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Republican Debate: Winners and Losers

Yesterday's GOP debate in Dearborn, Mich., was supposed to be all about former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.). It was the actor turned politician's first time on stage with his opponents and was widely cast as a chance for Thompson to reshape what, to date, has been a somewhat lackluster campaign.

Republican presidential hopefuls John McCain, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani talk prior to Tuesday's debate in Dearborn, Mich. (AP Photo)

But, as we suggested yesterday, a brewing fight between former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over taxes. overshadowed Thompson's debut. It was the first time that the two frontrunners had engaged each other directly and both men seemed unwiling to step back once the fight began.

Below you'll find our winners and losers from the debate. As always these are a subjective take. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to offer your own thoughts in the comment section.

Rudy Giuliani: The fact that the debate was centered on economic issues was a boon for Giuliani. He's clearly comfortable talking about his record in New York City and well versed in the elements of fiscal conservatism. It also meant that the word "abortion" never came up in the debate; Sen. Sam Brownback mentioned that the GOP nominee should be pro-life but didn't direct his comment at Giuliani. And, on the one major confrontation of the day, Giuliani bested Romney by framing his support for the repeal of a presidential line-item veto during the Clinton administration as a battle he fought and won against Bill Clinton. (He also managed to wedge the phrase "strict constructionist" into his answer, a valentine for social conservatives.) Giuliani was rarely thrown off his stride last night, and, perhaps more importantly, showed he was willing to throw a punch when the situation demanded it.

Fred Thompson: The former Tennessee Senator came into this debate with low expectations -- the result of repeated flubs on the campaign trail over the past month -- and exceeded them, barely. Thompson's first answer was decidedly shaky and the long pause he took while searching for a word made us think he might not be up to the task. But, as the debate wore on Thompson improved, aided by a debate format that gave him first crack at most of the key questions. Thompson's answer on Iraq was solid and he passed the "gotcha" test by quickly naming the prime minister of Canada. The reality is that Thompson is never going to be the smoothest or most charismatic figure on a debate stage; what he is selling is a broader vision about what's wrong with America and how to fix it. Is that the kind of message voters can rally around?

Hillary Clinton: We could just imagine the New York Senator watching yesterday's debate with a wide grin on her face as Romney and Giuliani tried to one up one another when it came to attacking her. There's no better way for Clinton to shore up her bona fides with the Democratic base than to be savaged by the leading Republican nominee. And, with the Republicans acting like Clinton's nomination is a foregone conclusion, it lends credence to the inevitability argument her campaign is already starting to make. If everyone is acting like Clinton is the nominee, it raises the chances she actually will be the nominee. (Make sure to check out the interview the Post's Dan Balz and Anne Kornblut got with Clinton here.)

Early Starting Debates: Most people decried the fact that the debate started at 4 pm on a weekday, Not The Fix. As an "early to bed, early to rise" devotee, this debate was right in our wheelhouse. Plus, if you missed it live, MSNBC ran a rerun at 9 pm for the night owls among us.

John McCain: The addition of Thompson to the debate mix meant even less speaking time for McCain. As expected, McCain focused heavily on his long fight against pork-barrel spending and called for a return to real Republican principles on the issue. It was telling of how far McCain has fallen in the race, however, that not one of his opponents brought up the fact that he had voted against the 2001 tax cut proposal of President Bush. Instead, they spent their time praising McCain (even Romney offered kudos) -- reinforcing the idea that the Arizona Senator is no longer a first-tier candidate. McCain was also victimized by a logistical problem; his struggle to hear several of the questions didn't do him any favors.

Mike Huckabee: We've had Huckabee as a winner in nearly every debate thanks to his down-home charm and humor. But yesterday it seemed a bit forced and over the top. (Fix friend and Politico blogger Jonathan Martin made the same point here.) Huckabee's extended metaphor over the need to rev up the country's metabolism for energy indepence included references to "The Andy Griffith Show" and NASCAR and felt forced. It might be that we have just watched too many of these debates, and that for someone listening and watching Huckabee with fresh eyes his jokes still carry a freshness. But, in the end, for Huckabee to have a real shot at the nomination he has to give voters who may be leaning toward one of his opponents a reason to switch allegiances; he didn't do that yesterday.

Sam Brownback: It's hard to understand why Brownback is still in the race. After a disappointing third place showing at Ames in August, the steam seemed to go out of his candidacy and we saw no signs yesterday that he has found his groove. Brownback's jokes fell flat and there were no obvious differences between himself and his rivals on major issues.

Two Hour Debates: They're just too long. Ninety minutes seems about right for one of these get-togethers -- anything more really tests the attention span of the candidates and the viewers. The reason for the extended debates is to try and give all of the candidates time to speak on the issues. Our solution? Start using some sort of polling measure -- over five percent nationally, perhaps -- to limit the number of participants. That would allow a 90-minute debate in which viewers could hear more in-depth answers from the candidates with a real chance at the nomination.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 10, 2007; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: At Debate, GOP Hopefuls Again Focus on Clinton
Next: Wag the Blog: Are GOP Attacks Helping Hillary?


I don't know, an awful lot of people are switching to support Huckabee. I think it's because his consistent and positive message is appealing to all kinds of ordinary people - not just the social conservatives either.

Check out the buzz over at his site:

Posted by: soulsamurai | November 6, 2007 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Happy Day! Registration at "The Fix" has arrived.

RadPat, the #7 women's volleyball team won Saturday night, so Sunday night when I drove back in from Dallas the tower was indeed lit orange.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 10, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Copernicus -
Kind of early to say, but right now my favorites, in order, are:
Edwards, Kucinich, Obama, Thompson, Biden, Huckabee, McCain. No one else even remotely addresses issues that concern me and I regard them as self centered fools that don't deserve our votes.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 10, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

7-10: You have a VERY interesting paragraph on your website on Ron Paul. I recommend it to everyone.

Especially insightful, I think, is your phrase the "purity, thoughtfulness, and consistency of his arguments." That makes him the opposite of almost any other candidate one can name of any party. One doesn't have to agree with all (or even any) of his positions, but one is forced to agree that his positions are clear and consistently upheld by both his words and his deeds.

Where does he draw his support from? Clearly, from all those who despise the "politics as usual of politicians as usual." Many millions seem to be, or at least say they are, fed up with the same old same old. And what do the NY HillBillies represent?--the same same old same old old.

Posted by: radicalpatriot | October 10, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Mark [no orange-lit tower this week, eh?] & JasonL--Perhaps I am reading too much into the Rove strategy, but he never seems to say or do anything [going back to when Bush was playing governor of some southern state] that isn't calculated in that way. Perhaps the GOP really are conceding 2008 and are merely thinking about what would be the best way to regain power, which would be to have the Clintons back in. Probably it's not as nasty as I put it in my previous post--although I wouldn't put it past them.

It may be, as Mark put it, that "American politics is quintessentially paradoxical," although "pernicious" is the word that first comes to my mind. Was it Mencken who said, "It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake."

Posted by: Radical Patriot | October 10, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I know why Rove, Bush, et. al want Hillary Clinton to win. They know that a Clinton victory in 2008 will hasten the return of Republican majorities in Congress in 2010, similar to 1994. Think of how many Democratic congressmen in purple and red districts will tell Hillary Clinton NOT to campaign with them in October 2010!

However, if another Democrat were to win, especially one of the "second-tier" ones who are equally (if not more) qualified as (than) Clinton without being nearly as polarizing, the GOP could be locked out of the White House and Congress for much longer.

For all of Clinton's strengths, there is a very large segment of the American populace that just doesn't like her for some reason or another. She is to Republicans what Bush is to Democrats.

The Democrats have a very real possibility of making it to 60 seats in 2010 (or even in 2008 if there's another perfect storm like 2006). But having Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket would make this feat a bit less likely.

Posted by: The 7-10 | October 10, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon--I think Rove does indeed see the neon-lit writing on the wall, but surely he always will act only for his personal rabid dedication to the Rep. party's interests, and thus regardless of what he plans to do, he would say things [like "Hillary will be the Dem. nominee] only for a calculated party-self-interest.

I do get the feeling, as you put it, that they [the Rep.s] are sort of sitting back and waiting for something good to happen to them. But that is dangerous politicking, to attempt to succeed only by chance.

Certainly Hillary is just sitting back, calculating, trying to just cruise on her current status and trying to do nothing that would be a perceived as a flub or a gaffe. That strategy is OK if you are, or perceive yourself to be, ahead. It certainly explains why she hides everything of substance and just talks from behind a verbal screen of fog and lights. But surely Rove knows that such a strategy is not the right one for the Rep.s at the moment.

Or maybe, just maybe--the Rep.s really want Clinton to win. Then when she F**ks our country as Bush has, by 2016 the entire country will swing right again, and Jeb Bush can then be appointed our next president. Followed by Chelsea Clinton, of course, followed by one or both of the Bush girls, if either is sobered up by then.

After all, what does Poppy Bush and Billy Boy talk about, now that they are spending so much time together and doing so much together??? ... birds of a feather

Posted by: Radical Patriot | October 10, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"rufus, again, you are right on the mark..a fool can support any of them." Posted by: MikeB

MikeB and rufus - a sign that the planets are aligning.

Reference your comment MikeB, who do you support?

Posted by: Copernicus | October 10, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

RadPat, I think you might be reading more into the "Hillary is inevitable" thing than is really there. Rove is looking at the polls and he sees that her negatives are not so high as to really drum up base support.

Besides, Obama might be just as good a whip to drive the base given his name and the color of his skin (not to say that all Republicans are racist, just that racism still prevails in the south and elsewhere sometimes).

However, I we do read into this as a strategy, I think it's possible that they believe that she might be the easiest candidate to unseat after one term. She has the most moderate stance on Iraq, as far as I can tell. I think that they hope that she'll be slow to withdraw, let Bush's tax cuts expire and lead a knock down, drag out fight on national health care. Those might give R's a better chance in 2012.

Posted by: JasonL | October 10, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all for the replies to my sincere question--and I am, I hope you realize, truly "unaffiliated." The best label for me would be an "equal partisan despiser."

J--I do think your point that she will "rally the base" has a lot to it. She certainly rallies a lot of my kind--against her, that is. Blogs all over the country are filled with independents (many normally left-leaning) and even self-confessed lefties saying that will vote GOP or third-party or not at all rather than to vote for her. I would probably [gag! choke! vomit!] vote for Giuliani if he were running against her.

I also agree that a lot of GOP thinking seems to be that such a rally will occur. Significantly, the GOP expects their voting "base" of the Christian fundaments [sic], who have proclaimed their dissatisfaction with all current GOP candidates and have threatened to not support the GOP candidate, would rally to the GOP if the alternative was the HillaryBillary team.

But such thinking is based more on speculation and several big IFs, rather than on more probable political realities. And that approach is dangerous, and reminds me of the Dem.s in 2004 who kept saying, "Man, if we can't defeat this jerk [Bush]. . . ." In other words, will the Rep.s be as politically stupid as the Dem.s have been?

Posted by: Radical Patriot | October 10, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Look at the names radical. Sell-out moderates, screwing up at just the ight time for the gop. I think they are closet republcains laying low and gaining credibility with the elft, so they cn control us. there are many other d sell-outs. Not many r's I know about. But it's all about the money, to me. Treason.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

there's no money in helping america, for politicans. only gop hate for trying to help your own country. Saboturs.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree radical. But the point is, she as bush cheaney kerry and leiberman, serve higher masters. Bush is not responsibilie for all the evil in the world. My point was, clinton serves the same masters as bush has. The defense contractors. Big drug. Big oil. China, isreal, saudi arabia, india. Notice nowher ein there is america. America comes last to these people.

so, imo, that is why they are pushing her. She is the differant side of the same coin. I want another coin.

Obama-gore 08 for change

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

If she doens't want to answer to the people, she should not have selceted public service as a profession. If she wanted to be part of a monarchy she is in the wrong country. As both current parties.

But both parties time is almost up. A new thrid party is on the scene, soon. one that represents the people, OF THIS COUNTRY. What a novil concept.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

those quotes are from pelosi by the way. Take notes gop. this is how you hold you own accountable, by any means necessary. It's called choosing you rcountry over a party. Take note gop.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The skull and bones yalie is trying to stir up trouble. Why does olberman give this closet fascist ANY air time at all? Like cc? I don't get it. I'm bracing for a let down. But again. Teh left are not dittheads. Olberman and stewart and whoever get the respect because they haven't sold out. If and when they do they will share the same fate as fox. It's about news and credibility. Not the source. Do you hear me dittoheads?

""Look," she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."

Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."

Posted by: Dana Milbanks article | October 10, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Rufus--it doesn't make any real sense to assert that the GOP is trying to get Hillary as the Dem. nominee because of the Yale connection. That particular fact is interesting, but doesn't answer my [genuine] question. That fact, such as it is, IS very interesting in that it shows how much the country is leaving behind its last pretensions of being a democracy and heading towards being a plutocracy/aristocracy. And in that it is one more reason to oppose Hillary, or any other Bush-Clinton.

I do agree with you that Hillary is more a type of Rep. than a Dem., at least in many ways. I have said before that she is the Machiavellian mirror image of Bush--only that when he swings his despicable right hand around in circles, she is (by reflection) swinging her despicable left hand around in circles!

Posted by: Radical Patriot | October 10, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

JasonL, methinks you protest too much - as bsimon noted, we are far down the road on Iraq; further, HRC sits on the Armed Forces Committee and has access to intelligence briefings. I conceded that the question posed without follow up may not have demanded a more detailed response. But it did deserve one.

Colin, I know the history and the conventional thinking, but I have now seen HRC knocked off stride by lightweight questions and RG comes armed for the fray.
But your basic point is taken: a man can never roughly treat a woman and win the hearts and minds of the audience. That may disarm RG in the hypothetical case you, and J, and bsimon, and Boko, and Blarg and I do not want to see.

RadPat, howdy from Lake Lady Bird! The other possibility is that Rove sees HRC ahead in the polls and simply thinks she will win the nomination. The polls and the MSM have assumed HRC will be nominated, so why would Rove think differently? He has no inside information to contradict the assumption. On the other hand, you could be correct on all your assumptions, thus proving that American politics is quintessentially paradoxical.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 10, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Radical Patriot, do you think maybe there is a foreign policy card up the Bushies' sleeve (Iran?) that they think will be especially strong against Hillary if played next summer or so?
Or do you think they're counting on some additional Hsu-esque scandal emerging over the next year?
Of course, George W. Bush has never been noted for his level of concern about things not immediately associated with him... he may just sit back and wait for the Truman-like vindication he thinks history will eventually provide him.
And as far as Rove is concerned, I think he is savvy enough to read the tea leaves and know that GOP success - at least, on his terms - is unlikely in '08. Having twice helped to elect a poseable action figure, he may think that his future as a political consultant is assured.

Posted by: Bokonon | October 10, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse


I think there are a couple of reasons for the GOP thinking.

1) Nobody else will rally the GOP base like Clinton, and these guys think base first.

2) I'm guessing it goes back to the "heart vs head" argument. I think that their strategy would be to try to draw out her less appealing characteristics so that people are turned off. The negatives have been pretty high, and the GOP would want to remind people why. They can't necessarily get away with too much, but I bet they think they have a way to get her to do it herself.

Just some guesses on my part.

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Are you looking for an answer radical patriot? Or are you vocing an opion. If you want an answer, it's right here:

""All U.S. presidents since 1989 have been Yale graduates, namely George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (who attended the University's Law School along with his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton), and George W. Bush, and Vice President Dick Cheney, (although he did not graduate). Many of the 2004 presidential candidates attended Yale: Bush, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Joe Lieberman.

Other Yale-educated presidents were William Howard Taft (B.A.) and Gerald Ford (LL.B). Alumni also include several Supreme Court justices, including current Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

But I agree with you. The gop is pushing hillary there darndest. Hillary vs gop is gop vs gop. There's one way to win an election. Run agaisnt you rown party. The moderates like kerry and clinton are a farce. They are closet republcains waiting for their chance to sell-out their party

Posted by: RUFUS | October 10, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse


I disagree on several counts.

The sitting Senators may have a security clearance, but they don't know any better about this stuff than you or me. Having previously held a clearance myself, I assumed before we went into Iraq the same thing you're saying here ("They have more information"). Than as the information trickled out, I changed my opinion. And I certainly don't want to feed their feeling of self-importance any more than it already is. They DON'T know any more than you or me, they just try to act like they do. I got an extremely condescending letter from Senator Dole on intelligence issues. She got a very blunt, scathing one in return.

Richardson has much more experience in this sort of stuff than Clinton, and I'm certain much more knowledge. And he may even have read the intelligence briefs were he in her position.

The President works for US, not the other way around. The voters have every right to insist on answers, so that we can see how a given candidate ticks. Saying "I won't answer that because it's hypothetical" doesn't cut it. She can at least explain her thought process. The whole next presidency is hypothetical right now. She may as well stop campaigning since she can't talk about any of it.

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

does anyone else think that by repeating the "Clinton = inevitable nominee" argument so often, not to mention providing Hillary with a disproportionate share of media attention, the media is playing along with the Clinton campaign? You would think she is the only candidate running who has laid out plans for health care, Iraq, the environment, etc. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking she is the only candidate running.
and, aside to Lyle and other Hillary supporters, yes, I understand that this in itself is not a reason not to vote for her. However, I still have not seen a compelling reason TO vote for her, when many of the policy proposals of ALL the top Democrats are only marginally different. She still strikes me as inauthentic, and as feeling entitled to the presidency for having the last name she has.

Posted by: Bokonon | October 10, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I see that some of my favorite people [drindle, Mark-in-A, trotsky(often), etc.] have touched on this thread today, so I'll wander in and out a bit too.

I have a question bothering me that I can't really work out a clear answer to, so I'll ask the brain trust on (ironically) the brainless Cillizza's site here to see what y'all might think.

Both Bush and Rove have actually said clearly and more than once [so it's something they have actually thought about carefully] that they expect Hillary to be the Democratic nominee. Now I am also assuming that any such comment like that is carefully calculated to have some positive effect in the Republican party's best interests. Am I OK so far?

I also assume that they know that the more they repeat and repeat and repeat something that is not necessarily true, the more people will accept that as the truth [they are obviously masters of that cause-and-effect]--especially knowing how voters in America vote with almost any organ except the brain. Therefore, I conclude that they want Hillary to be the Dem. nominee. Am I still OK so far, or is there a better conclusion?

So why do they want her to be the nominee? The pet answer would be [as many seem to believe it] that she is the most beatable of all the Democratic possible candidates. But if she were to be the Dem. nominee [which ugly and horrifying possibility I fully agree could be the case], why would the Rep.s--especially one with the political genius (that does not equate with any "goodness', of course)of Rove--believe she would be easiest to defeat?

The Dem.s as a party are in the stronger position nationally for the next election, it seems, and whoever is the nominee will be all the stronger for winning that position. Are the other candidates that much better than Hillary in regard to being harder to defeat in the election? As utterly despicable as Hillary is, she certainly would be a powerful force to defeat in the general election. Surely Rove [and other GOPers] do not really consider her to be an easily defeatable featherweight. Surely they are not that politically stupid about the Clintons, having lost twice to them. Surely, having gotten Bush appointed and then (probably) elected in 2000 and 2004, with the hope of establishing a 1000-year Republican Reich, Rove knows what he is doing more than anyone.

These concepts linked together seem self-contradictory, so I must have erred in my thinking.
What link have I erred on?
Help! Please clarify!

Posted by: Radical Patriot | October 10, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"or read the "Politics" sections of the Post or the New York Times have an extremely limited amount of information to go on when deciding which candidate to support. "

Nonsense. you have the internet. You just have to put the work in. do not blame the world. If you want to know about politics, go on the internet. do some research. The gop loves to try to keep us ignorant about politics. This way they can do whatever they want. You can change that. All you have to do is put in the work

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Good post, Steve. Well argued...

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Thanks, bsimon, I must have missed that.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

As bsimon noted, 12:59 was me, Blarg.

The point I'm trying to make is that the outline you want is unreasonable. The security interests of the US as regards to Iraq are not clear to Americans that lack high level clearance. Richardson has his viewpoint, but he's arguably less informed than a sitting Senator like HRC (who is on a military or foreign policy committee, I recall).

We're talking from two different viewpoints here. I'm talking about a logical, policy based approach to Iraq. You're talking about the (sometimes irrational) voter viewpoint. I'm not saying that you, specifically, are being irrational. It's just that the things you want to hear are not always the things that can be done in government. I think it's dishonest to say you're going to do a thing without knowing all the information. It's like buying a car without doing any research, except if you get a bad car you're screwed. If we do the wrong thing in Iraq thousands of people (at least) are screwed.

Posted by: JasonL | October 10, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I am an avid reader of "The Fix" and often enjoy the insight that Chris brings to the table. However, his idea for changing the debate format may be one of the worst ideas presented in a long time regarding these debates. Five percent nationally? I'm from Washington state, where there are zero campaign ads, and only a handful of candidates will ever show up during the primaries. Thus, those who don't watch these debate (the vast majority of us), or read the "Politics" sections of the Post or the New York Times have an extremely limited amount of information to go on when deciding which candidate to support. National polls are the absolute worst indicator for viability out of all indicators regularly cited.
One example is Mike Huckabee, who continues to have lackluster national poll numbers. However, a look at Dan Balz's "On the Trail" article from a few days ago pointing out that Mike Huckabee has tremendous room for growth in what is already a third place position in Iowa. John McCain, however, has already been written off by more than half of Iowa Republicans, which is amazing considering that the vast majority of likely Caucus voters are still undecided. Yet, under Chris's proposal, Huckabee would be left out of the debate, while McCain would be given more time.
A much better idea is to reduce the time to 90 minutes, keep the debate topics focused, and provide some sort of mechanism for equal time. Why should Rudy and Hillary get twice the amount of time that Joe Biden or Mike Huckabee get at this stage of the race? Limiting the expanse of the debate topics will allow for more substantive answers, and viewers will get a much clearer picture of how candidates would approach the economy/foreign policy/social issues, etc.

Posted by: Steve | October 10, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Just my two cents. I certainly agree with you that it's better to keep such a match up hypothetical."

It's certainly the only hypothetical that Clinton doesn't avoid.

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

and in other news. We are now in week two of the gop bashing obama for stopping to wear a pin years ago. Pathetic

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"This business is so delicate, so precise, you can't risk letting others in on it, lest they exert their own will and screw everything up; consequently, the future-facilitator is bound to come off aloof, shifty, even evil in the eyes of others"

i disagree. We are all in this togther. just an allegory for you,,20151394_3,00.html

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"MY ARGUMENT: Like Desmond, Ben receives flashes of the future, too. Of course, while Old Bug Eyes has been on The Island longer, and has actively cultivated a deeper rapport with The Island (or is that just Jacob?), Big Bad Ben has banked many, many, many more flashes than the formerly Hatched-trapped Scot. My belief is that Ben has seen the Ultimate End of the drama currently transpiring on The Island -- the one involving The Castaways, his fellow Others, and even the newly arrived freighter people -- and he's either determined to do whatever it takes to make sure that Ultimate End comes to pass...or to thwart it. My theory explains Ben's apparent menace, which I think is greatly misunderstood.",,20151394_3,00.html

Posted by: Are you lost? | October 10, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- I'm no Hillary fan, but I gotta say I disagree that Rudy would get the better of her in a debate. She's at least as quick on her feet as him and is assuredly brilliant, whatever else. Moreover, I think Rudy would find it very difficult to really attack her head on without looking like a bully. Fair or not, it's more difficult for a male politician to attack a female politician without creating some very negative reactions in people. I think Hillary knows that and would exploit it. Finally, Rudy has historically had a pretty thin skin when it comes to others going after him. It's not hard for me to imagine a debate where he would blow up at Clinton and pay a heavy price for it.

Just my two cents. I certainly agree with you that it's better to keep such a match up hypothetical.

Posted by: Colin | October 10, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

thank you for moderating simon. the source means nothing. only the WORD matters. Ask yourself before agreeing or disagreeing, IF YOU AGREE. The source or anonymous poster name means nothing. Now if a source is lying whether it be zouk or jd or you or me even, then they lose credibility. But to agree with everything or nothing someone says, based on who says it, does a great disservice to both the poster and yourself. If you are not growing everyday, you are dead already

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Blarg says
"12:59 anonymous, your post would be a lot easier to address if you signed it."

JasonL says
"Posted by: | October 10, 2007 12:59 PM is me."

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

rufus, again, you are right on the mark. When will people wake up and see that the Republicrats rpresent no one but themselves. The leaders of both parties are self serving swine and only a fool can support any of them.

Posted by: MikeB | October 10, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

12:59 anonymous, your post would be a lot easier to address if you signed it.

Saying "My intent is to withdraw troops in a manner consistent with the best interests of the US" is meaningless without more information. What are the best interests of the US? Bush and many Republicans think it's in the best interest of the US to leave troops in Iraq for decades. Richardson thinks it's in the best interest of the US to withdraw everyone immediately.

I expect every candidate to do what they think is best. My question, as a voter, is whether I agree with the candidate as to what is best. So I need to know what the candidate thinks, and what the candidate plans to do. I'm not asking for a detailed plan. I'm asking for an outline, or a summary, or even a hint of how and when Hillary would withdraw from Iraq. I don't think that's unreasonable.

And no, there's no evidence to support the position that Hillary wants to stay in Iraq. But it certainly seems suspicious to me. If she didn't want to withdraw troops but did want to appeal to antiwar voters, she'd probably make vague statements about eventually making withdrawal plans, and doing what's in our best interests. She'd sound exactly like she sounds today.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Like the propogandists refusal to mention olberman's name. Olberman thinks it's some Voldermort, thing. I think they fear change. Change hillary is not. Hilliary is the only dem canadiate that the gop can beat. The d's could run any of their candidates, other than hil, and win. With her it's a push. The d's nominating her show that they are following the gop down the rabbit hole. In four years I get my dream. A valid real independant thrid party for the people. For the constitution, anti-war, anti- illegal immagration, "socialist" on social isues. The day of real change is nearing. I just wish the dem's had some balls. It would save their party.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

From drudge.

they fear him. that is why.

"Hillary's mentioned 12 times by GOP candidates; Obama: none...

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

bsimon writes
"its as if, 5 years after voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq, she hasn't given it a second thought. Sure, tell us that you don't know what the situation will be in 15 months, but how about a vague outline of an approach?"

Absolutely. If a candidate wants people's votes, that candidate needs to pony up with enough information on what drives him/her. Not with this one though.

Hillary Clinton? Leadership? Vision? Not in the same sentence.

Unfortunately there is a fairly substantial lack of those traits in both GOP and Dem fields. They exist, but that requirement sure winnows the choices down a bit.

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"these people are immortals"

Not. NOT immortals

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Mitt Romney said "he'd have to consult with his lawyers" on the constitutionality of pre-emptively attacking another country. Had he been a Democrat, he would have been pummeled to death by the GOP. That might have legs.

I disagree with Chris's assessment of Huckabee. Even if his NASCAR reference seemed "forced," he at least sounds much more credible talking about it than Romney or Giuliani does.

Also, Romney and Giuliani had better stop focusing so much on Clinton because they have to secure the nomination first, and that's not guaranteed.

You can read my take on the debate here:

Posted by: The 7-10 | October 10, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

New Quinnipiac polls have Clinton beating all four Republicans in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Check them out here:

Posted by: Daniel | October 10, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait till fox and rush are gone so you old people have to think for yourself for a change. imagine my glee, that day. It's going to happen. these people are immortals. I just how they don't fill o'reilly's seat with a hannity/coulter/rush/lowery type. At least o'reilly has some self control. At least he realizes he is talking about americans and draws a line. Though he should be gone, it could be a lot worse. I hope tat is not the plan. If so, god help us

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

trotsky says, of HRC
"Some straightforward candidate you got yourselves there."

The thing is, given the wishy-washiness of her answers & her attempts to appear all manly and hawkish, she could just as easily have stood on stage last night with all the boys from the Goold Ole Boys party.

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"I don't expect an extremely detailed plan from Hillary. But all she said in the interview was that she's committed to getting out, and she'll form a withdrawal plan once she's elected. That's not good enough"

Blarg, its as if, 5 years after voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq, she hasn't given it a second thought. Sure, tell us that you don't know what the situation will be in 15 months, but how about a vague outline of an approach? How about something that starts with "If I were President today, I would..." Go ahead and end it with a reminder that what might work today might not work in Jan of 09. But throw us a friggin' bone.

She needs to demonstrate some leadership & vision. Thus far: zippo.

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

" he's a moderator, so shut up and moderate! His behavior is reprehensible"

Enlighten us. How so? What did he do that was so horrible? Other than offer one bad joke. What did he do that is evil? i am not a matthews fan. i just like to question people who do what they're told by the fox and rush propogandists. How was matthews out of line? Examples please.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: | October 10, 2007 12:59 PM is me.

Posted by: JasonL | October 10, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Dan Abrams' Beat the Press: FOX's Pot/Kettle Moment
By: Nicole Belle @ 9:01 AM - PDT

Download (616) | Play (939) Download (323) | Play (450)

Dan Abrams-most recently GM of MSNBC-looks at the laughably petulant and childish insinuations being made at FOXNews about Chris Matthews, moderator of last night's GOP debate. Apparently, the team over at FOXNews is incensed that Tweety would dare to say anything about the White House trying to control the flow and framing of the news and thereby taint George Bush as being anything less than the masterful Commander in Chief they say he is.

So what is the propaganda arm of the White House to do? Suggest that Chris Matthews is too liberal to be an unbiased moderator for the Republican debate, unlike their fair and balanced Sean Hannity and Brit Hume. Be still my gag reflex.


Posted by: | October 10, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The only opinions that count are the opinions of the VOTERS - WHO HAVEN'T CAST ONE VOTE YET! Since when does polling 1000 people constitue the "majority of americans".

As far as last night's debate goes Chris Matthews is an utter disgrace and one of the most disrespectful moderators I've ever seen. Let's start out with the fact that he should keep his opinions out of the debate - he's a moderator, so shut up and moderate! His behavior is reprehensible. Does anyone find it curious that he continually cuts off the republican candidates during every debate, but let's Hillary Clinton run her mouth off with her never ending speeches without her ever giving an answer. He should tell her that she "should have stopped at no".
Maybe we should take a poll to guess who Chris Matthews is going to vote for - on the off chance anyone has to guess.

And after the last night's debate he didn't have one good thing to say about any republican candidate and continually attacked Guilliani. Regardless of how you feel about the republicans at least they have the guts to debate on the left wing news channels. The democrats claim they're strong on terror but they can't even muster up the guts to debate on Fox news.

Posted by: CR | October 10, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"She could give an overview of what she'd like. I'd be satisfied with something like 'My goal is to start withdrawal once I take office, and draw down to 25,000 combat troops by the end of 2009, if possible.' That's not super-detailed, but it gives an outline of what she wants to do." -Blarg

But what she'd like to do isn't necessarily what's best for the national security of the US. Let me offer you a quote from the article:
'She said she has been clear that calling for a withdrawal plan if she is sworn in as president would be a priority, but acknowledged that she is not ready to offer hard deadlines.'

That's basically what you said, right? It doesn't include the number but her stated intent is to withdraw troops in a manner consistent with the best interests of the US.
"There's also the possibility that she's being deliberately vague because she doesn't really want to withdraw troops." -Blarg

There is no evidence to support that position. In fact, it would make her a guaranteed one term president if she didn't make significant withdraws in the first 3 years of her presidency.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I am not a democrat by the way, coward zouk. I think they are cowards, though I support a couple that are not. i am an independant. And Independant. I am just anit-fascist. The gop has become a fascist party. My political beleifs are not represented today, maybe in the future. But I am agaisnt the fascist movement destroying the country for personal profit. Playtime, joketime. While thousands are dying. I am agaisnt that. So you waste you energy, you fascist you. i have no candidates. I'm just agisnt your's. How can you beat me?

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

when hillary is asked a question that requires a difficult answer you can expect one of three patterns:
1: cackle loudly and pretend you didn't hear
2: blame the entire question on the VRWC and refuse to answer
3: triangulate and respond in vageries, offering no actual answer at all.

Some straightforward candidate you got yourselves there. what is the meaning of the word "is" anyway?

Posted by: trotsky | October 10, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Rufas - in shakespeare the fool is clever and witty. you are nothing but the Fix's village idiot."

And you republcains ARE THE WORLD's village idiots.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

thanks to a real patriot (olberman) for doing what everyone else in the country (msm) is scared. What novil concept. Taking personal risks for the good of your country. At the risk of your carrer. you wouldn't know anything about that gop. Would you. The opposite is true for you. You sell-out your country for personal profit. When did that NOT become treason?

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Chris: shouldn't "substance" be part of politics, or is that the job of others to report?

Posted by: frank | October 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Rufas - in shakespeare the fool is clever and witty. you are nothing but the Fix's village idiot.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

JasonL, On re-reading it, I take your point on her Iraq response.

I would have preferred that she spoke to diplomatic initiatives and a redefinition of the military role, but the answer to the direct question asked to her was not inappropriate, as far as it went.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Countdown's Worst Person In The World: O'Reilly
By: Nicole Belle @ 9:47 AM - PDT

Download (3) | Play (0) Download (0) | Play (1)

I don't think there are three more deserved awards. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the embodiment of all that is wrong with political discourse nowadays...the unapologetic rationalization and justification for treason, rank (and ignorant) partisanship and the victimization of private citizens and children for cheap political shots.

To this day, when it clearly has all come down, Bill O'Reilly has never apologized for those comments, nor the sickness inside him they represent, nor the pain they caused. Because he is not only not enough of a man to do so, but not enough of a human being.

None of them are, Keith. None of them are.

Posted by: Public enemy number 1 and 2 | October 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

zouk is a coward. your party has zero chance. Every the gop admits this. HAHAHAHAHA. you lost puppies are funny to me.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

A judge on Wednesday ruled that Al Gore's award winning climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" should only be shown in schools with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination."

What else is new. the gop has their own studies for everything. They hid ein their caves, and refuse to acknowledge reality. there is always a republicn that will be their to lie spin and discreit. It's what they do. IT'S HOW they make a living. I'll take "real" sceintists to lying republcian propogandists any day of the week

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"I think it's fair to say that you'll make a decision when all the information is in your hands."

JasonL, I agree with you in general, and I don't expect an extremely detailed plan from Hillary. But all she said in the interview was that she's committed to getting out, and she'll form a withdrawal plan once she's elected. That's not good enough.

There's a lot of middle ground between a fully-detailed plan right now and a vague generalization like Hillary's. She could give an overview of what she'd like. I'd be satisfied with something like "My goal is to start withdrawal once I take office, and draw down to 25,000 combat troops by the end of 2009, if possible." That's not super-detailed, but it gives an outline of what she wants to do.

The problem is that Hillary wants people to vote for her. And if she won't give any information about what she'd do as president, why does she deserve our votes? There's also the possibility that she's being deliberately vague because she doesn't really want to withdraw troops. If Bush were running again, I'm sure he'd say vague things about how he wants to withdraw troops and would consider the feasibility of doing so. I don't see how Hillary's answer is any better than the answer Bush would give in her place.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton is of course free to fill her foreign-policy ranks with such people, and she is free to open herself to charges of cronyism. She is free to dismiss the fact that Sandy Berger violated the government's most stringent security rules. But she can't escape responsibility for it. If the Clintons spend whatever capital they have to help old friends find work, they tell us loud and clear what we're dealing with.

Posted by: crony corruption again | October 10, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If Sen. Hillary Clinton is to chart her own course independent of her husband, why did she choose Sandy Berger to give her advice on foreign policy? This suggests reunion time for cronies. In 2003, Mr. Berger took several highly classified documents about the Clinton-era Millennium terror plot from the National Archives while "aiding" the September 11 commission. Mr. Berger successfully negotiated a plea bargain and received only two years probation, along with a security-clearance suspension and a $50,000 fine. Were he anything less than a member of the permanent Clinton establishment, he would be in sitting in a prison cell, with few prospects.

But no sooner was his probation time over -- it ended last month -- than Mrs. Clinton put him back in the game, presumably with a new pair of pants big enough to accommodate purloined documents. This issue is a larger subset of the looming "first laddy" question. In a Hillary Clinton administration, first husband Bill Clinton would inevitably loom large. The Berger news suggests that his old friends and cronies would, too.

first pardon - the burgler

Posted by: times - the truthful one | October 10, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

A judge on Wednesday ruled that Al Gore's award winning climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" should only be shown in schools with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination. High Court judge Michael Burton's decision follows legal action brought by a father of two last month claiming the former US vice-president's film contained "serious scientific inaccuracies, political propaganda and sentimental mush".

Posted by: the sky is not falling | October 10, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, bsimon, that's one of the good ones.

I'll cut-and-paste one more here, with my apologies to those who don't like the technique:

Steven Pearlstein: "Well, now you get to a subject near and dear to my heart, which is the performance of the political press. And, frankly, it is clear that they, once again, have learned nothing from the past, learned nothing from the criticism that was levelled at them in the last two elections, learned nothing from the declining respect they get from their readers and viewers.
I found it fascinating that it only took Chris Matthews 43.8 minutes before his attention deficit disorder kicked in when it comes to business and economic issues, and suddenly changed the subject to Iran. That began a 10 to 15 minute diversion onto national security issues. And what it reminds us is that the people who do almost all of the campaign coverage don't know or understand much about the subject, don't care and therefore do a lousy job at it. Because they don't have the context, they can't really analyze the substantive proposals and answers, so they just give this perfunctory recitation of what the candidates say, which allows them to check off their responsibility but winds up boring the readers and allowing the candidates to get away with hookwinking the public. They all like to think they are really tough, but in fact they are pussycats on policy because they don't understand it well enough. And its absolutely still true: all they really care about is the horse-race and, at debates, whether there were any "attacks" or "fireworks." This is the entire prism through which they look at the race."

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The opening of the mammoth new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been delayed indefinitely while its Kuwaiti contractor fixes a punch list of problems, the State Department said on Tuesday.

The sprawling complex, whose cost is edging toward $750 million, was set to open last month but U.S. lawmakers say shoddy work by the contractor and poor oversight by the State Department have delayed it.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "I can't tell you when the embassy is going to open." "We don't have an answer."

Posted by: largest embassy in world. why? | October 10, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Mark --'Their energy is noteworthy.' Isn't it. Maniacal, really. They manipulate every online poll. I saw one yesterday where 45% of the vote was for Paul, with Mitt and Rudy each getting 10%.

I saw blarg's post -- thoughtful.

OT -- I just discovered this musician/lyricist I love -- Eliza Gilkyson. She lives in austin. You familiar with her work?

Posted by: drindl | October 10, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

So, CC posted "Republican Debate: Winners and Losers" here at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday, October 10. Umm, has anyone else noticed that according to the Live Online schedule for this week, CC is supposed to be online chatting with us at 11:10 a.m. today, not filing stories on the website?

I'm over at the Live Online page, and CC is not there - is the guy overbooked or something?

Posted by: achilli | October 10, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

J, you mean like this one?

business columnist Pearlstein writes
"The big problem is that [campaign repoters] inhabit a bubble, along with the campaigns, that is so self-focused that they forget what its all about. they write for each other. The current setup also gives the political press more power this way. It is also easier to keep writing the same things over and over again, rather than to really have to think, analyze, take risks."

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Good links, J. Thanks.

Mark, I didn't find HRC's non-answers as evasive as you seem to. Rather, I found her to be wisely cautious. Her answer for SSID was somewhat weak, but I think her response for Iraq is appropriate. The fact is, we don't have enough information to make an adequate head judgment on Iraq, but he make our heart judgment pretty quick. If it can be reasonably proved by non-bungling intelligence officers that a hasty withdraw from Iraq will be considerably detrimental to our security than it's not a good idea, right? I don't know if it's a bad idea, yet. Most Senators probably don't know either. I think it's fair to say that you'll make a decision when all the information is in your hands.

Posted by: JasonL | October 10, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The debate was not equitable in terms of who got asked the questions or who was allowed to hog attention. None of the candidates beyond Thompson, Giuliani and Romney were given much time to present their views. Governor Huckabee joked afterwards that he appreciated his cameo appearance on the Fred, Mitt and Rudy show!

Posted by: Ron, Huntingtown, MD | October 10, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

CC, in my opinion the moderators of the debate were losers. Chris Matthews intrudes his egotistical self in any forum or debate he's involved in. What was the point of trying to play "gotcha" with the candidates, a cheap headline? The audience really doesn't care about how smart these talking heads think they are, they should be trying to get substantive answers not soundbites.

Posted by: Roseann | October 10, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I posted this on the previous thread, but everyone may have moved over to this one already...

I've you've seen it, sorry for the repost.

For those who are interested in a little more in-depth discussion of the debate policy-wise, I recommend Pearlstein's column today:

And his current Q&A has some real gems regarding the political press:

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Senator Thompson looks tired, wrinkled and old. I am very suprised how bad his face looks. I guess the Hollywood make-up artists should be hired for his campaign.

Luckily, there is no Hi-DEF channel for MSNBC.

Posted by: Casual Viewer | October 10, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse


"Sen. Barack Obama put away his lapel flag pin. The senator says instead of a flag pin, his words will be a testament to his patriotism. I don't know what's wrong with the senator or why he can find any discomfort at all, but that's his right as an American. But any politician of any political party who believes their words can be an adequate substitute for the symbolic power of the American flag is sadly arrogant and horribly mistaken."

these people are seriously wackos. they are nut's. what country is this? I'm fleeing the country. This is getting crazy now.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Dobbs: Our flag belongs to all Americans"

Anti-war soldiers are not "phoney", nor is their sacrafice. Being away from those you love is sacrafice enough. Not to mention LIVING IN HELL. Support the troops. Not the gop way. BUT FOR REAL.

Posted by: dobbs (rufus) | October 10, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

yES SIR, CHANCE. tHAT WHAT THEY ARE DOING. yESTERDAY TOW OF THE TOP RIGHT-WING Smear dogs, Michelle Malkin and r?ush limbaugh, were going after him. Someone release their address hoping some sick fascist would go to their house. Malkin showed up at their house and said they were rich and didn't deserve the program. Why? Becasue they are in private schools. But of course they don't mention they are on scholorship. These people are scum. The right is destroying this country for personal profit. That used to have a name. It used to be called treason. Check the archieves from yesterday. There are plenty of posts onit, if your interested.

Posted by: jkRIH | October 10, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Please, look at Mitch McConnell, his appearance shreiks Pedophile!

Posted by: pg56 | October 10, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Tancredo looked pretty solid, not tha tI woul vote for any r, this cycle. I'm just glad to see the r's strarting to break from the "dittohead" mode. We are all individuals. Nobody can blindly agree with all of their party all the time. It's good to see their are still 4 or 5 patriots in the republcian party. Objectivity is the most important thing in politics today, imo. It'sa good to be an individual. The dittohead cloes are slaves to an external avatar. That's no way to live your life.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Madam President, the sooner republicans get used to it, the sooner they can start packing. I cant wait!!

Posted by: pj451 | October 10, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

What's with the non-denial from Sen. Mitch McConnell's office? Is one of his aides indeed coordinating with Wingnuttia for the attacks on a 12-year-old boy and his sister and their family? From ABC News:

"This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, D-Nev. "Instead of debating the merits of providing health care to children, some in GOP leadership and their right-wing friends would rather attack a 12-year-old boy and his sister who were in a horrific car accident."

Manley cited an e-mail sent to reporters by a Senate Republican leadership aide, summing up recent blog traffic about the boy's family. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Manley's charge that GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about the Frosts.

In my experience, if you are not participating in something, you deny it outright to kill the story.

Mitch McConnell is the Republican Minority Leader in the Senate and sponsor of the Orwellian-named "Families First" legislation which would actually decrease the number of kids covered for benefits. Classy. Is someone in his office coordinating a dirty tricks PR advance against a 12 year old child? Have they been helping the story along, doing oppo on this child and his family and feeding it out through the wurlitzer to their corporate media buddies so their hands appear publicly clean while the wingnuts launder their slime tactics for them?

Posted by: Chance | October 10, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse


Great start to the day :]

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this beginning to get a little ridiculous?
Category: Weirdness

You know, when a conservative Christian minister, graduate of Liberty University, and friend of Jerry Falwell is found dead under these circumstances...

Clothing: The decedent was received wearing two (2) wet suits, one scuba diving mask, one pair of diving gloves, one pair of slippers, one pair of rubber underwear, two (2) ties, five (5) belts, eleven (11) straps.

Personal Effects: One yellow metal ring intact on left ring finger, one dildo. know that somehow, somewhere, someone is going to blame the liberals.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Coffee time for me...drindl, Blarg called attention to the glaring incongruities in the Clinton interview in this morning's WaPo that CC cites, above. Take a look. Blarg's post was on the previous thread this morning.

The response to Ron Paul says to me that there is still a constituency within the R Party that is suspicious of foreign entanglements and actually believes in small government. Their energy is noteworthy.

I agree with CC that RG performed well. As drindl has noted, he is prepared for personal verbal combat. I do not think the HRC who snapped at a civilian in IA or who evaded Balz in the interview will fare especially well against RG if that pairing is our penultimate fate in this cycle.

I agree with the posters who thought Huckabee did pretty well and that FT was lackluster [but not self-destructive]. To me, McCain still looks like the adult in the R room.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | October 10, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thompson Avoids Gaffes in Debut Debate

Ex-senator and TV star Fred Thompson held his own among US Republican presidential hopefuls in his first debate, vowing to battle "Islamic fascism" as he and the other candidates sought to charm the party's dubious hardliners.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Our solution? Start using some sort of polling measure -- over five percent nationally, perhaps -- to limit the number of participants. That would allow a 90-minute debate in which viewers could hear more in-depth answers from the candidates with a real chance at the nomination."

Absolutely not! This is a terrible idea for many reasons.

First, it's months before the first votes are cast. Very few people are paying attention to the race right now, and even fewer were paying attention months ago when the first debates were held. So a lot of the poll results are based on name recognition. Debates, and debate coverage, are one of the best ways for a candidate to become known to the voting public. If you ban candidates from the debates for not being popular enough, then how can they ever become popular enough to make the debates?

Second, this was a Republican debate. The Republican Party allows candidates like Ron Paul, Tancredo, and Brownback to run as Republicans. Therefore, they're allowed in the debates. If the Republicans don't want someone showing up at their debates, they shouldn't have let that person into the race at all. Or the sponsoring organization shouldn't invite the candidate to their debate.

Third, polls are an imperfect measure of support. They tell a candidate's general popularity, but it's difficult to compare poll numbers to a threshold like 5%. Would a candidate need 5% in one poll? An average of 5% in several polls? 5% in every poll? There's no fair way to use polls for this sort of thing.

Fourth, and most importantly, it's just wrong. The media has too much of a role in the election process as it is. You're constantly assigning frontrunners and saying who's got no chance to win. Now you're talking about excluding some candidates from media coverage altogether. The media doesn't pick the president; the people do. (At least, the people should.) You don't get to decide who's important enough to speak in the debates. The media has no right to subvert the democratic process.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

""doesn't have a chance at the nomination so its hard to say he's a winner.

I disagree. And that's a dangerous attitude to have. No wonder the gop is done.

Gop double think in full view. Many complexities going on in their heads. Does he have a chance? Should I listen or ignore? Who has the best chance to win the nom? Who has the best chance to beat hillary? They win because they can beat hillary or rudy, not because THEY REALLY WON THE DEBATE. HAHAHAHHA. Lost sheep. Lost puppies. The gop is done for 30 years. good luck toiling in obscurity

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Support the troops for real. Ignore the coward fascists propogandists who destroy their own country to line their pockets.

"But that is only part of the explanation. The real reason that Bush -- while spewing lofty War of Civilization rhetoric for years -- never even suggested, let alone compelled, a duty of military service is because he knows better than anyone that we are a Nation of George W. Bushs -- a nation of Rich Lowrys, Rush Limbaughs, Michael O'Hanlons, Glenn Reynolds, Joe Liebermans, Victor Davis Hansons -- people who love to talk about and wallow in wars fought by others, who have an insatiable quest to feel powerful and purposeful and "Churchillian" from watching it all unfold and theorizing and talking and typing about it, but who will never risk or sacrifice anything for it. "

Posted by: greenwlad (rufus) | October 10, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

CC is spot on with his take on Hillary's "victory" at yesterday's debate. Nothing helps a campaign more than having the other party exclusively go after you with at least three months until Iowa - over a year until the general.

Posted by: matt | October 10, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

And, of course, Ron Paul was invisible. My, my, the DC media not only don't like him--they pretend he doesn't exist.

Posted by: Joey | October 10, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"The reality is that Thompson is never going to be the smoothest or most charismatic figure..."

Then his goose is cooked. His goal was to be the sunny optimist - shades of Ronald Reagan - compared to those squabbling pessimists Rudy and Mitt. Since he didn't succeed, he becomes just another also-ran. The chickens of modern American politics have come home to roost and these are no longer campaigns driven by issues and "a broader vision about what's wrong with America and how to fix it." A Chicken Little candidate will find little support with an R electorate desperate for glowing visions about the future. As his goal was to assume RR's mantle, Thompson laid an egg.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | October 10, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

'If everyone is acting like Clinton is the nominee, it raises the chances she actually will be the nominee. '

Then why don't you stop?

Posted by: drindl | October 10, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"And really, just as Lowry laments, there is nothing worse than those naive "supporters and opponents of the war who support their clashing narratives of victory and defeat with the gross simplifications." He must be referring to those manipulative propagandists and war-cheerleading simpletons who spent years telling American citizens things like this:

By Richard Lowry

April 27, 2005

It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq.

If current trends continue, our counter-insurgent campaign in Iraq will be fit to be mentioned in the same breath as the British victory over a Communist insurgency in Malaysia in the 1950s, a textbook example of this form of war. . . .

Based on conversations with administration officials and key combatant commanders, this is the story of how, two years after the fall of Saddam, the U.S. has begun to win the war for Iraq . . .


Posted by: greenwald | October 10, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"doesn't have a chance at the nomination so its hard to say he's a winner.

I disagree. And that's a dangerous attitude to have. No wonder the gop is done.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"this is why matthews did not speak much truth. "

Speak much, truth hunter

from the 11:16 post

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

For all the Ron Paul supporters out there, I will say this . . .The guy is a good debater and speaks with an inspiring attitude. While impressive in the debates, he is just not realistic in many ways and therefore doesn't have a chance at the nomination so its hard to say he's a winner.

Posted by: Paul S. | October 10, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Rich Lowery is Hannity's little per monkey

"Wednesday October 10, 2007 05:57 EST
A nation of Rich Lowrys
(updated below)

National Review Editor Rich Lowry made a Mike-O'Hanlon-like multi-day pilgrimage to American military bases in Iraq and to Gen. Petraeus' office and -- as they all do -- has returned full of deep combat insight and war wisdom. After four years of war cheerleading from afar, the now-grizzled-war-reporter sermonizes in the first sentence of his solemn report: "A war has probably never been so debated and so little understood as the one in Iraq."

But not Lowry. He has now been -- to use his John Wayne-swaggering phrase -- "On the ground in Iraq" and he knows war. And like all war veterans who have faced down the realities of combat, Lowry has no patience for those who simplify or exploit the complexities of war in order to score cheap political points:

On top of this are the members of Congress and senators who show up for visits that seem more about saying they have been to Iraq than truly grappling with the war; the journalists whose reports tend to reflect whatever is the conventional wisdom about the war back in their newsrooms; and supporters and opponents of the war who support their clashing narratives of victory and defeat with the gross simplifications."

Posted by: greenwlad (rufus) | October 10, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

CC, How does Romney's "I would have to consult with my Lawyers before attacking Iran" comment NOT land him in the losers column? Romney's attacks on Guiliani were good but Guiliani knocked them right back at him so any pluses he got were erased. All in all I think Romney goes as a loser to me.

Also how is Thompson a winner? He looked nervous and totally unprepared for the whole event. Also spouting about how great the economy is doing in Michigan is a little stupid if you ask me. His whole campaign can be summed up in one word Lackluster. And the idea that Americans will vote for him no matter what because he is on some TV show that is rerun on TBS 6 hours a day is not giving the American voter (or television watcher) enough credit.

Posted by: Andy R | October 10, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I see you listed Huckabee as a loser, so I don't agree. He may not have stood alone as the best, but he certainly didn't lose any ground in this one. Just because a candidate goes from great to good, doesn't mean that they "lose". Likewise, just because Thompson goes from akward and low expectations to mediocre at best, doesn't mean that they are a winner

Posted by: Paul S. | October 10, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

These people are wackos.

"thought Thompson said, "Well, what's your opinion, Christopher?" to point out the bias in the statement. I found it interesting he referred to him as Christopher-- one because I never hear him call Christopher, and two because it sounded like a father talking down to his son (Thompson has a son Chris' age.)

Posted By: Tyler | October 09, 2007 at 05:47 PM

It terms of who won. You know I'm gonna say paul. His supporters appluaded many times and provolked fake applauses by the nest candidates after him every single time. The gop are funny. clown propogandists. But I say Paul and Huckabee. Thompson was a non-event, like i said in the past. He will be taking his little red wagon home soon.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

this is why matthews did not speak much truth. teh gop was waiting for their chance to paint his as partisan. Did you hear him "popping off"? He made one small joke. today the gop is attacking him. i think matthews is a talentless hack, stolly. But the game the gop is playing of pointing the finger at everyone but themselves. Teh elementary school kid games, are getting real old, real fast.

"Matthews pops off

Chris Matthews has been fairly sedate and even-handed throughout the afternoon, but he just gave conservatives some ammunition by offering an editorial comment about an extended answer Fred Thompson gave on whether the feds should step in on a labor dispute.

Thompson initially just responded "no," but then explained why he would not support a government intervention.

"You should've stopped at no," Matthews told Thompson.

"Well, that's your opinion, Chris," Thompson shot back.

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Don't agree that Thompson was a winner. He looked uncomfortable and gave some off topic confusing remarks. he's lucky he was able to pull stephen harper's last name, but that's about all he can take away positive.

I also thought if there was any debate that Romney won, this was it. Not sure how you overlooked him here. It's not surprising that he shined in a debate on the economy given his background in business.

Guiliani an d Huckabe did well -- I agree there. The were articulate, inspiring and funny at times.

Posted by: Paul S. | October 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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