GOP Debate Preview -- My Source Predicts Fireworks

Ten Republican presidential candidates will take the same stage at Saint Anselm College occupied by the eight Democratic contenders two nights ago. The hosts, CNN, The Union Leader, and WMUR remain the same, as will the moderator, Wolf Blitzer.

But the similarities should end there. The Republicans are much more divided this cycle on core issues of interest to their base than are the Democrats. Immigration is the paradigm case. The race is nowhere near as settled -- the Dems have a clear top tier and a lone front runner while much of the biggest news will be about a Republican candidate, Fred Thompson, who is not even in the debate and while polls are all over the place with regard to Thompson, Giuliani, Romney, and McCain. Read more about what to expect from tonight's debate, as "fireworks" are predicted from a source in one of the campaigns. . . .

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Preview of tonight's debate

Cross posted at DebateScoop.
Eight Democratic presidential candidates debate tonight at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire from 7 to 9 p.m. The debate can be seen on CNN, WMUR, and the websites of these, the co-sponsors of the debate along with the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Read below the fold for pre-debate notes and analysis.

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Significant "Debate" Tonight

cross posted at

While there has been alot of news of Democrats refusing to take part in debates on Fox, tonight's online debate on Iraq, sponsored by, will be "attended" by all of the Democratic contenders (save Gravel, if you want to call him a contender).

The Boston Globe has an excellent article.

While this event may slip under the radar of all but the most obsessed, the event is significant in a number of respects:

  1. The subject matter is focused on the Iraq war.
  2. It's the first ever live, national event of its kind where questions are answered in real time.
  3. Questions come entirely from the listeners who are, in this case, also highly active citizens who can make a difference "on the ground" in campaigns.
  4. The audience votes on the winner. No one spin room, just 100's of living rooms where MoveOn members gather to listen, plus the internet.

While this is not a debate (MoveOn calls it a "Virtual Town Hall") because candidates will not be directly responding to one another's arguments (each candidate gives an opening statement then answers all of his/her questions at once, then hangs up), candidates who are later in the order will be in a position to respond to the answers the others give. It will be interesting to see if any are flexible and adept enough to do so.

Debates do test ones ability to respond extemporaneously, and the live, phone-in method will do what on-line "debates" via keyboard cannot (who can even know if the candidate is the one typing?).

Future MoveOn "Town Halls" will cover health care and energy.

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Obama asks for money on internets!

Yea, this may seem like a "Dog Bites Man" story, but . . . just yesterday Matt Stoller tried to argue that Obama "is building an old school campaign where the internet is an afterthought." He titled the post, "Opportunity versus the Good Ole Boys."

His evidence for that "afterthought" claim and the "versus" was a bit hard (call me slow if you like) to extract from Matt's post which juxtaposed the cool video someone outside the campaign did of Hillary as the Orwellian figure in the Macintosh commercial with the fact that the Obama campaign hired a tradional campaign consultant.

When I and others asked in the comments why the two approaches, netrots/grassroots and traditional media and fundraising , were mutually exclusive and what his evidence was of the "afterthought" part, Matt's primary reply was that Obama had not asked for anything. He hadn't asked for money. No e-mails.

True enough. And I agreed that Obama (and others) should follow the excellent advice of Zach Exley here and here.

Well, ask and you shall receive. Today Obama did and he will, no doubt.

In the extended entry is the Obama e-mail ask. The coolest part is the matching function. Once you donate, you are taken to a note from the person matching your donation. From there, one is asked to be a matcher, not just a matchee (those are close enough to words, no?). Then you can write a note to whomever you end up matching. People can encourage one another, thank one another. Even at a distance, it's movement building while fundraising.

Seems well thought out. Not an afterthought after all?

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Amplification Opportunity: Debates

DebateScoop has coverage of multiple debates, including this morning's MTP debate between Talent and McCaskill.

You can weigh in there in comments or with a diary.

We'll have a "ballot" written by a newutral expert later today, plus a review of last night's CA-Gov debate (was not the success for Angelides that he needed).

If you care about Webb/Allen (or are an advisor for a campaign that will have a MTP debate), John Morello's preview of tomorrow night's Virginia Senate debate is a must read.

But many people say the debates don't matter or only matter if there is a huge gaffe that the media picks up on. Think about that with me beneath the fold.

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DebateScoop covers Brown-Dewine debate -- join us

Update [2006-10-1 13:24:3 by demondeac]: Lots of coverage up now, with more to come. Initial judgement: narrrow win for Brown.

DebateScoop goes live this weekend, with wall to wall coverage of the Ohio Senate debate on "Meet the Press" this Sunday morning, October 1st, between Senator Mike DeWine (R) and Representative Sherrod Brown (D).

DebateScoop is a one-stop cyberspace source for electoral political debate coverage in the United States and it is the only site in the world where expert debate scholars offer critical analysis of candidate debates.  

Like MyDD and DailyKos, we are scoop software based so that you, the people who count, can diary, comment and rate, shaping the coverage.

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Debate coverage of House races -- you can help

This looks like an interesting project--Chris

A new blog is about to debut, covering candidate debates. We have the nation's top academic experts on political debate ready to go as front pagers on a scoop-based blog ready for diarists and commenters. There is a calendar there, rapidly getting filled in with the senatorial and gubernotorial candidate debates we will cover.

But even with MyDD's helpful list of top 60 House races we could use some help choosing races to cover.

So, why not turn to folks here since "The focus of MyDD is on elections, campaigns, and political infrastructure."

If you know of close, interesting races that will have debates, you can help by listing them in the comments or by e-mailing me at smithr @ wfu dot edu. Please include the race name (OH-05, e.g.) and the dates for the debates. If you have other info handy like links to local blogs that cover the races, the candidates' websites, and such, that's helpful, too.

If you want to make an argument as to why we should cover your race of interest, please do so. We are very open. Thanks.

If you have other thoughts about the project, those are welcome, too (although, as Chris warns, each blog has to be good at filling its own niche and cannot do everything people might want.)

Party Takeover Underway

From the diaries--Chris

Below is a tale, its ending unwritten, of a Gate Crasher's tentative but persistent first steps toward real political power.

It's motivated by the belief that it is time to stop typing about how bad the Dems are and to do something about it -- to put my life where my sig line is and be the Democrat I want to see.

In the past months I have moved from political voyeur, reading blogs and being horrified by our nation's decline, to (small) money donor, and now to foot soldier in the battle.

But there's the hitch. The party is so dysfunctional that I'm having trouble even enlisting! Read more to hear what getting boots on the ground really takes and why my difficulty may be as inspiring as it is frustrating.

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