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Tag Archives: Presidential Debate


Why Kamala Harris Is Fading in the Democratic Primary

There’s her backtracking on busing and her waffling on Medicare for All, not to mention her prosecutorial scandals.

By JOHN MCCORMACKNational Review

A new national CNN poll of the 2020 Democratic primary has some pretty brutal numbers for Kamala Harris. When CNN last polled the presidential race shortly after the first Democratic debate in June, Harris was on Joe Biden’s heels, trailing just 17 percent to 22 percent. But according to the latest survey by CNN, conducted August 15 to 18, Biden has rebounded to 29 percent, while Harris has dropped all the way down to 5 percent, tied for fourth place with South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg.

What went wrong for Harris?

The second Democratic debate was a clear defeat for the California senator, but it’s now also obvious that her June debate performance was a Pyrrhic victory.

At the first debate, Harris staked everything on attacking Joe Biden’s record on busing. It worked for her that night: Biden’s immediate response was hapless, Harris was widely declared the winner, and she got a significant bump in the polls.

But Harris’s line of attack raised an obvious and problematic question for her: Would she support reinstating the policies that Biden opposed?

Logically, the answer would appear to need to be “yes.”

“I support busing. Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated, today than when I was in elementary school,” Harris said on June 30. “Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people and in particular where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and a responsibility to step up.”

But there was a problem for Harris: Busing policies were abandoned because they were wildly unpopular, and there’s no reason to think they’ve magically become popular. So Harris equivocated and then backtracked.

That attacking Biden on busing would paint the attacker into a corner was predictable. It was in fact predicted. See, for example, the end of this article from March in National Review.

Going on the offensive and then retreating on busing made Harris seem inauthentic. And the candidate had been dogged by questions of inauthenticity since the start of her campaign because of her waffling on the issue of Medicare for All, the policy at the center of the 2020 Democratic primary.

First Harris indicated at a CNN town hall that she supported abolishing private insurance, as Medicare for All proposes. Then Harris said she didn’t support abolishing private insurance: She tried to hide behind the fig leaf that Medicare for All allows “supplemental insurance,” while obscuring the fact that “supplemental coverage” would be legal for only a very small number of treatments not covered by Medicare for All, such as cosmetic surgery. And cosmetic-surgery insurance doesn’t even exist.

Harris thought she’d finally figured a way out of the Medicare for All mess in July: She introduced her own plan shortly before the Democratic debates. It tried to split the difference: She promised to transition to a single-payer plan in 10 years (as opposed to Sanders’s four-year deadline). This was meant to reassure progressives that they’ll get there eventually while also reassuring moderates that there will be at least two more presidential elections before the country goes through with anything crazy.

Harris’s provision of Medicare Advantage–type plans was also supposed to reassure moderates, but the second debate demonstrated that she still wasn’t ready to respond to the fact that her plan would eventually abolish existing private health plans for everyone, and she has no serious plan for how to pay for single-payer.

Then there were Joe Biden’s and Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s devastating attacks on Harris’s record as a prosecutor at the second Democratic debate. “Biden alluded to a crime lab scandal that involved her office and resulted in more than 1,000 drug cases being dismissed. Gabbard claimed Harris ‘blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until she was forced to do so.’ Both of these statements are accurate,” the Sacramento Bee reported after the debate.

As Harris’s backtracking on busing made clear, no one is seriously considering resurrecting the deeply unpopular policies of the 1970s. But criminal justice is very much a live issue in Democratic politics, and that’s why the attack on Harris’s record as a prosecutor has had such a greater impact than the attack on Biden’s record on busing. Biden continues to do very well among African-American voters, while Harris continues to struggle.

So Harris’s problems go deeper than the fact that she had one good debate followed by one bad debate on matters of style. Both debates revealed she has serious weaknesses on matters of substance. And the hits keep coming on Medicare for All: On Monday, she was savaged by Bernie Sanders after it was reported that Harris told wealthy donors in the Hamptons that she was not “comfortable” with Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill, which she co-sponsored and supported until a few weeks ago. There are still five months left until the Iowa caucuses, but the past two months have demonstrated that Harris has deep problems that she can’t paper over with some well-rehearsed, well-delivered lines in subsequent debates.


Hillary Clinton’s latest lie about videos and terrorists

New York Post

Hillary Clinton at senate hearingWhen it comes to terrorists and videos, you’d think Hillary Clinton would have learned her lesson.

But her claim during Saturday’s Democratic debate that ISIS is “showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims” in order to recruit jihadists is about as accurate as her claim an online anti-Muslim video sparked the 2012 Benghazi attack.

And a number of usually pro-Hillary fact-checkers agree: The Washington Post, the Associated Press and Politifact all branded her debate claim false. Continue reading


Post-Mortem Analysis: Why Romney Lost, Why Obama Won

It turns out that Obama’s ground game, was in fact, as good as they said it was. Supported by as negative and polemic a campaign as an incumbent ever ran.

by Scott L. Vanatter

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” A thousand pictures will be painted in post-election analysis. A thousand time over. Here’s one.

It takes a pretty good team to make it to the Super Bowl. Good and great players and coaches; an astute general manager and smart owner, scouts and staff. How the team deals with injuries and setbacks. Strength training and conditioning. Attitude, execution, an effective game plan — and a bit of luck. (Note: “Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.”) Continue reading


Video: Obama is lying about Benghazi

Now Obama is attempting to coverup the coverup …  When will it stop?

by George Landrith

President Barack Obama now claims that he said on day one that the attack on Benghazi was a terrorist attack. However, that is simply not true. If you read the speech, when Obama referred to the attack in Benghazi without every applying the modifier “terrorist” or “terrorism.” Near the end of the speech President Obama used the word “terrorist” once and it was in context of the 2001 attacks. But if you’re not 100% sure what Obama meant, don’t worry. His personal statements make it painfully clear. (See video below.) Continue reading


Fact-checking President Obama

by George Landrith

Let’s fact check President Barack Obama’s debate statements. He spent a lot of time since the first debate and during the second debate complaining that what Gov. Mitt Romney said wasn’t true. Yet, the facts do not support Obama’s claims. Here is the proof on Obama’s poor record on truthfulness during the second debate:

The attack in Libya — a terrorist attack? Or a spontaneous protest that got out of hand because of an offensive internet video?

On the issue of Libya, Obama said, that the day after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, “I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we’re going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”

Romney challenged Obama’s characterization that he had identified the Benghazi attack as terrorism on day one. Obama doubled down. Just as Romney was about the snare Obama in his lie,  the the moderator erroneously sided with Obama and claimed that he had identified the attack as terrorism. After the debate, the moderator admitted that she was wrong and that Romney was correct. But let’s not rely on her retraction and correction, let’s go straight to the record. Continue reading


Presidential Heavyweight Boxing: Jabs, Rounds, and Knockouts

By Scott L. Vanatter

It’s been a number of years since a heavyweight boxing match captured our fancy. In the biggest matches we want a clear winner. We don’t want a split decision. We want a good, clean, tough, evenly-matched contest. Some spectators want to witness a match for the ages, one which ends with a knockout. Real knockouts are both memorable and definitive. There is no question who won.

Unlike baseball and football, in boxing — barring a real knockout – ring judges are there to make the final call as to who won. Continue reading


Debate analysis from around the web

Unequal Time: 

If you want more time to get your message out in debates, it’s good to be a Democrat. According to the CNN debate clock, President Obama spoke at greater length than Mitt Romney during both debates, as did Vice President Biden during his debate with Paul Ryan. In the first debate, Obama spoke for 3 minutes, 14 seconds more than Romney — which means he got 8 percent more talking time than Romney. In last night’s debate, Obama spoke for 4 minutes and 18 seconds longer than Romney, giving him 11 percent more talking time. During the vice presidential debate, the gap wasn’t as wide: Biden spoke for 1 minute, 22 seconds more than Ryan. Still, that gave Biden 3 percent more speaking time than Ryan. Continue reading


Second Presidential Debate: Live Coverage & Commentary

by George Landrith

Post Debate Analysis:  Obama improved from the first debate, but he still lost tonight. CBS’s post debate poll said that Romney won 2 to 1. Obama’s biggest problem was that the facts are not on his side. For example, on unemployment, food stamps, reduced household incomes, higher food prices, and more costly gasoline and energy Obama has a real problem. There is not smooth talking that will fix those problems. Continue reading


The conventional wisdom was wrong: It turns out that Romney is likable

Romney Likable SurpriseBy George Landrith

The conventional wisdom is that President Barack Obama connects with the average American in a way that few politicians can. The media tells us that Obama is likable and relates. In contrast, conventional wisdom says that Gov. Mitt Romney is stiff, can’t relate, and doesn’t really like “regular” people.

It turns out the conventional wisdom is wrong on both counts. Continue reading


CBS & MSNBC: Biden’s security answer on Libya could be big trouble for campaign

by Jonathon M. Seidl

As the dust of Thursday’s vice presidential debate settles, one of the storylines is Joe Biden’s bold statement that the administration was not told that officials in Libya requested more security before an attack that led to the death of several Americans, including our ambassador. The fact-checkers have found that to be patently false. And now, even the mainstream media is predicting it could be a problem. Continue reading


Biden’s Debate Deceptions

During the debate, Paints on FireVice President made history by surpassing Al Gore for bad, boorish, and rude behavior. He laughed uncontrollably, signed, groaned, and laughed some more and engaged in generally childish antics throughout the debate. Biden’s rude and unprofessional behavior overshadowed the substance of what he said.

But as bizarre and unbalanced as his behavior was during the debate, the substance of what he actually said was perhaps the most troubling. Here are a short list of several of the most obviously false things that Biden said:

1.  Afghanistan and Iraq:  Biden accused Rep. Paul Ryan of putting two wars on the “credit card” and then bragged that he voted against both of them because he understood America could not afford them. “I was there, I voted against them,” Biden said. “I said, no, we can’t afford that.” But the truth is Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001 the Iraq resolution on October 11, 2002. It takes some brass to tell whoppers like this one! Continue reading


Three Things Obama Must Overcome for the Next Debate

Lack of Desire, Knowledge and ConfidenceObama defeated

by Scott L. Vanatter

Why was Obama just not that into it (the debate)? Three possible reasons include a lack of desire, a lack of knowledge of basic economic principles, and being intimidated by Romney’s real world expertise.

Obama sounded so disjointed in the first debate that mainstream media supporters such as Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan nearly had an emotional breakdown on camera and online. They are only two who wondered aloud why Obama seemed so incoherent. Obama’s bizarre manner that night almost resembled the infamous beauty pageant contestant of a few years ago or the reporter who had a mini-stroke on camera, so rambling were some of his answers. Surely in the next debate, Obama will up his game. At least he will appear to want to debate. Continue reading


Vice Presidential Debate Analysis

By George Landrith

Post Debate Analysis:  Biden was smug, arrogant, condescending, over-bearing and over-aggressive. I’ve never seen a debate where one person was so disrespectful and even contemptuous of his counterpart. He surpassed Al Gore’s famous boorish debate behavior. He is in danger of undercutting himself. That may play well for his base who were depressed after Obama’s almost comatose debate last week. But independents and women will find the rudeness and condescending smirking and laughing annoying. Even at the end when Ryan was thanking the moderator, the audience and Joe Biden for a good debate, Biden was smirking and mugging. That will come back to hurt him. And it shows the true political character of Joe Biden — a pretentious, smirking, condescending lightweight. Continue reading


Obama’s “Big Bird” campaign focus not working

by Samuel P. Jacobs

In 2008, singer will.i.am provided Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with music for its signature anthem, “Yes We Can.” On Tuesday, at a rally for Obama in Columbus, Ohio, the performer chose to play something new: the theme song for “Sesame Street.”

For Obama’s supporters, already dismayed by the president’s halting performance in last week’s debate with Republican Mitt Romney, that change in tune is a new source for concern as they fret that a children’s TV show has become a new backdrop for their candidate’s campaign. Continue reading


Obama’s new winning issue – Big Bird’s endorsement

Obama still doesn’t get it. He’s been president for four years and paid little attention to economic recovery or jobs. Now that there is four weeks left in the election, he’s promising us that Big Bird will continue to get taxpayer subsidies. Really? Seriously? This is silly even for a high school student body election! But for a sitting president?


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