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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liveblogging the Democratic Presidential Debate 


It is just after 7 pm, and you can watch the Democratic presidential candidates debate on MSNBC now. I'll be liveblogging in numbered posts here. Quotations are approximate.

[Completed. My real-time notes and commentary follow. From my perspective, the moment of the evening came at the end of Section 9 below, in which Edwards and Obama totally dodged an emotional question asking about their response to a hypothetical terrorist attack by al Qaeda on two American cities. Hillary stepped up and clearly answered. Edwards and Obama reinforced the image of Democratic weakness, and Hillary crushed it.]

1. The first question goes to Hillary regarding Harry Reid's statement that the Iraq war "is lost." Does she agree? She strongly endorses the result of the bill just passed in the Congress, emphasizes the support for the troops, but dodges the question.

Same question to Joe Biden. He also dodges the question, drives the answer toward the Peter Galbraith "regionalization" strategy.

To Barack Obama, "you have called this war in Iraq 'dumb,' how do you square this with the sacrifices of our troops and votes for funding resolutions since"?

2. He's proud that he "put forward a plan in January" that mirrors what this Congress ultimately adopted.

Senator Edwards, you made "a high profile apology for your vote" for the war. Was that a direct shot at Senator Clinton?

Edwards: No, I think it is a challenge to anybody who supported this war.

Hillary: "I take responsibility for my vote, and I have said many times that if I had known then what I know now I would not have voted that way. But we need to know what we will do now." Attacks Bush for his "stubborn" refusal to change.

To Kucinich: "Is it possible to be against the war and still vote to fund it?"

Kucinich: "No. You can't tell the American people you are against the war and then vote to fund the war. The Democrats have the power to end the war right now and that's what we should do." Furthermore, "I don't think it is sufficient to say that if I had the information at the time I would have voted differently. They had the information at the time."

3. Bill Richardson: "This war is a disaster. We must end this war. I would withdraw all our troops by the end of the war year, coupled with intensive diplomacy. I would convene a security conference, and invite Iran and Syria. They are going to be tough, and I would be tough with them. And three, I would have a donor conference."

Christopher Dodd: "This is a failed policy. Our troops have been heroic, but the policy is a failure. The Iraqi people have to assume the responsibility for their own future. We also need to engage in the robust diplomacy that we have not been engaged in."

Senator Mike Gravel: "This war was lost the day George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis. I'm embarrassed about this Congress."

Gravel is a loon, by the way. He makes Kucinich look sober as a judge.

To Obama, from the wife of a soldier: "What would you regard as a 'mission complete' status in Iraq?"

Obama: Thanks her for her sacrifice, goes on at length about the abuse of military families. "We are one signature away, or sixteen votes away, from ending this war."

Me: Do any of these people genuinely believe that the war will end with an American withdrawal? Or are they really saying that they will end our operations in Iraq, which is an entirely different matter?

4. Elephants in the room -- questions about the embarrassing stuff that has dogged their candidacy.

Brian Williams (who is doing a pretty good job, by the way) asks Obama about a hinky campaign contribution.

To Edwards: You have spoken with great eloquence about the two Americas and the problems with poverty, but why did you pay for your haircuts out of campaign funds?

Edwards: If the question is, do I live a privilaged and blessed lifestyle now, the answer is yes. Many of us do. The question is, where do I come from. Tells a story about leaving a restaurant because his father couldn't afford the prices on the menu.

To Edwards: You have advised hedge funds. Do hedge funds make America any better?

Me: Silly question. Of course they do!

To Clinton: How is America a better place because all these hedge funds?

Clinton: We are a great country because we have this capacity to create wealth, and also because we know how to regulate it. We have to get back to a Democratic president who will "set the rules," and so that we can begin to repair the damage that has been done by this president.

Me: The only damage that has been done by this president in that regard has been submitting to the absurd overregulation of Sarbanes-Oxley. But you know that.

5. Williams asks Richardson a question about having admitted that he appointed somebody because he was Hispanic. Richardson gets in the line of the night so far: "The American people want candor, not some blow-dried candidate that is going to tell them what he thinks they want to hear."

To Kucinich: You were anti-war before that was popular in the polls. Why don't you have more traction politically?

Kucinich: This debate tonight is going to change that. Not only do I oppose this war, I oppose using war as an instrument of American policy.

To Biden: "Words have gotten you in trouble in the past -- gaff machine. Can you reassure voters that you will have the discipline to control yourself on the world stage?"

Biden: "Yes." Me: That's it! Excellent answer.

Another Gravel rant. Me: Guy's a loon, but he is the most entertaining guy up there.

To Clinton: Recent polls indicate a majority of the American public has an unfavorable view of you. Why do you think Republicans are looking forward to running against you?

Clinton: I take it as a perverse form of flattery. If they weren't worried, they wouldn't be so vitriolic in their criticism of me. America is ready for a change after the corruption and cronyism of the Bush years.

6. Domestic questions.

To Edwards: Regarding the Supreme Court's decision to sustain the law against partial birth abortion, is this a place where the opinions of the public are at odds with most elected officials?

Edwards: No it is not. This is an example of what is at stake in this election. The people appointed by the next president will control whether a woman's freedom to make her own reproductive choices will be limited by the government.

To Obama: What about your view on the partial-birth decision?

Obama: I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult decision for the women who make them. I trust women to make them. The broader issue is do women have the right to make these decisions and I trust them to do it.

To Biden: Would you have a litmus test question to support your nominees for the Supreme Court?

Biden: I would not have a litmus test question, but I would want my nominees to reflect my values. Runs a victory lap for having opposed Bork, Thomas, Alito and Roberts. This decision was intellectually dishonest. The rationale offered will justify the next step.

Same question to Kucinich: "Any of my appointments to the high court would necessarily reflect my thinking."

To Dodd: "You were the only Senator on this stage to confirm Chief Justice Roberts. Do you regret your vote?"

Dodd: No, but he disappointed me today.

Same question to all of them:

"Your model (living) Supreme Court Justice:"

Richardson: Justice Ginsberg.

Dodd: Justice Ginsberg.

Edwards: Ginsberg or Breyer.

A shame they couldn't get answers from the rest of them.

To Clinton: "Did the government fail those students at Virginia Tech?"

Clinton: "Yes." Recalls visiting Columbine, and says that we need to limit access to guns by people who should not have them. We now know that the background check system did not work. She looks tough and stern, on this one.

To Richardson: You are the NRA's favorite candidate in either party. Did anything that happened at Virginia Tech cause you to rethink anything about your position regarding guns.

Richardson: You're right, I'm a Westerner. The Second Amendment is important to us. This is an issue that goes to two issues. Mental illness. There should be "mental health parity" in this country.

Show of hands question: How many of you in your adult lifetime have had a gun in the house? By show of hands: Richardson, Dodd, Biden, Kucinich, Gravel.

To Biden: What could the federal government have done to save those kids at Virginia Tech?

Biden: Runs a victory lap on having "worked with law enforcement." "We should not have let the assault weapons ban lapse, and we should close the so-called gun show loophole. And I agree that we have let the country down in the way that we have not focused on mental illness."

7.

To Edwards: You have said you would raise taxes to pay for a healthcare plan. Which ones?

Edwards: I would get rid of George W. Bush's tax cuts for people who make more than $200,000 per year. Then gives a big speech about how great his plan is. "Rhetoric is not enough. High faluttin' language is not enough." Then proceeds not to answer the question.

Me: Getting rid of those tax cuts for those people will do nothing.

To Obama: Same question, same basic answer. Focuses on the terms of his plan, rather than explaining how he will pay for it. Talks about controlling costs, catastrophic coverage, and so forth, but nothing about the taxes.

Clinton to the same question: All of the ideas are very important. I do have the experience of putting forth a plan, but explains the political failure on insurance and pharmaceutical companies. "We have to control and decrease costs for everyone. This is not just about the uninsured. We can save money within the existing system. I am not ready to put new money in a system that does not work until we have cut costs in the one we have."

Me: Clinton was the only one of the three to answer the question. Edwards basically dodged, and Obama totally dodged.

8. Richardson on healthcare: Have to save billions of dollars in efficiency, eliminate HMOs, focus on prevention. Opposes new taxes.

Audience question to Biden: Question on the NAACP's ban on South Carolina because of the Confederate Flag. Do you support that ban, and if so, why are you here?

Biden and Obama both handled well. Obama says the Stars and Bars should go into a museum.

What mistakes have you made?

Hillary: Her two big mistakes were in the promotion of her health care plan and "believing the president" when he said Iraq had WMD.

Me: She can't think of any others? That was a very lame answer. Very. Her weakest moment tonight.

Biden: "Overestimating the competence of this administration and unestimating the arrogance. I really thought I could have an impact on George Bush's thinking."

Edwards: "I was wrong to vote for this war."

Dodd: "I also agree the war in Iraq was a big mistake."

Richardson: "I'm too impatient. I'm too aggressive."

Me: I think my biggest mistake was watching this debate and thinking it would be a good thing to blog live.

To Clinton: Would you offer amnesty to illegal aliens in defiance of the American people?

Clinton: Dodges the question, but says that she wants to "get 12 million illegal aliens out of the shadows."

To Biden: How are you going to reverse the trend toward fewer students studying science and engineering?

Biden: Pay teachers more!

To Dodd: If you have to pass a drug test to earn a pay check, shouldn't a welfare recipient have to pass a test to get their check?

Dodd: Shouldn't deprive them of their relief because "they have an illness."

To Edwards: Why are gas prices still rising?

Edwards: Goes on about carbon sequestration, green stuff. Not responsive.

9. One sentence: "While sitting in the Oval Office, name the first thing you want to accomplish?"

Richardson: The first day, I would get us out of Iraq with diplomacy. The second day I would make us energy independent.

No time for any of the others to answer.

Questions re non-Iraq foreign policy:

To Obama: What are America's most important foreign policy concerns?

Obama: The European Union, NATO alliance very important. Afghanistan. Have to concentrate on bin Laden. We also have to look east. China is rising, neither an enemy nor a friend. They are competitors.

Follow-up: Do you stand by the remark, "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people."

Obama: That quotation was incomplete -- "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian government."

Me: Nice recovery. True?

To Biden: What are the three biggest threats?

Biden: North Korea, Iran, and Russia. Long rant about how we have lost respect all over the world.

Gravel: "We have no important enemies. We have to deal with the world as equals." Long rant about the military industrial complex.

To Edwards: Do you regard Russia as a friend or a foe?

Edwards: It has moved from being a democracy under Yeltsen to a complete autocracy under Putin. How does America change the underlying dynamic of the world? I've led an effort to make primary school education to 100 million children who don't have it. Lots of stuff about helping poor people.

The TigerHawk Wife: "Isn't that what the Peace Corps does. Edwards sounds like he's the first guy who thought of it."

Richardson: "Being stubborn isn't a foreign policy. Power without diplomacy is blind." Runs a huge victory lap over his foreign policy experience.

To Clinton: Quotes Giuliani -- "the Democrats do not understand" the threat against us. How did it happen that Republicans took on the image of the security party?

Clinton: I think there is a big disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality. The usual litany of complaints about security, some of which are true. "This administration has tried to hype the fear without delivering on the promise." Also, foreign policy has made the world less stable.

Same question to Dodd: How is it that the Democrats are tagged with being weak on defense?

Dodd: It's a myth.

Show of hands question: Do you believe there is such a thing as a "global war on terror?"

Richardson, Dodd, Obama, and Clinton hold their hands up yes. Edwards, Biden, Kucinich and Gravel say "no."

To Kucinich: Why is your hand not up?

Kucinich: "The global war on terror has been a pretext for aggressive war." We need a president "who understand this is a complex world, but doesn't see the world in terms of enemies."

The TigerHawk Wife: "[Kucinich] has a sort of ferrety look."

To Obama: "If we learned that two American cities were hit by terrorists and we further learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that it had been the world of al Qaeda, how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas as a result?"

Obama: Talks about our domestic emergency response. Then says we need good intelligence, even though the question presumed that we knew. Says we should not "alienate the international community." We need to talk.

Me: Obama totally avoided the question, refusing to say a single thing about our military stance.

Edwards (same question): I would make certain we knew who was responsible, and then I would act swiftly and strongly. Then I would want to know how this happened without us knowing in advance.

Me: These are very cerebral, "talking points" answers. I think Williams was looking for a passionate response, and that these guys blew it.

Same question to Clinton: "Having been a senator on 9/11, I understand the horror of that sort of attack. I think a president must move as swiftly as prudent to retaliate." Lots of emphasis on reliation. "That doesn't mean we should go looking for other fights. Let's focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them."

Me: Hillary crushed Edwards and Obama on this question. They looked like were deer-in-the-headlights, and bleated on irrelevantly. Clinton rolled through them, focusing on the need for retaliation. On that answer, she would have my vote (if somebody put a gun to my head and made me vote for a Democrat).

10. Asks Dodd about whether there is a difference between civil unions and gay marriage.

Dodd: "I have two very young daughters who one day may have a different sexual orientation than their parents, how would I want them treated?" They ought to be able to have their loving relationships sanctioned. I believe that civil unions are appropriate, but not marriage. Does not really explain the difference.

To Biden: What should we do about climate change?

Biden: We need a "Manhattan Project" for the climate. Goes wild with all the regulatory proposals and investments he would make.

To Richardson: How do you feel about normalizing relations with Castro's Cuba.

Richardson: Answers the question about attacks on American cities with a call for a decisive surgical military strike. Then says that we have to plan for a post-Castro policy. That means reevaluating the embargo, and finding ways to ensure that Cuba becomes democratic with free elections.

To Gravel: "With the French system as a model, is the United States woefully behind on nuclear power."

Gravel: Answers the question about the war -- "we are mischaracterizing the war -- terrorism has been with us forever."

To Obama: "What in your personal life have you done to make the environment better?"

Obama: Plant trees. "We've been working to install light bulbs." Then talks about foreign policy.

Kucinich accuses Obama of "setting the stage for another war" with his statement that "all options are on the table with Iran."

Obama: "Iran is developing nuclear weapons. I don't think that is disputed by any expert. They are the largest state sponsor of terrorism."

To Edwards: "Who do you consider to be your moral leader?"

Edwards: [After a long and uncomfortable silence.] "I don't think I could identify one person that I could consider to be my moral leader. My Lord is important to me." Says he prays every day. Says his wife is a source of great conscience. His father taught him important stuff.

To Clinton: Overall, is Wal-Mart a good thing or a bad thing for the United States of America?

Clinton: "It is a mixed blessing." Gave people an opportunity to stretch their dollar. As they've grown bigger, they have ignored their obligations and their impact. Long rant about this administration and "the corporate elite" ignoring the middle class.

Biden closed strong with an endorsement of "necessary and justified use of force."

Done.


23 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 07:24:00 PM:

Question for Hillary... while your husband was getting his ham glazed by that skank, is it possible that the document Sandy ultimately destroyed contained the evidence that would've lead to your husband waging war on Al Qaeda and Islamist terrorists, and passing the data onto the incoming administration?

Would your husband had time to brief Bush if not for being busy stealing the "gifts" and removing the W's from keyboards?

Ignorning your non-answer answer. How do you square your husband's legacy with the American People after he ignored the first attack on the WTC for eight years?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 07:45:00 PM:

Yes, I am sure it is easy for someone that pays to have someone else watch their kids talk about over regulation and the duty of the military, but get a clue.

I wish someone had the balls to say, yes, the people who have died in Iraq were wasted. I will get our troops out of that stupid war as fast as possible and I will do my best to bring charges against GWB and party. Obama could say that, because he has always been against it.

Just because a stupid commander in chief did something stupid doesn't make a soldier dying honorable. His service is honorable, his death is honorable, the war is just plain, flat out stupid. Calling a spade a spade isn't wrong, unless you are Don Imus.

As for the over regulation, do you even realize that hedge funds basically face no regulation and oversight? Do you understand what hedge funds were designed for and that now they are just another way to control the market? Didn't you see what Cramer said about what he used to do to control the market?

I am happy with the regulations we have, I don't want more, I just wish more crooks would actually be punished. You think its punishment when an asshole makes $500 million and then has to pay a $22 million fine? Hell, I would do that. Thats not punishment.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 08:13:00 PM:

Hillary talking about government regulation and how we'd be better off with a democrat president is nauseating.

We had virtually no SEC, IRS, or corporate integrity under Bill. That's the legacy of the internet bubble. As TH points out, we got the violent pendulum swing of Sarbanes, which rewarded the remaining audit firms with fat fees for doing the compliance and oversight (after looking the other way on rampant fraud).

As for the war. There's a war. We have a billion or more people who want us dead and are willing to act on it. It's real. It's not going away anytime soon, and it's necessary to protect our way of life. We did cock smoking and appeasement under Bill, and we wound up with 9/11.

Edwards is a complete bozo ... f'g tool. Privilege. How about "John ... how could the American people trust a guy who pisses away $400 on a bad haircut with managing the United States government?"  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 08:19:00 PM:

I assume the statement from Richardson: "...I would withdraw all our troops by the end of the war..." is a mistype, but given this bunch it's just silly enough that I can't be sure. (If that's wht he really said, well DUH!!)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 09:00:00 PM:

Tigerhawk ... I read the whole post.

These are the best hopefuls for the Democratic nomination? If a Dem wins, it's one of these morons?! Frightening.

Obama. The guys got nothing beyond being half-bro.

Edwards and Kuccinich battle it out for being the lightest weight, even beyond Obama.

Hillary should just stake out her claim as voting for the war. Even though I don't like her, it's a better position than being too friggin' weak to kick butt when there's clear evidence whose butt needs the asswhippin'  

By Blogger RandomThoughts, at Thu Apr 26, 09:11:00 PM:

"is a mistype, but given this bunch it's just silly enough that I can't be sure. (If that's wht he really said, well DUH!!)"

Why would this be strange? I have heard Walt Frazier say "the team the scores the most will win" during a Knicks game.  

By Blogger K. Pablo, at Thu Apr 26, 09:40:00 PM:

Obama trying to mirror the Sister Souljah by biotch-slapping Dennis Kucinich towards the end, there?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Apr 26, 09:46:00 PM:

What an incredibly depressing read. This is the best that one of our major parties has to offer?

Is that all there is?

-David  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Apr 26, 09:54:00 PM:

This reads like good news for the Republicans.

Assuming that they don't put forth a far-right tool, themselves, that is.  

By Anonymous GreenmanTim, at Thu Apr 26, 10:29:00 PM:

As to whether the Obama quote about Palestinian suffering was misrepresented, here is the DesMoines Register from March 12th:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007703120330

"Obama told the Muscatine-area party activists that he supports relaxing restrictions on aid to the Palestinian people. He said they have suffered the most as a result of stalled peace efforts with Israel.

'Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people,' Obama said while on the final leg of his weekend trip to eastern Iowa.

'If we could get some movement among Palestinian leadership, what I'd like to see is a loosening up of some of the restrictions on providing aid directly to the Palestinian people,' he added.

Obama was responding to a question by Sue Dravis, one of about 40 party leaders who met with him privately before a forum at West Middle School.'

Although hyperbolic, as reported this was not a slam against Israel.  

By Blogger M. Simon, at Thu Apr 26, 11:33:00 PM:

Have you seen this?

Haditha Bombshell - Intel Evidence  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 27, 12:45:00 AM:

What a load of BS.

What's remarkable is how the Dem Party has totally mutated into the Party of rich urban yuppies and gazillion ultra-left special interest groups. The average guy will get screwed by them like Monica did by Bill.

It sure as hell shows.

Joe Average loses with Illegals all over the place. He's an outsider in his own country, with another language and ethnic group replacing him. His wages go down, his taxes up (to support foreign nationals who loathe him), and crowding and crime result.

Illegal Immigration could well be the dynamite to destroy Dems with average people if Reps choose a guy like Fred or McCain or Rudy get religion.

As for the rest: not serious. Not one of em would nuke em till they glowed if we lost a couple of cities. They'd basically just surrender. What a load of BS. We really do have a billion or so who hate us, want us dead, and aren't going away. Sure, let's turn Iraq over to bin Laden and Iran.

I'm sure that will work out well.

Obama: anti-white Black Nationalist, angry anti-American, pro-Muslim, corrupt, and empty suit.

Edwards: corrupt empty suit with far left ideology. Fidel Castro meets Huey Long. How long has Castro been President-for-Life? Who's inheriting his throne?

Clinton: harsh and stupid, the only one with a tenth of a brain and even nodding acquaintance with reality.

Kucinich: Space Alien.

Gravel: a more insane Kucinich.

Dodd: a boring Kucinich.

Biden: a boring Dodd.

Geebus this is a pathetic field. Not one with brains or even a clue.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Apr 27, 01:51:00 AM:

I wish all you Anonymice would put names on your comments. The names Mickey and Jerry are available.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 27, 04:41:00 AM:

Mice ... Mickey, Jerry, how clever.

lol

I can't speak for other anonymous posters, but I don't have a blog, so I just use the Anon to comment.

What an awful first pass for the Left. Fortunately Americans ahve no memory, so a few months from now no one will remember (assuming they watched). Dems desperately need a solid candidate. We'll see how John, Fred, Rudy and Mitt do.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Apr 27, 09:21:00 AM:

You can type a name at the bottom, Anonymous (4:41 a.m.) For one thing, more people will read your remarks. Some people here ignore anonymous commenters.

Without names, people have to spend time trying to figure out who is saying what. The writer should do the work, not the reader. It's a simple matter of courtesy.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Apr 27, 09:43:00 AM:

P.S.

Re: The Democrats

They probably will win the next Presidential election and keep control of Congress, too. That's one reason I plan to spend the next 10 years in Asia, my brother moved to Prague, and my best friend moved to Australia. (Most of our ancestors who migrated to the New World arrived in the 1630s.)  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Apr 27, 10:03:00 AM:

"They probably will win the next Presidential election and keep control of Congress, too."

I'd leave the service, that's for sure.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paridise, at Fri Apr 27, 10:57:00 AM:

A dmecratic debate BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLHA,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH.AND EVEN MORE BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH,BLAH  

By Anonymous John, at Fri Apr 27, 11:07:00 AM:

DEC -

I'm that last anon ... John.

I certainly hope you're wrong about a democrat for President in '08, or their continued control of Congress. However, there clearly is a lot of frustration with the ongoing war.

This entire posse of Democratic hopefuls is profoundly disappointing, even for me as a Republican. I like competition, and I'm just not seeing it. I also don't see us electing a Black or Female President, at least in the next election. What's that leave if you're right? FWIW, I think Obama is a null set.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri Apr 27, 11:33:00 AM:

Thank you for adding a name, John. Hopefully others will do the same.

Best regards,  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Apr 27, 11:36:00 AM:

John,

I believe you are channeling your own beliefs and projecting them on +130 million voters. We all fall into that trap, though.

Who really can tell what +60 million (about what GWB polled to win the last election) people will decide? Nobody really knows how the choices (votes) will break in 18 months.

It's just that the blogging of the debate by TH reveals a mostly superficial analysis of any of the main issues of the day by the 'candidates'; the main point of the 'debate' was to "get straight" with the Democrat activist base in trashing GWB. Who could do it best, most thoroughly, most cleverly.

And unfortunately, unlike the esteemed DEC, most of us are going to be stuck here with the outcome.

-David  

By Anonymous John, at Fri Apr 27, 01:57:00 PM:

David:

Perhaps so, and even though I know people vote all sorts of factors (hairdo, race, accent, fabricated rags to riches story, etc.), I want to believe that most people watch these little road shows and realize that not one of these morons answers a question. OK... seldom answers. Hillary on the dual city attack (soft ball IMO since they didn't ask about one city, ala WTC-93) and Biden with his simple "yes".

The public is tired of the war, and they're going to be chernobyl once the housing bubble busts the rest of the way. Gas is a big deal.

Still, there are issues that cut across all of us that will likely play a bigger role. I'm not talking about "free" health care, or drag queens in wedding dresses. Illegal immigration is going to hit the fan if the economy tanks.

There's a Republican Base also, and the winner next round is going to be the person who can pick up the swing/middle voters. I don't think that's defined via the anti-war vote.

Like I said ... Black dude? nay. Hillary? I don't believe it. Kucinich, Biden, Edwards? nix.

Could get interesting. I think it's going to be Rudy (maybe McCain) vs. Hillary vs. Obama (if both stay strong raising cash, neither is going to stand down without trying the independent route, which I think will be Obama).  

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