Patterico's Pontifications


Debate Open Thread

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 4:14 pm

I can’t watch now because it costs extra to have “ABCE” — the East Coast version of ABC. So I’ll have wait until 7. No reason you guys can’t comment now, though.

UPDATE: Yes, I can watch. Via Michelle Malkin is streaming video, here.

UPDATE x2: OK, here’s fact question #1: has Mitt supported a timed withdrawal from Iraq or not? Huck says yes, Mitt says no.

UPDATE x3: John McCain just claimed — again! — that he has never supported amnesty. And he cites Joementum’s recent endorsement of that falsehood as authority for that statement. Gibson is too clueless to confront him with the quote that proves him wrong:

McCain himself embraced the term during a news conference a few years ago in his office in Tucson, Ariz. “McCain Pushes Amnesty, Guest-Worker Program,” reported the Tucson Citizen of May 29, 2003. The senator is quoted as saying: “Amnesty has to be an important part because there are people who have lived in this country for 20, 30 or 40 years, who have raised children here and pay taxes here and are not citizens. That has to be a component of it.” The newspaper also quoted McCain as saying: “I think we can set up a program where amnesty is extended to a certain number of people who are eligible and at the same time make sure that we have some control over people who come in and out of this country.”

McCain needs to get clubbed over the head for saying this.

UPDATE x4: According to K-Lo, Team Romney has found a quote from Huckabee that undercuts his claim tonight that he supported the surge. Here’s the video:

27 Responses to “Debate Open Thread”

  1. From

    “As long as there’s a reasonable probability of success with the surge, that’s the right course to follow,” Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said in an interview with USA TODAY. “If there’s not a reasonable probability of success, then you’d have to consider other options.”

    So he does envision a withdrawal (he eleborares in other articles on its phases) in the case that the surge does not meet certain “milestones” or “benchmarks”.

    PaulD (3f5a05)

  2. And another version from abc.. I guess, speaking Arkansaian, it depends on what the meaning of “timed withdrawal” is.

    nk (4bb3c1)

  3. I should add that from what I have read e.g. it would not be fair to describe this as a timed withdrawal but rather a conditional withdrawal.

    I think most would agree, but some would be more committed to success in Iraq than Romney.

    PaulD (3f5a05)

  4. Thompson is now talking about oil and energy, and he sounds good, knowledgeable, and realistic. McCain on the anthropogenic global warming scare sounded ignorant and demographic.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. *spell check error … meant to say “demagogic”

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  6. On Huckabee’s statement:

    The Arkansas Guard which he was referring to was one of the first units in and things did not go well for them–their train up time and demob time were way too slow. As a result their units were decimated once they demobed. Many wouldn’t have a job for long if they stayed in under those conditions. Also they have been sent more than once. (I noticed many in the airport in Fayette on my way through this Xmas).

    Note that the surge did come out of the active forces with the Guard and Reserve now backfilling. We are also under a 2-10-1 plan where we go for only a year.

    Huckabee was being an honest representative of his state. Please read his statement fairly.

    PaulD (3f5a05)

  7. That was very, very classy of Fox News and each of the candidates from both parties including those I oppose.

    Fox News asked the Democratic candidates to join the stage and shake hands with the Republican candidates. It was like at a Hockey or Football match where each side shakes hands. They took a little longer with it and everyone handed it very well.

    I’m a bit moved. This debate format — including back-to-back debates — was great and should be repeated in the future.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. I am having a hard time finding the complete transcript of that MSNBC show. It seems that there was more discussion that we aren’t posting here. Anyone?

    paul from fl (47918a)

  9. BTW, this was the Arkansas Guard:

    You might want to rent it tonight to get a feel for what Huckabee was dealing with.

    The Army has corrected many of the problems since then.

    PaulD (3f5a05)

  10. My bad, I was thinking of this one:

    Gunner Palace was another of that era–don’t bother renting it.

    PaulD (3f5a05)

  11. Impressions for each candidate based on watching about the last forty-five minutes (I missed the beginning “conversation” period).

    Rudy: Didn’t really stand out consistently, and when he did, he was usually not doing that well. He really got owned by Thompson on immigration.

    Huckabee: Smooth, likable, kind of disappeared in the question-and-answer session, as usual saying things I disagree with.

    McCain: Solid on national security (of course), he got too personal going after Romney several times and when he interrupted him just to say “You are the candidate of change Mitt” it just came off really crass. Said nonsense about global warming and lied about amnesty again.

    Mitt: Held his ground when attacked, spoke well… but there’s something, I don’t know, he just comes off as untrustworthy to me for some reason. Like, he talks a good game, but I can’t shake the suspicion that he’d drop the ball in office. Repeatedly.

    Ron Paul: Insane as usual, particularly the energy question at the end. He got beat up on national security as usual. Sounded like he was about to lose his composure a couple times.

    Thompson: As usual, a good performance. Spoke knowledgeably and in an easy to understand manner. Unfortunately, at times he gave answers that while good, were not the best that could have been given. He also did not interject enough I think. Sometimes spoke more in generalities than I think he should have, particularly since he half-criticized Barack Obama for “speaking in generalities” when the candidates were asked to give their opinion on Senator Obama.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  12. This was a funny debate tonight. I actually thought that Romney lost, or at least was the primary target. At one point every canidate critized Romney, and at times were blantly poking fun of him.

    Huckabee seemed to be rather queit, but I was impressed that he did bring up God during one of his first questions. It may not win him any points with the NH voters, but it does show that he stands by his beliefs no matter where he is. I liked what he said about alt energy.

    I thought that Guilini had some good points. He seemed to know his facts and numbers, although I haven’t checked if any of those statistics were correct. Clear, consise, on point.

    I liked McCain tonight, I don’t know why, I think it was because I want him to be grandfather. During the meet and greet he looked like he was great friend with everyone. I think if anyone won with the NH crowd it was him.

    Fred Thompson seemed to be somewhere else all together. There were times that he was asked questions and seemed caught off guard, expecialy at the end when he was asked about oil company profits. I liked his answers mostly, he could have presented them better.

    Ron Paul is crazy. Has anyone ever seen Mr. Magoo?

    I don’t think that there was any winner tonight.

    Joanna (1bbad6)

  13. As I was watching the Democratic debate I noticed that Romney had the same health care plan that Clinton and Edwards laid out. They want to provide affordable health care that individual Americans would purchase, and they would have negative incentive for not purchasing it. Even Obama said that he would not mandate that every American get health insurance, because adults should have the right to choose to get health insurance.

    Joanna (1bbad6)

  14. Amusingly, Joanna, the Massachusetts version of that is already failing.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. Yeah, the health care thing is a load of bull.

    You can’t bleed a turnip. Health insurance is based on a simply concept: make sure you have lots of young and middle aged men getting insurance. They generally pay fat more than they take out, and subsidize everyone else. Most men need high deductible, emergency oriented insurance. Women need something much more comprehensive.

    I loved Fred’s style,even his dress. It really spoke that he’s just who he is, take him or leave him. I don’t know that this is the ticket to victory, but Fred would do a good job. Romney is a great candidate on paper, but gets a lot of flack for his flip flops and prettiness. He’s probably the better man for the job than Mccain, but I think it’s hard to vote that way.

    I am convinced now that Rudy is going to have a very tough time following through on his plan. He’s just not someone who is making waves at the polls, so he isn’t affecting the other candidates or creating any excitement or anything like that.

    There are too many candidates. I’d love to see one from the Mitt, Huck element, and one from the Mccain, Fred, Rudy element. I think if Huck, Mccain, or Romney drop out in the long term, Fred is a likely candidate to get those votes. Of course, Fred’s probably more likely to drop out than the those three, but not in my imagination.

    Jem (29d3e6)

  16. There were times that he was asked questions and seemed caught off guard, expecialy at the end when he was asked about oil company profits.

    That wasn’t being caught off guard. Thompson had a clear “Are you retarded?” look on his face before he started answering.

    Caught off guard by the stupidity of the question perhaps. And it was a stupid question.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  17. I know that SOMEONE at the Captain’s Quarters, Blog Talk Radio, and other venues other than George Will (see article) made this point:


    Because it’s a darn serious issue, please blog about it. Other people more influential than I are noticing it.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  18. Romney definitely won the debate. The desperateness of the other candidates to attack Romney showed who the real front runner is. Romney has real-world experience and knows how to turn an organization around. We need Romney in our White House – I wish Ron Paul would be his VP so he can trash the IRS and work on domestic issues while Romney audits Washington and turns the country around.

    Andrew (97b771)

  19. ROFL, Andrew, the presidency does not work like that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. Romney would make for an excellent Cabinet post.

    As President, not so sure.

    But that’s what I think of all the candidates pretty much to one degree or another.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  21. Andrew, you want Romney to work as a president/auditor?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  22. Christoph,

    Read Will’s column from December 30th. This is the second article in a row where he has several good things to say about Obama.
    When people like Will start to ponder voting for the Democratic candidate the GOP is in deep Kimshee.

    voiceofreason (e6a033)

  23. voice, when you consider that Will has been trying to pump up Giuliani, it’s really not that surprising. Will simply isn’t a conservative.

    I really wish someone would bring up Giuliani’s statement from April of last year when he described abortion as “a constitutional right.” Why on earth wasn’t a question asked about this?

    Alan (a0d54d)

  24. PaulD — In one of your comments about Huckabee you said, “Please read his statement fairly.”

    Please apologize and do the same with Romney’s statements. Romney said if the surge would not work he would consider “other options”. You innacurately took that to mean a withdrawal of troops. That says nothing of the sort. It says “other options” which could mean more troops, troops placed in other areas, bigger bombs, or almost anything. It seems to mean to evaluate the situation and make appropriate adjustments for victory.

    Brett King (5f9a26)

  25. Alan,
    I’d disagree with you about Will. He may not be as conservative as some would like but he is far and away one of the more objective pundits out there. If he were trying to help Guiliani I think he would be hoping Obama loses to Hillary.

    voiceofreason (572f4d)

  26. Brett,

    Please read the abc post. Romney was talking about withdrawal, not increasing strength.

    He is not thoroughly committed to success in Iraq and speaks of withdrawals in open ended terms. Show me anywhere Romney says “Hell or high water, we will win!” He doesn’t. He does say that we ought to be retreating by 08.

    Read the article. You are wrong here and should have been better informed before asking for an apology for a phony.

    PaulD (703b62)

  27. And I’ll add this:

    Arguing what Romney says or Huckabee says about the surge is missing the forest for the trees. The credit for steadfast support for the surge goes to McCain hands down. He among the candidates deserves the credit for making our present success in Iraq possible.

    Huckabee raises a good point about the Guard and Reserve. Romney didn’t have the guts or knowledge to lobby the Feds for better support for the Guard. So that point I’ll give to Huckabee–it shows he has been listening to some of the problems. It would have been a best if he were more assertive about what needs to be done for the Guard to integrate with the regular army, but nonetheless he was better than most who either rolled over without putting up a fight for streamlined training or in the case of Dem Governors, just opposing the military campaign altogether.

    PaulD (703b62)

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