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State of the Nation

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9 years 46 weeks ago

January 6, 2008

14:25
  • Similar to Iowa, pollster.com has Poll of Pollster ratings of each other in this pre-primary season.

    ABC/WaPo and CNN/WMUR/UNH rate highest, but that's not predictive of what happens this time around. (DemFromCT)

  • On the ground in New Hampshire, what do you do when you're holding a rally on a spot covered in a foot and a half of snow? The Richardson campaign had to shovel the town square in Keene, and turned out 15 volunteers to help. Mike Caulfield has video of that, and of John Edwards' parents phonebanking.
  • Phil Nugent, back from a holiday/dental problem break, looks at the Republican field, and the continuing infatuation the press have with McCain:

    Man, reporters love John McCain. They pegged him, ludicrously, for a 2008 Republican front-runner years ago, then when he looked to be a non-starter they held back from treating him as a figure of fun, and now they're working overtime trying to make sure he has a soft place to land when his last hurrah peters out. Writing in The New Republic, Jason Zengerle says that McCain's "campaign at this point may be less about winning the presidency than about reclaiming some of the dignity he earned the last time he ran" and insists that the fact that McCain appears to be "enjoying himself" on the stump is "a victory of sorts." I hate to express anything so crude as doubts about Jason Zengele's mind-reading abilities, but somehow I doubt that McCain, who after all is the one who has to pay off his campaign debts when this is all over, regards anything as far short of winning the nomination as reclaiming some of his dignity as a triumph. As for how he feels about getting this kind of moist-eyed, condescending treatment from the jackals of the press, I really can't say. It's like when Heather Mills was on Dancing with the Stars; everyone was rooting for her to just get on and off the stage without her leg flying off and nailing Bruno in the forehead.

  • There were three separate bomb attacks in Iraq today that killed 14 and injured 32.  Sadly, one of the attacks took place during a celebration for Iraqi troops, who were singing and dancing when the bomb exploded.  Two Iraqi soldiers sacrificed themselves by jumping on the suicide bomber as he detonated - taking the brunt of the blast and thereby saving many lives.  While we need to keep the American soldiers in our thoughts and prayers, this should serve as a reminder of all of the Iraqis who are sacrificing as well. (Scout Finch)
  • Workers still suffering the ill effects of 9/11 rescue efforts went to New Hampshire to confront Rudy Giuliani, in conjunction with another Brave New Films video on the subject.

Categories: Politics
10:46

This is not so much about Obama, at least not directly. Like our other candidates, it's hard not to like the guy... there's a compelling narrative and a fresh face, and when he's on he can speechify with the best of them. But I'm not enamored of him.

I like my Democrats a bit more hard-edged, at least at this moment in time. I never got over the stolen election of 2000 and I don't think I ever will. I was hoping for someone, as a candidate, who conveyed that they understood why that matters. It's about understanding that the other side is screwing you (and the Rule of Law, and therefore the country) as a matter of policy. People understood that about Nixon, and they need to understand it about Bush (especially the press) and the current crop of Republicans and conservatives that enable him. Bush is their legacy, just as much as Iraq and Katrina are Bush's.

But I do have an observation about the Obama campaign. I love it. I like the idea of inclusion, of forward looking solutions, and the day when the former Bush administration can be looked back on with the perspective it deserves. And I love, absolutely love, the 2:1 turnout in Iowa, and the 3:2 turnout currently projected for indies from NH voting in the Dem primary over the Republican one.

Win or lose, Obama is running the kind of campaign that will be transformative. What does that mean?  It means finding the Holy Grail of politics: getting new people out to vote, while keeping your base intact. Position papers won't do it. The only way to do that is to feel it in your gut.

We've seen from the polls that independents are tending D this time around. They care more about Dem issues and reflect the same anxieties about the economy and health care, as well as agree that we need to get out of the mistake known as Iraq (surge or no surge). And we know, only too well, in a way the press does not acknowledge, that the (34%) Republican base is far from a majority in this country. In fact, we know from these numbers that conservatism as a philosophy and the Republicans as a party, have failed. This came about because of the failure in the WH known as George W Bush, the most consistently unpopular President in post-WWII polling history. The country doesn't want lock-step politicians that support that guy. The voters are just holding their breath waiting for him to go away, and not a day too soon.

Alas, that alone doesn't win elections.

In order to win, you have to offer a vision of hope, and a sense that the candidate can get us to a better place. The Obama campaign is doing that in a big way. You can feel it when you see the new faces and talk to the new voters. You can get a sense when you hear about the big crowds, though the key there was seen in Iowa (the new folks showed up). There's nothing that excites me more than this:

Iowa Dem caucus:

except maybe this:

I have to go back to Gene McCarthy and RFK in 1968 to remember when political campaigns were movements about things much bigger than themselves. And while Obama hasn't distinguished himself in a way to compare him to RFK (yet), the campaign potential is there to appeal to a larger audience about something much bigger than himself. Here's just one example of others seeing what I'm seeing:

What was striking in Indianola, and across the state, was the pull of Obama's optimistic, inclusive message and the way his well-oiled field operation was able to translate that appeal into caucusgoers. Obama played the role of inspiring healer/transformer to John Edwards's fiery populist and Hillary Clinton's ultra-capable technocrat. Clinton was selling what one unaffiliated Democratic strategist described as the "charisma of competence" -- a la Scoop Jackson in 1976, and with similarly dreary results. If Obama was at times more gauzy than precise about exactly what change he would bring, that didn't seem to matter much to the voters who flocked to him in the end.

Maybe he'll need more specifics and maybe he won't. Maybe he's playing it right (the GOP debaters stumbled when they tried to swing at him). Maybe he needs the right VP to finish the job. We'll see. And speaking of the debate:

Facebook poll post-debate, most presidential:

Obama 46%
Clinton  25%
Edwards 21%
Richardson 8%

Do other campaigns have it in them to do it? Show me the voters showing up, and I will write nice things about their campaigns, too. But in the meantime, the GOP has people who alienate Latinos and minorities, and treat 9/11 as a vehicle for personal gain. We have campaigns that bring out new people to vote. I think I'd rather be on our team than their team. And I think we're about to see that America would, too.

Categories: Politics
09:33

Just when you thought George Bush had exhausted every conceivable trick to thwart the will of Congress, he invents another novelty stunt. In this case Bush re-installed his controversial head of mine safety only three days after the man's recess appointment had lapsed - forcing him to give up the office he'd clung to for more than a year. This episode perfectly encapsulates the President's passion for putting industry insiders in charge of regulatory agencies. What an absurd tale this is.

In September 2005 Bush nominated Richard Stickler, a former executive at Beth Energy, to head up the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The company had had a reasonably lousy safety record under Stickler. His nomination, opposed by the United Mine Workers and AFL-CIO, went nowhere.

In 2006 the Senate decided it couldn't tolerate an industry hack in that job and rejected Stickler's nomination once, and then a second time when Bush re-nominated him. So taking the low road, as you might expect, in October 2006 Bush installed Stickler as head of MSHA by means of a recess appointment.

In November 2006 and again in January 2007 Bush re-nominated Stickler for the permanent position, but to no avail.

The Democratic-controlled Senate has so far refused to approve his nomination. Democratic senators have said Stickler spent too many years as a coal-mining executive and failed to demonstrate that safety is his priority.

If anything, Stickler demonstrated poor judgment and weak leadership in the summer of 2006 during the disastrous Crandall Canyon mine rescue operation.

Mr. Stickler has been faulted for letting Mr. Murray claim center stage in news conferences and act as a go-between with the trapped miners’ families. He also allowed Mr. Murray to take reporters deep into the unstable mine days after the collapse. Most disastrously, he helped oversee a doomed rescue effort, in which two miners and a federal mine safety worker were killed and six people injured in a cave-in on Aug. 16.

Last Monday, December 31st, Stickler's appointment finally expired under the federal law governing the duration of recess appointments. His bio-page at MSHA came down, and he appeared to be out of a job. But the administration remained silent about who was now in charge.

On Thursday of this week MSHA revealed that Stickler had been replaced by an agency staffer, John Pallasch, who took over as acting assistant secretary for mine safety and health.

But it’s not clear how long Pallasch will be running the $340 million agency or if President Bush plans to submit a different nominee to Congress.

Amy Louviere, an MSHA spokeswoman, declined to answer such questions. Louviere referred a reporter to David James, the top spokesman for Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

James did not return repeated phone calls. In an e-mail response, James said that, under the federal Vacancies Act, Pallasch took over immediately upon Stickler's departure. James did not elaborate on what Chao's plans are for MSHA leadership through the rest of Bush's term.

And then on Friday, the very next day, George Bush announced that he "intends to designate" Stickler to take over his old job - but this time as acting assistant secretary for mine safety and health. Although his recess appointment couldn't be renewed, a simple change of job title may allow Stickler to hang on until I suppose the very gates of hell gape open.

(Spokesman David) James also refused to comment on why the administration allowed MSHA’s management to briefly change hands, rather than having Stickler stay in the job continuously.

Initially, the White House said Stickler could now serve as acting MSHA chief for 210 days, or until Aug. 1. Later Friday, (WH spokeswoman Emily) Lawrimore said that because Stickler’s nomination is pending before the Senate the 210-day limit does not apply.

(Sen. Robert) Byrd promised to examine whether Bush’s designation of Stickler is legal.

“This was not what the Senate had in mind when it last revisited the Vacancies Act,” Byrd said. “I will be taking a close look at that measure to ensure this decision is consistent with the spirit and letter of the law.”

The Bush administration position at the moment is that Stickler may serve until Bush leaves office. Senator Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has issued a statement deploring the way the WH "has again gone behind the Senate’s back to install Mr. Stickler". The Gazette-Mail adds this:

Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers union, said Friday’s action shows “the contempt the Bush administration has for the constitutional process and the will of the United States Senate.

If anything, that's putting it too mildly.

Categories: Politics
03:41

How Newsie spent her caucus night & did she win her caucus pools? (as if you care); takin' on Bill O'Reilly; blind item, media info, ratings, and more below the fold and in the comments...

The Lineup

  • MTP: from NH; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Dem strategist Steve McMahon and GOP strategist Mike Murphy on caucus results & NH primary & debates
  • FTN: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
  • This Week: Mitt Romney (R-MA); Mike Huckabee (R-AR); John Edwards (D-NC); roundtable of Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson, Donna Brazile and George Will
  • FNS: Mitt Romney (R-MA); Mike Huckabee (R-AR)
  • Late Edition: Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX); Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM); Mike Huckabee (R-AR); Pakistani Amb. Mahmud Durrani; roundtable of Gloria Borger, John King and Jeffrey Toobin

Categories: Politics
00:42

Over the years, we've seen myriad nicknames for George W. Bush, some neutral or positive (e.g. "W"), the vast majority negative (e.g. "Chimpy"). How many of those nicknames can we collect in this thread?

Categories: Politics

January 5, 2008

23:24

I'll get the declaration of winners out of the way first: the Democratic voters won tonight.  

All four of our candidates were very strong.  They all came across as likable.  They are extremely sharp, incredibly well-informed and thoughtful.  They have visions for how and where they would lead the country, and the role of America in the world.  They want to challenge the American people by appealing to the sense of the common good.  They didn't attack government and demean its potential for positive change.  They showed that they can all inspire Americans to strive for a better future for all of us.  There couldn't be a more stark contrast between our tremendous field and the horrible Republican field than the back-to-back debates that just aired on ABC.  

Our candidates also conducted themselves like responsible adults.  They showed respect to each other, and in doing so showed greater respect for the viewers and the voters.  Unlike the Republicans, who were mean and nasty to each other, the Democrats were almost unfailingly calm, they didn't take nasty tones with each other, they complimented each other, and they didn't interrupt.  There was only one moment of significant crosstalk, when all four were trying to interrupt, but they were trying to interrupt ABC's host Charles Gibson, to reject the premise of one of his questions.  (More on Gibson in a moment.)

They also showed they could be light and funny.  When told of local polls that showed Obama more likeable than Clinton, she joked that "that hurts my feelings...But I'll try to go on."  She was very warm and funny; it was one of the rare flashes of Hillary Clinton's humor that we often hear about but that seldom comes through in public.  Obama not only said he watched football instead of the Republican debate, when Gibson shot back a question, Obama said the Redskins had lost, showing that in fact he did know what happened.  And given a chance to repent for a faux pas in a previous debate, Edwards graciously apologized for one having mocked Clinton's jacket, and he complimented her on looking very nice tonight.  

Most of the attacks, such as they were, came from Hillary Clinton.  Some will claim that means something about her, but what it was really about was her need to knock down Obama.  He has huge momentum from his big win in Iowa, and Clinton needed to pull him down.  She clearly and repeatedly drew a contrast between her "35 years of working" on behalf of various issues vs those candidates lacking that kind of experience.  Obama (and to a lesser extent Edwards) are the symbols of change.  Clinton presented herself as the proven agent of change.  

This conflict—change vs experience—was the main fault line of the debate.  On the change team was Obama and Edwards, with Clinton and Richardson on the experience team.  This contrast led to the the hottest exchanges, with Clinton on the offensive, with claims of her accomplishments, and Richardson's resume covering her flank.  On the other side you had Obama acknowledging the accomplishments of Bill Clinton, but arguing that words and inspiration do matter, and that experience is not enough.  Edwards and his populism covered Obama's flank (and much more effectively than Richardson helped Clinton and her emphasis on experience).  

The key moment tonight was probably when Edwards, responding to Clinton's attack on Obama, declared that Clinton didn't attack anyone when she was leading, and now she's attacking when her campaign isn't doing well.  MissLaura was in the press room, and by email she said that moment didn't elicit the gasps generated by some of the hits delivered on Mitt Romney during the Republican debate, but it still created a buzz, and was the "big story" on ABC's post-script.    

Edwards probably had the best performance of the night.  He came across as passionate, and was more energetic than the other candidates.  With the debate closing on economic issues, he was able to play his populist card to great effect and dominate the closing minutes of the debate.  

Richardson was mostly along for the ride.  He didn't do much to help himself.  I also found his snarky comment about having been in cease fire talks (or something like that) that weren't as nasty as smug, histrionic and a cheap shot.  A guy who only got 2% in Iowa isn't really in a position to take shots at the people fighting for the win.  

Clinton didn't commit any serious substantive gaffes—in fact, though they are obviously fatigued, none of them committed any serious gaffes—she didn't do what she needed to do, which was to force Obama to commit a gaffe.  She didn't really have any option other than to attack Obama.  She wasn't over the top, but in a Democratic primary, those attacks come with costs to the attacker.  And she wasn't able to mitigate those costs with greater gains in the form of hits sustained by Obama.

Obama didn't have a great performance, but neither was it a bad performance.  But it was at least adequate, and that's all he needed.  Right now, he has major momentum.  Clinton's inevitability gambit has failed, and it's unclear whether she has a viable Plan B.  She showed tonight she couldn't effectively knock Obama off his game, especially by relying on the experience vs change motif, and it probably will hurt her a bit to be seen as attacking and being negative.  The fact is, people want change, and there's really nothing she can do to present herself as a greater representative or symbol of change than either Barack Obama or John Edwards.  

The loser in this debate was Charles Gibson.  When he tried to attack Clinton for her tax plan that claimed would raise taxes on a mythical married couple who were college professors each making over $100,000 per year—uh, yeah, right Charlie—the candidates pretty much laughed at him, and the crowd laughed with them; Edwards chuckled at Gibson and observed of the crowd "I don't think they agree with you."  It was a classic moment of the traditional media celebrities demonstrating how out of touch they are with the real lives of Americans, only a small percentage of whom make over $200,000 per year per household, especially if they live outside high cost areas like NYC, Boston, DC or the Bay Area.  

What I found heartening about that exchange, though, is that the four Democrats jumped all over Gibson, rejecting the premise of his question.  They didn't do it as often as they should have, but I sense some progress by some of the Democrats in rejecting the bullshit premises of some of what comes out of the mouths of the Beltway Bloviators.   The only time they were all talking at the same time was to dispute Gibson's premise that they wouldn't be able to effect change in Washington.  And right out of the gate, Gibson tried to get them to admit they were wrong about the surge, that it's great, yada yada yada.  As DemFromCT recently explained, the American voters have made up their mind on the Iraq war, and the drop in American casualties; it hasn't changed their mind that the war is a blunder, there hasn't been political progress, and we need to draw our troops out of Iraq.  Gibson and the rest of the parrots in the press should recognize that as policy, the surge hasn't facilitated the political reconciliation it was touted to deliver, and it hasn't changed the opinions of the American public.

Tonight, within the Democratic debate, the outcome was status quo.  Clinton and Edwards needed Obama to falter or get knocked down a peg or two, and it doesn't appear to have happened.  Clinton played the only move she has left, to be aggressive in going after Obama, because it's clear now that Edwards won't be the hatchet man to the Senator from Illinois, at least not as long as Clinton is still in the field.  

In the contrast between, the two debates, it was anything but status quo.  The Republicans presented a bunch of bickering, mean-spirited and short-sighted candidates, only one of whom faced hard realities (but offered isolationism and a return to the gold standard as the panaceas), and only one of whom came across as warm and optimistic (and he distrusts science and thinks God talks directly to him, which we've already seen in the last 8 years doesn't turn out that well).  We have candidates who, while not perfect, understand the challenges facing the country and the world, and have visions for meeting those challenges and embracing the possibilities of the future.  

Tonight the Republican party lost.  The winners were the Democratic party and the voters of America.  

Categories: Politics
23:17

(Tonight's selections are brought to you courtesy of the Rescue Rangers. SusanG)

This evening's Rescue Rangers are Patriot Daily, nyc in exile, watercarrier4diogenes, vcmvo2, Avila (mentoring dadanation), srkp23 (mentoring kath25) and joyful, with Got a Grip in the editor's chair.

On January 5, 1949, President Harry S. Truman used his State of the Union Speech to introduce what he called the "Fair Deal."  Building upon the success of  President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," President Truman recommended a potpourri of programs that included national health insurance, raising the minimum wage, strengthening organized labor and guaranteeing civil rights for every American.  We've come a long way, baby.  Or have we?

sardonyx   has Top Comments: Dems Debating Now Edition.

Categories: Politics
22:45

One last open thread for discussion.  Do with it what you will.

Categories: Politics
22:24

Will 8 be enough?  We're still going strong and finally starting to address the environment.

What is the deal with ABC cutting back to each candidate's spouse/child whenever they are speaking?  Show the candidate - I care not to see the family member nodding (off) in agreement.

[Update: Richardson admits that his comment about White being the most admired Justice was a mistake.

Edwards admits he should never have talked about Hillary's jacket in a previous debate.

Obama ends on the high road.

Great job Democrats.  Bravo to you all.  We are going to be in good hands come January 2009 no matter which of them will be placing their hand on that bible to take the oath.

Categories: Politics
22:13

Still going strong.  I have to say that everyone is still looking good.  No losers tonight.  The Democratic party as a whole is definitely winning.

[Update:  Edwards has a strong moment talking about taking down special interest.  Richardson talking about a bipartisan government - building a "coalition."

Categories: Politics
22:01

Now we turn to Scott Spradling from WMUR for more debate fun in the 2nd half.  Spradling jumps out of the gate by asking Hillary about the Obama/Edwards double team and her experience platform vs change.

Take it away....

[Update: Obama - they're going to call any Democrat too left. -- MB]

[Update II:  Hillary actually responded well to the "change" charge by saying that electing a woman president would be a change.  Give credit where credit is due - that was a pretty good answer.]

Categories: Politics
21:49

Are we seeing the emergence of a possible Obama/Edwards ticket?  Or a Clinton/Richardson ticket?  Sure seemed like they began to pair off in the 2nd half of this debate.  Edwards and Obama definitely looked like they were on the same mission tonight - knock off Hillary.

[Update: Richardson as governor is sick of flying the flag at half-staff when dead Americans come back from Iraq. -- MB]

[Update II: As per LithiumCola, the candidates should do a better job of challenging the premises of the questions. -- MB]

To clarify, the poll represents the first half of the debate.  More to come!

Categories: Politics
21:36

Things are heating up now as Edwards and Obama seem to be tag-teaming Hillary.  

Update:  Richardson defending experience and suddenly defending Hillary's "experience" theme.  Seems like some serious angling for VP on a Hillary ticket.

Update II: Can't have change at home until you end the war in Iraq. -- MB]

Categories: Politics
21:27

Charles Gibson moves on to Social Security.  What is up with ABC throwing in these "newsy" type pieces?

Now Charlie is trying to provoke a scrum between Hillary and Obama.  Hillary seems happy to oblige.  Here we go......

[Update: Speaking powerfully for change makes the "forces of the status quo" attack. --MB]

Categories: Politics
21:15

They all look good so far.  No in-fighting........yet.

[Update: Be strong but calm after an attack with a nuclear weapon. And rebuild the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. -- MB]

Categories: Politics
21:03

Cue the theme music from Rocky as the real contenders take the stage.

Update: New thread, guys.

Categories: Politics
21:01

[Bumped by MB.]

Other than Ron Paul, all of them embraced Bush's war in Iraq.  None of their viable candidates have the guts to say that Bush and his war are a disaster.  

Rudy said ALL Terrorist from the Middle East are and have always been "Muslim terrorists."  He characterized the PLO terrorism at the Munich Olympics as "Muslim terrorism."  Rudy doesn't know his history, there wasn't really much international terrorism by radical Muslim groups until the 1980's.  The Munich Olympics attack was committed by Black September, which was NOT a Muslim group, but a secular, Palestinian nationalist/separatist group.  These are the ignorami who want us to believe that they can keep us safe.  

They railed on about how a specter is haunting America, the specter of—cue Theremin and horror film music--Socialized Medicine.  

It started out as essentially Ron Paul v everyone else, and Huckabee was apparently asleep.   The "establishment" candidates were openly disdainful of Paul, which should make for humiliation if he again finishes ahead of some of them, as he did in Iowa where he finished ahead of Giuliani and almost beat McCain.  

The candidates' attempts at "humor" were mostly poorly-delivered, mean-spirited and even bitter.  McCain has gotten to the point where Bob Dole seems positively sunny.  Other than Huckabee, they all came across as less than likable.  In particular, Grampa Fred was snide, and McCain conveyed real nastiness.  McCain also came across as old old old, even when he invoked Romney's "fortune" which Romney was using, according to McCain, to pay for attack ads.    

When asked by New Hampshire report Scott Spradling what they thought about the possibility of having to abandon their campaigns against Hillary Clinton and maybe instead have to face Barack Obama, most of them stammered or used tired clichés about him being too liberal or too inexperienced.  But Huckabee actually spoke well of Obama, and stated the truth that Obama is giving people something to be for and that the Republican party needs to be for something and not only against things.  The problem for Huckabee, and the Republican party, is that Huckabee cited differences like "the sanctity of life" and same-sex marriage, which when combined with his views on science and religion shows that what he has to offer is an affirmative vote for the Middle Ages.  

Charles Gibson asked if it wasn't a bit dishonest to not address the problem of oil demand, and asked if anyone would address the issue.  There was silence for about two seconds until Paul filled the gap.  Of course, Paul's answer to everything came back to the gold standard, but the rest of them refused to jump in to the fray.  McCain followed, but one has to wonder how much it helped him with the flat-earth segment of the GOP base when he talked about global warming.  

When asked about the high profits of the oil companies, Grampa Fred essentially said "eh, why should I care about the oil companies making high profits."  

Huckabee appealed to optimism and a sense of national challenge and resolve in addressing the energy problem.  

There was a lot of fighting about immigration, with McCain and Giuliani taking some body blows for their comparatively "liberal" positions on immigration.  

Romney was attacked from all angles, but I don’t know that it helped McCain much, because his position on immigration is untenable to most Republicans.  Even though he was probably craving his bedtime mug of warm buttermilk, Grampa Fred was alert and generally effective, but he's pulled out of NH.  Huckabee doesn't have a natural base in NH, one of the only places in America where the GOP isn't really authoritarian-loving, but consistently anti-government libertarian.  

So, in the end, the two people who came off the best were the guy with the sunny disposition whose positions embody the worst of the GOP's holy-roller base, which is off-putting to large swaths of America, and the guy who doesn't have the energy or tenacity to fight for the nomination.  The slick guy from the adjoining state was attacked repeatedly, and as MissLaura observed, the punches landed.  The rising hope for the GOP establishment was tired, mean-spirited and was again forced to defend his immigration position, which is loathed by almost the entire GOP electoral base.  And Giuliani's smarmy egotism got another airing, in a state that he too has conceded.

Who won the Republican debate?  

The Democrats.  

Categories: Politics
20:51

Taking this debate as a whole, a few things struck me hard. First, there's the massive irony that the wireless in the press filing center at the Facebook-sponsored debate sucks elephant balls. But beyond that, do you think McCain and Huckabee got together and agreed to go after Romney (on his weaselly position-changing in particular)? Because they were brutal, and it obviously got to Romney, who a couple times asked them to stop attacking him personally. This has got to have been a painful evening for Romney, because every barb landed.

Those landings were audibly observed in the press filing center. This is the third debate I've attended as press, and the first, second, and third biggest responses from the assembled reporters at those three debates combined have all been to these shots at Mitt. Big whoa's and ooohs. The hundreds of people  in this room (pictured) seem to have been waiting for that kind of moment.

Categories: Politics
20:29

Somebody woke up Fred Thompson to talk about illegal immigrants.  He apparently wants to send every single one packing. Hopefully he will kick back in his Gucci mocassin slippers and go back to sleep soon.

Huckabee has started quoting Lincoln.  I'd like to tell you what his position was on immigration, but I'm not quite sure what it was, except that he seems to want illegal immigrants to just pack up, go back to their country from which they originate, then try to come back.

Ron Paul is still drawing the crazy eye from McCain.

Update:  Romney just switched gears to Obama's message.  Change, change, change, change.

Update II: Oooooooo. The Chinese are making deals with dictators to get at some oil. --MB

Final Update:  Charlie Gibson asked for the Democratic candidates to come out on stage and a rather strange bipartisan candidate love-in ensued.

Categories: Politics