Monday, January 21, 2008

Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Why would Dr. King endorse you?

This is the cloying question that Wolf Blitzer asked each of the candidates to answer. John Edwards took the bait, mentioning his meeting yesterday with "Martin the Third," offering a laundry list of Edwards' own efforts that King would hypothetically endorse.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, gave the exact right answer: that Dr. King "would not endorse any of us." He would hold the candidates to accountability, Obama said.

After that, whatever Hillary Clinton said just didn't register.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
The lobbyist trope

Thank goodness that Hillary Clinton called out John Edwards, at last, in his b.s. about how he's never taken money from Washington lobbyists.

Yeah, Hill essentially said, but you've taken money from the spouses of lobbyists, the children of lobbyists and people who work for lobbyists. Well said. This has always struck your blogstress as a bit of subterfuge.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Obama: I am a proud Christian

Barack Obama just made a fascinating point about going after evangelicals for votes by asserting his own bona fides as a committed Christian. "If you don't show up" to church he said, you cede the ground to the right wing. Then he said he strongly embraced the "precepts of Jesus Christ," including making caring for the "least among us."

Yeah, but is Jesus your personal savior, Barack? Are ya born again? If not, you're not really one of them. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out to them. Just be clear about who you are.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
The Bill pill

Suzanne Malveaux just asked Hillary about whether Bill shouldn't "tone it down" a bit, as suggested by Rep. James Clyburne, the African-American head of the progressive caucus. Hillary gave a very boring response about her appreciation of Bill's support. Barack took the opportunity to remind the viewers that Bill has been saying untrue things about him, not that he wants to go over that turf again. Somehow Edwards has turned it into how he can compete with John McCain "everywhere in America," not that that has anything to do with him being a white guy.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
The Kumbaya moment

Now everybody's in agreement about the challenges faced by blacks, women and poor people. After Barack made his speech about the disproportionate levels of incarceration between blacks and whites, Hillary chimed in with a reminder about "equal pay is not yet equal." Noted that women still make only 77 cents to each dollar made by men -- then pointedly said that for "women of color", the rate is 67 cents to the dollar.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Is Bill Clinton the first black president?

Joe Johns just reiterated the famous Toni Morrison quote, and asked Obama to respond. That he did deftly, giving Bill perhaps more props than he deserves at the moment. Then the joke, the twist on the stereotype, "I would have to investigate Bill's dancing abilities in order to know whether or not he is actually a brother."

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
It's not about race

Obama raised the R war [telling typo, non?] word; intially blamed the media for making the primary contest about race, then said it's understandable, given how important race is in our society. However, he sounded great when he said that the more he went around South Carolina, he sensed a hunger among all people to rise above divisions.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
They're nicer on their butts

Gotta say, having the candidates sit down seems to help the tone of the debate. Opening question in this segment went to Barack Obama, who was asked to respond to remarks by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), one of Hillary Clinton's big supporters, who said that African-Americans shouldn't vote for a African-American because he's African-American; they should vote for whomever is best for the country. Obama retorted: "I agree with his principle; I just think he's miscalculated in his equation."

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Can we also have a costume change?

Wolf Blitzer just announced that for the second segment of the CBC/CNN Democratic debate, there will be a "set change," and that everybody will sit down to have "an important conversation." Hope they're not serving food or drink. Already enough of a food fight.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Edwards bashes Obama

John Edwards, who in the last umpteen Democratic debates often aligned himself with Barack Obama in going after Hillary Clinton, just threw his first real punches at Obama when he joined Clinton's criticism of Obama's many noncommittal "present" votes in the Illinois legislature. Out of some 4,000 votes Obama says he cast during his nine years in the state legislature, he voted "present" -- not "yea" or "nay" -- 130 times.

The "present" vote, Obama says, exists in the Illinois legislature in order for a legislator to indicate that he or she has problems with aspects of legislation that she or he might otherwise vote for.

Thing is, what's Edwards' game here? Oh yeah -- in South Carolina, Obama is the frontrunner.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Stress-eating

Your blogstress now regrets the batch of chocolate-chip cookies, laced with cinnamon and crystalized ginger, that she made just before the debate commenced. So stressful is the watching of the churlishness on display, that your écrivaine stands ready to go to bed several pounds heavier than she was when she got up this morning.

If the liberal coalition survives in good health the sniping and low-down tactics being employed in this primary race, it will show itself to be, thankfully, stronger than your cybertrix believes.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
Obama takes on the Clintons

Comes out swinging at both Bill and Hillary Clinton for mischaracterizing his positions.

[UPDATE]
Then Hillary goes on to mischaracterize Obama's quote about Ronald Reagan, wherein he assessed the way in which Reagan changed politics.

[UPDATE]
Goes back and forth -- Barack reminds Hillary of her service on the Wal-Mart board when she was "a corporate lawyer;" Hillary comes back at Barack to mention his service as a lawyer with a client who was "a slumlord."

[UPDATE]
John Edwards see his opening, steps in the middle, and asks how many children will be fed by this "squabble."

Brilliant.

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Live-blogging the Dem-Congressional Black Caucus debate
It's the economy, brothers

The opening question from CNN's Joe Johns was about the economy, straight to Hillary Clinton about her stimulus plan. This gave her the opportunity for a detailed, facts-and-figs answer, the kind of thing at what she excels.

Barack Obama seems ill-at-ease, which, at first blush, seems odd, given the extraordinary speech he gave this morning at Ebenezer Baptist Church. A few seconds in, though, we find why he feels uncomfortable. He's here to go on the attack -- not something that Mr. Above-the-Fray likes to do.

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