The Third Democratic Party Debate

Update: Does anyone other than Hillary know how to debate?  She was the only one that seemed to understand you have a time limit so you had better make your answers quick and concise.  Hillary responded with very concise answers such as “You need to do this, then this, then this” or “I’ve done this before and here are the ten things that need to be done.”  Check our reaction as the debate was going on (below), notice how Hillary consistently answered with specifics and within the time limit.  Richardson, does not understand the concept of clocks.  Obama too seems to be lethargic and out of touch with the reality that you do not have hours to get to the point.   

This should have been Obama’s night.  The audience started off by being on his side.  If he can’t come out the undisputed leader on a debate about domestic issues as they effect the African-American community, when can he possibly come out ahead?  Obama tried by speaking about some issues he worked on in the state legislature but that is like a PTA president talking about school district politics to the Secretary General of the United Nations. 

Hillary looked Pretty in Pink.  The ties on the men were uniformly ugly.  Hillary also made the audience stand up and cheer with that amazing AIDs answer.  Roars for Hillary when she got the answer right on Darfur and everyone else followed.  She got the big sound bites of the night which will be repeated over and over tomorrow.  It will be Hillary in the lead this Summer just like it was Hillary in the lead this Spring, just like it was Hillary in the lead this Winter.  Hillary did us proud tonight. 


This debate was interesting.  Hillary was wonderful.  She had the best answer of the night with her AIDs response (comment agrees and CNN which is providing commentary agrees).  Hillary had clear answers to questions with point programs.  Hillary also had a strong moment with her Darful comment and that tough tough answer which prompted everyone else to follow.  On outsourcing, which Obama attacked her for last week, Hillary demonstrated her experience and also spoke to environmental issues.  Loved the It takes a village, answer. 

Obama started strong and clearly had a lot of supporters in the audience.  Obama proceeded to meander and start falling off the tracks (like the easy New Orleans answer which wandered around and around).   Once again he spewed platitudes.  This should have been Obama’s night and Hillary still shone.  Compare Obama’s answer on New Orleans to Hillary’s answer. 

Edwards was OK but hardly noticed.  Biden was OK but predictable.  Dodd was OK but not noticed much.  Richardson had one good moment but perplexing.  Kucinich was better than Gravel.  Gravel has crossed the line and become a pest.  Are all these guys, including Obama, running for Veep? 



Eighth and last question: Darfur.  Do we have any moral leadership on Darfur?

Dodd:  Iraq has depleted U.S. of resources.  Get out of Iraq.  Regain moral stature.

Hillary:  3 things.  Peacekeepers to Darfur – from US or NATO; no-fly zone.  Gets real tough.  Audience loves her answer.

Biden:  Impose no-fly zone.  U.S. troops.

Richardson:  Fight genocide, no-fly zone, sanctions, stop rapes.  I was in Darfur. 

Edwards:  I agree. 

Obama:  Africa trade, investment.  Pay attention to Africa. 

Kucinich: Corporations exploit Africa. 

Gravel:  A president must have moral judgement.  Mocks everyone else. 


Seventh Question: Outsourcing

Gravel: Mocks other candidates again. 

Dodd:  We are exporting jobs.  Need tax incentives. 

Hillary:  I dealt with this problem in upstate NY.  End tax breaks.  Set standards.  Have Americans prepared.  Clean energy would create millions of new jobs.

Biden:  Need to make America attractive to corporations (Is Biden kidding?)

Richardson:  Upgrade our science and math standards.  Create special academies.  Better treaties with standards.  Richardson’s best answer thus far. 

Edwards:  I’m a son of a closed Mill. 

Obama:  I moved to Chicago to work with churches.  How do we retrain workers? 

Kucinich:  Steel factories closed.  Cancel NAFTA and WTO.  (Maxine Waters cheers)


 Sixth Question: Use of UN principles to return citizens to New Orleans?

Kucinich: People must return. 

Gravel:  Yes.  War is bad.

Dodd: Yes.  (Vernon Jordon in audience too)

Hillary: 10 point recovery agenda.  There is nothing to return to.  We must rebuild.  Denounces Bush FEMA policy.

Biden: U.S. Constitution should be enough.  Guarantee the reconstruction.

Richardson: Katrina reaction is disgraceful.  FEMA needs reforms.  3 point program. 

Edwards: I announced in N.O.  I will appoint 1 person to be responsible.  Edwards’ strongest moment thus far. 

Obama: Bechtel, Halliburton …. Obama confused.  Goes back to pre-Katrina N.O.  We need president that understands, Obama says. 


Fifth Question: Disparate justice

Obama: We need justice system.  “Just Us”.  Requires courage.  I worked on this at state legislature. 

Kucinich: End death penalty.

Gravel: Politics as usual. 

Dodd: Stop mandatory sentencing.  Non-political Justice Department.

Hillary: Stop racial profiling, (speaks of legislation she’s proposed) stop mandatory minimums because too widely used, we need drug courts to divert from regular court system, diferentiate beteen crack and power cocaine.

Biden:  Ditto

Richardson: Economic issues???

Edwards: Ditto to all.  Let’s also create help for first offenders. 


Fourth Question: Taxes and unfairness

Edwards:  Genetic lottery.  We should honor work, not wealth. 

Obama:  System is unfair.  Are we ready to invest in fairness?  Brings up Katrina.  Obama seems to fall off the track again. 

Kucinich:  Off shoring by corporation.  War, military buildups = bad. 

Gravel:  Once again Gravel mocks everyone else.  Wipe out the Income Tax!  Proposes a looney retail sales tax.  Call the guys with the strait jackets. 

Dodd:  Clinton had good policies.  We are losing the manufacturing sector.  Reward good companies.

Hillary:  22 million jobs, balanced budget, employment during the 90s.  Seems to propose lifting the caps on payroll taxes.  S. Tubbs-Jones smiles a big smile for Hillary.

Nodded off during Biden.

Richardson:  Be pro-growth Democrats.  Pro-capital.  Globalization must work for middle class.  Generate jobs with tax code. 


Third Question: What can be done about AIDS?

Richardson:  Weird way of addressing the issue, calling for needles.  Almost funny.  This should be an easy answer. 

Edwards:  Government must act.  3 point program: find a cure, fully fund Ryan White act, Medicade must cover AIDS drugs.

Obama: Prevention must have education.  There is still a stigma.  Obama starts off well then gets totally off track with this answer. 

Kucinich: Michael Moore is right, we need a not for profit medical system.

Gravel: End the drug war. 

Dodd: Need for school based clinics.   We need access to coverage.  Some silly jokes end the exchange between Tavis and Dodd.

Hillary:  If HIV was the leading cause of middle aged white women… cheers for Hillary…”I’m working on this.”  Big problem.  It used to be a gay mens disease and nothing much was done.  [Hillary does real well with this answer.]

Biden:  We need leaders in this fight.  Sharpton is pissed.  Obama jokes he got tested with Michelle.  Lots of laughs. 


Second Question: Education and poverty – what’s the connection between education and pay?

Biden:  Provides childrearing tips.  Smaller class sizes. 

Richardson: First time we have talked about education.  For minimum wage for teachers.  Must deal with achievement gap.  Universal pre-school “which we did in New Mexico”.  College for all.

Edwards: “This is the cause of my life.”  No one single cause of poverty.  For minimum wage.  Against predatory lenders.

Obama: for early childhood education.  Need future teachers in poor neighborhoods.  Provide resources to schools.  (Shot of a serious Stephanie Tubbs-Jones). 

Kuchinich: Links war to fear and poverty. 

Gravel: We’ve heard all this before.  Money squandered in Iraq.  (Sharpton nods).  Dems just as guilty. (Maxine Waters enjoying it all)

Dodd: Most important issue.  I’ve walked the walk on this issue. 

Hillary:  It takes a Village.  I’ve fought for 35 years on this issue.  Long list of what she has done.  Most important issue.  Discrimination in the workplace.  She’s hot. 


First Question: Is Race still the most intractable issue in America especially in light of today’s Supreme Court decision?

Hillary says yes.  The March is still not finished.  Finishes with a call to arms.  [Hey, it looks like she has Pink on.  The rumors may start now.]

Biden next:  Guess they will all say yes.  Biden says we needed to be tougher on Roberts and Alito.  Supreme Court is very important as a presidential issue. 

Richardson: Yes. Race is not just passing new laws. 

Edwards: Slavery still has an impact.  “Two Americas”. 

Obama: Praises Thurgood Marshall.  Uses “We” a great deal.  Sharpton caught squinting. 

Kucinich: Talks education.  “Take the resources away from war.”

Gravel: This is a fair debate.  Racism still with us.  Denounces drug war. 

Dodd: Yes.  We have a segregated school system. 


Deval Patrick, new governor of Massachusetts sounds a warning to Democrats to stand for something.  He praises all the candidates.  Hillary comes out First.  This time Hillary, Obama, Edwards are not clustered together.  Cornel West shown cheering Obama.  Several shouts of “Obama”.   

Marion Wright-Edelman is in the audience as is Cornel West.  We thought Cornel West had said some tough things about Obama? 

Radio talk show host Tom Joyner is introducing Tavis Smiley (the President of Howard University spoke previously).   

The Debate begins at 9:00 p.m. EDT.  Howard University in Washington, D.C. is the site.   The moderator is Tavis Smiley.

The Tavis Smiley webpage is located HERE. There is a link at the top marked “TV SCHEDULES” which you can use to find out which PBS station is carrying the debate. 

Issues supposed to be discussed tonight are Healthcare, Education, Criminal Justice, Immigration, Affordable Neighborhoods, Voting, Rural Development, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Justice, and the Digital Divide.


4 thoughts on “The Third Democratic Party Debate

  1. I have only seen one hit out of the ball park so far this evening, and of course it was Hillary (when speaking on the topic of A.I.D.S.), WTG!|

  2. Wow, what a night. Was she the only candidate to get a standing ovation? All her answers were excellent, but her responses to the 2 questions on AIDS and Darfur were incredible. Everyone else seemed lost by comparison.

  3. Tavis Smiley on Good Morning America stated
    “Hillary won the debate.” More importantly,
    he had a 35 person focus group view the debate.
    He interviewed them last night following the debate
    and he reported they thought Hillary also won.
    Smiley taped the program; it can viewed this everning on PBS.

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