Sunday, February 24, 2008

Live blogging the Texas Debate...

Originally posted elsewhere, Feb 21, 08


Okay, so I've got the CNN up on the computer. I've got the peppermint mocha ready for consumption.I am ready to fill up the screen with a hundred typos and dangling participles...

The word is the Hillary is going to go hard and ugly on Obama. The sense is that this could backfire, that she should leave this to McCain, who seems more than willing to blast away at him, and to primarily focus on being likable, on being competent, and on fleshing out her policy issues.

Obama really just needs to hang in there. He needs to look presidential and not look like an idiot. This is his to lose. This is not the time for him to try and focus on policy and to try to look like a hard core policy wonk, Hillary will crush him if he tries this.

Instead, he needs to look pretty, have a couple sharp comebacks ready to fire of if needed, and just look confident.

This one should be a beauty contest, and if it is, it will be boring. They both need boring here. If it is interesting, someone is in trouble. Probably both of them dragging each other down.

My two-cents.

5:07-
Hil. Talking. Talking. Sometimes when she talks, I feel like I am one if the kids in a Peanuts cartoon listening to a grown-up…

At least she did not talk about the three months she lived in Austin. Yesterday she said that, it sounded weak, desperate and awful. She did point out the work she was doing here at the time, which is much better.

5:11-
Obama throws out the real life stories, showing that he is in touch with the common folks problems. I hate this tactic. Bill Clinton was the master at this. Everyone since looks like they are trying to be Bill Clinton.

5:12-
Obama - "Washington is a place where good ideas go to die" because of the lobbyists. Take that McCain.

5:14-
Clinton will "stand ready to work with" with the new president of Cuba, if they refocus on democracy... Kind of dodged the sit down with the new president question. Well, on challenge, she said no, not right away.

Obama would meet "without preconditions," but there must be "preparation," including the release of political prisoners. So, is this really... Well, Hillary is "No, until..." Obama is "Yes, but..." They are really pretty much trying to tow a similar line but trying to sound a little different as they outline it.

Hillary agrees absolutely with negotiations with anyone, but she is pointing out that she differs with Obama on when presidential level meetings should happen, especially with nations we do not currently have diplomatic relations with.

She actually is clarifying Obama's words for him. Nice touch, Hil. And throwing in some nice bashing of Bush foreign policy too. I've got the "real-time reaction" graph running and she was up in the 80s for this, the highest so far of the evening.

5:23-
Let's talk about the "recession..."

Obama- the economy is in trouble. People know this, he says. Restore fairness and balance to the economy, stop the tax breaks for companies outsourcing American jobs, and killing the Bush tax cuts. Killing the Bush tax cuts got him up into the 80s for the first time tonight.

Notice how to get the positive reaction? Don't talk about yourself. Bash Bush.

He's talking about economic hope, staying in the 70s.

Clinton- Agrees alot with what Obama just said. Get the tax code adjusted to be fair for middle class. Bash Bush. 80s, briefly.

We need to enforce trade agreements. Enfoce safety standards. Foreclosures: crack down on abusive practices of lenders. Throwing statistics and real life stories around fast and furious. 90 day moratorium on foreclosures. Five year freeze on interest rates. 70s. Clean green jobs. Invest in infrastructure. rebuild america and put people to work. End Bush's war on science. Spike into 80s. We need to be the innovation Nation. That was a great School House Rock song, wasn't it?

Immigration Issues:
Clinton- Deportation is against American values and an admission of defeat of current policies. Hovering just below 70. Need to help Mexico create more jobs. Would introduce path to legalization in first 100 days.

Obama- Has worked on this in the past, but it was "used as a political football" and "died in the house." Agrees with Clinton, but adds that "we need to tone down the rhetoric." Calls for comprehensive reform, cracking down on abusive employers without discriminating against legal citizens. Pay back taxes, pay fine on the way to legalization. Need to fix legal immigration as well as work on illegal immigration, making it easier to immigrate legally. I like. Hovering around 70, just like Hillary. Need to work with Mexico, echoing Hil, calling for investment in Mexican economy, creating jobs there. Bashing Bush policies, calling Iraq the distraction, but he didn't break 70 here.

Finishing the border fence:

Clinton- "there is a smart way to protect our borders and there is a dumb way to protect our borders," examples of absurd actions of current administration. Wants to review the need for physical barrier and where they are appropriate, saying that the Bush administration has "gone off the deep end" on this issure. Near 80.

Technology and "smart fencing"? "Deploying more technology and personel" Clinton won't defend her past voting on this issue.

Obama- Says that he "almost entirely agrees" with Hillary. Echo. Echo. "people want fairness, want justice..." Deporting everyone is "ridiculous..." we need "order in the process" Getting people out of shadows. He is trying to say the same thing, but trying to use pretty words.

5:45 - What I am noticing here, it is not good when he follows Hillary for him. He does sound like he is saying me to with prettier words. It's also not great when she follows him, she crams 14 policy points in per breath and doesn't even break a sweat. He needs to stay out of these debates with this woman.

He does come across as the pretty talker, but it almost feels like he is struggling to make his pretty words fit the situation where Hillary has, like I said, 14 policy points to match each situation.

I need a smoke. BRB (How modern of me!)


5:50-
I came back in and the screen was dark? Did Hil jump up and chair Obama? No. Just a commercial. I guess I didn't miss much.

Its being pointed out that they are being much more polite together than when they are talking about each other seperately. They have been very polite. John King is trying to get them going.

Hillary is not taking the bait, and turning it against Bush, pointing out they her and Obama both have a lot in common. Exactly. She is trying to find differences, but honestly, very few are coming out tonight. She is talking about offering soultions, but if Obama is not offering solutions, but is essentially offering the same ideas as she is, does this mean that she is not offering solutions either?

She is saying it really is about experience and record and resume. Small spike around 65.

Obama - Pointing out some of his record, some his work in the Senate. He's "engaged not just in talk, but in action." Fundamental difference between them in how they want to bring change about. Pretty flat, no spikes. Pointing out that he has been endorsed by every major paper in Texas. He's going for the idea that his approach will be less confrontational and will be more likely to actually bring about change. Flat. Flat. Hillary is smirking. Can she see the line too? Small bump up to 70 at the end.

Campbell Brown is bringing up the Obama plagairism accusations.

Pointing out that the line was given to him. This is an example of "the silly season in politics." People want issues, not distractions, he is saying. Patting himself on the back for making good speeches, people like the joke.

I still say it was a silly mistake on his part that he didn't throw a few sylables into that speech attributing the line, no biggie. Either way. He is turning away from the question and throwing out a few policy points.

Clinton - "If your campaign is going to be about words then they should be your own words." A good line about Xeroxing... Plunging approval, down towards 30. Boos in the live audience. Turns towards health care, and attacking him on the gaps in his plan, not covering everyone. She is saying that he, essentially, does not have the imagination to go the distance with his plans to do what really needs to be done. She even threw in a bit where she claimed that even Bush could see what he couldn't see.

These are the lines we'll be seeing for a week. Hillary looked like a bitch and may have gone a bit too far on the attack. You know she has been dying to say it. She shouldn't have, at least not like this. She was pulling it off. She may have just lost it. Everything. Those 30 seconds may have just cost her the presidency.

Obama is talking- I agree. Health care stuff I was writing about. People do not have insurance because they do not want it, but because they cannot afford it. Trying to point out that he is more in tune with the people than she is. Patting her on the back for her old plan as first lady in 93. Saying she went about it in the wrong way, behind closed doors, and alienated her party, congress, and everyone. Really, that old debacle is one of her weak points, and I am surprised that it does not come up among the Democrats more often, though the Republicans act as though it is the only thing she has ever done. Probably why.

6:11-
Back from commercial. Back from my smoke...
Univision guy bringing up Hil's comments that Obama is not ready for CinC job, she drags it back to health care, upset that she did not have a chance to respond. She feels that there are substatitive differences in their plans. Swinging John Edwards words at him, saying that they have real differences. Pretty flat. Campbell Brown trying to move it on, Hil's breaking the rules, so is Obama in responding. He's pointing out that she is going to force people to buy insurance, comparing it to Mass. where people are fined, so they not only lack health insurance, but also are saddled with fines. An evil plan. I do not know if she has the same details in her plan. Hil won't let go, small bumps over 50 when Obama was talking, long droop down into the 40s when Hil started. Pointing out that she wants real Universal Health Care, up into the mid-50s.

That was a bad sign for her. When she started talking, the approval line dropped. When she said the magic words that all of us liberal types love, the words got the approval, not her.

Again, back to Obama not being ready to lead the country in the world, lacking the foreign policy experience.

Hillary is rattling off her experience and a couple of the current foreign policy issues (Cuba, Kosovo, Embassy riot in Serbia, etc...) Rapid fire of points showing her ease with and grasp of the issues, line hovering a little over 50. Drops a little when she is talking about being ready for the job.

Obama starts talking, it rises before he says anything real. Up near 70. Dropping back down a bit. Talking about overextension of US forces. Hitting Hillary on the old war vote. Afghanastan versus Iraq. I like him here, he is right. One is the war we need to win, the other is the war we never needed to fight. "Who is going to show the judgment to lead?" Awsome way for him to rephrase this debate, being the least experienced in the ring. Judgment versus experience.

John King is taking us on a little tour of Iraq- "Is Iraq today better off ... because of the surge?"

Interesting, it used to be if America was better off today than we were four years ago, not it is if Iraq is better off than it was four years ago.

Hillary- Formulate plan to start drawing down troops within 60 day, one to two brigades a month, probably. Approval up near 70.

Obama- Violence has been reduced in Iraq, and this is due to the efforts of our soldier and "we honor their service" Pointing out the surge is a fix to "a huge strategic blunder." Saying that we'll pound McCain on the war. Approval hovering up near 70. He is moving on into the economic cost of the war, and pointing out that Iran has benefitted from the war more than any other nation. Again, "the incredible burden placed on the American people," not doing right by our veterans , over 70 on the line.

Point to Obama. He is getting the better response on the war, because he is making it an issue about American, not about Iraq. Remember this.

Commercial break. Smoke break... Strange sounds coming out of the dark and into my earphones... Back in a moment.

More coffee, no smoke, Obama is talking about "Google for Government" to help track government budgets, etc. Arguing for more transperancy, more disclosure. Projects funded through earmarks are not inherantly bad, but that there needs to be transparancy.

I was distracted by email. Hil was saying something that got her spiked up to 70, staying pretty high. Tax cuts for the middle class. Ah. It's a good thing. Some Bush bashing too. Give people money, bash Bush, that approval line stays high.

I love it, she is ready to fight McCain on "the fisical irresponsibility of the Republican Party." I love it.

Talk about super delegates. Approval for unified party moving into the general. Hillary threw out some pretty words and got the approval spike, Obama is over talking this and hovering around 60, significantly lower than Hillary here.

Final question-
Describe when your judgment was tested under the pressure of a crisis?

Obama- My personal life was a trainwreck in my youth. Learning responsibility for his actions and how to work with others. Choosing to work for principles over cash in law. Giving the people "a government worthy of their decency and generosity."

Hil - Veiled nod towards her past public turmoils (spike in approval). Her challenges have been nothing compared to the challenges faced by so many regular American folk these days... Good. Nicely done. But it does kind of indicate that Obama remembers what it was like out there, she may not. But I like her humility here. This is one of the area she needed to work on tonight, humility, and this is a great moment for her here, and her approval line is way up towards 80. She is "absolutely honored to be here with Barak Obama... What ever happens we'll be fine." Big hand shake for Obama. Standing ovation.

She closed huge, if this is it. Thanks, thanks, standing clapping... I am smoking.

Stick a fork in it, it's done.

Pasted from <http://aflitt.livejournal.com/40220.html>
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