Tim Russert moderated “The Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate,” held at Dartmouth College, in Hanover New Hampshire last week. And before you shout “enough” debates let me codify the five functions of a good politician, as scorecard, to future debates: Be flexible, be available, repeat best lines clearly, repeat best lines murkily and look good. This article highlights some of those points and includes the best sound bites and talking points of this latest Dem debate.
The sound and fury of heavy breathing could almost be heard as Tim Russert got right to the point. He pointed the first question at Barack Obama: War in Iraq, “what would President Obama do? We know that General Petraeus projected, in his report, that 100,000 troops will be on the ground yet when a new president is sworn in January 2009.” He continued, “Obama was against the war. But can he stop the war if president in January 2009?” In response, Sen. Obama could not project where or how many troops will be in place at the end of a first term. He hesitated to predict what could be done in four years. He and Clinton cautiously optimistic—why? Because—we don’t know what we will inherit in one or four-years time, while Hillary reiterates (in her answer) that she will immediately begin bringing troops home when elected. Edwards says that the war simply needs to be brought to an end. He said that we should prepare for two possibilities: genocide as war starts to spill outside the borders of Iraq, and that is difficult to contain.
Sanctuary cities: Police ignoring criminal activity of illegal aliens—what would you do? Richardson: Are you asking me first because I am the Hispanic here? The immigration laws in this country are broken (I don’t think so). He called building the wall “silly” try telling that to Americans living close to the border. He said we should be increasing legal immigration and asked: “Is that outline I gave you messy? Yes.” I think his position is messy and unsupportable. The Dodd response was solid. He pointed out that there "was a failure of leadership. We are a nation of immigrants, a welcoming people, but cannot tolerate 400 to 500,000 illegal immigrants coming here each year. If it means engaging in sanctuary as a temporary measure, then so be it. "Would anyone close down sanctuary cities? Obama: We need "to pass comprehensive federal immigration law." While he did not answer question directly he did try to answer it indirectly. Clinton: Was not in favor of shutting down sanctuary cities because people would not report crimes, instead would be hiding from police and worse. Gravel spoke to the issue emphatically: (he was ashamed that) “we are scape-goating Hispanics! I am ashamed we are building a fence on our borders!” Mr. Gravel has clearly lost touch with voters in this country. From the grassroots to the netroots—people want to see a fence, a very long fence on the border.