Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Debate Wrap-Up:

As pulled from nytimes.com which in turn credited Congressional Quarterly's transcript, these are the highlights (in chronological order) of the Repub Presidential debate held in Orlando, Florida on October 21, 2007 (skip to the end if you'd like):


Anything For A Buck Fred:
WALLACE: Senator -- Senator Thompson, have these two guys convinced you that you're wrong and that, in fact, they are both consistent conservatives?

THOMPSON: Well, we've got an hour and a half.

Maybe they can work on it.

(LAUGHTER)

But, they...

(APPLAUSE)

Actually, Mitt, I didn't know there was any room to the left of Ted Kennedy, but maybe there...

(LAUGHTER)

In fact, I didn't know there was any room to the right of him, either, but maybe...

(LAUGHTER)



Rudolph Giuliani:
He voted against $250,000 caps on damages, which they have in Texas. He voted against almost anything that would make our legal system fairer: loser pays rules, things that would prevent lawsuits like that $54 million lawsuit by that guy who lost his pants -- you know?

I did 210 weddings when I was mayor of New York City. So I have experience doing this. They were all men and women.

(LAUGHTER)

I hope.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)


GIULIANI: You got to give me a little slack here. It was New York City, you know, but it's not just a religious institution.
(LAUGHTER)


Mike Huckabee:
HUCKABEE: Let me begin by saying, for the first time in about nine debates, I'm kind of glad I wasn't in on the first few minutes because it was all about these guys fighting each other.

(LAUGHTER)

And I am more than content to let you let them fight all they want tonight, shed each other's blood and then I'll be ready to run for president because...

(LAUGHTER)


Duncan Hunter:
HUNTER: It's got to have, for example, fertility coverage. Well, what if you're 90 years old? We may appreciate Governor Romney's optimism...

(LAUGHTER)

Mike Huckabee:
And we've got a situation with 10,000 baby boomers a day signing up for Social Security, going into the Medicare system. And I just want to remind everybody when all the old hippies find out that they get free drugs, just wait until what that's going to cost out there.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)


Tom Tancredo:
We should actually be debating that specific point, not what kind of government program. You know, Michael Moore went to Cuba not too long ago, and wrote this documentary about the greatness of the system, how wonderful it was to be in Cuba and have a socialized medical system.

You notice, however, that Michael Moore came back to the United States.

(LAUGHTER)


Mitt Romney:
... when Clinton hears about private sector, she thinks that that's a new recruit in the Army.

(LAUGHTER)



Rudolph Giuliani:
Governor Romney says the Republicans aren't going to beat Hillary Clinton by acting like Hillary Clinton. And the point seems to be that on a lot of the social issues, like abortion and gay rights and gun control, that there's not much difference between you and Clinton. Is there?

GIULIANI: You got to be kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

You have got to be kidding.

Wait a second. There is -- there are two things I agree with Hillary Clinton on. First of all, we're both Yankee fans.

(LAUGHTER)

Well, wait a second. I became a Yankee fan growing up in New York. She became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago.

(LAUGHTER)

Do you believe that?

(LAUGHTER)

Second, she made a statement last week -- and I've been very critical of her, but I want to tell her I agree with this one. Quote, Hillary Clinton, I have a million ideas; America cannot afford them all.

(LAUGHTER)


Rudolph Giuliani:
If those polls are correct, we’d have Al Gore here to – I don’t know, it might be a little colder, I’m not sure. But I’m not sure we’d be any better off. Right, we’d be in a lot worse shape with Al Gore.

Thank, thank you Florida.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

GIULIANI: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

You saved us in 2000. That was a big one.

(LAUGHTER)


John McCain:
In case you missed it, a few days ago, Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock Concert Museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event.

(LAUGHTER)

I was tied up at the time.

(LAUGHTER)



Mike Huckabee:
You know, it's interesting, the most, I guess, wonderful reaction we've had in this entire room is when Hillary's name is mentioned. It gets louder than an Aerosmith concert.

(LAUGHTER)



Mitt Romney:
And, you know, Democrats also love America. As Ronald Reagan used to say, it's not that liberals are ignorant. It's just that what they know is wrong.

(LAUGHTER)


Mike Huckabee:
Because the problem is the actuarial tables were designed so that people would retire at 65 and die at 67.

(LAUGHTER)

Well, I'm sorry, but folks aren't dying that early. And short of taking them out, which is not a good idea...

(LAUGHTER)


John McCain:
HUME: Senator McCain, you've grappled with this issue as long as anybody here. You've heard all the proposals and you heard what Senator Thompson offered.

Your thoughts?

MCCAIN: First of all, I'm glad they're not dying at 67, Governor.

(LAUGHTER)


Tom Tancredo:
But let me add one more thing, and Mr. Mayor quipped something to me during the break, and here's my chance, Mr. Mayor, to do what you were saying.

(LAUGHTER)



John McCain:
Vladimir Putin has announced just in the last 24 hours that he plans a new, quote, grandiose, nuclear weapons program to counter the U.S. missile defense system. President Bush just recently described President Putin as wily.

(LAUGHTER)

Are we headed back to a new Cold War, or has the Bush administration been naive in dealing with Mr. Putin?

MCCAIN: I don't know about naive, but I do know that when I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, I saw three letters: a K, a G and a B.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)


Anything For A Buck Fred:
The week after, though -- you took a week off after the last debate. Speech yesterday was about five minutes long. Some people say you're lazy, sir.

How do you deal with that?

(LAUGHTER)

THOMPSON: Well -- no, it's OK. Let me answer that.

I was a father at the age of 17 and a husband at the age of 17. I got started working in a factory. I borrowed and worked my way through. My folks did what they could to help. They were country folks -- came in off the farm.

I was able to be an assistant U.S. attorney when I was 28, prosecuting most of the major federal crimes in middle Tennessee -- most of the major ones.

THOMPSON: Howard Baker selected me to go to Washington and be his counsel on the Watergate Committee at the age of 30.

I came back, took on a corrupt state administration, and won against them. I went to the United States Senate, got elected twice by 20 points in a state that Bill Clinton carried twice.

Condoleezza Rice called upon me to head up an international security advisory board to advise her on international security matters. President Bush called me to help shepherd Chief Justice -- now-Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination through the Judiciary Committee.

If a man can do all that and be lazy, I recommend it to everybody.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)


For those keeping score at home, that's Huckabee 4; McCain 3; Giuliani, Romney, Tancredo, and Thompson 2; Hunter 1; Paul 0. Huckabee was the winner of the debate.

But to consider only quantity, and not also quality, of the humor is superficial. In last place, other than the serious Paul and Hunter, obviously would be Tom Tancredo. He muffed one of his jokes- I don't think he meant to say "...and here's my chance, Mr. Mayor, to do what you're saying," rather "...and here's your chance, Mr. Mayor, to do what you're saying." Romney's lines were clearly scripted, and he appeared a little ill at ease going for the laughs. Thompson was passable, and making light of the girth of someone (Ted Kennedy) should work well with Repub activists.

But McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani could quit their day jobs. I recall consider laughter at McCain's joke about Woodstock- a twofer, ridiculing both Hillary Clinton, and Woodstock as "a cultural phenomenon," sparking excitement among the high rollers and politicians present, most of whom probably no longer use pharmaceuticals, except those prescribed by their obliging doctors.

Huckabee's delivery was best- this guy is at ease with himself and actually looks like he made up these jokes himself, on the spot.


Giuliani's material was brilliant: "I became a Yankee fan growing up in New York. She became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago" (I'm just an average guy, love sports; and by the way, Clinton is disloyal.). "You got to give me a little slack here. It was New York City..." (Otherwise, I wouldn't have dressed in drag.). And by reminding Florida that it was their votes (o.k., the votes from blacks that were ruthlessly discouraged, the votes from Jews that erroneously went to Pat Buchanan, and the votes that weren't counted) that determined the 2000 election, he flattered (always a good thing to do) his (Floridian) audience and strongly implied to a Repub audience that election of George W. Bush wasn't the unmitigated national and international disaster it has proven to be.

All in all, a pretty good night for a few of the contenders. And if I seem to be taking this debate as lightly as did some of the candidates, consider this: they were preaching to the Repub electorate, the same group that (almost) elected George W. Bush President in 2000 and elected him in 2004. And that was not comical, but a serious mistake.

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