- While Lehrer was the clear loser of the first debate, Gwen Ifell was excellent as moderator in this one -- yes, there were a couple of lapses, such as giving Edwards and extra 15 seconds one time -- nevertheless, her questions were equally good at putting each man on the spot and her follow-up questions ("... but I don't want to let go of the global test question ...") were superb.
- I tuned in after the debate had started -- about 10 - 15 minutes into it, when Eddie was mentioning jfk's Vietnam service.
- Eddie brings up his bogus figures: "...we've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties...We're at $200 billion and counting..." and Cheney destroys him, noting first that Eddie neglects the Iraqi casualties and can't add (perhaps he should've spent more time with Dad in front of the TV): "With respect to the cost, it wasn't $200 billion. You probably weren't there to vote for that. But $120 billion is, in fact, what has been allocated to Iraq. The rest of it's for Afghanistan and the global war on terror."
- Eddie refuses to take the hint, which leads to the best exchange:
EDWARDS: . . . Not only that, 90 percent of the coalition casualties, Mr.
Vice President, the coalition casualties, are American casualties. Ninety
percent of the cost of this effort are being borne by American taxpayers. It
is the direct result of the failures of this administration.
IFILL: Mr. Vice President?
CHENEY: Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of
Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're in the fight. They're increasingly the
ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from
the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a
superb job. And for you to demean their sacrifices strikes me as...
EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not...
CHENEY: ... as beyond...
EDWARDS: I'm not demeaning...
CHENEY: It is indeed. You suggested...
EDWARDS: No, sir, I did not...
CHENEY: ... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say
that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in
this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the
Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.
- Another great line from Cheney: "Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to al Qaeda?" To which Eddie puts his fingers in his ears and repeats "Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton."
- Okay, I was unloading the van from the time they started talking about Iraq until I get in front of the TV to hear Eddie saying : "...vice president and his wife love their daughter." Hmmm -- must be a gay marriage question...I'm not sure what Cheney's response was, but Eddie sure seems to be fumbling... especially when Ifill follows up. Cheney's response (thanks and "That's it") seems classy...
- Edwards says: "For example, a gay couple now has a very difficult time, one, visiting the other when they're in the hospital..." and I think, could that because of oh, TRIAL LAWYERS suing the pants off of doctors and hospitals...?
- Edwards then says: "Under the law of this country for the last 200 years, no state has been required to recognize another state's marriage." This is not true and Eddie knows it (or should know it).
- Next up, the trial lawyer question (one for which, let's face it, Eddie's spent his life preparing to answer). As an aside, I'm thinking whoever drew the word "plan" in the debate drinking game must be smashed by now.
- Cheney hits Eddies tax avoidance: "While you were in private practice in law and as a senator, you had the advantage of a special tax loophole, Subchapter S corporation, which you set up so you could avoid paying $600,000 in Medicare taxes that would have gone into the fund. . . .
EDWARDS: Well, first of all, I have paid all the taxes that I owe. " Nice lawyerly avoidance of the issue there, Eddie.
- Ifill has an interesting fact: "...black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts...." Neither are able to answer her question, however Cheney comes across as forthright: "I have not heard those numbers with respect to African- American women. I was not aware that it was -- that they're in epidemic there, because we have made progress in terms of the overall rate of AIDS infection..." whereas Eddie is disengenous, implying that Bush is failing to innoculate people against AIDS: "If kids and adults don't have access to preventative care, if they're not getting the health care that they need day after day after day, the possibility of not only developing AIDS and having a problem . . ." etc.
I'm looking forward to Friday...