VEEP DEBATE NOTES: first half hour
Watching on C-SPAN2.
'Til blood is drawn?
They're both already taking notes in silence, as if they were just asked an essay question. Edwards finished last and eyed Cheney suspiciously whilst finishing.
So quiet, waiting for the networks.
Gwen Ifill, of course, chose the topics and didn't tell anyone.
She's asking Cheney about Rumsfeld and Bremer's statements. Cheney says look at the broader picture. (C-SPAN has the constant split screen again, the faces of both debaters on screen at all times.) "What did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do."
Edwards: "Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people." He's talking about the increasing death toll in Iraq, and he is mentioning Lugar, McCain, and Hagel. Those three went on the Sunday shows a few weeks ago and badmouthed the Iraq effort. Cheney is pointing to the progress, including elections and rapid training.
Edwards brings up a Saddam connection for no reason but to talk about it. Probably because Cheney won't have a rebuttal.
Edwards repeats Kerry's myopic view of the war on terror: Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda only. And he's bringing up Tora Bora. "There is no connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of 9-11…. IN fact, any connection with al Qaeda is tenuous at best."
Cheney is lecturing him. He never mentioned a connection between Saddam and 9-11, just Saddam's track record with terrorists. Attacking Kerry for not being prepared to go against terrorist states and his abhorrence of national defense.
Cheney talked about the great future of freedom and democracy in Afghanistan. Edwards rebuts by talking about Osama bin Laden. And he's trying to gloss over Kerry's Global Tests remark. And Afghanistan is providing 75% of the world's opium supply and warlords run it. Cheney's countering with the example of El Salvador decades ago, democracy arises because human will to be free. Edwards talks about Iran and North Carolina.
Ifill is repeating Kerry's entire "Global Test" remark. She asks, "What is a global test if it's not a global veto?" Edwards is telling us that Kerry meant that he would explain to the American people and to the world what we do. The man is a great liar! He's shifting to Americans taking the bulk of the casualties and costs. Cheney's correcting him on the percentage of deaths and the cost. ("It wasn't $200-billion. You probably weren't there to vote for it.")
Edwards mentioned "credibility." Cheney is talking about credibility in the context of Kerry's inconsistencies on Iraq. "Whatever the political pressures of the moment require, that's where you are."
Edwards: "What the vice president has just said is a complete distortion." He's telling us that Kerry is really, really strong, committed, straightforward, valiant…
Cheney: "You rhetoric, Senator, would be a lot more credible if there were a record to back it up."
Cheney says he questions Kerry's judgment: "His judgment is flawed."
Cheney accused them of changing their war notes to contest with Howard Dean. "IF they can't stand up to Howard Dean, how can we expect them to stand up to al Qaeda?"
Edwards said: Halliburton.
Cheney said: "These are two individuals who have been for the war when the headlines were good, and against it when they were bad."
Edwards: "John Kerry has been very clear and consistent from the beginning." He's sticking to WMD and Saddam and 9-11.
I wonder where they find the "inert ingredients" that they put in a can of dog food. I still don't know but I am fairly certain D.C. has tapped into it.