Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 5, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

DEBATE LIVEBLOGGING ROUND 2....Should I try to liveblog the vice presidential debate? The last time I tried it our server really couldn't keep up with the load, but maybe this time will be different. I guess it's worth a try.

Wrapup: You know what? I wasn't all that impressed with either guy. After about the first 30 minutes the energy level dropped a lot and neither one of them seemed very crisp.

Edwards' theme was pretty clear: Bush and Cheney are liars. But I'm not sure he really got that across. At the same time, Cheney's defenses were surprisingly feeble. So: weak attacks, weak defenses.

Cheney's repeated "I hardly know where to begin" didn't work very well. Does he think that's a catchy line? However, his repeated attacks on Kerry's consistency came through fairly well, and didn't get a very good rebuttal from Edwards.

Bottom line: it seemed like a tie to me. But I'll think about it some more over dinner and see if I change my mind.

A complete transcript of the debate is here.

10:33 Shorter John Edwards: I don't want to answer your question. I want to talk about healthcare instead.

10:31 Crocodile tears from Cheney about his inability to reach across the aisle and work better with Democrats. It's his biggest disappointment. Please.

10:23 Hmmm, things are deterioriating. Ifill's questions are so vague that both candidates are basically using them to toss out every miscellaneous thing they haven't gotten to yet.

10:18 Gwen Ifill's question about Edwards' lack of experience sure was a dud. Neither one of them wanted to touch it, and who can blame them? Dumb.

10:11 The energy level has dropped like a stone now that they're on domestic issues. Hell, Cheney looks like he can barely stay awake.

10:02 Edwards is surprisingly tongue-tied about gay marriage. His position ought to be pretty easy to state: a constitutional amendment would ban civil unions and we're against that. But he never really said that.

Cheney really didn't want to talk about this at all.

9:58 Cheney just came pretty close to saying he disagrees with Bush about the gay marriage amendment. But Bush makes policy, and he supports Bush....

9:48 I guess that's it for foreign affairs. A lot more heat than light. Bush and Kerry did better.

9:43 Halliburton? Halliburton! Cheney: go to factcheck.com for the straight dope. Sorry, Dick, that's factcheck.org.

9:37 Seems to me that Edwards is hammering too hard on his criticisms of the war effort. I thought Kerry's approach was more effective because he ended his criticisms with "We can do better." That way, it's not just griping. Edwards sounds a little too negative to my ears.

9:34 Ah, Edwards is picking up on the 50% figure. "90% of the coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President." Cheney is pissed. Iraqis are people too.

9:31 Is Cheney seriously trying to pretend that it's hard to get more allies on our side because of John Kerry's criticisms of the war?

9:28 Shorter VP debate: "You're a flip flopper." "You're a liar."

9:27 Halliburton!

9:21 Cheney: Americans aren't taking 90% of the casualties in Iraq, we're only taking 50% of the casualties if you count all the Iraqis who are dying. Something tells me that's not going to fly.

9:19 Edwards again: "We're going to tell the truth." He's just hammering on this theme.

9:17 Edwards: "distortion," "regardless of what the vice president and the president want to believe," "rosy scenario."

Yep, it looks like distortion and lying are going to be key to Edwards' attacks on Cheney.

9:12 John Kerry's standard tagline at the end of each of his answers last Thursday was "We can do better" (or something similar). It sort of looks like John Edwards' is going to be "You're not being straight with the American people" (or something similar).

9:07 Yada yada yada. There is too a relationship, no matter what anybody says.

John Edwards pretty much ignored the question entirely and just responded with a generic criticism of the war.

9:04 First question: straight for the jugular. Was there any connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda?

9:01 Now they're talking about the fact that they're both wearing the same clothes. That's shocking, isn't it?

Both candidates are jotting something on legal pads. I wonder what they're writing?

9:00 Wolf Blitzer thinks the debate will be "nerve wracking." Personally, I think these guys are both pros and won't make many mistakes.

Kevin Drum 9:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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