Thursday, September 6, 2007



Just a follow up to the ridiculous conclusion that McCain "won" the debate last night. If anything (as stated below) - McCain's second tier status saved him from the brutality of the Fox panel. I don't have a problem with tough questions - the campaign will be full of them - but you can't beat the heck out of guy (or guys. . . Giuliani was pummeled, too), hug and kiss another, and declare that the person gettin' all the love "won" the debate. Many bloggers are pitching the same - the standard quip seems to be "McCain helped himself." I guess that's accurate. He helped himself. . . to the JELLO they were tossing at him.

Here's the breakdown of the GOP New Hampshire debate [Full Debate Transcript Here]:


Question Number 1 (after Thompson roast):

MR. WALLACE: Thank you, Brit. Good evening, gentlemen. Let’s talk about illegal immigration. Governor Romney, in recent weeks, you have gone after Mayor Giuliani for running what you say was a sanctuary city for illegals. But as governor of Massachusetts, you did nothing to stop Cambridge, Somerville or Orleans, all of which proclaim themselves to be sanctuaries. In fact, you didn’t even catch the illegals who were mowing your front lawn. (Laughter.) So the question is -- so the question is, why should we believe that you would be any tougher on illegal immigration than Mayor Giuliani? [Romney Responds]

Mittiot's Comment: 'You did nothing. . .' That's a lot like the ol' "Are you still beating your wife" "question." Isn't it? And Romney gets a slew of them - find me a similar question asked of McCain.
Question 2:
MR. GOLER: Thank you, Congressman. Governor Romney, your aides say you see ending abortion as a two- step process -- rolling back Roe v. Wade, which would leave it legal in some states and then a constitutional amendment to ban it nationwide. If abortion is murder, how can you live it with being legal in some parts of the country, and for how long can you do so? [Romney Responds]

[MR. GOLER: Governor Huckabee, do you see any real difference -- (interrupted by applause) -- between Governor Romney’s willingness to allow legalized abortion in some states and Mayor Giuliani’s support -- effective support for a woman’s right to choose?]

Mittiot: Another Push-Pull question. To rephrase the question, "How long are you going to continue to allow babies to be murdered, Romney?"


Question 3:
MR. GOLER: Governor Romney, you have suggested that U.S. troops in Iraq move to a support phase after the surge, which pretty much has to end in the spring, and a standby phase after that in Kuwait and Qatar. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems even Hillary Clinton is willing to commit troops to Iraq longer than that, sir. [Romney Responds]
The Mittiot: WTF? A kidney punch disguised as a question. . .
Question 4 (Let's set up the ambush. . .:
MR. CAMERON: Hi, Brit. During part of this exchange, I sort of asked our group gathered here what they thought of what was going on. And the consensus was that there was a lot of skirting of the issues and not a great degree of clarity. New Hampshire, in fact, our hosts here at UNH have all had sacrifices. There was a UNH grad, Ben Keating, who was the head of the College Republicans, who gave up his life in Iraq for this mission. And we want to talk now with Mark and Deb Riss. Mr. Riss is a deputy sheriff here in Strafford County, and their son Dan comes back after his second tour in just two weeks. You’ve heard a great deal about this. Tell us what it is that you are most interested in. And there’s a question, I guess, for Mr. Romney about the timing of all this.
. . . allow the sucker punch.)

MARK RISS: Yes, what I’m obviously most interested in is how we can bring an endgame to the war in Iraq and yet still do it so that it’s a victory for us and a victory for the people of Iraq. And my question is to Governor Romney. And that is, I’ve heard the other people up there articulate themselves a little bit better. But in your answer, I didn’t hear how you would end it. I didn’t hear an endgame plan from you and I would like a response on that. And also along those same lines, sir, a comment. I don’t think you fully understand how offended my wife and I were and probably the rest of the people who have sons, daughters, husbands and wives serving in the war on terror to compare your son’s attempts to get you elected my son’s service in Iraq. (Cheers, applause.) I know you apologized a couple days later up there, a firestorm started. But it was wrong, sir, and you never should have said it. [Romney responds]

(And, for good measure, poke him a bit)
MR. HUME: Governor, let me follow up on one point. MR. ROMNEY: Yeah. MR. HUME: You again said it looks successful. Senator McCain disagreed with you on that. MR. ROMNEY: I’m going to wait -- MR. HUME: Is it or isn’t it? MR. ROMNEY: Well, you know, we haven’t heard from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. I believe it’s successful -- MR. HUME: Okay.
The Mittiot: A couple of things. One, read my last blog, Mitt does not owe anyone an apology for his remarks about his sons and their service to this country. Secondly, a large block of NH veterans have already endorsed John McCain in this race like in April. I contend the veteran, Mark Riss,' mind was made up long before Mitt answered the loaded question about his "able bodied" boys not joining the military. Lastly, it becomes clear, Mitt isn't in a debate with the other GOP candidates on the platform, but the commentators on the floor.
Question 5:
MR. GOLER: I want to talk, gentlemen, about presidential power and the war on terror here at home. And Governor Romney, I’ll start with you. You have said that the government should wiretap some mosques to keep tabs on Islamic extremists. Would you do this even without a judge’s approval, sir? [Romney Responds]
Mittiot: Probably the fairest, straight forward question asked of Romney though it was the only religious-like question posed. It could have gotten interesting if Mitt said, "If necessary." He'd be in good company - The President that most often is on the list as A-Number One, "Bestest President," Abraham Lincoln, suspended habeus corpus during the "Civil War" for the good of the country.
Question 6:
MR. WALLACE: Governor Romney, you have taken the pledge. You like to say that you don’t just talk about budgets, but in fact you actually had to operate one as governor of Massachusetts. But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in your first year as governor you raised fees and fines by half a billion dollars, including fees paid by the blind, by gun owners, by those seeking training against domestic violence and even by used car shoppers. In fact, the Associated Press says you earned a nickname back then in Massachusetts, it was FeFe. (Laughter.) How do you respond, sir? [Romney Responds by calling Wallace a dork. . . not really, but he should have.]
Mittiot: Yet another swipe disguised as a "question." See the McCain related question below.
Last Stone:
MR. HUME: Governor Romney, your thoughts. [To the Hypothetical Scenario with IRAN] [Romney responds, Hume interrupts] MR. HUME: What if they don’t?

Mittiot: Hmmmm. A hypothetical question that changes as the candidate answers it. . . ? All in all, Hume seemed to offer the most fair questions of the group - I guess that's why he's the SENIOR politico on Fox, and the rest of the "All Stars" pale in comparison. . . in Wallace's case, disappear altogether.



Question Number 1:

MR. WALLACE: Mr. Mayor, time. (Applause.) Senator McCain, when you were backing comprehensive immigration reform this spring, you accused Governor Romney of flip-flopping on this issue. In fact, you said maybe his solution will be to get his small varmint gun and run the Guatemalans off his lawn. (Laughter.)

Mittiot: Jello with a side of "stick Romney"


Question 2:

MR. CAMERON: So we’re going to spin this one back to both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, and ask them Lieutenant’s question: How can you not call it amnesty? MR. GIULIANI: Well, I think. . . [gives answer] MR. HUME: Senator McCain, the same question to you. How do you not call the circumstances the officer described as an amnesty?

Mittiot: A little tougher Jello - softened to the consistency of plain ol' Jello by making Rudy chew it first.


Question 3:

MR. GOLER: Senator McCain, Mayor Giuliani says his leadership after the 9/11 attacks shows he is the best candidate for national security, and you say nothing he has done shows any real experience in foreign policy or national security affairs. Tell me why, sir.

Mittiot: Jello. . . actually wait, that wasn't "Jello" that wasn't even a question, that was an opportunity to punch Giuliani.


McCain Questions Romney???:

[SEN. MCCAIN:] Chris. MR. WALLACE: Senator McCain. SEN. MCCAIN: [To Mitt] Governor, the surge is working. The surge is working, sir. It is working. MR. ROMNEY: That’s just what I said. SEN. MCCAIN: No, not apparently -- it’s working.

Mittiot: Not Jello. . . but then again, that wasn;t a question for McCain.


Jello Shot Number 4:

MR. GOLER: Senator McCain, what do you think about what Congressman Tancredo just said? And more broadly, do you feel President Bush may have overreached his constitutional authority in some actions after the 9/11 attacks, sir?

Mittiot: Again, huggy, huggy kiss-kiss, here's some Jello.


Question 5:

MR. WALLACE: Gentlemen, let’s talk about taxes and spending. As you all well know, pledges not to raise income taxes are a big deal here in New Hampshire. Six of you on this stage -- (interrupted by cheers, applause) -- six of you on this stage have signed the pledge of the Americans for Tax Reform to oppose any increase in marginal tax rates, while two of you have not. Senator McCain, why have you refused to sign? And why do you feel that six of your seven colleagues here on this stage are mistaken in deciding to take that pledge?

And, 6:

MR. WALLACE: Senator McCain, if I can follow up for 30 seconds, those tax cuts that you talked about that have given us so much revenue, in fact, you voted against those. And why not, if you are determined to not raise taxes, why not sign the pledge?

Mittiot: Alright, this was a good question (nasty Jello. . . like pistachio. . . in the end it's still Jello) BUT lets put it in context: "Senator, you didn't support the Bush tax-cuts? Oh that's right you wouldn't support the tax cuts without cuts in spending (Shouldn't someone ask why he'd support them now, given that we still aren't cutting spending? But this isn't the point), however Mr. Romney, you're worse, because. . ." [reference the unfounded "FeFe" jab at Romney above.]


And the last, "question:"

MR. HUME: All right. Senator McCain, you have the last word here, sir. [To the Hypothetical Scenario]

Mittiot: Jello chewed by every other candidate first. If you couldn't swallow that lob by then. . .

Yep, beat the crap out of the guy running to the top, Romney - toss healthy heaps of Jello on the guy falling fasted to the bottom and then proclaim that individual "VICTORIOUS." Seems in the end, media is media no matter what channel it's on. . .

- so sayeth the Mittiot and Chris Cillizza of The Fix


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