Mo' Straw: Edwards is ahead of Bush in at least one Southern state where Kerry isn't, according to Survey USA. Granted, it's Edwards' own state of North Carolina. But North Carolina's electoral votes--which Al Gore did not get--count too. ... P.S.: North Carolina in fact has 15 electoral votes. Not chopped liver! Only eight states have more. Democrats are currently saying they plan to break the 2000 Electoral College near-tie by holding their blue states and snatching Ohio (with 20 votes). Snatching North Carolina (with Edwards) seems a plausible alternative strategy ... 6:00 P.M.
kf believes in 'just far enough:' How revealing was Michael Eisner's letter to Michael Ovitz telling him he "exaggerated the truth too far "? 5:49 P.M.
The CW in the press rooms at last night's debate was that Kerry either won or did well enough to preserve his lead. He certainly had some good moments (his discussion of Haiti, for example) and many of his answers avoided reflecting his appreciation that life is not simple. But he had some bad moments too--most obviously, Ron Brownstein reducing him to evasion on whether he'd vote for the Defense of Marriage Act. (Brownstein also nailed him for wanting to water down standards in the No Child Left Behind Act, but unless there are more Washington Monthly readers in the audience than I imagine it didn't cost Kerry many votes). ... My main impression was of how pissed Kerry still is that Edwards needled him for his long answer in that Wisconsin debate. In last night's discussion, Edwards had just done him the huge favor of essentially defending both of their pro-war votes when Kerry couldn't resist making fun of Edwards' non-brevity. ("Let me return a favor from the last debate to John ...") How small and thin-skinned was that? Kerry's body language and facial gestures suggested he loathes [loathes?-ed Would you believe "is highly annoyed by"?] Edwards.
And Edwards has a way of doing well in debates he doesn't do well in--because voters discovering him for the first time like him. As L.A. Weekly'sMarc Cooper said, if you were a man from Mars who looked at the debate not knowing anything about the candidates or issues but just deciding who was most appealing, would you rank Kerry first? No. You'd rank him last. Kucinich and Sharpton might well be the Man from Mars winners, as performers--Kucinich was flush with that Hawaiian serotonin--with Edwards a close third. ...
The real winner, however, was Larry King. He's not such a wuss after all! ... P.S.: The LAT's Janet Clayton gets points for relentlessly ending Edwards' relative free ride on his pro-war vote. ... 2:35 A.M.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Edwards is also now very close to catching Kerry in Maryland, according to this ARG poll. Kerry's lead is only 7 points. ... 2:45 P.M.
Here's an example of a distinction I was trying to draw earlier, between a pander that respects its target audience and a pander that treats the audience as morons. Edwards and Kerry were both asked by the NYT editorial board about "the politically risky step of eliminating protections for the American sugar and cotton industry." Neither of them wanted to offend the sugar and cotton growers, but both would like to appeal to the anti-protectionist Times editors.
Edwards' response: "I think I'll stick where I am on that."
Kerry's response: "That is one of those issues that will be under review [in the first 120 days of his presidency]."
Edwards gives a straightforward answer that acknowledges the political calculation involved and forthrightly stiffs the Times ed board. Kerry seems to expect the NYT editors and free-trading voters--as well as the opposing growers--to somehow be fooled an ambiguous promise of "review." [It's because he appreciates that life is not simple-ed. Sorry, I forgot!] ... 2:23 P.M.