Liveblog on California Governor Debate
(I posted this over at Governor Phil and thought I'd add it here too. Overall, I thought Phil did really well, though I'm not entirely sure if anyone saw it)
What the hell is up with this opening? Helloo, public access!
First question to Schwarzenegger. On taxation. Arnold does the obligatory thank-yous, pimps the three-year anniversary of his election. Immediately mentions "I'm an immigrant, I'm an immigrant!" Touting his accomplishments. "We've turned the state around" thanks to Democrats and Republicans working together (for two months during the legislative sessions). Now blaming Gray Davis for the world's problems. Somehow the audio guy can't figure out how to keep the volume level. Now campaigning for Prop. 1A-1E.
Angelides rebuttal. The obligatory thank-yous. "I'm an immigrant! I'm an immigrant!" OK, the son of immigrants. Phil is talking about the California where he grew up, and the promise of the middle class. "If we invested in everyone's future, we'd all be better." Now on the attack. Tax breaks for the rich and giveaways to special interests. This is a modification of Phil's core themes in the campaign.
Phil: "I will submit a balanced budget... so we quit loading debt on our kids." Giving his middle-class tax cut plan.
The moderator has pretty much completely lost control.
Schwarzenegger using the "Gray Davis raised tuition and fees too" defense. Now claiming he lowered tuitions this year. Will need to fact check on that. Telling a story of "Where were you" when Davis rose fees. Actually it was an effective narrative.
Angelides: I decided to run for governor when you started making cuts in education. This is a pretty good rebuttal.
? to Angelides: What's the biggest problem facing the state? Phil - Biggest problem is middle class families struggling. "Economy is getting better" for HMOs and pharmaceuticals. Phil wants to relieve the burden on the middle class, tax break on those under $100,000. Arnold is on the side of special interests.
Schwarzenegger: Goes back to the car tax (which Gov. Wilson instituted, not Gray Davis, by the way... here's Arnold's running mate's statement about it). "You have been for every single tax increase since you've been in office." Tractor tax mentioned.
Angelides rebuttal: I'm not going to let you repeat those "weapons of mass deception" about my tax plan. You sound like Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, and George Bush. Quotes LA Times Skelton article. This is a fairly strong response.
Arnold: "I see the joy in your eyes when you talk about taxes. You love taxes." A laugh line, but dishonest. "Look out there and say 'I love increasing your taxes.'"
? for Arnold: what to do in the event of an economic slowdown. He avoids the question from the first sentence. Talks about his prior achievements. Increased revenues by $20 billion.
Angelides: The question was "how are you going to balance the budget." We face a $5 billion budget deficit. Arnold hasn't balanced budgets for 3 years. Mentions the "no plan to end the deficit" line. Angelides aligns himself with Clinton and aligns Arnold with Bush. Close corporate tax loopholes, make government more efficient, restoring top tax rates to Reagan/Wilson era.
This moderator is a crank.
? to Angelides: Name a mistake you regretted (loaded question): "I regret that I was unsuccessful in stopping the massive borrowing... $26 billion in debts." Decent ju-jitsu. Giving a fiscally responsible line.
same ? to Arnold: "I made several mistakes." This is the bite-your-lip Clinton moment. The mea culpa for the Special Election. "I went too fast." You know, really his answer is not that they were awful ideas, but that he went too fast. What makes anyone think he won't do that again?
Angelides POUNCES on that. That's a real good answer. "Who can you trust." "He still says privatizing pensions and cutting funds for education are good ideas."
Arnold defends his education record with numbers... but he's on the defensive. Good job by Angelides there, not letting the "I went too fast" part go by.
More on the flip...
? to Angelides on immigration. Mentions the Minutemen praise flap. His plan: have the feds live up to their responsibilities in border protection and funding incarceration and defense. Then, bring the workforce out of the shadows.
Arnold: "I'm an immigrant!" He's giving his personal story, nothing on the specific policy yet. There we go... Overhaul and reform of immigration policies. Somehow gets a 9-11 terrorism message in. "People want to blow us up!"
? to Arnold on transportation. Starts talking about alternative fuel and the "hydrogen highway." I wonder if Phil will get into Arnold's ties to Big Oil.
Angelides: we have to become less dependent on oil... and there, Phil does mention Arnold's ties to Big Oil. Phil focuses on clean fuels and investing in them. Then, smart growth. Jobs near housing, transit neighborhoods.
? about the high-speed train from Sacramento to LA in 2:35. Arnold: "Legislators did an extraordinary job this year" to put out the infrastructure bonds. Borrow and spend, borrow and spend. This state hasn't kept up to date with infrastructure.
Angelides: "Who can you trust" to make investment in transportation. He borrowed from the transportation budget. "I'm an advocate of high-speed rail." We should build that public foundation. Phil sponsored the legislation on high-speed rail.
Arnold: the legislature didn't go with your bullet train.
? to Angelides on homeland security and disaster preparedness. Are we ready? Angelides: I'm concerned, we haven't done what we need to. Mentions Bush and Iraq. A recent state auditor's report said the Gov. hasn't spent federal homeland security funds. He'd fight to redirect Washington's efforts in homeland security funding. Now mentioning first responder support (and alluding to the governor's attacks on them). Gets clapping on that.
Arnold: "I feel like I'm having dinner with Uncle Teddy." Phil: "Thank you, he's a great man!" Kind of a non-answer after his pre-scripted laugh line.
? to Schwarzenegger: on development and levee protection. This is a big issue, our levees are in bad shape. Touting the infrastructure bonds on the levees. $500 million in immediate funds, $4 billion on the ballot. The building of levees only cost 10% of what you'd spend to clean up after a disaster.
Angelides: The fact is that "you haven't moved as you should have" to protect people. Arnold fired every member of the reclamation board who didn't want development in flood-endangered areas. Special interest contributions from industries...
? for Angelides on character and integrity. "I was raised with very strong values." Proud of his record. "I do what I say and I say what I do" (that's a George Bush line!). Now mentioning the need to never forget the middle class.
Schwarzenegger on character and integrity: "I'm an immigrant! I'm an immigrant!" Talks about giving something back to the community. Work with the Special Olympics. President's Council on Physical Fitness. Somehow he didn't mention this:
? for Schwarzenegger on education. We should fund education fully (ha!), increase univ. system and vo-tech education. Important to stress accountability and performance.
Angelides, same question: Critical issue. We're not going to make it if we're 43rd in education spending, 45th in HS kids going to college. Reduce dropout rates, expand charter schools (!). More kids to college, lower tuition and fees, increase financial aid, recruit new teachers and counselors.
This moderator guy is such a crank. Now questions to each other.
Arnold to Phil: what is the funniest moment during your campaign? (what an unserious person). "Every day is just a hoot." Phil talks about traveling with his daughters on the campaign trail.
This is a question that a front-runner asks.
Phil to Arnold: "You made a lot of promises... you tried to privatize pensions and take away benefits from widows and orphans of policemen... explain why you did that?" Answer: I have the highest respect for law enforcement, my dad was a police officer. I didn't try to take anything away, and I never will. "You can stop that hype right there."
? for Schwarzenegger: global leadership. What a contentless question. Arnold talks like a cheerleader about our economic promise and global economic ties.
Angelides: put the government back on the side of hard-working people. Support the middle class, education. We're going to win by educating our children. Investing in research and bioscience, microloans to small businesses.
Arnold: During the most incredible decline in our economy, you were part of it. Funny exchange on Bush, and on campaigning in Ohio. Phil getting in a couple digs on Arnold's Hummers. It took 52 minutes to get lively.
? on what you're most proud of. Angelides: built a business, met a payroll, created jobs... Laguna West community. As Treasurer protected pension funds and created small business loan program.
Arnold: being able to come to America was the secret of his success. Meeting Maria, talking about Sargent Shriver and giving back to the community.
That's the wrap-up. Basically, I don't think anything will come out of this debate, except possibly the exchange where Phil highlighted Arnold saying "I went too fast" about the Special Election, saying he still stood behind the horrible ideas that voters rejected. Arnold didn't make any big mistakes other than that one, and Phil's going to have to seize on it. We'll see if it can stick, the problem might be that it looks like you're fighting the last war.