Kevin Drum and Robert Tagorda did it in real time. WaPo has a (currently partial) transcript.
I watched a little of it and listened to a little more but the format makes these things almost unwatchable for me. Too many candidates, too many questioners, not enough time to actually answer the questions.
The only things that really stuck out to me were:
Joe Lieberman didn’t seem to really want to be there. He has to know he’s done, can’t understand why, but can’t quit just yet.
Dennis Kucinich shouldn’t be there but really wants to be. I’m not actually sure where Dennis should be.
Al Sharpton is simultaneously clever and not particularly bright. An unusual combination. He clearly got one of those “word a day” calendars as a kid but just learned the words without memorizing the definitions. His quip
I wanted to say to Governor Dean, don’t be hard on yourself about hooting and hollering. If I had spent the money you did and got 18 percent, I’d still be in Iowa hooting and hollering.
was pretty funny–even Dean seemed to enjoy it.
With vastly lowered expectations, Howard Dean came across as almost human. Perhaps they tweaked his emotion chip. His attempts at self-effacement over the Yeeeeeeeeeeeyaaaaaaah from the other night were only mildly successful, but his best chance.
John Kerry likes to to talk about Vietnam. I give him a lot of credit for serving, with distinction, in an unpopular war when, as a rich kid, he could have gotten out of it. But, damn it man, that was over thirty years ago.
Something’s not quite right about Wesley Clark. Aside from the fact that his name is “Wesley.” He can’t help that. Although he could insist that people call him “Wes.”
I like John Edwards. I don’t think he’s experienced enough to be president, don’t think he’s a hottie, and certainly don’t have a growing male crush* on him. But he does come across as bright, earnest, and pleasant.
*Hat tip to Dan Drezner.
FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
I’ve seen most of the California recall debate. Frankly, it hasn’t been very productive owing to the combination of an amazingly timid moderator and the inclusion of too many fringe candidates. My impression of the major players:
Bustamante: I’d say he won the debate, even though I disagree with him on most of the issues. He was calm, actually answered the questions, and thoughtful.
McClintock: The candidate I most agreed with. He was the only one with the guts to take the unpopular stand that illegal immigrants are, well, illegal. He was also the only one that seemed to grasp that having the government classify people by race was more likely to result in racial bias than not classifying by race.
Schwarzenegger: He was fairly entertaining and had some good answers. But he didn’t get away from the canned responses, issued contradictory proposals, and didn’t answer the questions.
Huffington: Rude and a moron. Why was she invited, let alone allowed to hijack most of the debate with her vitriol, given her non-existent standing in the polls two weeks from election?