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Kos Presidential Forum: Highs and Lows

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Seven of the eight Democratic candidates for president just spent 90 rollicking minutes answering questions and -- occasionally -- jabbing each other in the marquee event of this year's YearlyKos gathering.

The crowd, which packed into a ballroom at the McCormick Convention Center, was vocally involved throughout the forum. Wild cheering dominated but a few candidates were greeted with stony silence or even booing and hissing. (Sidenote: Who hisses anymore? Did that come back in and we missed it?)

What follows is The Fix's analysis of the high and low points for each candidate as measured by the point-scoring that went on in the room. One other note: the candidates are listed alphabetically.

Hillary Rodham Clinton -- High point: Her nuanced answer on why America is perceived so negatively in the world. Clinton said it was anti-Bush sentiment, not anti-American sentiment -- a nice formulation that was appreciated by the crowd. In that same answer she showed her practical side by acknowledging the fight against terrorism is "a complicated long-term struggle." Low point: Clinton got caught between a rock (Edwards) and a hard place (Obama) on accepting campaign donations from lobbyists. Under fire from her main opponents -- one of whom was sitting on each side of her -- Clinton said: "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans." (She went on to names nurses and social workers as examples of "real Americans" who employ lobbyists.) Expect that line to be featured in some of her opponents' direct mail or even television commercials down the line.

Chris Dodd -- High point: Dodd managed to wedge two bogeyman of the left -- Rupert Murdoch and Bill O'Reilly -- into one answer on media consolidation, a pet topic of bloggers gathered here. He also opened the public financing debate, which won him strong applause in the reform-minded room, Low point: None stood out.

John Edwards -- High point: It's hard to choose just one, as Edwards -- in the angry/outraged mode he flashed at the CNN/YouTube debate -- was hitting on all cylinders. But, if we must....Edwards' riff on not "trading our insiders for theirs." Devastatingly effective as a populist pitch, Edwards nuanced it by calling on all of the candidates to pledge not to accept any money from any Washington lobbyists. By the time he was finished, the crowd was roaring. Low point: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) put Edwards on the spot by asking whether he would also not accept money from Wall Street hedge funds. Edwards did his best, rightly pointing out that until public financing is put in place, candidates have to raise money to be competitive. Still, not a subject Edwards wants to spend much time on.

Mike Gravel -- HIgh point: Insisting that the votes are there to end the war in Iraq if the Senate was willing to vote every day on cloture until Republicans broke down. Low point: Answering a question about his "fair tax" proposal, which was not terribly popular in the crowd, by arguing that it didn't matter what he proposed since Congress would never pass it anyway.

Dennis Kucinich -- High point: "With respect to Dick Cheney he should be impeached for lying." 'Nuff said. In this audience Kucinich couldn't have scored better if he announced he was handing out $100 bills after the forum. Low point: In an attempt to explain why so few people vote, Kucinich said it was because there wasn't much difference between the two parties, a line that proved unpopular with the audience.

Barack Obama -- High point: Obama found his stride late in the debate, turning Clinton's healthcare fight against insurance companies in the 1990s against her. "You can't tell me that money did not make a difference," he said directly to Clinton. "They are not spending that because they are contributing to the public interest." Huge -- or maybe we should say HUGE -- applause followed. Low point: Not necessarily Obama's fault but after answering his first question, he seemed to disappear for the next 20 minutes or so.

Bill Richardson -- High point: Leading off the debate, Richardson bluntly acknowledged that he "screwed up" by naming Byron "Whizzer" White as a model Supreme Court justice. The netroots have a soft spot for candidates who admit their mistakes and move on. Low point: In the "straight talk" mold of Sen. John McCain, Richardson told the crowd that he supported a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Hissing and boos. Boos and hissing.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 4, 2007; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Clinton's Tame Session With the Netroots
Next: Republican Debate in Iowa Begins

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Posted by: Trourfvoill | August 6, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Bokonon: 1. The repubs FEAR Hillary the most. This one is the easiest to understand, thinking back over the years how the repubs used her as a negative in order to get at Bubba. The point here is her negatives were very high and the "Pile-on" did not seem a good idea early on. 4. I am pointing to the most likely, and the two you mention are unlikely at best. 5. A lot of us that have studied her since childhood, started when Bubba announced for POTUS, and we were expecting a little of what happened in upstate NY. The arguement can be made on either side, for or against, and I think you did well.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

lyle, let's see:

"1.The repubs FEAR Hillary the most."

- But you used this in the past as an explanation of why there was so much being said about her by Republicans that was negative. In this debate, only Obama was mentioned by name, and they gave Hillary a pass. If they fear her getting the nomination, they're not trying very hard to stop her.

"2. The repubs will do anything to stop Hillary from getting the dem nomination, even changing their registration to vote for someone else."

-See my first answer. And I don't know how you can tell for sure WHY a voter would be motivated to change his/her party registration.

"3. The "Hate" factor is closely tied to the "Fear" factor."

-I'm not sure I understand this point. Hatred can be motivated by fear, but it can also be motivated by any number of other factors - including greed, contempt, racism/sexism, association, jealousy, etc. Sometimes it's hard to assign a logical reason for it.

"4. The repubs want to go against the weakest dem opponent, IMO that is Obama."

-What about Kucinich or Gravel? I don't think you can reasonably make a case that Obama is the weakest. We're not sure yet whether or not he is the STRONGEST, but that's what the primary season is about. Anyway, if they wanted to support Obama, why would they be trash-talking him? That would seem to benefit Hillary. It sounds like they DON'T want Obama to be the nomminee.

"5. The "Negative" factor against Hillary has been used even when Bubba was POTUS."

-When Bill Clinton was president, I don't think many people were thinking of his wife as a potential successor. Some distrusted her because of the health care thing, and some felt sorry for her because of Monica, but I know I speak for many when I say that in the late '90's, I didn't give her that much thought at all.

"6. Bubba is the most popular pol in the world and some of this will surely "Rub off" to a degree for/on Hillary."

-Yes, her husband campaigning for her will help to a certain degree. But voters know that they're no longer voting for him - she has even said explicitly that he would NOT have a Cabinet position. And he is more popular than Bush, certainly, but his popularity will never get much higher than 55% or so (at least domestically) due to the sharp partisan divide... as opposed to Obama, who has historically done well even among Republican voters.

"7. Again, IMO, with Bubba as her chief advisor, I think we can agree he is one of the best of all time, is a great asset."

-this is the same argument, and therefore the same answer, as #6.

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Posted by: djhorserider | August 5, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon: Again you are misreading what I am saying. 1.The repubs FEAR Hillary the most. 2. The repubs will do anything to stop Hillary from getting the dem nomination, even changing their registration to vote for someone else. 3. The "Hate" factor is closely tied to the "Fear" factor. 4. The repubs want to go against the weakest dem opponent, IMO that is Obama. 5. The "Negative" factor against Hillary has been used even when Bubba was POTUS. 6. Bubba is the most popular pol in the world and some of this will surely "Rub off" to a degree for/on Hillary. 7. Again, IMO, with Bubba as her chief advisor, I think we can agree he is one of the best of all time, is a great asset. OK, now show me where you disagree.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

lylepink, respectfully - and I do respect your opinion on topics other than Hillary - your argument in re: the GOP attacking Obama in order to win him "sympathy votes" doesn't make sense to me. As JamesCH says, his appeal as a crossover candidate is one thing that differentiates him from Hillary, and therefore the GOP trying to discourage those Republicans watching the debate from voting for him canNOT be some sneaky back-handed way to help Hillary. Also, I can remember you saying in the past that the Republicans' attacks on Hillary, and the supposed "nice" things they were saying about Obama, indicated that Hillary was the one they feared the most. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Bokonon | August 5, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

JamesCH: I did watch the GOP debate and it only futhers my "Suspicions to justify my claim". Where I think our disagreement is, to a large extent, mainly the targeting of Obama and Edwards of the top three to get the "sympathy" vote for either of them. I think Edwards is about done as far as being the dem choice in 08, so that leaves Hillary and Obama as the most likely dem nominee. Polling is suspect at this point in time, but we must at least give some attention to Hillary being in the lead on a National basis in the double digits in most of them. BTW, I did not claim to understand the game "better than the rest of us". That is where the word "Parse" comes in and you just gave a good example. I am not a mind reader and can only rely on years of following politics to base my opinions, which have been remarkable in their accuracy over almost [60] sixty years.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

lylepink,

Thank you for demonstrating that you have nothing but your own suspicions to justify your claim. I'm sorry, but you'll convince nobody who's not already on your side.

Don't get me wrong, I fully think that the GOP would do something like this, but they'd be far more likely to prop up somebody like Joe Biden or Chris Dodd than they would a crossover Democrat like Obama. If you'll look at the GOP debate, which of the big 3 Dem candidates went largely untargeted for attack: Hillary Clinton. Why hammer on Obama or Edwards? Or, if they really, really want Obama to be the nominee, and they're hoping for more of a sympathy vote for Obama, why not just slam him?

I've seen the GOP hitmen at work. I work in politics in Arizona, where we worked night and day to boot a scumbag out of the AZ 5th, J.D. Hayworth. I saw harrassment at the polls last year, and I stood five feet from Governor Napolitano when she gave her victory speech last year. Don't think for a minute I don't know, or haven't played, the game.

Here's how we'll know whether or not you're right, evidence or no evidence: if, before the primaries begin, some 527 or other type of conservative committee or committees unleash a full-scale attack on Hillary, I'll believe that they are trying to push her out so they can run against Obama.

Until then, your instincts and your claim to understand the game better than the rest of us remain baseless.

Posted by: JamesCH | August 5, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

JamesCH: You are using an old trick by saying "Prove it, where is the evidence?". For those of you that are familiar with how politics works in the real world, knows exactly what I am talking about and it is TRUE. Some may use the word "ACCURATE", either way it is happening. Some repubs have even stated this on forums like this. To win in the General, you always hope to face the weakest opponent possible. That is a FACT. Hillary is the strongest the dems have, and that has been my opinion from the start and remains now more than ever. The problem you are having is not understanding how the game is played.

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Posted by: Music-Band | August 5, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

kucinich was spot on when he said there isn't much difference between the two parties. he didn't receive boos from the crowed, he received ooh's from the crowd. the crowed was agreeing with him, and was "oohing" the other candidates. mainly the current front runners, because let's be honest here, there really isn't much difference at all. dennis is the progressive candidate. dennis will be the change america so desperately needs.

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Posted by: Deal-master | August 5, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

'once the Republicans settle on a candidate they will look far more formidable'

Not with the field they've got now. All of them got skeletons in their closets and way too much baggage... maybe skeletons in their baggage, too.

Mark, you can't get much worse than DeLay. Hoyer is better, but who wouldn't be.

I certainly agree with you about Grassley though. He recently introduced a bill for a registery where doctors would need to report all money they have received from pharmaceutical companies --a huge step in bringing down the cost of health care.

The articles includes the mention of a pediatrician who has received almost $200,000 from the maker of a antipsychotic medication -- which she regularly prescribes and recommends, though it is expensive and shown to be ineffective. She also takes money from 7 other phamaceuticals, and Grassley couldn't even find out how much.

This sort of thing is one of the major drivers of health care inflation.

I think Hillary made a big mistake defending lobbyists -- sure, they're people too -- greedy people. Those of us who want clean government have no love for them.

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Posted by: Deal-master | August 5, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Obama Took 1.4 Million From Lobbyists' Firms

The LA Times reports today that even after presidential hopeful Barack Obama made a show of standing up to Washington insiders by returning donations from lobbyists, he received help raising campaign money from at least two of them.

Even as he shuns donations from lobbyists, Obama has taken more than $1.4 million this year from law and consultancy firms that have partners who are registered to lobby, a Times analysis of Obama's fundraising shows. He has received hundreds of thousands more from corporate executives while turning down money from their lobbyists.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obama4aug04,1,4742821.story?coll=la-politics-campaign&ctrack=2&cset=t rue

Further, the Des Moines Register reports that Obama's fundraising team has used state lobbyists, former lobbyists, spouses of lobbyists and partners in lobbying firms who are not registered for specific clients to reach the rich, the Washington Post reported in April.

As a U.S. Senate candidate, Obama was no stranger to PAC donations. From 2001 to 2006, he received $1.8 million, or about 8 percent, of what he raised from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070803/NEWS09/708030378/1001/NEWS

Posted by: JoeCHI | August 5, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

And I second Roo's spam comment.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 5, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Great. Comment spam. Can we start registering now, Chris?

Posted by: roo | August 5, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

roo - thanks for your response on the first KOS thread.

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Posted by: Deal-master | August 5, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, but no one has even discussed the OTHER democrat in the news recently...Newt Gingrich. He with the declaration that Clinton and Obama will be the democrat ticket, and the phoney war on terror, and the cessation of all imported oil to force us to use technology we have to rid ourselves of dependence on the middle east...

Hmmmmmm no? You mean no democrat has proposed these things?

Wonder why not?

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Posted by: MariaNami | August 5, 2007 5:39 AM | Report abuse

lylepink,

You've been saying this for as long as I've been reading these boards, and I'm going to have to ask you for proof that Republicans are aiming for Senator Obama to be the nominee. If there's a broad conspiracy to push Senator Clinton out of the Democratic nomination because the GOP wants to go head-to-head with Obama, I suggest you present hard evidence.

Truth be told, I think it's the other way around. The opposition research machine of the GOP is working overtime, I promise you that. I'm willing to bet they'd much rather have an opponent with a much longer public life to trash in the general election. And, like it or not, Sen. Clinton's public history is far more extensive than Sen. Obama. Plus, the right and the far right have a much stronger negative viceral reaction to her than they do Sen. Obama. People will come out to vote just to keep her out of the White House.

She has no crossover appeal of any kind, and Independents are far more likely to vote for a likeable candidate than someone who's not. Read the details of the IA and NH polls. The two senators are strong in different areas, and Obama absolutely kills her in likeablilty and trustworthiness. I'm not saying she won't win, I am saying that it will be just as hard, if not harder, for her to win than for Sen. Obama.

Posted by: JamesCH | August 5, 2007 4:07 AM | Report abuse

in Yale Political Union debates and forums hissing is traditionally and currently used to express disagreement with the speaker. Maybe there were some yalies in the crowd.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2007 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Fred: You seem to be falling for the repub line. Obama is the one they know they can beat and that is why so many are supporting him even to changing their registration in the hope they will be able to stop Hillary. I keep repeating this in the hope some of you younger folk will see how the game is played and realize what is happening.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 3:30 AM | Report abuse

MikeB: You have been against Hillary trying to shift the blame for your incompetence as a engineer on the visa problem. This blame game is not working and everyone but you knows it. When you can face FACTS about the visa problem, it is mainly due to those that over stay their allowed time and little or nothing is done to keep track of them. The longer they stay benefits others more than their original sponser, because they leave their original sponser and get work elsewhere. This problem, like so many others, is due in large part due to our looking for the cheapest products like the wave of goods made in China that has been in the news lately. Our education system is also to blame because so many do not teach the basic skills needed in the modern world. Medical Dr.'s are even training as Nurses for they can earn more as a Nurse here because of the high demand. Try looking into these and other factors with an open mind and you may get a better overall picture.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 3:14 AM | Report abuse

Don't hate during a primary.

(avoid it other times too.)

Posted by: emcee | August 5, 2007 2:28 AM | Report abuse

I am not necessarily an Obama supporter however the moment of the night was when Obama questioned Hillary on her support for lobbying and the affects lobbying had on tanking her 1993 HealthCare proposal. I thought that was an ingenious way of highlighting a difference while showing respect for what she tried to do.

I used to think the nomination going to Hillary was a foregone conclusion, however Obama seems to have the best combination of judgement, charisma, and thoughtfulness that can carry him to the nomination and through the general election. Polls consistently show he is most electable candidate.

My question to Hillary supporters is: why vote to nominate someone who has so much baggage and controversy around her. I would think wanting to have a democrat in the White House is more important than risking a general election loss to appease the most popular person in the party (Bill Clinton). She is nothing like her husband in policy or personality.

Posted by: Fred | August 5, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Chris, something you and the press appear to be confusing is our like for former President Clinton and our dislike for Hillary. With Bill, we got this lovable raskle. But that's the point, we knew he was a raskle and we loved him because he charmed his way out of the jams he got himself into. He tried and we forgave him. Hillary, on the other hand, has all of the charm of a snake, and we just don't trust her. She has peaked in the polls and will start sliding from here. This will be in part because of her too cozy relationship with unsavory lobbists and those Indian firms all too willing to buy someone who is sleezy enough to trade Amercian jobs for personal gain and campaign cash, in part because she comes across as brittle and phone, but mostly because she *appears* to be about as genuine as a tofu ham.

Posted by: MikeB | August 5, 2007 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama has my vote! Let's turn the page and rebuilt our beautiful country. Apparently everyone is lying to Hillary:
- By Bush in voting for the war
- By her husband in cheating since Arkansas
- May be dictators for Propaganda purposes.
She is the victim folks, get it??
These are the qualities we need for a Commander in Chief!

Posted by: Don | August 4, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

George, Hillary, "The Senator From India" *owns* part of a company that outsorces job. She has campaign benefits with Indian outsourcing firms and firms that handle bringing in H1-B and L-1 visa guest workers. She is in her natural element with those rats. The bloggers basically called her on the carpet and she dodged and weaved and never answered their questions. One thing is clear, Ms. Clinton is now toast. Write her off. The blind clodhoppers who have supported her in the rank and file will begin deserting her over the next month over jobs.

Posted by: MikeB | August 4, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

No point in intellectual honesty when sound bite reporting makes it so much easier to smear someone. Obama is a total hypocrite. He solicits donations from lobbyists, their spouses and their children to bypass the PACs and then run around saying how sanctamonious he is for not accepting PAC money. Are you going to report the facts Chris, or just sit back with Oprah and keep selling this guy as the second coming of Christ?

Posted by: Melanie | August 4, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Chris missed General Wes Clark's Friday morning speech. Here it is, from the man who SHOULD be President:

http://www.yearlykosconvention.org/node/726

Posted by: elleng | August 4, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I hasten to add that this is just Part 1 of Cillizza's roundup. Part 2 will feature a recount of his tireless reporting where he followed the candidates around after their canned speeches and asked them the questions the DKKiddies were too partisan to ask, relentlessly interrogating them about their stances and forcing them to defend their policies.

Look for it tomorrow, or maybe next week or something.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | August 4, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

George: I find the exact opposite, in that Hillary is the one the repubs FEAR most. I have thought this from the beginning and as time goes on, I am more convinced. I have been seeing a lot of reports about how women are among her strongest supporters and growing. I am not sure how the breakdown of registered voters is, but I think it is about 52/48 with the women in the majority. I have asked around and most think the actual voting is slightly higher than the 52/48. Another trend among men seems to fall into the pregnant in the summer and barefoot in winter, way of thinking, for those most strongly opposed to her.

Posted by: lylepink | August 4, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Biden?

Was this Edwards' crowd or was he just in rare form?

drindl, I thought the "deLay Rules" were the worst perversion of deliberation in the House in my lifetime. Gave money to his opponents.
Did not hold all Rs accountable for deLay, and neither, I might point out, did Rahm Emmanuel.

The D's quick gavel has now been admitted by Hoyer, who has agreed to the investigation of the matter. The Ds were wrong, but Hoyer is better than deLay.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 4, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

CC's right. That Hillary gaffe on lobbytists will come back to haunt her. Boneheaded move...

http://political-buzz.com/

Posted by: paul | August 4, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I am for obama. Hillary has never impressed me and reading about her answer on the lobbyist issue confirms that.

Posted by: jerry | August 4, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, I was there, and aside from your palpable NEED (marching orders?) to find something....anything wrong with John Edwards, at any cost, this isn't a bad recap of the debate.

Posted by: Jill | August 4, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, in theory the least likeable person could be the best president but in practice we will never find out -- because such a person will never be elected. Hillary is the one Democrat who does not stand a chance -- once the Republicans settle on a candidate they will look far more formidable in the polls. Hillary is the one that they are praying for, because she energizes her base. My guess is that we will lose House and Senate seats if she runs.

The argument that living in the White House somehow gives Hillary experience does not hold water. Bush Jr. had far more White House experience than Hillary and look what good it did us. Knowing where the bathrooms are on the first day isn't that essential of a skill.

Posted by: George | August 4, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Were we in the same room? Obviously your obama pandering is to be expected, but to point out the fact that he got a 'HUGE" response, and completely ignoring the fact that John Edwards had 4 count 'em 4 standing ovations is pretty irresponsible journalism, if you call what you do journalism.

Posted by: LaEscapee | August 4, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"The more I hear from Hillary the more I dislike her....her generally strident personality...frankly, she's just hard to like."

If your vote is predicated on likeability you run the very real risk of getting another Dubya who, I'm told, was once considered eminently likeable by many. I never personally found him so myself, but the reason I didn't vote for him had nothing to do with his affable frat-boy schtick - it was based on his policies & competence (or spectacular lack thereof). Generally, I've found competence & policy to be a superior metric to "likeability" in the assessment of candidates. But, hey, that's just me.

Posted by: DJO | August 4, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

CC - What happened to Biden? I thought he was at the debate.

You said in your previous post.. "Clinton's 'breakout' session with bloggers came just before she participated in a presidential candidates forum alongside Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson. The other candidates will host break out sessions following the forum."

Whas' up?

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 4, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The more I hear from Hillary the more I dislike her. For awhile before the details of her lobbyist relationships came out and her generally strident personality, I had started to consider the possibility of voting for her. But frankly, she's just hard to like.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I believe hissing is the approved method of expressing disapproval at private girls' schools in the Northeast.

Likewise whistling disapproval is traditional in Europe, and booing at American sports stadiums. But these are thought lacking in sophistication by a certain element of contemporary society.

Posted by: RDM | August 4, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Bob T~"Seems to me that the low point for all the candidates was attending and pandering to this group of low lifes. If this is the level that the Democratic party has fallen to, it is sad, sad, sad."

Why would anyone go to the trouble of logging on to a website and posting a comment, just to regurgitate somebody else's talking points? Worse than that--Bill O'Lielly's talking points! Did you just get up today and say "Hmm...I feel like being Bill O'Reilly's and Karl Rove's Xerox machine today. That would be a productive use of my time."

Like the faux "war on xmas", the coordinated attack on DailyKos by the 25-percenters is a complete fabrication designed to pull in the rubes--looks like they got one.

Posted by: Azdak | August 4, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Bob T~"Seems to me that the low point for all the candidates was attending and pandering to this group of low lifes. If this is the level that the Democratic party has fallen to, it is sad, sad, sad."

When I was coming up, my parents told me the Democrats were the party of the people, families, the working class. The Republicans were the party of big business, the ultra-rich, and the war machine.

If you consider real people, families and the working men and women of this nation "low lifes" then I say to you, "go back to your bubble" and I say to these Democrats, "welcome".

Posted by: leslie | August 4, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, Dodd did win the "Golden leash award" in 1998 "for taking $910,304 in campaign cash from Jan 1993 to Dec 1997 from Securities, Investment, Accounting, and High-Tech computer industries."

Of course he is a piker compared to Bill Clinton who has literally been paid millions by those same industries according to Hillary's financial reports. His speaking tours are like a directory of American and foreign special interests. It frankly astounds me that the issue has not come up -- when I started looking into it I thought I might find a little bit of mischief that would be used against her but the Clintons are completely brazen. Name a lobby group and it is pretty likely that Bill has been paid $125,000 or more for speaking to them.

It has gotten to the point where he even co-appears at events with George Bush Sr! He appeared with 'papa Bush' at the CTIA conference in March, probably for $200,00 at his current rate. CTIA happens to be a telecom lobby group; remember that when Hillary talks about the need to spend billions on rural broadband.

Posted by: George | August 4, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Never mind, it was the proposed "Balanced Budget Amendment" to the Constitution.

Posted by: Arlen | August 4, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is going to have to explain how the $41 million that Bill gets paid for speaking in front of lobby groups, insurance companies, and big corporations (both here and abroad) cannot possibly have any influence on her. I know that if a corporation like the Chinese investment banker CLSA wrote my wife a $700,000 check they would get my utmost attention...

Posted by: George | August 4, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat, part of the "netroots" I guess, and I like Dodd a lot, but I thought that was his flogging of the O'Reilly spat was his low point. Overall, there was just too much pandering there. I thought Dodd's best moment was when he pushed back at Obama, who was trying to make Dodd sound like a Johnny-come-lately on public financing, and Gravel's was when he turned a (frankly kind of silly) question from McJoan on corruption in Alaska into the same subject.
Hillary Clinton, seems to me, does much better when she's interacing with people than when she's delivering a stump speech. I think town halls are gonna be good for her.

Posted by: Jim | August 4, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Ha, that could be because DailyKos linked to his intial post of their convention.

I like this high/low point coverage of the debate. Not every candidate is glowing all the time, or bad all the time, so your typical win/lose list falls short. This shows that, despite what the MSM says, candidates other than the Big Three have things to say

Posted by: Simon | August 4, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

thanks cc, finally, a review of a "debate" that includes pluses and minuses of all the candidates. perhaps you were more careful this time given the sponsor of this debate, the anti MSM daily kos?

Posted by: tim chicago | August 4, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that the low point for all the candidates was attending and pandering to this group of low lifes. If this is the level that the Democratic party has fallen to, it is sad, sad, sad.

Posted by: Bob T | August 4, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"Richardson told the crowd that he supported a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Hissing and boos. Boos and hissing."

I believe, if I remember correctly, Richardson was specifically talking about a line-item veto.

Posted by: Arlen | August 4, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

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