happened to attend any of those sex parties at the  hosted by the Texas Youth Commission? How many more bodies have to pile up around this administration before someone takes a moral stand regardless of the political outcome?
    Posted by Larisa Alexandrovna on July 25, 2007 at 09:26 AM

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  4. Sandy says:

    This will only take a few minutes — PLEASE LISTEN — it is important to your vote:
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/07/24/philip-giraldi-5/
    Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi
    Tuesday, July 24th, 2007 in News, War party, War on Terror, Iran, Nukes, Antiwar Radio, al-Qaeda, Covert Action by Scott Horton|
    Former CIA counter-terrorism officer and Antiwar.com columnist Philip Giraldi debunks the War Party’s claims that Iran backs al Qaeda, explains U.S. support for the terrorist groups Mujahadeen-e-Khalq and Jundullah against Iran,
    … and the two most likely circumstances in which CHENEY WILL USE or threaten to use nuclear weapons against them.
    MP3 here.
    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, contributing editor at the American Conservative magazine and is a regular columnist for Antiwar.com.
    Digg it [what’s this?]
    « « Robert Dreyfuss | Juan Cole » »
    The GOP being called “THE WAR PARTY” — Exactly! That is what I shall call them myself from now on….

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  5. Sandy says:

    POA has wondered repeatedly (along with others of us) what was being done. Well, what do you know:
    http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/?last_story=/politics/war_room/2007/07/25/contempt_house/
    Salon.com War Room
    If a contempt citation falls in the woods…?
    The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-17 to issue contempt citations against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten over their refusals to testify and provide documents in the investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys.
    The Washington Post reports:
    The Bush administration has made clear it intends to block prosecution of any contempt charges, arguing that a presidentially-appointed U.S. attorney cannot legally be forced by Congress to flout the president’s determination that the materials and testimony sought are protected by executive privilege..
    White House spokesman Tony Snow responded with strong language.
    “Now we have a situation where there is an attempt to do something that’s never been done in American history, which is to assail the concept of executive privilege, which hails back to the administration of George Washington and in particular to use criminal contempt charges against the White House chief of staff and the White House legal counsel,” he said.
    As might be expected, the committee was split along party lines.
    California Democrat Adam Schiff warned his fellow committee members, “We have rolled over with every claim of executive power. We have never challenged the president of the United States. We have never challenged the administration…I guarantee you that you’ll rue the day that you sat on your hands if we allow the administration to walk over us, as it has attempted to do.”
    His colleague, Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., said “it’s time for Congress to assert itself.” And Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y, said, “The duty of this committee is not only to protect Americans against crime and other things. It is also to protect constitutional liberty, in this case against an administration that is clearly intent on subverting liberty and assuming almost monarchical powers.”
    Rep. John Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., called the contempt citations “needless escalation” and “an unnecessary provocation of a constitutional crisis.”
    But Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee put it this way: “I’m prepared to accept a constitutional clash because the feelings of the members of this room are inferior to the needs to protecting the Constitution on behalf of the American people.”
    Sensenbrenner admitted, “you folks have got the votes to do whatever you want to.”
    — Julia Dahl
    Permalink [13:42 EST, July 25, 2007]

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  6. Sandy says:

    While I understand why asking these candidates about impeachment of Bush-Cheney would only result (except for Kucinich and Gravel, of course) in safe non-answers, I do think — at the very least — if it was, after all, THE NUMBER ONE issue the U-Tube PEOPLE WANTED to talk about — at the very least — Anderson Cooper should have stated that.
    God forbid CNN might want THE PEOPLE to know what THE PEOPLE actually wanted to talk about….and WANTED TO SEE HAPPEN. Or (especially) WHY THEY DO….
    What an irresponsible network decision!
    Using and publicizing the device — and betraying it.
    Typical.
    Thank goodness for blogging.

    Reply

  7. JonU says:

    “On the negative side, there were a few eyeball rollers, most notably his unconvincing effort to connect Iraq, Iran, and energy. The connection is there, but it can’t be explained in 100 words or less and isn’t as simple as Kucinich would have voters believe.”
    Interesting that you slam the idea of an underlying energy motivation, then add in a vague caveat to let yourself off the hook without actually having to explain how. “Can’t be explained in 100 words or less”… well there’s certainly no space for that now so we’ll just leave it at the image of it being an eye-rolling whopper, right? Mr. Paul obviously has a problem with energy being a motivational factor, as he’s tried to make this point before. Yet somehow never explains how it’s all so much more complicated.
    If you simply mean in that there are other factors such as Israel, religion, and neocon delusions than sure, it’s more complicated. But other factors are complicated *by* energy. Energy considerations themselves remain rather simple.
    But energy is always, ALWAYS, a fundamental motivation in all decisions made in regards to the Middle East. No decision is ever made without considering it and giving it as much weight, if not more, than any other consideration.
    So trying to link it to “eyeball rollers” is your own particular eyeball roller. Kind of a knee-jerk reaction on your part to deny the importance of this fundamental issue, whenever it is raised. It seems more and more Mr. Paul has some bias against energy considerations figuring prominently in debate over policy in the Middle East.

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  8. Bluemoon says:

    Hmm. I’m pretty at odds with your assessment of the debate last night…
    Hillary Clinton emerged as the easiest to snap into place candidate, radiating cool confidence & steady after a stumble at the gate regarding the word liberal. Barack Obama has some sequences of sentences & thoughts that sound good but blow away like gossamer threads, very little substance on balance. His rock star video was a snoozer, but not as ill-advised as Hillary’s take on Talking Subterranean Homesick Blues. It was too small for me to read so maybe it was good. The PTA mom thing can get grating.
    John Edwards hurt himself badly with the preacher, but also in his constant self-centeredness & tried to be cuttingly witty at the end about Hillary’s jacket when actual statesmanship or at least being collegial was expected. While terrific on health care, and if I recall also good on Darfur, he shows himself to be an overeager student with a truly dismal video. Yeah that Rove tactic of go right for your own weaknesss & turn it into a strength thing doesn’t always work.
    Biden was a surprise, in a pleasant way, for the most part but was somewhat mumbly. Mike Gravel said the things so many on our side want to hear said – like “follow the money” & want something done about, but was so hurt & offended by the allotment of time & the annointed special glee club of the frontrunners that it got to him a bit & he came away a little like a grouchy old crank (sorry, Mike).
    Richardson just didn’t register much on me either way- his own understated businesslike youtube video was perhaps the best one of the ones I saw. Chris Dodd got in a few good licks & otherwise kind of floundered. I once had a soft spot for Kucinich & in 04 thought there was a place for him at the table- now, not so much.
    The winners were the askers of the questions & one just wishes more time could have been alloted & that the candidates could be seated for the duration in a more comfortable extended setting & each allowed to answer the questions.
    The questions were tremendously better & the funny real artfulness & lack of artfulness & genuine weirdness & rawness were really a huge asset.
    Anderson Cooper did a good job for the most part as traffic cop, but it remains unclear as to why those selected to answer any given question were so chosen while others were not granted an opportunity. He stayed in the background, expediting- congrats Anderson.
    A lively debate. Eager to see more. But I wish there were a few different faces on that stage, I must say.
    Of those standing, I would choose Hillary. Based entirely on tonight, and most of that PTA stuff gets on my nerves pretty hard pretty fast.
    Oh for a Clark, a Gore, a Dean.

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  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.democrats.com/cnn-censors-impeachment-youtube
    “CNN is congratulating itself profusely for its YouTube debate, and they showed a lot of excellent questions. But they refused to show the #1 video as voted on by visitors to CommunityCounts. The hands-down winning question was on impeachment.”

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Good to hear that the most of the frontrunning candidates gave a good impression on themselves and the issues they’re fighting for.”
    Yes, isn’t that wonderful! However, its a real shame none of those issues mean a damned thing when the Executive Branch has placed itself outside the realm of law and oversight.
    The only thing these “debates” accomplished is that they underscored the extent that Bush’s abuses are being ignored. Did you hear one single candidate demand accountability yesterday?
    Whats going on with Rice’s subpoena? What kind of deal did the Dems make to ignore her flagrant ability to sidestep the law?

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  11. MP says:

    Some commentary on Ron Paul’s “other views” by “sara” at Orcinus for all you “strict constructionists”…
    “In the second post, phenry outlines Paul’s connections to various white supremacists groups. In 1996, Paul was one of only two candidates endorsed by Christian Identity leader Larry Pratt (who had previously worked with David Duke, and resigned from Pat Buchanan’s team when his Identity role became public). Paul refused to repudiate the endorsement; and Pratt has stepped forward again with a quasi-endorsement of Paul’s current campaign.
    Through the 90s, Paul was also a regular on the far-right talk circuit. He spoke to Texas secessionists in 1995 on the “once and future Republic of Texas”; has appeared on a radio program affiliated with the Council of Conservative Citizens; and is a frequent speaker at John Birch Society functions — the group has given him a perfect 100 in its legislative rankings. These days, those who monitor CCC, David Duke, and Stormfront say they can’t get enough of him. They know he’s one of their own.”
    Link is here, but feel free to browse if you want to take the full measure of the man:
    http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2007/06/man-of-hour.html

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  12. rich says:

    Re Obama lashing out at “ubiquitous special interests” . .
    Shorter Barack Obama: The whole Democratic Party is a Sistah Souljah opportunity.

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  13. Erica says:

    Good to hear that the most of the frontrunning candidates gave a good impression on themselves and the issues they’re fighting for. I wish they spoke more about the issue of poverty, which is most likely the origin to the rest of the problems (iraqi war, reputation of U.S. internationally, etc.) that they were discussing. According to the Borgen Project, 12 billion dollars is all that is needed to educate every child in the world. That is small comparatively to the 340 billion the U.S. has already spent on the Iraqi war.

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  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The complete absence of any mainstream charismatic and patriotic Presidential candidate on either side of the aisle does not bode well for America’s future. Mass marketed Presidential elections are now decided by the media, and the American people have little or no control of the quality of the “product” they are offered. Tragically, Washington politics is a game that can only be won if the candidate actually discards the very kinds of character traits that would best serve the interests of the nation.

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  15. easy e says:

    Kucinich is right on the money. Cheney’s Energy docs would confirm that Iraq/Iran is all about oil. What America needs is another Daniel Ellsberg to leak docs to the press.

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  16. Kathleen says:

    Check out Kucinich’s 12 point plan to exit Iraq at
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/HR1234.
    He has clearly thought things through, unlike any other candidate.

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  17. JohnH says:

    Ira Chernus sums up the Democratic frontrunners, “Fluency in doublespeak is a prime qualification for high political office.” None of the frontrunners want to leave Iraq:
    http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/23/2696/
    Hillary is a classic example of doublespeak. She says she WILL bring the troops home. Problem is she doesn’t say how many or when. Her stance eerily echoes Nixon’s secret plan for ending the Vietnam War during the 1968 election. Nixon’s “plan” turned out to be an escalation. Will Hillary’s “non-plan” turn out to be more of the same? After all, as the first female President, she would almost certainly feel the need to prove herself tough enough to be commander in chief…
    Scott, you criticized Kucinich for “a few eyeball rollers, most notably his unconvincing effort to connect Iraq, Iran, and energy.” Sure, it’s easy to repeat Rumsfeld, the master of doublespeak, and simply say, “it wasn’t about oil.” But since all the other reasons given for invading Iraq have proven to be false, why does the energy motive amount to an “eyeball roller?” After all, the White House was filled with former oil executives; Iraq and Iran were uncooperative, underperforming oil suppliers; and cheap, readily available oil was becoming ever more scarce.
    If you look at other blogs, people are increasing saying that it was about oil and the need to get OPEC’s spigots open, as Bush promised he would do during the 2000 election. But mainstream doublespeakers, while happy to denounce Bush’s false pretenses, inexplicably lack any curiosity about understanding what Iraq is really all about. Kucinich at least has the courage to call a spade a spade. There is a slim chance he’s wrong. If his critics had half as much courage, and would explicitly state the real reasons for invading Iraq, the American people would be able to make informed decisions about what to do with this war.
    The onus needs to be put on those who deny it was about oil.

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  18. pauline says:

    Unless she stumbles badly over her own lies, which is always possible, Hillary showed the look of a confident winner.
    Maybe it’s that Wall St. money that gives her all that assurance.
    “money doesn’t talk…it swears”

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  19. Carroll says:

    I didn’t hear very much about the real problem we face——–> Special Interest….in the system.
    Getting out of Iraq is a drop in the bucket in the big picture. I don’t want to hear more bollywood scripting about “visions” for America. I want a clean up team, a wrecking ball candidate.
    When is someone going to question each candidate about the piles of money they got from certain individuals and groups and what it is going to cost the public for a President to pay them back once in office?

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  20. pauline says:

    I thought Gravel exposed a lot of truth last night that the “standard” Dems don’t want to touch with a twenty foot pole — the Wall St. bankers own the ratings leaders of this bunch and if/when anyone one of them is elected, it’s more of the same.
    So, we have Paul on the one side and Gravel/Kucinich on the other. I guess that’s not much hope for any true leadership/honesty winning on this next presidential ballot as too many voters are asleep.

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  21. Linda says:

    Debate was amusing as reality show TV. Cooper was fine. CNN could have done better technically in showing videos on full screen. Questions from real people were good. Knew I’d vote for a Democrat before the debate and knew I would after.
    Suggestion to CNN for a weekly reality show. Pick by lottery two candidates from each party to “debate” each other in the same format for 2 hours (one on domestic policy and one on foreign policy) with both candidates answering the same questions. And they could be run several times on the weekends instead of “This Week at War”, repeat special investigations, etc. Call it “American Candidate,” “Debating with the Candidates,” or “So You Think You Can Lead” or “Survivor.”

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  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “His brand of righteous anger is getting old”
    And your brand of complacency, denial, and inaction is destroying this nation. If you aren’t pissed off by now, theres something wrong with you.
    This debate was a joke. The sofball questions, and the cartoon format debased America, and the office of President.

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  23. Corinne says:

    “My guess is that someone advised [Obama] that if you’re not going to bash Republicans, you’ve got to find another villain.”
    Yeah, Democrats. Obama has a nasty habit of blaming both parties, in particular lamenting how Democrats must do this, people want that, etc. Here’s an excerpt from his speech last week on poverty:
    “It’s true that there were many effective programs that emerged from Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. But there were also some ineffective programs that were defended anyway, as well as an inability of some on the left to acknowledge that the problems of absent fathers or persistent crime were indeed problems that needed to be addressed.”
    “Inability of some on the left.” Gosh, I wonder who that would be? Must be the same secular Democrats who won’t allow God back in the public square. It appears that Obama also has a pretty productive straw man factory.
    So according to Obama, there isn’t much difference between Democrats and Republicans on such issues because both groups are just “talking past each other.”
    I’ve become convinced that Obama is running for the nomination by running against the Democratic Party and that is inexcusable for someone who wants to be the standard bearer for the Democratic Party. The Democratic nominee should be able to argue why his or her party has the right ideas to solve the problems we face; why voters should vote for that party; why voters should trust the party; and why his or her party should govern.
    Obama does none of this because he doesn’t like engaging in politics. It’s beyond my why he even got into politics at all. He should have stayed in Chicago and been a social worker if that’s what he wants to do.

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  24. Jim Wilson says:

    Like Steve, I’ve started focusing on the overall thrust of the debate rather than on details of specific answers — the format just doesn’t support getting into details. My overall impression is that the Democrats are settling into being the party of hope and aspiration, versus the Republican line of fear and distrust. It’s a good strategy if they can keep it up.

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  25. Robert Morrow says:

    Here is my latest Hillary email. Note the harassment campaign on Patrick Knowlton in the streets of Wash, DC, in Oct. 1995, occurred just one month after Hillary’s big speech on “human rights” in China in Sept. 1995.
    Dear American Friend,
    I have attached my “Hillary file” which is culled from the 205+ books and other media that I have on Hillary and Bill. The Clintons are thugs. On the campaign trail in 2007 Hillary and Bill are play acting as the loving, respectful couple – singing each other’s praises on stage and engaging in public affection as they troll for votes.
    In order to understand Hillary and Bill, one must first understand the wildly dysfunctional Jerry Springer lifestyle they have lived for 36 years. Hillary has covered for Bill who not only has had HUNDREDS of women, but also perpetrated several rapes and vicious sexual assaults, often involving biting the lips of the women victims. In order to cover up this Jerry Springer chaos, Hillary has often used a secret police and criminal intimidation tactics to harass, intimidate and terrify Bill’s sex victims and girlfriends.
    WE’VE HAD ENOUGH “EXPERIENCE” WITH HILLARY
    These tactics include the savage beating of Gennifer Flower’s neighbor (Gary Johnson), criminal harassment campaigns on Kathleen Willey (1997-98 car vandalism, stole her cat Bullseye), Liz Ward Gracen (who Bill probably raped while she was Miss America), Gennifer Flowers (break-ins, threats), Sally Perdue (car vandalism, threats), Bobbie Ann Williams (break-in), Christy Zercher (a flight attendant, break-in), Suzi Parker (a journalist harassed off Arkansas tainted prison blood scandal, fearing for her life), Connie Hamzy (lying campaign) and Juanita Broaddrick (raped by Bill, break-in and IRS audit when she went public in 1998). It is not a stretch to say that Hillary, Bill and Buddy Young may have organized the murder of their former employee Jerry Parks on 9/26/93 because he knew too much about the Clintons.
    Hillary and Bill were well on the way to crucifying Monica Lewinsky as an unstable stalker, liar and fantasist – – and would have done so if Bill’s semen had not be found on Monica’s blue dress. Hillary’s private eyes were already digging in Monica’s past, when the real story was the Clintons’ criminal track record.
    Additionally biographer Roger Morris describes a vicious sexual assault by Bill on a woman (around 1980) on p.238 in his book Parters in Power. Journalist Michael Isikoff details a very crude sexual advance by President Bill in 1996 on a lady married to a Democratic VIP on p.162 of his book Uncovering Clinton. Additionally, pervert Bill exposed himself to Paula Jones in May, 1991 and also to Carolyn Moffet in 1979.
    Other Clinton dysfunctions include Bill’s cocaine addiction as governor, Hillary’s lesbianism and the fact that Chelsea is probably the seed of Webb Hubbell, NOT Bill Clinton. Bill’s only offspring is probably Danny Williams, the product of deadbeat dad Bills’ orgies with (no condoms) drug-addicted street hooker Bobbie Ann Williams and her girlfriends back in 1983-84. Bill paid $200 to Gennifer Flowers so she could have an abortion in Jan., 1978, just 3 months before Bill’s rape of Juanita Broaddrick on 4-25-78.
    Also, Bill, brother Roger and best friend Dan Lasater were partying with high schools and providing them cocaine when Bill was governor.
    And, of course, there is Hillary’s long and intense affair with Vince Foster who was her emotional husband while Bill was screwing everything in sight. Hillary has a long record of fomenting domestic violence with Bill. The Secret Service, fed up with this insanity, leaked to the press Hillary throwing a lamp at President Bill. Hillary has often thrown objects at victim Bill.
    Hillary has used criminal tactics such as a secret police and illegal IRS audits to go after both political enemies and Bill’s sex victims and girlfriends. The Clintons put a harassment team on Patrick Knowlton, a witness in the Vince Foster investigation, in late October, 1995. This was a prelude to the intimidation campaign waged on Kathleen Willey in 1997-98 before her deposition in the Paula Jones case. Paula Jones, rape victim Juanita Broaddrick and possible rape victim Liz Ward Gracen all got audited in the late 1990’s by Clinton’s IRS.
    Floyd Brown’s offices were burglarized in 1992 and only his Clinton files were stolen. Brown’s private phone conversations were illegally wiretapped. Clinton biographer Emmett Tyrrell also had his offices twice broken into and his NY apartment invaded once. The manuscript of Tyrrell’s book Boy Clinton was stolen when he couriered it to Robert Novak for a blurb. Clintons thugs tried to intimidate 2 of Tyrrell’s researchers in Little Rock.
    HILLARY TREATS PEOPLE LIKE DIRT
    LIKE THEY ARE “INVISIBLE”
    Many people close to the Clintons describe Hillary as rude, vulgar and abusive, not just with staff and co-workers, but especially with Bill who she made a sport of ridiculing, according to L.D. Brown, Bill’s favorite state trooper. Hillary is well known for making mean, vicious and personally degrading comments often towards people who work for and with her. She probably got that from her dad Hugh Rodham, a deeply disturbed man.
    Hillary and Bill are sociopaths, not unlike serial killers such as Ted Bundy. Seemingly personable and normal while brown nosing wealthy contributors or opinion makers, Hillary and Bill have no regard for the integrity and well being of others. They disregard rules and lie with practiced ease, not feeling guilt or empathy for others.
    Bill is the kind of guy who can rape your sister upstairs and then come down to the living room and tell you what a great book he has read about women’s rights. Hillary is the kind of person who can be in the kitchen calling up a secret police to terrify your rape victim sister into silence, and then come out to the living room and ask what do you think about her latest speech on women’s and children’s rights.
    Some of the goons that Hillary has used to cloak her and Bill’s Jerry Springer lifestyle and criminal activity include Ivan Duda (1982), Jerry Parks (1980’s), Jack Palladino (1992) and Anthony Pellicano (1990’s). Pellicano is now in JAIL in Los Angeles for the same kind of thug tactics that Hillary used him for. Also, Buddy Young, the head of Bill’s trooper detail and who Bill made #2 at FEMA, is additionally a dangerous criminal that Hillary and Bill has employed in their black operations. Terry Lenzer is also someone Hillary has used extensively.
    Please forward this information to your Democratic friends and co-workers and ask that they (and you) vote for and support John Edwards, Barack OBAMA, Bill Richardson or any other Democratic candidate, and NOT Hillary. The difference is Hillary will break your kneecap to get to the White House; the others will not.
    Thank-you and have a great day!
    Robert Morrow Clinton expert Austin, TX 512-306-1510
    http://www.1984ArkansasMotherOfTheYear.com

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