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Thread: Race for the White House

  1. #151

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    Art student's depiction of Obama as Jesus causing a stir


    He wears Jesus' robes and a neon blue halo, looks like Democratic presidential
    candidate Barack Obama and is causing a stir at a Chicago art school. An undergraduate
    student's papier mache sculpture of Obama as a messianic figure -- entitled "Blessing" -- went
    on display on March 31 at a downtown gallery run by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


    By NATHANIEL HERNANDEZ
    Associated Press Writer

    April 2, 2007
    CHICAGO -- He wears Jesus' robes and a neon blue halo, looks like Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and is causing a stir at a Chicago art school.

    An undergraduate student's paper mache sculpture of Obama as a messianic figure -- entitled "Blessing" -- went on display Saturday at a West Loop gallery run by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. By Monday, word of the piece had spread on political blogs, and the school had been flooded with calls.

    David Cordero, 24, made the sculpture for his senior show after noticing all the attention Obama has received since he first hinted he may run for the presidency.

    "All of this is a response to what I've been witnessing and hearing, this idea that Barack is sort of a potential savior that might come and absolve the country of all its sins," Cordero said. "In a lot of ways it's about caution in assigning all these inflated expectations on one individual, and expecting them to change something that many hands have shaped."

    Obama's campaign worked Monday to distance the Illinois senator from the artwork.

    "While we respect First Amendment rights and don't think the artist was trying to be offensive, Senator Obama, as rule, isn't a fan of art that offends religious sensibilities," said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

    Cordero said the school had fielded plenty of calls about his work, "some of them from angry people." He also said he had heard from a few potential buyers.

    Bruce Jenkins, dean of the art school's undergraduate program, said response to the piece -- part of a student exhibition -- has been mostly positive. He said people should take a close look at the sculpture and the context it was created in before judging it.

    "When you see it, when you spend time with it, you understand that it's not a provocative work at all," Jenkins said. "It opens a set of questions."

    The Archdiocese of Chicago had not seen the work as of Monday afternoon and could not comment on it, said spokeswoman Dianne Dunagan.

    The piece comes amid Catholic outrage in New York that led to an art gallery canceling an exhibit featuring a nude 6-foot-tall, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ.

    Artist Cosimo Cavallaro said Saturday that he has received threats as a result of the sculpture, called "My Sweet Lord." Cavallaro said the controversy spurred "thousands" of e-mail messages from people offering help, donations and exhibition space.

    Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press

  2. #152
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    In some circles, not black enough.
    A divide-and-conquer tactic by Republicans??

  3. #153

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    At last, the race to lead America is a talent contest
    There are encouraging signs that US voters are finally losing their disenchantment with knowledgeable leaders

    Howell Raines
    Wednesday April 4, 2007
    The Guardian



    Al Gore's recent appearance on Capitol Hill marked his dominance in Washington's debate about the science of global warming. It also raised a supremely important question about the state of political science in the US. Given the pain inflicted on the world by George Bush's faith-based presidency, are American voters ready for a knowledge-based presidency?


    It's a question worth exploring in advance of the 2008 election, because Gore and several other prospective presidential candidates represent a re-appearance on the US campaign scene of an endangered breed - elected officials who have used their time in office to become expert in some aspect of domestic government or foreign relations.

    Gore stands in a long line of Congressional figures who came to Washington intent on mastering one or more essential issues. His range was unusually broad - the environment, energy, communications technology and nuclear arms control.



    As the Bush presidency winds down, one can feel the electorate holding its breath, as if to reassure itself it can will the centre into holding. In the political press, the opposition, and his own party, Bush's critics are restraining themselves in the belief that admitting how dangerous this man really is will diminish the nation's chances of safely running down the clock until Inauguration Day 2009.

    American politics has been building up to Bush since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. He was part of a generation of forceful "conviction politicians" (Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Mikhail Gorbachev in the former Soviet empire) that gave US voters an exaggerated reverence for leaders with strong beliefs. Reagan did value beliefs over facts, but luckily his strategic beliefs meshed almost perfectly with a moment of opportunity to remake cold war geopolitics.

    Bill Clinton's noble effort to reform healthcare was knowledge-based, but its political collapse gave learning a bad name with half of the electorate, just as the country was seized with one of the religious manias that sweep America once or twice in every century. Thus was the stage set for the long night of Bush and his rigid belief in petroleum and prayer. US foreign policy became wars-for-oil, and its fiscal and environmental policy has been - to use the blunt and simple terms preferred by this White House - about preserving at all costs the wealth of Texans and Saudis.

    What are the signs that America's disenchantment with knowledge and elected officials who possess it may be ending? Encouragingly, there are prospective political candidates in both parties who, whatever their individual flaws, have used their careers to acquire a body of knowledge about governance.

    As a matter of courtesy, let's consider Gore first. Of all the American politicians I met during a long journalistic career, I believe Gore and Richard Nixon knew the most about all aspects of government and politics. (Knowledge, alas, can be morally neutral.) My bottom line on Gore is that he would be a competent president who fully grasped the choices before him. Will he run in 2008 if there's an opening? Remember what his father, the late senator Albert Gore, said when Gore went on the Democratic ticket in 2002: "He was raised for it."

    What is striking about this presidential cycle is that for the first time in a long time, there are a number of plausible candidates in both parties who seem, at a minimum, informed enough for the top job. Certainly Hillary Clinton fits that description. She is a meticulous student of government who has used the Senate as a graduate school. On the Democratic side, one sees a similar seriousness of purpose in John Edwards and Barack Obama, although many Americans argue that the former is too liberal and the latter too young to be competitive. Such dismissals are as blinkered as the view that Clinton is too brittle.

    Edwards feels a sympathy for the poor and the sick that hearkens back to Franklin Roosevelt, and in these stingy times that makes him a figure of respect. Although a newcomer, Obama has a gift for igniting a generous idealism among the young. Such is the promise of his future that a Gore-Obama dream ticket has emerged as a significant threat to Clinton's frontrunner status.

    On the Republican side, John McCain and Chuck Hagel have used their Senate terms to educate themselves about national security issues. Neither of them would have stood by while his vice president and defence secretary ran amok in Iraq. Despite his personal idiosyncrasies, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is a seasoned executive, having run and to some extent reformed New York's City Hall. Though ideologically shifty, Mitt Romney crafted a successful financial career that did not depend entirely on his father's money, patronage and connections.

    In regard to independent success and executive preparation, the talk of New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as a presidential candidate is reasonable. His financial news company routed two power houses, Reuters and Dow Jones. His handling of New York's police and school system bespeak skill at managing encrusted bureaucracies. Like Giuliani, he thrives on running - or battling - large systems.

    I'm not saying I would vote for all these candidates or that they are uniformly talented or even equal in their intelligence and preparation. But they do reach a threshold of competence and preparation that Bush did not, despite his family and educational credentials. His late and simplistic religious conversion, for example, has been a much stronger force in his presidency than his degrees from Yale and Harvard.

    The vagaries of American politics and the unpredicted pressures of the presidency chasten one's optimism. But it is worth remembering that our most naturally gifted president, Abraham Lincoln, emerged after the horrid term of James Buchanan set the stage for the civil war. I am reliably informed that no less a presidential scholar than the late Arthur Schlesinger had tipped Bush as a challenger for Buchanan in the running for worst president ever.
    None of us can say with certainty that Bush is simply a dullard, although that explains his regime of goofy tax cuts, corporate welfare and needless invasions. But we cannot deny what is self-evident from the past six years. We've given war a chance. Now, when it seems possible that one or both parties could allow it, let's give knowledge a chance.

  4. #154

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    http://nymag.com/

    Too-Straight-Talk Express

    Memo to Rudy: Get a strategist and handler before you start talking about ferrets again.

    By Chris Smith

    Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign had a bizarre moment last week. A couple, actually. Strangest of all, neither of them had anything to do with secret marriages, dog-stomach-stapling techniques, or the possible federal indictment of Bernie Kerik. No, these odd episodes centered on the two issues—economic policy and the fight against terrorism—that Giuliani himself says are the most important facing the country, and are his supposed areas of expertise. Neither made the front page, or any other page, of a city paper.

    The foreign-policy weirdness came when Giuliani left his second home, a front-row seat next to the Yankees dugout, and flew to New Hampshire, still home to the first presidential primary. Asked about Congress’s setting deadlines for a troop withdrawal from Iraq, Giuliani initially stuck to his routine response, calling the vote “irresponsible and dangerous.” Then he began floating options about what might happen after a presidential veto of the bill. “Would the president have the constitutional authority to support them [the troops] anyway?” Giuliani mused. “He has the inherent authority.” Giuliani went on to say that “Bush has the power to redirect the money” from other places in the budget. Was he suggesting an end run around Congress? Hard to say; Giuliani was back on the bus, leaving confusion in his wake.

    That was nothing compared with the former mayor’s befuddling statements about income taxes. Three days after staging a Wall Street event to accept the endorsement of Steve Forbes—and cozying up to Forbes’s signature issue, the flat tax—Giuliani was in South Florida speaking to the ultracapitalist Club for Growth. Why is Rudy now in favor of the flat tax, given that he’d ridiculed the idea as “a disaster” in 1996? “I didn’t favor it,” Giuliani said. “I said something academic. What I said was—and it was not a joke, but it was half-jocular—what I said was that if we didn’t have an income tax, in other words—when did we pass the income tax, 1916?—in the early part of the twentieth century, way back there when we had no tax, no income tax, what would I favor? First, I’d favor no tax; that would be my first position. My second position would be probably for a flat tax … But that I thought, both then and now, meaning the last time I expressed myself on it, and now, that that would probably not be feasible given the way our economy has developed.” Oh. The half-joke is on Steve Forbes.

    We’re conditioned to think of political consultants as evil, for draining all the complexity and humanity out of candidates and replacing them with focus-grouped “words that work.” John Kerry is the most recent Democratic victim of overhandling; John McCain, late of the Straight Talk Express, seems to have lost his bearings this time around, after making a devil’s bargain with some of the Bush operatives who trashed him in 2000. Giuliani’s poll and fund-raising numbers are quite healthy. But he’s in need of some adult supervision.

    Giuliani’s presidential campaign has staffed up in all the standard, necessary ways: a press secretary with Iowa experience, a campaign manager who’s worked for the Republican National Committee, a Bush-connected Texas moneyman as fund-raising chairman, a solidly Republican pollster. His New York brain trust remains onboard. The one major vacancy on Giuliani’s team is that of strategic guru. When he ran for mayor, Giuliani had a stormy but productive relationship with the legendary David Garth, but it was always clear who was calling the shots. “Rudy,” a former campaign adviser says, “is one of the least consultant-driven politicians in the country.”

    Which sounds healthy. But Giuliani’s recent statements on everything from the flat tax to “strict constructionist” judges aren’t a refreshing display of spontaneity or nuance. They betray a man who didn’t completely expect to be running, who has a long public record as mayor that isn’t entirely helpful to his current ambitions, and who hasn’t sorted out what he believes. Without a heavyweight strategist around—no James Carville or Karl Rove—there’s been no one to add some discipline and force the candidate to determine what he thinks.

    Into some of that void has stepped Judith Giuliani. She’s deeply involved in personnel decisions and image-making gambits, roles that aren’t unusual for a political spouse. Most, though, are able to perform them without becoming public lightning rods. In New York, the 2008 presidential campaign frequently feels more like the soap-operatic spring of 2000: On one recent morning, Rudy, Judi, and Bernie dominated the front pages of all three city dailies. Yet the local frenzy hasn’t significantly damaged Giuliani’s national standing. “Outside of New York, what people think matters is leadership on economic issues, leadership on foreign-policy issues, not this silliness,” Giuliani media adviser Michael McKeon says.

    Maybe. But it’s serious issues that are tying Giuliani in the worst knots. Running for mayor, he arrived at a carefully calibrated pro-choice stance only after much public agonizing. Once he picked a side, though, he stuck with it. Now, like all candidates post-Kerry, Giuliani lives in mortal fear of being labeled a flip-flopper. So he’s trying to have it both ways: emphasizing that abortion remains a constitutional right, saying he still supports federal financing, while—wink, nod—adding that he’d appoint judges like Antonin Scalia. “It’s disingenuous,” says Fran Reiter, who played a key role in both of Giuliani’s winning mayoral campaigns. “My sense is he’s not comfortable with a lot of what’s coming out of his mouth. He’s all over the place.”

    Giuliani’s presidential camp is more worried about his appalling baloney-slicing on guns, especially when it comes to the Republican primaries. “Gun owners, those folks actually vote,” a Rudy operative says. “They don’t care about the sophisticated urbanite explanation of ‘Well, crime and guns …’ That’s going to be a problem. Rudy’s been saying, ‘We’ll let cities and whomever decide to restrict guns however they want to.’ That’s a nightmare for [NRA leader] Chris Cox and his people.”

    Giuliani’s candidacy is founded in his image as September 11 hero. I’ve always believed his stature has as much to do with the public’s hunger for something uplifting to emerge from the tragedy as it does with Giuliani’s actions. Regardless, his emotional bond with voters remains real and strong. It may even be enough to turn all the messy social issues into an irrelevant sideshow. But Giuliani’s squirming on anything other than crime or September 11 threatens to erode his aura as a resolute leader. And just when you think he’s matured, the goofball Giuliani resurfaces, mooning over Judi on 20/20. As mayor, Giuliani’s glorious eccentricities, both politically and personally, fit the city and the times. It’s hard to see how those traits are what the country needs in a 21st-century president.

    E-mail: chris_smith@nymag.com.

  5. #155

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    April 19, 2007

    Court Ruling Catapults Abortion Back Into ’08 Race

    By ROBIN TONER

    WASHINGTON, April 18 — Both sides in the abortion struggle predicted that the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday would escalate the drive for new abortion restrictions in state legislatures and push the issue of abortion rights — and the Supreme Court — squarely into the 2008 presidential election.

    The decision was a major victory for social conservatives, a validation of their decade-long strategy of pushing for step-by-step restrictions on abortion while working to change the composition of the Supreme Court.

    “This decision is a powerful and timely reminder of the enormous significance of presidential elections and their pivotal impact on the makeup of the Supreme Court,” said Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    “Thank God for President Bush,” Mr. Land said, “and thank God for Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.”

    Clarke D. Forsythe, president of Americans United for Life, said the decision would restore power to the states and make it easier to enact “common-sense regulations” on abortion. The “partial-birth” ban, aimed at a type of abortion known medically as intact dilation and extraction, was the product of years of effort by abortion opponents in states and on Capitol Hill. The legislation was twice vetoed by President Bill Clinton and, in a previous version, ruled unconstitutional by a different makeup of the Supreme Court.

    Abortion rights advocates said they were shaken by the 5-to-4 ruling upholding the ban and asserted that the ruling cut to the heart of the protections of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision recognizing a constitutional right to abortion. They said it also underscored the stakes of the 2008 presidential election, arguing that the next president will almost certainly appoint a justice who could shift the balance of the court on Roe itself.

    Abortion rights supporters clearly hoped for a replay of the abortion politics of the late 1980s, when the majority for Roe was also considered uncertain, mobilizing advocates into a more potent political force.

    “Until this decision, I think a lot of people were skeptical about whether Roe could be overturned,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “But there clearly is no longer a presumption that women’s health will be protected by the courts.”

    The reaction from the presidential candidates was quick and along party lines, and largely seemed aimed at their party’s base, which frames primary elections.

    Republicans, who have worked hard to court conservatives opposed to abortion, hailed the decision as a long overdue stand against an “unacceptable and unjustifiable practice,” as Senator John McCain of Arizona, put it. “It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures,” he added.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, the Republican former mayor of New York and a longtime supporter of abortion rights, said the court “reached the correct conclusion."

    Democrats denounced the decision as an “alarming” retreat from years of Supreme Court precedent safeguarding women’s health, in the words of Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois.

    “I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women,” Mr. Obama added.

    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, also described the decision as “a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman’s right to choose and recognized the importance of women’s health.”

    The reaction among independent and moderate voters will be closely watched.

    Until now, even some elected officials who supported abortion rights were uncomfortable dealing with the procedure singled out in the 2003 law. . Abortion opponents considered the legislation a valuable teaching tool to highlight what they asserted was the extraordinary reach of the Roe decision. On final passage in the Senate in 2003, 17 Democrats joined with 47 Republicans to support the ban.

    But some Democrats said this new court decision could change the political landscape, just as the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case did, by striking moderates as an unwarranted government intrusion into medical decisions.

    On Capitol Hill, Democratic abortion rights leaders vowed to push for legislation that would codify the Roe decision, a long-sought goal of liberals. But activists on both sides said that was an uphill battle.

    Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California and a staunch supporter of abortion rights, said she planned to reintroduce that legislation. But she acknowledged, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”


    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  6. #156
    Senior Member WebErr's Avatar
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    Presidential candidates to debate via Internet

    By Paul J. Gough
    April 24, 2007

    From here.


    NEW YORK -- Yahoo!, the Huffington Post and Web magazine Slate will engineer two presidential debates conducted online -- apparently the first of their kind -- that will feature candidates participating from separate locations with a real-time connection to voters via the Internet.

    PBS host Charlie Rose has signed on to moderate the debates, and invitations have gone out to the announced candidates in both parties. The Democratic debate will occur after Labor Day, with the GOP edition at a later date.

    "It will help reach out to a lot of people who are not engaged in the political process," said Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, whose idea sparked the effort. "There are many more people tuned into the campaign earlier than ever before, and we're going where so many of those people live -- online."

    The 90-minute online debates will be remarkable in that they will be the first in the history of presidential politics where the candidates and the moderator won't be in the same room -- or even the same state. Rose will be in one location, hooked to a video camera, while a Yahoo! crew will be at each of the candidates' locations with cameras to connect them.

    "They can talk to each other and have a real conversation and all see each other and engage each other's responses," Slate editor Jacob Weisberg said. "Although they won't be in the same room, it will be a real conversation."
    Advertisement

    Rose will receive e-mail questions and pose them to the candidates, said Cyrus Krohn, director of Yahoo!'s election strategy. The debate also will have other interactive components and social-media platforms surrounding it on Slate, the Huffington Post and Yahoo!

    In January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Huffington raised the idea of an online debate in view of the fact that presidential candidates are doing more online advertising, online fund-raising and even announcing their candidacies online.

    "This seemed like the next logical step, to have an exclusive online debate," she said.

    Weisberg approached her during the forum and said he'd be interested in helping her; they discussed it with Rose at a party. Yahoo! was enlisted soon afterward; the company is developing the technology.

    "It seems like a great way to combine the best of traditional media with Charlie and his great ability to question and bring out his subjects and the best of online media, partnering with Yahoo! and Slate -- online pioneers," Huffington said. "And most important, bringing in the people themselves, in a much more engaged way, to solicit questions through Facebook, Yahoo!, YouTube and MySpace."

    It will be the most elaborate application of a Yahoo! project that last year saw former CNN anchor Judy Woodruff host "Talk to Power," a multimedia Q&A session that featured politicians including Sens. McCain, Edward Kennedy and Patty Murray.

    Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean has agreed to open the Democratic debate, which Weisberg takes to mean that it's likely that most if not all the candidates will participate. The requests for debates have been so heavy that Dean has been appointed arbiter to decide who will get to sponsor the debates and limit them to one a month.

    Meanwhile, the first regular debate of the 2008 presidential election cycle will be at 7 p.m. EDT Thursday with the Democratic candidates. MSNBC and MSNBC.com will cover the debate, moderated by "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C.

    On May 3, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews will moderate the first debate with the Republican contenders at 8 p.m. EDT from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

    The South Carolina Democratic Party's debate will feature Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. Confirmed for the GOP debate are John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Tommy Thompson.

    On both days, the network plans blanket coverage up to and after the debates. Many of MSNBC's personalities will be involved, including Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson.

  7. #157

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    Bloomberg Not on Board With Giuliani's Security Assessment

    by Jason Horowitz Published: April 25, 2007

    For the record, Mayor Michael Bloomberg disagrees with Rudy Giuliani’s assertion that a Democratic president would leave the country more vulnerable to a Sept. 11-scale terrorist attack.

    When asked this morning at a press conference in Manhattan about Giuliani's provocative comments in New Hampshire yesterday about the country being safer under a Republican, Bloomberg said, "I don't think that fighting terrorism is a partisan issue."

    While Bloomberg emphasized that some candidates may be stronger than others on security, and that it was important that the country not hide from the real threats it faced in the world, he refused, unlike Giuliani, to frame the question in partisan terms.

    "I don't see anything partisan about it whatsoever," he said. "I think you could have somebody of any party, any political persuasion or any nationality who understands that responsibility and that there are going to have to be very tough decisions."
    http://www.observer.com/2007/bloombe...ity-assessment

    Copyright © 2007 The New York Observer. All rights reserved.

  8. #158

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    An article on Obama in New Yorker - captivating
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...ct_macfarquhar

  9. #159

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    Well, I intend to cast my vote for Ron Paul. Too bad he stands no chance.

  10. #160

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    May 4, 2007

    The TV Watch

    A Show Where Candidates Are More Prop Than Player

    By ALESSANDRA STANLEY

    If ever there was an event that cried out for name tags, it was last night’s Republican debate. Which in that long line of white men in bright ties and dark suits supported embryonic stem cell research? And who was it again who called for a flat tax?

    Each candidate tried to grab onto the mantle of Ronald Reagan, and each candidate dropped key words like “optimism,” though claiming it is not the same as projecting it on camera. On screen the 10-man contest at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library looked less like a battle of titans then an all-male kickline in a Mitzi Gaynor variety show.

    Viewers who stayed with MSNBC for the full 90 minutes had reason to be confused. The candidates had reason to be annoyed.

    The entire evening seemed intended to diminish the presidential aspirants rather than distinguish their positions. They faced the tail of Air Force One suspended in the air — as if Reagan’s presidential airplane was leaving them behind. They were placed in front of a huge backdrop dotted with the logos of the Reagan library and MSNBC and politico.com, the sponsors of the event, as if those were the only names that counted.

    As they stood obediently still behind 10 identical lecterns, Chris Matthews and his co-moderator from politico.com., John Harris, strode dramatically up and down the stage as they asked questions — choreography that did not add clarity or serve any other discernible purpose other than to upstage the candidates who were supposed to stand out and instead stood frozen.

    Most voters did not watch the debate, and many will not even pay attention to clips of the evening on news programs and the Internet. Even those who slogged through the full 90 minutes will retain only a few moments of it.

    As Reagan proved many years ago, debates are not won with arguments, but with words and gestures. Senator John McCain delivered many fierce and fiery statements, but one of the most memorable — and jarring moments — came when he passionately vowed to follow Osama bin Laden to “the gates of hell,” then pasted a smile on his face, as if belatedly remembering an adviser’s instruction to look optimistic.

    Mitt Romney did not need any prompting to look likable. He may not be the heir to Reagan, but he looked the most like the former president — the tan, the Brylcreem hair, the straight white teeth and a voice so smooth and friendly it sounds as if he makes his living doing voice-overs for car commercials. After the debate, Mr. Romney was the first to bolt across the stage to shake hands with Nancy Reagan.

    Mr. Matthews awkwardly danced around Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith with a question about Roman Catholic bishops that Mr. Romney easily batted away. Mr. Matthews, the host of “Hardball” on MSNBC, did not ask him why he had told the Fox News Channel that his favorite novel was “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani also described himself as an optimist, but he did not seem very optimistic about his ability to win over the religious right. When asked if he thought that the increased number of Christian conservatives was good for the Republican Party, Mr. Giuliani replied rather sourly, “Sure,” saying the increased influence of “large numbers of people are always good for us.”

    The three apparent front-runners had plenty of opportunities to make their case, but the lesser-known candidates had to jostle for attention. Nobody really managed to steal the show and display graveltas, the ability to steal a debate with outrageous, curmudgeonly statements the way former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska did in the recent Democratic debate in South Carolina. But Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who calls himself a paleolibertarian, came closest. His reedy voice and excitable manner stood out in what was otherwise a blending chorus of deep monotones.

    It was a formal, sober exchange in a grandiose setting, and Mr. Matthews, in a blue shirt and green tie, was cheerful but a bit too casual for the setting, his diction a little slurry and his syntax a bit loose. He asked a question about some candidates’ support for national identity cards and appeared to not fully understand their positions. He would have been perhaps been better suited to the Democratic debate on a college campus in South Carolina.

    On the other hand, if voters get the candidates they deserve, then maybe candidates deserve the moderators that try to get their goats.


    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  11. #161

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    They faced the tail of Air Force One suspended in the air — as if Reagan’s presidential airplane was leaving them behind.


  12. #162
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    I saw that so-called GOP "debate." That was some sorry cast, let me tell you. Only one candidate appeared the least bit presidential, and that was former Governor Gilmore of VA. The rest: phooey!! (And what's up with McCain...that guy is downright scary.)

    Frankly, I don't see ANY of the 10 "candidates" who participated in the recent debate having a chance of getting the GOP nomination.

    The real candidates are Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson. Both are powerhouses, and either could easily put away the Democrats in 2008. Gingrich is downright brilliant. Thompson is a 90% version of Reagan...add in some Peggy Noonan and...voila!
    Last edited by Bob; May 7th, 2007 at 09:01 PM. Reason: correction of typo

  13. #163
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    If you think Gingrich would be able to "put away the Democrats in 2008" then I would like to have some of what you're smoking.

    And Peggy Noonan happens to be loathsome; I'll never understand people like you, Bob.
    Last edited by MidtownGuy; May 8th, 2007 at 02:05 AM. Reason: cleaned up my description of Peggy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I saw that so-called GOP "debate." That was some sorry cast, let me tell you. Only one candidate appeared the least bit presidential, and that was former Governor Gilmore of VA. The rest: phooey!! (And what's up with McCain...that guy is downright scary.)

    Frankly, I don't see ANY of the 10 "candidates" who participated in the recent debate having a chance of getting the GOP nomination.

    The real candidates are Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson. Both are powerhouses, and either could easily put away the Democrats in 2008. Gingrich is downright brilliant. Thompson is a 90% version of Reagan...add in some Peggy Noonan and...voila!
    According to all the opinion polls that I read, Newt barely gets 10% of the possible vote. Newt is polirizing and the gact that he cheated on his wife while she was being treated in a hospital + during his push to impeach Clinton won't help me much.

    Fred Thompson has very weak resume. His main accomplishment is being on Law & Order. He is not a major candidate and never will be. Ronald Reagan was a governor of California before he ran for president.

    GOP candidates don't have a very good chance to win unless then distance themselves from the dummy in the White House and this terrible war that is getting less and less popular. By fall, it will be obvious to more than 80% of the population that we should the hell out of that mess - the sooner the better. And Giuliani's praise of Bush just a few months ago as "the great president" and his marital issues and friendship with Kerik will come back to haunt his candidacy...

  15. #165
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Spin by Comedy Centrals site and see the McCain interview they had on the Daily Show a week and a half ago.

    John was really pushing, and John was pushing back. (heh, just realized now... John John... )

    I think Stewart is mostly pissed at seeing someone he liked and admired back in 2000 when he started pandering to so many groups and things that he did not support before the Rove Squad tore him several new ones.

    I think that is what I feel as well. He just looks broken.

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