Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thoughts on the Democratic Forum

I participated in a liveblog sponsored by the Rocky Mountain News of the Democratic Forum. Also participating were fellow Iowans John Deeth and Essential Estrogen. Here were my thoughts I wrote...

The winners were John Edwards and Chris Dodd. Dodd was energetic and really stressed education. As a teacher and member of the ISEA and NEA, Dodd is very credible when it comes to education. He very well respected among educators and might just have the answer to the mess that is NCLB. About Education Dodd said...

I'm proud of the fact that I was called the Senator of the Decade by the national Head Start Association. I have walked the walk on these issues.
Dodd and Biden were both fired up, however Biden sounded angry, while Dodd was on message and highlighted his experience.

John Edwards hit the first question out of the park. He was able to condense his entiere two America's theme into that answer and it was well recieved by the crowd. Edwards didn't stop there. The questions really played right into the issues Edwards is campaigning on and he did very well connecting to the audience.

I think Hillary Clinton held her own and definitely did not hurt herself. Her answer to the question about Aids was very good. On one of her questions she said the problem goes back to the 1990's, not meaning to knock her husband. I didn't catch it, but my wife did.

Kucinich made some good points, like saying we need to cancel NAFTA, but I'll be honest, I used his time to check in on the NBA Draft. Sorry Dennis.

Joe Biden come across as being angry like he did in the last debate. I don't think he did as well because the questions focused more on domestic issues and not on Biden's strength of foreign policy.

Mike Gravel was, well Mike Gravel. You will probably hear a little about his answer to the last question. He failed to end his thought when he said "many of the other candidates lack the morality to lead the country," when he needed to add "because they voted for the war in Iraq." There will probably be talk if Gravel should be included in future debates.

I didn't think someone could out talk Joe Biden, but Bill Richardson sure is trying to in these debates. Richardson had to be cut off on numerous answers. His answer to the question about Aids was bad. He said we need to use more needles or something like that. To his credit he was the first one to answer that question and didn't have the time to formulate an answer. Overall, Richardson's performance in the debate was once again disappointing. On a special episode of Iowa Press following the debate O. Kay Henderson said...
The Bill Richardson I saw tonight is not the Bill Richardson I see on the campaign trail in Iowa.
However, I saw Richardson at his first stop in Iowa in February and I wasn't very impressed with his performance. He was awkward and bombed a couple questions, including one on NCLB. I want to give him another chance and see him again, but his performances in the debates have been less than stellar.

The biggest loser in the debate was Barack Obama. Jason Bane from Colorado Pols, who participated in the liveblog, had this to say about Obama...

The story of the night for me is Obama. I have a feeling he may have really blown a big opportunity tonight. He was in front of a crowd that was just WAITING to explode in support, and he completely bombed. I've heard the criticism about Obama's lack of policy chops, and his performance here was downright embarrassing. I don't know if he answered a single question with a specific answer. Obama is about to become a punchline, and I can see Saturday Night Live now - with one of the actors just responding to every question with the same answer.
I agree with everything Bane said. The Obama at the debate was not the Obama I have seen in person in Iowa. Obama is a story teller and when I last saw him in Newton he fit in facts and figures to provide complete answers to the questions that were asked. However, there are time limits in the debates and he was unable to get to the point in his answers. Obama has a lot to gain and came up short.

Here are my final rankings...

1. Chris Dodd
2. John Edwards
3. Hillary Clinton
4. Dennis Kucinich
5. Joe Biden
6. Mike Gravel
7. Bill Richardson
8. Barack Obama

There was a contest for best one liner on the liveblog. I won with this line concerning the audience at the largely black Howard University and the camera showing famous African Americans in the audience...
Where's P Diddy? Did he forget to vote and die?


tj said...

I watched the debate and to me all the candidates did well. The one thing that turned me off the most is the fact that all three debates so far have become a sound bite contest. The biggest applause lines comes from cheap pandering lines.

Just me two cents.

Stephen Cassidy said...

Unfortunately, Gov. Richardson wasn't as clear as he could have been on the importance of needle exchanges in fighting AIDS. Many persons, and this is even more true in the African American community, develop AID from sharing needles or syringes or having sex with a drug user that shares needles. So if you want reduce AIDS substantially, clean needles is part of the solution. Richardson was the only candidate that mentioned this at the debate.

And Richardson has had a strong record in New Mexico in fighting AIDS. He signed legislation that ensure AIDS patients would receive full funding for services provided by the state, a state coordinator for services for AIDS patients and families was created, and he set up a HIV and AIDS Policy Commission charged with reviewing and making recommendations on state HIV and AIDS policies. The commission also studies and makes recommendations on all factors affecting the availability, quality and accessibility of health services for persons with HIV and AIDS.

You can learn more about Richardson's work on AIDS in New Mexico at

tj said...

One man's meat maybe another man's poison.

Yepsen says Edwards underperformed.