Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Debating the Debate

As eight-person debates go, it was an entertaining affair. The June 3 CNN prez debate among the announced Dem candidates only offered a few true news bytes, but it did provide another test for the wannabes.

And one wannabe in particular, Big Bill, seemed a bit out of his element. From my sofa, he seemed too scripted, often unable to directly answer questions concisely, and more to the point, not able to react as quickly as the format required.

Some of my favorite Richardson moments:

Moderator Wolf Blitzer interrupted Richardson's answer to a question about universal health care when the guv cited how his administration here in NM is "getting junk food out of the schools."

Then there was the moment when Richardson disclosed that we New Mexicans have a new name for our state - "We call it the clean energy state," Big Bill offered, apparently unaware that NM's economy is completely tied to the fortunes of extensive oil, gas and coal mining.

Richardson also plugged his proposal for a "hero's health card" (nice) and his off-hand suggestion that Bill Clinton could have a role in a future Richardson administration as special Mideast envoy.

The guv did score with a major compliment from Hillary Clinton, who referred to him as one of "the great diplomats" the USA has in its roster. He also shook up the debate (for a couple minutes, at least) with his proposal that the US threaten to boycott the upcoming Beijing summer Olympics if China doesn't do more to lean on its friends in Sudan over atrocities in Darfur.

Overall, I thought Richardson's performance was OK. Not terrible, but definitely not stellar either. More than anything, I was left thinking that Big Bill is throwback to a different era of politicians where hashing out (backroom) compromises was the currency of the land, not snappy or eloquent made-for-TV repartee.

But he does have one hell of a resume!

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