Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Live blog of VP debate 

I'm going to do it tonight from the house here in St. Cloud. Ed and Hugh are live-blogging, and I'll keep an eye open for the others. Just heard on Hugh's show that Rodney Dangerfield died today. I'm hoping that's a more salient piece of news than this debate. Honestly, why? Do we need to see this? Maybe someone will blow up tonight, but unlikely someone turns the election tonight. So why blog? Well, why not?

I'm also trying out Mozilla as a facility for liveblogging for the first time. Tabs should help.

7:40 -- Looks like Poliblogger is in on the liveblogging tonight. I only track him because he's in my fantasy football league. Speaking of which, Kerry Collins must die.

7:45 -- Also tracking the ballgame. Santana is through the first clean. No score after 1.

7:55 -- not much happening. How weird is it for Gwen Ifill to sit with her back to the audience alone on stage like that? Democrat friend wants to know if Cheney will go for the f-bomb. Naw, I say, save it for Leahy.

7:57 -- they're in place. Nothing unusual about the introduction. Cripes, MFYs have runners at the corners, one out.

8:00 -- Ifill looks tense. Nice to watch this with Pepper the cat. He's just mellowing next to me.

8:02 -- Nice smile, John-boy! First question to Cheney, on the report on connection between Zarqawi and Saddam. Cheney was ready. Iraq/AQ connection as likeliest source for WMDs for terrorists. Edwards comes out firing. Goes for the "death crescendo" argument (more in July than June, tec.) Cheney -- the point of Iraq isn't the number of our troops but democracy being installed in Iraq. Edwards -- no connection b/w Iraq and 9/11. Quotes supposed CIA report.

8:07 -- for Edwards -- would SH still be in power? There were no WMDs, he replies. Supports Afghanistan. Oh-ho! He's going to the question of OBL getting out of the caves in Afghanistan! Idiot. Cheney must get him now! Cheney says 9/11 no direct connection to Iraq. But that's where the technology was, so had to go get it. Goes to global test. Cheney says Kerry's position: Troops must not be deployed without UN approval. Record of thirty years can't be run away from, no sign of change.

8:11 -- goes after Edwards' record regarding Afghanistan. Why is he letting the OBL question go unchallenged? "Freedom is the best antidote to terror." Good line, but now Edwards goes back to the outsourcing of OBL. Edwards saying Afghanistan not safe. Cheney responds with El Salvador -- human drive for freedom. Edwards now runs to Iran/NK. VP to the

8:17 -- Ifill!!! Nice job. Asks what this global test means. Edwards continues to say BC are lying. "We need to be credible, others need to trust what we say. They will not follow us without that." Whatever happened to Lead, Follow or Get the Hell Out of the Way? Cheney calls out the $200 billion lie. Cites debt forgiveness by our allies. "Your facts are just wrong, Senator." "You're not credible on Iraq." Edwards. -- weenie trying to support Kerry. Not arguing points, just appealing to people. "Your rhnetoric would be more credible if there was a record to back it up." Nice. Big win Cheney on this one.

8:22 -- Poliblogger says Kerry instructed Edwards to be the attack dog. It's apparently so. Now Cheney is hitting them for being moved on the basis of Howard Dean's success. "If they won't stand up to Howard Dean, how do they stand up to Al Qaeda?" Boy he's got good notes. Edwards has no good answer here. OK, now one: No plan to win the peace = no money for body armor. Nice. Cheney whiffs on this -- you could have nailed them on the body armor as protest vote. Still saying there's no connection Saddam-AQ.

8:26 -- 1-0 Twins, good. Ifill asks whether the allies will follow them when France and Germany says no. Edwards runs away from the question. Says he'll speed things up. I wonder where I can buy some "Instant Democracy in a Box"? Now he's putting doubt into whether there will be an election. Never answers the quesiton on France and Germany's demurrer. "They don't have a plan, they have an echo." That's a good line IMO. Cheney replays the line about how you bring allies that you've besmirched. Edwards: 90% of casualties American. Cheney: You are demeaning the contributions of Iraqi provisional government forces.

8:32 -- I bet Saint Paul misses my cologne. Nice format, Hugh, but I can't scroll enough to find your latest points while I'm also blogging.

8:33 -- Edwards isn't answering the next question on the intelligence services. Cheney talks directly to the question. Citing Zarqawi's activities. Z in Baghdad before the war, and Baghdad after.

8:36 -- two harmless Halliburton references to here, but I think Edwards goes off on him here. Poliblogger citing Ifill's questions as being good. I agree, though I'm not as harsh on Lehrer as he is. Edwards: How many countries are we going to invade? (Enough to be safe is the right answer, Dick. Give it.) Yup, here he goes on Halliburton! What the hell does this have to do with the question? Cheney isn't going to get enough time on this, but cites FactCheck.

8:41 -- Glad she asks a question on Israel -- can't remember Lehrer doing this. Edwards tells a long story about being there when the Sbarro bombing happened, and he's not got much to say other than . WOWOWOW! Cheney says he hasn't met Edwards until tonight, so poor is his voting record. Cheney and Edwards agree on Israel, best I can tell.

8:47 -- Holy shit! Ifill: "I just asked you about Israel, but you didn't say much about it." Mark my words, that will cost Edwards and her. Holy cow.

8:48 -- goes to domestic issues. Cheney supports NCLB, says he wants to move it to secondary ed. Edwards says Cheney didn't answer Ifill's question about jobs,; Ifill's comment stung him bad and he knows it. Edwards is the one with a short list tonight. That question was a draw.

8:52 -- Edwards is wrong on not putting money aside. They had to buy down some debt with the surplus in 2001. Targeted tax cuts. = you get back some of your money if you spend it as we say. "Cut the deficit in half in four years". Growth would do most of that anyway, fool. Cheney says it's about who decides how to spend money. Uses the 900,000 small businesses factoid to slam the tax cut rollback for those over $200k income. Cheney -- extension of the tax cuts, Kerry and Edwards weren't there to vote.

8:56 -- Cheney on gay marriage. (Good question again. Tough, fair.) Cheney is quick: I'd rather it be decided by the states, but Bush has said the bill in Massachusetts has made it tough for other states to keep their rights. Edwards: Dividend tax rate lower than those for troops on the ground in Iraq. Boy does he go for the class warfare story!

9:01 -- Edwards clearly wants to have it both ways on gay marriage. That answer was muddled. Cheney lets him twist. Can't wait to see what Hugh does with this.

9:02 -- Medical insurance. Cheney wants tort reform. Doesn't take the bait to attack litigation and trial lawyers. Edwards is proposing what? A board to decide if you filed a proper suit? Now asks if Edwards feels attacked for being called a trial lawyer. Cheney is listening very hard to Edwards now. They seem to not be disagreeing much here. Cheney: Story of how many jobs lost due to health insurance costs. 17% increase in premiums due to law in 1997 voted for by Kerry. Hits Edwards for taking advantage of Subchapter S loophole to avoid paying Medicare.

9:10 -- To Cheney: What about AIDS in America? Cheney goes to AIDS programs overseas. Admits he didn't know Ifill's figures. Research and education -- fair answer. Edwards: I'll see your $15B for AIDS in Africa and raise you another $15B. Focuses on prevention.

9:14 -- To Edwards: Why you, rather than a woman VP candidate? "We tell the truth." "Long resume does not equal good judgment" -- clearly a canned line. Goes back to his foreign policy talking points. Cheney: stop putting your hands under the chin, it blocks the mike. Says his experience is an advantage, a buttress for Bush, and that he has no future political plans after this. Edwards rebuts with Kerry's record. Ifill's too free with this.

9:19 -- personal stories between Cheney and Edwards similar. Edwards tears page during Cheney talking. Not good. This question has let Cheney seem more human. Cites Kerry, Ifill cuts him off and says not to do that under her question. Edwards in clear attack mode, looks churlish to me here after Cheney tried to sound like he empathizes with Edwards' life story. I like how Cheney lets him ramble on and doesn't take bait.

9:22 -- Again Edwards does the joshing about can he/can't he say Kerry. Flip-flop -- gives Edwards permission to go back to the attack. Cheney: If there's a word to describe Kerry, consistent wouldn't be the word. OK, Ifill's given them a late question to hit all their talking points one more time. I didn't get this before, now I do. Do I hear that man tearing paper again? Edwards: one-third of our schools are failing under this administration. Kerry voted for NCLB, though. Edwards too. Maybe the schools were failing before, just nobody measured them?

9:28 -- electorate divided, how to bridge? Cheney: disappointing, first term had much more bipartisanship than now. Seems to be gone now, don';t know why. Maybe the change in majority/minority status difficult to adjust to. Tight balance in Senate a problem. Important to try to bridge. Nice answer given he's been attacked. (Nice, he mentions Zell Miller.) Edwards: Bush said he was a uniter, but now it's more divided, and it's BUSH'S FAULT!!!! Now he goes to health care -- he knows he screwed it up and didn't make a case before that they have a better plan. BORING. Eyes blinking hard. Cheney rebut: Medicare bill is the most important change. How can they say we did nothing? Kedwards voted against. Edwards rebut: Big biz prescription drugs.

9:33 -- Edwards close. Folksy story. Dad learning math on TV. Doing the Two Americas story. He's good at this, but getting to do that first is going to hurt because he needs to be the closer. "Give us the power to fight for you."

9:35 -- Cheney close. Wow, I could not type just then. Election is about a commander in chief in a unique time. There's only one guy with a plan. Excellent, forceful, confident.

Quick decision: Cheney wins big. Elder agrees, though he's watching the game, Santana still in control. Early spin looks like the Fox talking heads agree. Steven has this exactly right on the Edwards close:
...here is Edwards on the Mill thing again. And again, as I have noted before on numerous occassions: why is the lesson that Edwards learns from his life story is that America needs more government? Isn�t the lesson that hard work (his own, his father�s) is rewarded in the United States?
Ceci's spinning hard on Fox right now, but it's not coming out very well. I don't see this as doing anything to hurt Bush/Cheney. Steven thinks Edwards looked vice-presidential, whatever the hell that means.

It's a VP debate, so I doubt there's much movement in the polls here. Right now, I'm moving to the ballgame.