Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Live Blogging the Live Bloggers - Clinton's Last Stand - no, really this time.

Why? Why? Why can I not get my act together on these things ahead of time? The debate is minutes away and I just finished the screen shot montage. We had some fun with this last Thursday in Texas so we'll give it a go again tonight in Ohio. The last two Democratic presidential candidates are taking the stage for the 20th debate in Cleveland tonight, covered by MSNBC live and moderated by Brian Williams. I'll start with the question I ask every time:
"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. "
We'll include Daily Kos, from the left, a commenter suggested VodkaPundit for the right but since CQ's Ed Morrissey has moved to HotAir I'll also check in there. We will continue the Wonkette and Cynic's Party snark-off, and stick with Megan McArdle for a libertarian point of view and 2008 Central as the centrist blog. As always I will likely guess wrong about the blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for substitutes once we get started.



Wonkette: "...the only way Hillary Clinton can win the 2008 Democratic nomination: get it close, fudge some rules, break the country. Let’s see if she can do it!"
VodkaPundit: "The problem with hauling the laptop into the bedroom for these events is, I can’t have a cigar in the bedroom. Who wants to contribute to the Buy VodkaPundit an Outdoor Television Fund?"
Daily Kos: "Obama just needs to basically hold his ground. Clinton can "win" any given exchange on pure debating points (and often does) but unless she knocks something so far out of the park it achieves orbit, or unless Obama screws up in a big way, it's unlikely to change the dynamic of the race, and that dynamic favors Obama."
2008Central.net:"Will Hillary Clinton continue her harsh attacks from the weekend on Barack Obama? Will Obama maintain his cool presence he’s worked hard to maintain in these debates? Will Tim Russert admit he attended law school at Cleveland State on national television? Will Clinton fight back against MSNBC, or have those battles passed? Will Obama keep up his attacks on Clinton? Will Brian Williams ask more or fewer than 4 pointless questions"
Reason - David Weigel: "For all the hubbub about Clinton's attacks and graceful exit line in the Texas debate, polls showed that voters think she lost it, badly: Texas voters who watched it swung hard against her. Clinton spent the weekend bashing Obama in Ohio, but today she backed off and her campaign pushed the argument that the media was rooting for her to lose. The goal, I'd guess is to stoke up some anti-Obama questioning from the Russert-Williams moderator tag team."

DWSUWF - Ok, I am 15 minutes behind. Sue me. Apparently the entire debate is about health care - so - No problem. Megan McArdle is not live-blogging, so back to David Weigel at Reason.



Wonkette: "First question, paraphrased: Hillary, do you consider calling Barack shameful and a liar very “valedictory”? Why are you still running against our favorite Kenyan potted plant?"
VodkaPundit: "Well, this is a contested campaign…” Clinton, explaining her “change of tone” since the debate last Saturday. She excuses herself by playing defense on NAFTA and her health care plan. It’s a judo move, trying to make Obama look like the attacker. I think it sounds lame."
Daily Kos: "Hillary denies the recent Obama photo came from her camp and Obama graciously accepts that response "
2008Central.net:"The first question is about some the anger expressed by Hillary Clinton over the weekend. She explains that she is upset because she believes that Obama is distorting her record and the facts and wants to have a real debate grounded on true statements. Williams follows up with a question about the now infamous photo of Obama in Somalian elder clothes that appeared on Drudge. She states that to the best of her knowledge she is not aware of it coming from her campaign."
Reason - David Weigel: "Clinton brings the funny: "If anyone saw Saturday Night Live, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and if he needs another pillow." The crowd is so amused that it stays stone silent. (Does she really want people to wash a show where the guest host recommended Ohio votes for her because "bitches get things done?""

DWSUWF - Rolling. Will branch out to more blogs if I catch up. Right.



Wonkette: "Ooh, the University of Pennsylvania (among others) said Barack’s attacks on Hillary’s health care plans were unfair. Well, this writer recently graduated from this same UPenn and now writes dick jokes all day on Wonkette. Advantage, Barry."
CYNICS' PARTY commenter Cynica:"OMG, she’s self-destructing! She just pointed out that she ALWAYS gets the first question in EVERY debate; “I’m not complaining, I just think it’s curious.” Also, she said spending 16 minutes on who covers more people under their healthcare plan is OK because “that’s the most important issue.” Really? I’m a lot more concerned about stagflation and the war in Iraq than about some pipedream of UHC that I don’t see ever happening in this “you eat what you kill” culture. Arrrgh!"
VodkaPundit: "What is it about Democrats that they can talk for hours over who covers either 14 or 15 million more people? Yawn... “This is not just any issue… but whether the country will do what is right.” “Right” in this case telling millions of people exactly what to do. I thought rights were things the government isn’t allowed to stop us from doing. "
Daily Kos: "They ended up getting into what they got into last week - trading the exact same points about their healthcare plans. Obama says mandates are bad and Clinton doesn't cover everyone anyway, Clinton says Obama does have a mandate, Obama says "wait, let me answer that..." and the debate does not move on. It's an important issue, but we've gotten to the point where there's no value being added in the discussion."
2008Central.net:"Clinton will not let this discussion go. She contends that at the point that Obama’s plan has mandates, he recognizes the necessity of them and argues that it’s simply bad policy for him to leave them out in the broader sense... Brian Williams tries to shift the topic and Clinton is not having any of that. She talks right over him until she’s able to make her point. Finally, Williams changes topics to NAFTA, but not before complaining about the 16-minute discussion on health care."
Reason - David Weigel: "All this wonking on health care can't be good for Clinton: She has hit this argument in state after state, in (as Obama said) negative mail and robocalls, and the vote of Democrats who care about this has shifted to Obama anyway. She is convinced that her crushing defeat on this issue in 1994 gave her credibility for life. Voters: Less convinced."

DWSUWF - I am still losing ground. Well, after all - this is a second degree derivative blog. Give me a break.


Wonkette: "It’s a NAFTA question, for Hillary — basically, what does she think about it in toto? Hillary thinks this is a good opportunity to mention her Saturday Night Live endorsement. — Oh, and she thinks NAFTA’s terrible and broken and they should fix it, terrible law. Would you like a pillow with your retort, Barack?"
CYNICS' PARTY commenter pedonator:"The most important message of tonight’s debate: Television doesn’t stop!"
VodkaPundit: "Oh, please. Clinton says she has been against NAFTA “since the beginning,” but bit her tongue because she was First Lady. Did I already say “Oh, please?” And what the hell is a “trade time-out?” - “Hey, Mexico, don’t send us any stuff for a couple weeks while we figure stuff out. You too, Canada. We don’t need no stinkin’ Dodge Chargers for a while. Obama wants a “fair deal” for American workers. Harry Truman called, and he wants his line back."
Daily Kos: "Russert pressuring Clinton for a response to pull out of NAFTA within 6 months of taking office. Clinton refuses to commit to the timeline. The crowd let out a collective gasp. She says she wants to renegotiate. Obama agrees with Clinton and says that renegotiation is the way to go."
2008Central.net:"Tim Russert confirms that Sen. Clinton indeed said what Obama suggested that she did about NAFTA. Notes that during the ’90s, Al Gore said that the president can withdraw from NAFTA within six months and asks Clinton if she’s elected, will she notify Canada and Mexico that she’ll withdraw from NAFTA. Clinton says she will notify Canada and Mexico that we will opt out, unless we renegotiate some of the core components of the agreement. Noting Obama’s equivocation/ambivalence on the issue, Russert asks him the same question about withdrawing from NAFTA. Obama seconded Clinton’s answer."
Reason - David Weigel: "Woo-whee, here comes the trade restrictionist one-upping! Clinton has "always" been critical of NAFTA (remember when she strapped herself to her husband's desk and refused to let him sign the treaty?) and wants a trade pause. Obama awkwardly unleashes some oppo: "When she was... running for the Senate, she said... NAFTA had been... on balance, good for New York and good for America. I disagree.' - Good for Russert, citing trade facts to both candidates and trying to get them admit they're pandering to economic ignorance."

DWSUWF - Tough for both candidates to triangulate, when primary voters like NAFTA in Texas and hate it in Ohio. Perhaps next time the Dems can align the primaries around the issues. Only states on the same side of an issue can hold primaries on the same day.



Wonkette - Ken Layne: "Ha ha, Hillary made a speech about how Barack Obama is just like George W. Bush. — Ha ha ha more, John McCain has “vast” experience in foreign policy, in that he has been a tool of lobbyists from here to the Middle East. — $12 billion a month x 100 years = Who f*cking cares, we’ll all be dead then, anyway. — Attacking sovereign nations, blowing up our allies, blah blah, whatever."
CYNICS' PARTY commenter Lyndon LaDouche: "I like how Barry sits back from time to time with a “Bitch is wack” expression. I think she’s doing badly. She looks tense, aggressive (not in the good way) and curiously ineffectual. And the voice! Please! Turn down the mic. He is being very much the candidate waiting out her rants."
VodkaPundit: "Obama on the Muslim world: “You know those elections and riots that have totally screwed up Pakistan lately? I would have made sure they happened much sooner.”
Clinton on Obama: “He gave a great speech in 2002 when he didn’t have to do anything.” And, “until relatively recently” Obama and Clinton have voted the same on war issues in the Senate. It’s a pretty lame attack. - On the other hand, Clinton pointing out that threatening to “bomb Pakistan” maybe wasn’t “too wise” was pretty sweet... Obama’s weakness is, he forgets that the enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda and Sunni deadenders, and not the government in Baghdad."
Daily Kos: "Williams asks Obama to defend his lack of foreign experience. Obama hits back with his stance that he was against going into Iraq and brings up holes in our current policy in Pakistan. Says his judgment in these matters is superior to Clinton's. Hillary is now pointing to her own foreign travel and experience. Then turning to Obama's Iraq vote and his record of voting to fund the war. She keeps going negative and it just isn't working. This is not pretty."
2008Central.net:"Clinton will respect Iraq’s sovereign wishes too. Then, takes issue with Obama’s argument about his judgment on Pakistan and Afghanistan by stating that he’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs and hasn’t had any oversight hearings yet on issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama concedes that he hasn’t had oversight hearings yet. He states that he became chairman of that subcommittee when the campaign began and then seems to suggest that oversight hearings wouldn’t have really mattered much anyway because of the Bush Administration. Uhm, I’m not sure this is a particular good response."
Reason - David Weigel: "Would Clinton skedaddle from Iraq if the people asked her to? "Absolutely." She makes another unheard-thus-far oppo attack, that Obama hasn't held Afghanistan oversight hearings. There's probably not space in a debate to tease out Clinton's real foreign policy differences with Obama. She has the White House's ear; he doesn't. She was extremely Janus-faced about the surge. But she comes off as well as she possibly could talking about her specific (and forgotten) Senate initiatives."

DWSUWF - Agree with Weigel - no real difference between their positions, but this is the reason that McCain loses in November. It's still the war stupid.


(sounds like an Elton John song)

Wonkette - Ken Layne: "Louis Farrakhan likes you. Why do you kill white people that you supposedly will represent — or is there something you’re not telling us? Let’s up the ante, Barry: why do you support the Holocaust you anti-Semitic piece of sh*t? Nah nah, Barry says. No anti-Semitism. Ruh roh, Hillary wants to chime in on her relationship with the Jews. — Barack thinks her dichotomy on their different ways of denouncing Jew-denouncers is, say, a false dichotomy. He thinks there’s really no difference and he’ll denounce Jew-denouncers in all sorts of fancy wordplay. — Hillary agrees. Barack Obama does not hate the Jews"
CYNICS' PARTY commenter pedonator: "Well I’m glad that we’re all agreed on denouncing and rejecting anti-Semitism, and much more importantly, anti-Israelism. Because we all know they’re one and the same. That was just about the most awkward few minutes I’ve seen so far in this campaign, from both of them."
VodkaPundit: "My drunkblog is being liveblogged. That’s so meta, I need a drink... Kudos for Obama for denouncing Louis Farrakhan… but then he dodged the issue of rejecting Farrakhan’s support. Dude, you can’t pull out after you’ve… oh, never mind. Obama: “The Jews love me!” Clinton: “They love me, too!” This half-Jew is pretty much sick of the both of you."
Daily Kos: "Clinton followed Russert's attempt at a bullshit anti-semitism issue with Farrakhan's support of Obama with an even more bullshit moment in which she jumped on him for only denouncing rather than rejecting, and he agrees to do both while pointing out the silly vagueness of the distinction."
2008Central.net:"ROAR! No, it’s not a monster; it’s another Russert question. He asks if Obama will reject Louis Farrakhan’s support. Obama says that he doesn’t condone some of Farrakhan’s remarks, but isn’t really sure what else to say on the subject. Russert wants to know what Obama will say to the Jewish community to reassure them that he doesn’t support/agree with the anti-semitic remarks that Farrakhan has made. *sigh* Really? Is it really necessary to ask Obama to say that he’s not antisemitic? I could understand if he was having high-tea and pork with Farrakhan on a regular basis, but, they don’t even deal with each other. As you can imagine, Obama says he’s not anti-semitic. *shock* I guess these are the kinds of lawyering skills Russert learned in law school (and may also explain why he’s not a lawyer). Clinton follows up by noting that in New York she rejected the Independence Party because of anti-semitic statements that they have made in the past and adds that she did so in the face of political"
Reason - David Weigel: "Huh. Notice how Obama keeps looking away from Russert after each of this "what do you think of this asshole who supports you? When's the last time you shaved your head and drove your car into a bris?" questions. I don't think these questions were good for Obama, but Russert packaged them in a friendly way, to let Obama explain his connections away. And he doesn't interrupt them. That was surreal, Clinton's attempt to re-link Obama and Farrakhan by pointing out, hey, she's rejected anti-Semites full-out. I can't decide if Obama defused it by making it sound like she was parsing."

DWSUWF - Oh man... I am a full hour behind, but I have to have a drink now with my fellow half-jew Vodka Pundit.

Umm - That's really good. A simple tall drink - Gin and Tonic. Boodles Gin. A double. And another. I just realized how I can get caught up, just go right to...



Wonkette - Ken Layne: "Does Hillary regret anything? Does Barack regret too much? — Hillary: Well… Jesus, let me rack my brain!… I’ve mentioned the Iraq vote was iffy before — Russert: DO YOU REGRET IT — Oh Tim, it was the Bush Administration, you see, who did the Iraq war after I pretended to vote for it, no big — Russert: DO YOU REGRET THE VOTE, BILLARY. — Tim, did you know that Barack did crack in high school, while plagiarizing, and last week too? — Russert: DO YOU REGRET THE VOTE, BILLARY ROD-SHAM CLINTON. — Yeah sure I regret that vote all the time."
CYNICS' PARTY commenter SanFranLefty: "She looks so much better than last week. But I agree on the Rhode Island sweatshirt, etc., that Chelsea needs to step up and take a role in pointing her mom to some nipped-in jackets in cool jewel tones. Hillz does have beautiful skin and eyes and I’m sure just an hour with Tim Gunn could do so much to help."
VodkaPundit: "Clinton, at long last, renounced her vote on the Iraq War. I think. Kind of, anyway. Depending on how you parse the Clintonese, that little statement could be the big story of the night. Obama would have changed how he acted (or failed to act) regarding Terry Schiavo. Nobody gained anything to be proud of from that sad case. And we end with a general love fest, group hugs, kumbaya and all that."
Daily Kos:"Russert is asking them what vote they'd like to take back. He is treating this like Meet the Press rather than a debate. Obama going back to the economy and trying to end on a high note with compliments for Clinton. No doubt he came off looking better tonight."
2008Central.net:"Russert wants to know if either candidate would like to take back a vote or a statement they have made. Clinton won’t admit she made a mistake on Iraq, much to Tim’s chagrin, but she does state that she would like to have her vote back. Obama would like to take back his inaction on the Senate’s approval of the legislation that allowed the Federal government to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case. You see, many Senators (including Obama) were on vacation when the bill came to the floor and so it passed with little opposition. To Obama’s credit, he does answer these questions honestly. However, this Schiavo issue is something he talked about regretting back in April 2007, so it’s not like he’s saying anything novel or particularly controversial. Although, it’s probably not a good political strategy to say something unpleasant took place in part because you were on vacation."
Reason - David Weigel: "Why. In the name of God. Would Clinton bring up Iraq in her closing answer? It's the third or fourth issue on the minds of Ohio voters. It's the issue that Obama owns her on. It's like she threw in the towel, walked into the ring, grabbed it, and threw it again. And this is just weird: Obama is taking the long leash the moderates have given him and doing his own version of Clinton's closing answer from the Texas debate. He closes weakly. I think he needs occasional bursts of applause to keep his solar panels charged."

DWSUWF - That gin and tonic was good. I think I'll have another one.



Wonkette - Ken Layne: "Barack Obama doesn’t look like a clown, which becomes painfully apparent watching Andrea Mitchell, Jesse Jackson and Chris Matthews jabbering dumbly. Keith Olbermann is … uh … hang on, we need to get a lot more wine, in our mouth. Pat Buchanan is somehow Barack’s biggest supporter. Rachel Maddow wants us to know that we should not vote to drive into a ditch. And that means JOHN McCAIN WON THE DEBATE. Oh what is wrong with this woman?"
CYNICS' PARTY commenter RedManLaw: "I’d have scored it 54-46 Hillz in the first half, and the reverse of that for 2/3 of the second half... Unicorn could have pointed out that Bill Clinton’s only significant foreign policy experience prior to becoming president was letting Columbian drug planes land at Mena... Pundit on MSNBC just said O was “strong, firm and in command.” Notice that Hillz said she was part of the administration when talking about good stuff coming from Hubby’s administration? O shoulda jumped on that like a loose ball and made it 3rd and long. Barry didn’t lose, so I’m good with it."
VodkaPundit: VodkaPundit has either passed out or is still working on his Pajamas Media wrap-up. So we switch to noted gay conservative author and Obama supporter -
Andrew Sullivan:
"Obama won it - quite easily. It was overwhelming before the final break. But decisive nonetheless. I can't see how she manages to rescue her campaign now. And his momentum will continue. It's over, right?"
Daily Kos: "I'm not sure which is worse.....Russert moderating or Matthews analyzing afterward... Well, now we know what's worst of all: Russert and Matthews analyzing it together. Two such stupid men so pleased with themselves, their grins wrapping around their entire damn heads as they stroke each other's egos.."
2008Central.net:"If you’re still watching MSNBC, change the channel immediately or risk absorbing some of the idiocy that is almost guaranteed to ensue. Matthews opens his analysis by complaining that the 16 minutes of health care policy discussion was pointless and boring; he laments the lack of fireworks. Apparently, substantive discussions are bad for Americans to listen to because it means we may learn something. Does he realize how incredibly detailed debates over policy and political discourse used to be say 60 or so years ago?"
Reason - David Weigel: "America loses. Obama waffled and swerved and sounded worse than I think he usually sounds. He was saved on the Farrakhan issue only when Clinton went overboard. He was saved on his closing only when Williams asked for another closing. Clinton sounded about the same as she did in Texas... Geraghty thinks the moderators sowed doubts among swing voters by asking about things Obama is never asked about. I'm inclined to agree but only if Clinton uses some of those revelations on the trail."

DWSUWF - Consensus view - the debate was a draw. DWSUWF agrees. Clinton will take Ohio. So it's all about Texas. If she takes Texas and Ohio, she'll take Pennsylvania. If she finishes with all three, the superdelegates will give her the nomination regardless of the pledged delegate count. The price for the nomination, will be to make Obama VP. With that ticket Dems win in a landslide, because either can chew up and spit out McCain on TV. Think Kennedy vs. Nixon.

If I have anything else to add. I'll update tomorrow.

Sheesh. The MSNBC crew is taking a lot of flak. I though Russert, Matthews, Williams and MSNBC did a credible job.

Some links may be screwed up. Probably some typos. I'll fix tomorrow.


UPDATE: 27-February-2008

Made a few repairs. Added a few links. Edited a few linked quotes.


Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

No comments: