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Thursday, September 25, 2003

The Dems Debate

A few random thoughts on the debate this afternoon/evening:

1) Clark did OK but didn't light the world on fire either. He seems to have a decent grasp of the main themes he wants to emphasize while he's still working on the details. The CNBC panelists went after him a few times, seemingly trying to expose him on this. Ron Insana asked him a question about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that sounded like it was designed solely to catch Clark on something he didn't know much about; he handled it fine, stressing the importance of home ownership. Gloria Borger also asked him a pointed follow up on what specifically Clark would do to reform corporate governance. The panel was tougher on Clark than the other candidates were--the others concentrated mostly on attacking Dean.

2) John Edwards disappointed me. Not only did he say he supported the steel tariffs Bush implemented last spring but also he used the Bush administration's phony example of a family of four making $40,000 that would pay $2000 more in taxes if the Bush cuts were all repealed. I criticized John Kerry for using this misleading example on Meet the Press because it plays into Republican hands. Also, now that I've read Paul Krugman's book, The Great Unraveling, I realize that the case they're all talking about is contrived to conceal that the tax cuts really don't help regular people by cherry-picking one case that happens to do so. I'll try to find a link to the column on this in the PK archive and post it later.

3) I continue to be impressed by the oratorical skill of Al Sharpton. Bob Graham, meanwhile, keeps stumbling over his words. This is unfortunate because Graham actually has some reasonable things to say and a good resume as a governor, Intelligence Committee chairman in the Senate, Floridian, etc., but all that gets lost because he's a bad speaker. If you could marry Graham's experience and moderation with Sharpton's stage presence and flair, I think you'd have a strong candidate.

4) And to follow up on my post about the New Mexico debate: how do those middle-aged men stand up there for two full hours without a toilet break?