Saturday, January 5, 2008

The debate paraphrased

More efficient than a traditional transcript, beneath find what candidate wanted people to here while they were saying what they said. Actual statements are within quotation marks, and instant fact-checking is supplied in parentheses.

Charlie Gibson: Guys, don't be jerks, okay. So, let's begin. Bush once said that he was going for a humble foreign policy. Turns out he lied. What do you guys think of Bush's policy? Huckabee, you know the truth that Bush is acting arrogant...will you still admit it?

Huckabee: I'm now the front-runner. Do not expect an informative or useful answer out of me tonight. Granted, Rumsfeld was a jerk, but that's as far as I'll go. We needed more troops.

Thompson: Huckabee's a chicken. Bush is right..."do whatever is necessary to protect ourselves".

Giuliani: Bush was right to go "on offense" against Muslim terrorists by invading a bunch of places and putting all Americans under surveillance. Bush did make some mistakes, such as this one that Clinton made.

Gibson: Do you believe that we should shove foreign powers around whenever it tickles our fancy? We call that the "Bush Doctrine".

McCain: It's cool. I love me some Cowboy Dubya, and the fact that there hasn't been a post-9/11 attack on the US (except for the attacks on America that take place in Iraq, and the anthrax terror) is all cuz of him! Plus, I knew Rumsfeld was wrong when none of you all didn't. Giuliani did a good job as a lowly mayor.

Paul: I liked what Bush said, but not what he and Bill Clinton did. 9/11 "is an excuse" for something that is "not a minor change...this is huge".

Romney: You don't know beans, Paul. "The president is not arrogant" and "we owe him a debt of gratitude"...hey 30 percenters, I'm your man! Only problem is, we should send some flowers or something next time we invade so the dumb radicals think we're nice.

Thompson: This isn't the Cold War anymore. And also, it's tough to find good-quality cassette tapes.

Giuliani: I got good press last time I snarled at Ron Paul, so I'm going to do it again. These Muslim extremists hate free enterprise...(as evidenced by how often they sell us lots of oil at market prices.)

Paul: I'm going to say this really slowly. We'd hate it if we were invaded, so...

Romney/interrupting: I can't STAND Muslim leaders, and I love to say "jihad" because it makes it sound as if I have a clue.

Huckabee: Not so fast, Mitt. You said Iraq is a mess, and a bunch of other damning quotes. I have an amazing research staff, tremble before it. Worst of all, these radical Muslims want to do to us what I want to do to non-Christians!

Romney: You're ticking me off with your personal attacks, and don't you dare talk about what I've said. That's out of bounds.

(Crosstalk with Ron Paul & the truth on one side, Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee and Thompson on the other.)

Giuliani: 9/11

Gibson: Wow, is this debate far beyond my control. I suck as a moderator. Next question comes from Bush, here on videotape.

Bush: What are your principles that you will stand for?

Gibson: Romney and McCain have been attacking each other like dogs. What say you?

McCain: Thanks for the chance to make a speech. Protect the awesomeness of America which is under threat, something I've done nearly my whole life. The Democrats can't. Plus, something about equality.

Romney: I have a family, who made me run (probably to get him out of the house). America is indeed awesome, and its awesomeness is indeed under threat. Plus, kids are cute!

Gibson: Aww, I was hoping for some fireworks. What happened? C'monnnn...

Giuliani: I like Ronald Reagan. I don't like polls, the way Democrats do. Biggest deal "keep on offense on the Islamic Terrorist Global War against Us".

Gibson: Hold on, all of you have reputations as flip-floppers. I'm not buying this.

Giuliani: Ronald Reagan, and uhh, Ronald Reagan.

Huckabee: Let me obliquely bring in God by waggling my eyebrows while supposedly talking about equality. But we can still react to change.

Thompson: America peaked with the Founding Fathers (he may have been there), and has gone downhill since. Our best hope is some pale imitation.

Paul: You talk about all this crap, but geez from war to finance you Republicans have deviated from the Constitution. "It's bankrupting this country because we don't live up to the principles in the constitution."

Gibson: If we can afford an incredibly expensive war, why can't we join the rest of the world in providing health care?

Giuliani: Because the rest of the world is too stupid to realize how awesome our health care system is. That's why ultra-rich from other countries go to American clinics that you can't afford.

Gibson: Your plans will cost families lots of money.

McCain: The problem is not health care, it's inflation (huh? oh...cost inflation. McCain's having a senior moment). And sick people must be "more responsible". Diabetes is God's way of punishing the lazy.

Romney: I implemented an unfathomable system cut prices! I did it privately.

Paul: Cut Iraq funding and spend it on health care. Plus, our monetary policy is holding us hostage to China.

Thompson: Huh? Wha'? I wasn't really listening because I played golf today so I'm tired.

Huckabee: Check this out, I have an for people's health, not their sicknesses.

Romney: My plan in the unnamed state I governed is awesome.

(Seeing McCain and Thompson next to each other reminds me of Statler and Waldorf on The Muppet Show. Plus, it is incredibly endearing that Paul is swiveling back and forth on his chair when not speaking.)

McCain: Check out how smart the health care system is in Arizona (thanks to Democratic governor Janet Napolitano, most underestimated governor of the nation).

Romney: I like pharmaceutical companies. Plus Ticketmaster, Microsoft, and

Gibson: Well, that has been a disaster. Let's get this under control. Other moderator?
Other moderator: If your views on illegal immigration have changed, McCain, why hasn't your plan?

McCain: Let me tell you about my plan...

Romney: What a sucky plan. It is "inappropriate" to have 12 million here illegally. However, I'm not going to tell you what I want to do about it.

(When are Romney's gardeners going to come up?)

Other moderator: Deport the illegals?

Giuliani: Stop the illegals coming with all sorts of manly things. We can't deport all the illegals, but what we can do is treat them like criminals.

McCain: I'm not a supporter of amnesty. Two losers, Lieberman and Romney, agree with me.

Romney: Waaaaaaaaaaahhh!

McCain: "You can spend your entire fortune in attack ads, but that won't make them true."

(Candidate from either party I most want on my side in a bar fight? John McCain. He's kicking Romney's @$$ right now.)

Republicans: What is "amnesty"? (Hint: Ask Scooter Libby.)

Giuliani: Romney, you don't know what amnesty is. Shove it.

Thompson: Giuliani, you don't know what law enforcement is, shut it.

Gibson: Huckabee, I'll give you some time to get in trouble on immigration.

Huckabee: Rats. I was loving the sight of everyone's negatives going up. Umm...can I say that we should punish illegal immigrants while loving them? That should adequately tick off both sides.

Paul: I don't like tamperproof IDs. And illegal immigration is an issue "because people are hurting". Illegal immigration is a symptom of a much bigger problem, an economic issue. No amnesty.

Romney: I swear, us Republicans like legal immigrants!

Other moderator: You've been attacking Hillary for years. Obama is probably going to be the nominee...oops! So, how will you attack Barack?

Romney: He's a BIG SCARY DEMOCRAT who loves socialized health care...and other issues. Plus, America wants change, and heaven knows for change you need another Republican president.

Thompson: Obama is a liberal, as far as I can tell, and agrees with all sorts of scary groups like the NEA (completely wrong). I think America should be good, and they don't.

McCain: I am an accomplished politician, which Obama can't say.

Romney: That didn't seem to be a problem for him against Hillary. I'm a change candidate.

Giuliani: I agree with McCain. It better be about experience or I'm screwed.

Huckabee: Let's bring out the greatest hits -- taxes, gun control and abortion! But we need to be upbeat, and running by attacking will not help.

Paul: I'm like Obama in all the good ways -- young people, anti-war,

Gibson: What are you going to do about incredibly expensive oil prices?


Paul: The problem is our monetary policy.

McCain: High oil prices means money for terrorists. We need to cut consumption of energy, and consumption of foreign oil.

Other moderator: what about record high oil company profits?

Thompson: What about it? And energy independence isn't going to happen, and we're competing for consumption (Actually a very smart answer).

Huckabee: We need to promote innovation, with buhllions of dollars! Oil companies suck (wow!) and Chavez is a dictator (as evidenced by his acceptance of a close referendum vote that went against him.)

If I had to summarize, there were no real "momentum shifts". Paul and Thompson didn't do much to change any perceptions. Romney acted like someone stunned and on the ropes, McCain had the confidence of a man on the rise.

Most odd was Huckabee, who was like a ghost. Very light impact on the whole thing.

Finally, calling out the Democratic candidates to share the stage for a minute with the Republican candidates was simple symbolism, but I found it powerful. Good move on Gibson's part.

No comments: