It has been a while since we attempted a live blog of the live bloggers, but with the last two Democratic presidential candidates taking the stage tonight for a debate hosted by CNN and moderated by Campbell Brown - we are on the case. I'll start with the question I have asked before:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "As always, we'll include Daily Kos, Heading Right for a left and right perspective. Tonight we will include both the cynical champion Wonkette and upstart Cynic's Party for a snark-off, and Reason Hit and Run Blog for a libertarian point of view. I'll also monitor the Moderate Voice and include a centrist blog if I can find one blogging live between now and 8:00 PM EDT. I will likely guess wrong about the blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for a substitutes once we get started.
It'll take a few minutes to ramp up, the beer has been poured and here we go - keep refreshing your browser for latest updates ...
Wonkette:"It’s another Fight Night tonight on the teevee, with Obama and Hillary debating again, this time from Austin"
Cynic's Party: No thread? Just a quote from George Bush in Africa - "It’s easier to tear a country down than to build it up."
Daily Kos Commenter LYFE: "Let the Games Begin! Does Clinton go negative?"
2008Central.net:"Campbell Brown is the moderator; somewhere, Katie Couric is sad. She couldn’t get to moderate a debate but her stand in when she was at the Today Show does."
Reason - David Weigel: "Expect Hillary Clinton to hit Obama on experience, Obama to promise change, and... well, for basically every argument to echo the arguments of 9 months ago, but do so with meaner adjectives. Drink when you hear the words "Rezko," "ready," "lifted," (the soft version of "plagiarized") and "John Edwards" and you'll black out at 8:43 or so."
DWSUWF: Cripes. Late again. Debate is underway.
Wonkette: "Is there some weird microphone problem? Is there a heavy wind onstage? Not sure about this jacket of Hillary’s…the piping on the collar makes it looks like two little yellow strings are leaping out of her sternum."
Cynic's Party Commenter RML: "Barry’s off to a slow start. Hils was very warm, almost human, in her opening remarks. Please, God, don’t let him chinger it up esta noche."
Daily Kos Commenter Mr. Met: "I'm loving Hillary's stump steech!Yes, the ENTIRE DAMN THING."
2008Central.net:"Clinton gives an opening statement about working in Texas 36 years ago. She name drops Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards. Talks up starting S-CHIP, and what she did to give health care to reservists. Says that discrimination against sick people ought be unconstitutional, and that veteran care needs to be improved. Finishes by talking about her “lifetime of experience.” And apparently her campaign is now “your campaign."
Asymmetrical Information: "Hillary is looking chipper and trim; she's clearly one of those people who thrives on soul-crushing defeat. Her speech, however, sets my teeth on edge. She compares being uninsured to being racially discriminated against. Having diabetes is all kinds of awful--but not the same kind of awful as being a black kid in Selma ca. 1946."
DWSUWF: Substituting Megan McArdle for Dave Weigel who is taking the night off.
Wonkette: "Will Hillary meet with Raul Castro? She says she will, after he makes it clear Cuba will not be Communist anymore. Obama, on the other hand, has probably already been to Cuba, as he is a genetic Communist."
Cynic's Party Commenter RML: "Cuba - someone should reference how Nixon went to China. Start unofficially, keep the summit on the downlow and go in for a historic visit and some iconic images. Maybe someone will write an opera about Barry going to Havana (and sneaking off for a stogie when Michelle isn’t looking)."
Daily Kos Commenter Cruz: "On Cuba - Why is Hillary speaking as if she will be president of Cuba? Will she meet with Raul, or not?"
2008Central.net:"Obama says that he’s willing to meet with Raul Castro, and sees an opportunity to change. Distinguishes preparation from precondition, but it sounds really, really similar. Like, really similar. He cites freeing political prisoners. Talks about opening change here with remittances and visiting."
Asymmetrical Information: "Obama comes out with bold, transgressive statement: not so much liberty in Cuba.. All right, Obama is suggesting ending the travel ban. Not quite bold and transgressive, but refreshingly sensible."
DWSUWF: I just noticed I overlooked a right wing site. Looking...
======IMMIGRATION AND FENCES AND SPANISH! OH MY!
Wonkette: "handsome Jorge of Univision is like a Latin Anderson Cooper. He could maybe talk more, and the candidates could maybe talk less? Nope, more hectoring about comprehensive immigration reform. She is so very detailed. She needs a little laser-beam pointer so that she can show us the immigrants in the shadows. Boy, she is going to do a lot in the first hundred days of her presidency."
Cynic's Party Commenter Pedonator: "Barry has a charming if quixotic position on improving Mexico’s economy to stem the tide of illegal immigration. With Cantarell collapsing and PEMEX chronically corrupt, he’d better get on that DAY ONE!"
Daily Kos Commenter markusd: "Obama sucks at this - He is rambling, no energy, not in command of what he's saying. Yeah, I know, he has a cold. He's "had a cold" for every other debate, it seems."
2008Central.net:"Obama says they agree. Says consulting with local communities is the key, and that listening is important. Moves on to saying justice is important, and deporting everyone is absurd, but order is important. Says everything is linked, and that is why comprehensive reform is important. Says passing the DREAM act is important for allowing children who have broken no laws on their own access to citizenship."
Asymmetrical Information: "The candidates are on the spot: moderator asks flat out whether they would finish the fence or undo it. Hillary tries to dodge by changing the topic to Canada. No, seriously. The Canadian hordes with their ice guns and their exaggerated "oo" sounds will not violate the territoriality of this great nation on Hillary Clinton's watch. 54°40' or fight! Anyone who might have thought that Hillary Clinton had, like, voted for the fence was mistaken. She was voting for possibly considering the fence. Once again, Obama agrees with HIllary. Why is he running against her again?"
McQ at QandO: "CLINTON:English should remain our common unifying language. That's how immigrants have become a part of America. But doesn't want to see English be the "official" language. Hmmm, one of the few things she's not really willing to make a law.
OBAMA: Important that everyone learn English and that's a unifying language. Bi-lingual education? Sure. Children should learn a second language. Failure of NCLB - Bush, Bush, Bush, tests, Bush. Don't forget it was Teddy Kennedy's wet dream."
DWSUWF: Q&O picks up the right wing live blogging responsibilities - only live blogger I cound find from the Heading Right site - I suspect a vast Right Wing Conspiracy to ignore this debate. I am not drinking enough. I have to go the bathroom.
Wonkette: "Obama can’t help it if you can’t get past his mellifluous baritone and soulful stylings to the meat of his meat-filled arguments. Hillary: That isn’t change you can believe in, that’s change you can XEROX! Audible gasps and moans in the press room."
Cynic's Party Commenter nojo: “Change you can Xerox.” Great line. Who wrote it?"
Daily Kos Commenter jj24: "change you can xerox - what an asshole."
2008Central.net:"Obama mentions Patrick giving him the line and that the accusations are silly. Goes back to the “Silly Season” line that he last brought up in the kindergarten paper kerfuffle. Says some of his speeches are pretty good. Blatant egoism? Yeesh. That’s not going to play well everywhere. Talks about what he says in speeches, mentioning education and his position on Iraq. Clinton is asked about it being “Silly Season.” Says that if your candidacy is going to be about speech, it should be your own words. Says it’s not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox. Audience boos."
Asymmetrical Information: "DC journalistic establishment consensus, based on a completely unscientific sample of two journalists in my livingroom plus some internet chatter: this debate is boring. Surprisingly so, considering that you've got Hillary Clinton, a pretty formidable debater, in a fight for her life... Is it just me or does Obama look like he's trying to let down Hillary gently? He doesn't seem like he's really desperate to defeat her."
McQ at QandO: "Yes, two lines, words matter, Patrick is his National co-chair who suggested he use the words. Silly season in politics. Forget all of that, how are we going to make college affordable, etc. Not just hope and inspiration but a $4,000 tax credit to make college affordable. Specific, concrete proposals, not just words. Clinton: If you candidacy is about words, they should be your words. Finally, fireworks!"
DWSUWF: Gonna have to check the transcript. I thought I heard Obama say he had only been using the "words" for two weeks. As DWSUWF readers know, it's not the first time. Barack better hope it is the last. He has been set up to get cut off at the knees on the next discovered "borrowing".
Wonkette: "Remember way back in the year nineteen hundred and ninety three, when half of Obama’s supporters weren’t even born yet? Hillary was failing back then, too, at health care reform. John McCain was having sex with a lobbyist one-quarter his age."
Cynic's Party Commenter RML: “Hilz - first cheap shot referencing the ill-prepared surrogate. BO - Hilz f*cked up in her shot at change (health plan, yo) so give me a shot. Ms. CNN Tool brings up plagiarism. Bullshit. *boos for Hillz*"
Daily Kos Commenter beauchapeau: "This undecided Ohio voter who is 27 years old, a former Edwards supporter (and Dean supporter in 2004), and college educated, and employed at a top-30 liberal arts college ... has just decided to vote for Hillary Clinton while watching tonight's debate. And I'm surprised. I had been kind of leaning Obama. I'm not even 100% sure what pushed me in that direction. But who knows, I have almost two weeks. Maybe I'll change my mind again. Or sit it out."
2008Central.net:"Clinton says she took on universal health care against special interests in 1993 and 1994, and health insurance companies are deciding who should live and die is wrong. 9:03: Obama says he will debate the issues. Cites Clinton calling his plan universal health care earlier in the campaign. Says their plans are 95% the same, citing precisely how that is the case. Talks about the philosophical difference over mandates, and cites Robert Reich. Says that they agree on goals but differ on how to get there. He then moves into criticizing how Clinton tried to get health care passed behind closed doors instead of with people behind it."
Asymmetrical Information: "A huge portion of this debate has consisted of Hillary bashing Obama about the lack of a mandate in his health care plan. As readers know, I don't want more government involvement in the health care system. Nonetheless, even if you do, it's worth pointing out that, as Austan Goolsbee explained to me a while back, the mandate just doesn't matter that much. Barack Obama has arguably the best health care economist in the country on his team; if David Cutler doesn't think that mandates are necessary or useful, then it's probably not worth spending a ton of time debating."
QandO: "Now she's contrasting her "universal" health care system with his voluntary system. Bush, Bush, Bush. - Obama: Health care programs are basically the same. Philosophical difference - mandated vs. voluntary. Different ways of getting there. - Clinton: Mandates are a must!! [Lord spare us]. She's reduced to quoting John Edwards. What if Social Security was voluntary [oh, I can dream]. Obama: Not a mandate on government to provide it, it is a mandate on citizens to get it. Uses MA system as a mandated system failing."
DWSUWF: This is hard work.
======LAST "philosophical" QUESTION
Wonkette: "HRC - "Whatever happens, we’ll be fine.” This is a breakup speech."
Cynic's Party: “Hillary had a MOMENT. As the debate drew to a close, Hills got all emo and started talking about how she just wants to help America so, so bad because she loves God, and babies, and puppies, and stuff. It was some very touching shit. After she spoke the crowd was applauding like crazy. They may have been cheering because the debate was over, but the bottom line is they were putting their hands together and making noise, and it was right after Hillary spoke."
Daily Kos - Scout Finch: "While I think that Barack Obama generally won the debate tonight, there is no doubt that Hillary's final response was her strongest of the night."
2008Central.net:"Last question, finally. What was a moment that tested each the most? Obama says he would not point to a single moment, but his entire life. Says learning to take responsibility for his own actions and how he could bring people together. Cites his cumulative experience as a reason he is qualified to provide a better government. Clinton says everyone knows she’s lived through crises. Says she does not know how she keeps going, but challenges of everyday Americans are far more difficult. Talks about speaking at the opening of a facility for injured troops in San Antonio, and how the problems they deal with are so serious, and she has vowed to improve people’s lives from a young age. Says she and Obama will be fine, and she hopes she can say the same thing about the American people."
Asymmetrical Information: "Is she gonna cry? Is she? No. That was a nice little speech Hillary gave, saying that whoever gets elected, "we'll" be fine. I suspect that the folks inside Hillary's campaign who were pushing for a new "likeability" strategy won a big argument this afternoon."
QandO: "Love fest. Oh, man, she's toast. It's almost like she's saying goodbye. It is mercifully over. The expected standing "O". Gotta tell you folks - a fairly standard performance for both with a small spike of excitement. Not what the Clinton candidacy needed"
DWSUWF: I'm done. Dinner & drink await. I'll sleep on it and update with concluding thoughts tomorrow. But first, I just want everyone to know, that I have been through crisis' and challenges in this post, but I know it is nothing compared to what you the DWSUWF reader must go through. No matter what happened in this live blog, I was honored, honored, to be here with my fellow live bloggers. I am absolutely honored. Whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the DWSUWF readers, and that's what this blog should be about.
======UPDATED: Tuesday 26-Feb-2008
The "concluding thoughts" expanded into a full-blown rant about the media treatment of the debate and campaigns of both candidates, was too much for an update, and moved to a new post here.
We had some fun with this and the post attracted the attention of few other bloggers commenting on the "meta" nature of live blogging live bloggers. Among them Megan McArdle who ws live blogging at Asymmetrical Information and guest blogging at Instapundit:
"NOT THOROUGHLY TIRED OF DEBATE-BLOGGING YET? Well, for all two of you, Divided We Stand has live-blogged the live-bloggers."Most amusing was Jon Henke at The QandO Blog who posted "THE ULTIMATE METABLOG":
"I am writing a blog post about somebody who wrote a blog post about somebody who wrote a blog post about the people who wrote blog posts about last night's debate."I am very concerned about linking back to Jon from this post, as there is a very good chance that upon pushing the PUBLISH button, the universe will fold into itself and disappear into a singularity. What the hell, it's a calculated risk.
If you are reading this we managed to avoid the feared quantum-relativistic disaster, and you should check back for another and perhaps final Democratic debate edition of live-blogging the live bloggers an hour or so from now.