Ron Paul

Democratic Debate VI: The Pugilism in Pennsylvania


One way or another I'll be blogging the Democratic debate tonight, which kicks off at 9 p.m. on MSNBC. I may not be able to put the posts up minute-by-minute, as I'm trying to shake the format up by heading to a Hillary Clinton-affiliated debate-watching party to see how Democrats react live! And in person! If the wireless conks out there, expect my update a bit after 10:30.

9:00: Funny story about that Hillary party: The law students who scheduled it booked a cafe smack in the middle of a Halloween block party in DC's gay district. The cafe was inaccessible. So: A different location.

9:02: Everyone was wrong, again. Obama, given a chance to whack Hillary, spools out mush about big change. He trips over his attack lines: Hillary's Iraq vote was "a war for diplomacy" (instead of "vote"), we have "rising health care" (instead of "rising health care costs"). Sweet Caesar, he can't even make a Rocky joke hit. In Philadelphia.

9:04: Hillary ducks the substance (such as it was) and pivots back to herself: Republicans are attacking her. They don't like her. "I have been standing against the Republicans, George Bush and Dick Cheney." Eighty-six more minutes of this.

9:06: John Edwards "The people of the United States deserve a president who will tell them the truth."

9:07: Hillary dodges again. "Anybody who's watched me for 35 years and my record of" etc, etc and etc. When someone attacks the issues, she pretends he ran over her dog.

9:08: A subtle move from Hillary to switch the subject to Social Security, which Obama has (as ever) obliquely started to talk about reforming. "Let's start taking the tax cuts away from the wealthy" before we "balance the budget on the backs of the elderly."

9:10: "Some may want a false choice [on Iran] between going to war and doing nothing. I prefer diplomacy." Unlike Obama, who was pilloried because he… wants diplomacy and was willing to meet with the new Axis of Evil.

9:12: Pity the anti-Hillary Democrats. The only one of them who's sure-footed discussing Iran (and how Hillary is gaming it) is the hopeless Chris Dodd. He points out that Hillary didn't learn from 2002's vote. I'm guessing she'll completely ignore this.

9:13: I correct myself: Biden sounds credible, too. He makes Hillary sound like a sock puppet for the administration. "All this talk of war, all this talk of declaring people terrorists" drove up the price of oil.

9:15: Obama jumps back onto the cliff with a good answer about "talking to our enemies." He blames some of the Iran frenzy on "the Republican debates."

9:17: Hillary wants diplomacy, too, but defines diplomacy less as meetings and more economic sanctions.

9:19: Edwards found his footing, too: the Kyl-Lieberman Iran resolution read like "it was written by the neocons. And: "Have you read this thing?" That sounds like a reference to Hillary's non-reading of the intelligence estimate. In cutaways, Hillary looks less worried and more "I'm leading you by 90 points, Breck Girl."

9:21: Richardson claims he's the only one who's negotiated with other countries and an off-camera Kucinich says "That's not true!" Alpha Centauri isn't a country, though, so point to Richardson.

9:23: Kucinich's anti-war rally speeches have started to sink in. "We need to challenge him on this war, we need to challenge it at its core."

9:24: I don't think you have to like Hillary to smirk as she bats away Russert's fantasyland Iran question.

9:25: Obama blunts the Iran nuke question by discoursing on the Barry Glassner-ish "politics of fear."

9:26: We're in Groundhog Day, people. Biden's never going to stop intimating that everyone else is a child who hasn't stared down Evil and lived to tell about it.

9:27: "Results matter! Experience matters!" It's a little sad how Dodd can't convince anyone he has more experience than a woman whose big commander-in-chief chit is "being on the Armed Services Committee."

9:31: Kucinich says nuclear power is "not sustainable." I think the nuclear lobby could kickstart the construction of 3 or 4 new plants by sending him around to argue this.

9:33: Clinton will bring in experienced hands to heal the post-Bush world, people like "Bill and Joe and Chris." Get it? Get it?

9:35: Obama makes it seem like the cornerstone of his Iraq plan is to "convene a meeting of the Muslim leaders." Hrm.

9:36: Edwards, who only weeks ago said he couldn't make promises about leaving Iraq, promises to pull out combat troops in a year.

9:37: Clinton doesn't know how you combat al Qaeda without fighting them, promises to have troops in Iraq to protect "our embassy"… basically talks right over the mud Edwards dumped on her podium.

First break: It's really not easy to shake the conventional wisdom. Hillary's taking slightly more heat and feeling none of it. Obama's attacks are falling flat. And so on.

9:43: How does Clinton blunt Giuliani's attacks? A big, cast-iron boilerplate.

9:45: And the old, bad Hillary arrives, utterly, unconvincingly dodging a question about opening the Clinton I archives. "The archive is moving about as rapidly as the archives move."

9:47: What the hell happened to Obama? He whacks this out of the park, tying Clinton's hidden records to Bush administration creepiness, earmarks, all that stuff. Republicans are attacking her because "that's a fight they're very comfortable having."

9:49: Supremely confident, Clinton doesn't even bother to attack Edwards and Obama directly. Changes the subject.

9:53: Shorter Bill Richardson: I want to be vice president.

[At this point I got kicked offline for a few minutes and lost one update.]

10:00: Tonight's soundbite. "A noun, a verb and 9/11."

10:01: More Biden: "I've been negotiating since you were still in Congress, man! I've been around too long, I'm forgetting all the wonderful things I've done." Somebody nudge him and point out that debate drinking games are not for people actually in the debate.

10:05: I'm confused: Why does Tim Russert insist on asking the Democrats about Social Security? They're all equally full of it and they're all basically committed to doing nothing. Hillary at least understands that saying the shortfall is a Republican frame is spanish fly for bloggers.

10:16: On the price of oil, it's the world's slowest lightning round! Dodd wants a windfall profits tax for oil companies, Biden wants people to take him seriously, Edwards wants to return to one of his mustiest applause line, Clinton wants a "serious move" toward energy conservation, Obama wants us to stop threatening people…

10:19: …as does Kucinich. Richardson wants an "Apollo program" for energy, which he's said before. There is no earthly way that was a 30 second answer.

10:23: I remember when I used to be able to laugh at Chris Dodd and rouse myself from my debate comas. No longer.

10:29: Nobody is going to defend Charlie Rangel's plan. No one. I talked to Republicans today who laughed at the way Rangel proposed it himself with no surrogates and no plan for rebutting Republicans beyond rasping and joking on CNBC.

10:30: This is spinal tap-level excruciating, so I'm reading other liveblogs. Marc Ambinder catches Edwards flopping like an electrocuted salmon about combat troops.

10:38: They're arguing about what the president should do about local education, and I'm praying for Ron Paul to burst through the wall behind the stage like the Kool-Aid man.

10:55: I had wondered whether Dodd was some kind of stalking horse for Hillary. Nope. He grabbed a clump of her hair and held her down while everyone else kicked the hell out of her for 1)endorsing Eliot Spitzer's plan for illegal alien driver's licenses and 2)not endorsing it.

10:57: Thank you, Tim Russert, for asking Dennis Kucinich about UFO sightings.

10:58: Wait, what? We'll shut down… all Chinese imports?

11:00: Jesus, how is anyone supposed to take this seriously? Obama completely whiffed the last question, but it was a question about what he'd wear for Halloween. He missed the opportunity to say "a good moderator."

WRAPUP: The circumstances around this debate were lousy: My plan to watch it with Hillary fans fell apart and the internet connection I found was spotty. Marc Ambinder and Jim Geraghty have the wrapups you want.

NEXT: 'That Is Not a Drug. It's a Leaf.'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Enjoy the cheesesteaks.


  3. That boy Obama does a nice cakewalk but he needs to learn his place.White House is Miss Hillary’s Plantation.

  4. The Dems are boring because Hillary has that locked up. I looked at polls by state the other day and she has a 2-1 lead in some states.

    The Dems are very overconfident if they think they can nominate such a controversial candidate (and look at the second place runner who has a nameone letter off from Osama and whose middle name is actually Hussein; I don’t think such trivial things should matter but a great deal of Americans get fixated on such things). I think they are pulling a Mondale and their only hope of winning is if the GOP candidates keep pronouncing lunacy like “I’ll not only keep this war going full steam but start one in Iran” to try to outdo one another with the wingnuts. And even then they will likely lose.

  5. Sorry, not 2-1, I meant she has a lead that is larger than Obama-Edwards COMBINED in many states, so even if one thinks both candidates tap into an anyone but Hillary meme she still wins…

  6. They had the pre debate coverage on TV and there were college kids with lots of signs. Lot of Ron Paul signs, but I was disappointed not to see any “Google Santorum” signs in Philly. I still thought they would have at least one lone holdout in Philly.

  7. Forget Google. I’d rather search Reason for Sanctorum:

    Funniest damned Hit-and-Run post EVER!

  8. Re: Santorum

    I wake up each morning and than Zeus that I no longer live in PA.

  9. Debates like I have a feeling this is going to be make me wish I wasn’t such a political animal. It’s really disturbing how, as bad as I know this is going to be, I can’t NOT watch it.

  10. No Mike Gravel? I need my comic relief.

  11. Obama tries a Rocky reference in a Philly crowd and fail miserably.

  12. I think Hillary’s lead is 20% too high for her to say anything that could be remotely controversial. Or substantive.

  13. We have our first “neocons” reference!

  14. Hillary ought to match Edwards promise to offer
    College For All Americans.

  15. I like the “I negotiated with Iran TOO!” clusterfuck after Richardson opened his mouth.

  16. Had to laugh at the Hispanic candidate talking about “bombs crossing the border.” Wow, nuclear weapons are stealing my job, too!!

    Dennis Kucinich: The Candidate for a Green Iran.

  17. Fat Bill’s angling for a cabinet position by defending Hillary.

  18. Alright, I’ve gotta give Biden some credit. “A noun, a verb, and 9/11” is a fantastic line.

  19. This video is being advertised in pro-Mitt, pro-Rudy radio show here where I am. What’s the deal? More importantly, why is the person posting this is named “goronpaul2008” whose website looks like some sort of truther website? Is this a hit and run against BOTH Hillary and Paul?

  20. Kathryn Lopez at the Corner, fascist cocksmoker that she is, is whining about Biden’s line and about how it got laughs.

    The neocons really don’t realize that Giuliani is a fucking Family Guy joke at this point. The guy can’t order a Happy Meal without saying “Gimme a 9/11 – I mean a #4.” Even pro-war people laugh at Rudy for this foible. Is the bubble in Podheretzland really that thick?

  21. Fluffy:

    The neocons are just looking for a puppet. It does not matter if he/she is an idiot. Proof? Not much needed 😉

  22. Ugh! Kucinich looks like an idiot calling for impeachment of Bush/Cheney. President Pelosi, anyone? God help us.

  23. Kucinich looks like an idiot calling for impeachment of Bush/Cheney.

    I don’t see the point of impeachment proceedings at this stage. Having said that, I’d offer that lying to the nation to start a war that costs over 3000 Americans their lives is pretty good grounds for impeachment.

  24. Has anyone noticed the difference between the audience here and the republican debates audience? I have to say, this audience tends to applause less for punchline/gotcha type of statements (ones that involve rosy words like “patriotism”, “American dream”, “honor”, “victory”, etc).

  25. Shut down Chinese imports, and then go on how they hold our money? Good plan.

  26. They’re really going to try to make Hillary’s switch on the licenses the main story? I don’t see this hurting her too much at all.

  27. Actually, there were more substantive issues discussed, such as: energy, health, taxes, the constitution and a great “who would legalize marijuana?”. I believe Senator Dodd made a very good point about how many people we have locked up and we have to start discussing decriminalization, very interesting. If only the Republicans can get off the 911 Iraq mantra.

  28. Kucinich also admits to seeing a UFO. Cool, maybe he scored some killer alien technology. Actually, that explains a lot about him and his MILF wife.

  29. That was really painful until I dozed off.
    Anyone know anything about the Presidential Candidate sex scandal story the LA Times is supposedly sitting on?

    not the Edwards one
    Bill Clinton doesn’t count unless it is a MSM figure or the wife of another candidate

  30. Kucinich also admits to seeing a UFO. Cool, maybe he scored some killer alien technology. Actually, that explains a lot about him and his MILF wife.

    She’s a Cylon?

  31. Anyone know anything about the Presidential Candidate sex scandal story the LA Times is supposedly sitting on?

    I hope it’s not Ron Paul!

  32. crimethink,

    100 Ameros says it isn’t the Doctor

  33. SIV,

    Good thing. No doubt, women crave his pure libertarian essence, but he denies it to them.

  34. @zig zag man: Bitches don’t know bout his additional pylons.

  35. Ron Paul sign behind Chris Mathews, awesome!

  36. Dave Weigel, if you can hear me, you really should liveblog RP on the Tonight Show…

  37. The students at Drexel rock! When the Camera opens the shot it is almost all Ron Paul. It’s really happening.

  38. Leno: “Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who’s told more women to take their clothes off than Bill Clinton.”

  39. The students at Drexel rock! When the Camera opens the shot it is almost all Ron Paul. It’s really happening.

    Unfortunately I missed that 🙁


    Have you heard the applause when RP’s announcement was made by Leno?

  40. Those two guys playing “You make the call” could easily pass for Gillespie and Sullum…

  41. After sitting through only a few minutes of this all I can think about is a quote by PJ ORourke in A Parliment of Whores(?)

    What the fuck, what the fucking fuck?

  42. What a waste of time all this debating is. Everybody knows Ron Paul will be the next President. The numbers don’t show it now, but just wait. Life after death is a sure thing, too.

  43. crimethink:

    Given that shot from Cruise’s movie, I’d say that is a very good warming up for Ron Paul. He should seize on that I think.

  44. Republicans are attacking her. They don’t like her. “I have been standing against the Republicans, George Bush and Dick Cheney

    So she’s gonna go with the “vast right wing conspiracy” thing again? I wish to hell someone would start one just to shut her up.

  45. Ron Paul did VERY well. From my heart, God bless this man!

  46. Er, was RP saying “there’s a risk I might win” just a slip of the tongue?

  47. crimethink:

    It was a bit unintelligible, but over all he did very well.

  48. I was with two liberal friends when Kucinich talked about how money goes to the top from every endeavor and then Edwards blamed Wall Mart for our lack of port security.
    ” Brilliant!” They exclaimed! Like a
    Guinness commercial, without the suds.

    God help us.

  49. I can’t tell which was the greater affront: Johnny Rotten calling Dr. Paul “MISTER Paul,” or rubbing his ass in Paul’s direction. The irony, of course, that during a song about anarchy Dr. Paul is probably closer to sympathizing with anarchy than the Sex Pistols.

    I thought it was VERY classy that Ron Paul shook his hand after Leno thanked them. And independent of how sleazy the mooning was, the Sex Pistols’ performance sucked. I felt bad for 72-year-old Ron Paul until I realized that Johnny Rotten is 51. Grow up you Brit boomer douchebag.

  50. the Sex Pistols’ performance sucked

    Ditto. But Ron Paul rocked!

  51. I hope it’s not Ron Paul!

    It’s scandalous how he’s been faithful to one woman for decades! What kind of libertarian does he think he is?

  52. Ya know, I gotta admit that Edward is becoming more amusing lately with better one liners

  53. Here ya go, the real story:

    Oh yeah. That’s the stuff.

    Ron Paul supporters speaking their truth to power and showing everyone that the Empire is naked. The Democrats have millions upon millions of dollars in their war chests, and they ALL got upstaged by a group of volunteers most likely came from and did everything on their own time and dollar.

    And did you see that crazy liberal kid with the sharpie sign that ran up screaming about the war? I mean, it was a Dem debate, so it had to be a “liberal”, right? Or maybe that was the Ron Paul guy who made all of the signs?

  54. When RP said there’s a “risk” he might win, I’m fairly certain he was being facetious.

  55. Er, was RP saying “there’s a risk I might win” just a slip of the tongue?

    I saw it as a deliberate bit of self-effacing snark, using laughter to defuse all the folks who say he can’t win — and who say it would be a disaster if he did. It came across as a well-rehearsed joke he’d kicked around with his campaign staff during their prep for this appearance.

  56. I watched the debate and all I could do was weep for our country until I remembered the republican version and started to laugh hystericaly

  57. Dodd outpolls Ron Paul.

    Reason is the last media organ that should be getting catty about a longshot candidate refusing to give up the fight.

  58. Zzzz…

    Two hours of non-stop talking and nothing was said about anything.

    What exactly is a UFO? I’ve seen one of those things before but I wasn’t sure what it was — hence it was unidentified.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.