You hear from the top strategists, the politicos all the time around here. But today we are going to hear from you. The Tuesday night TV debate for the ABQ congressional seat between incumbent R Heather Wilson and Dem Patricia Madrid had my email box flooded when I asked for reaction. You are a bright punch and covered it all, so sit back and enjoy the commentary and analysis from New Mexico's most politically involved and passionate observers.Bill Ruiman
--"Patsy would be a fish out of water in Washington. She has no clear agenda and no solution to the problems facing New Mexico and the U.S. She would be a political toy for the power brokers. New Mexico has always survived on seasoned leadership, whether it be Democrat Bingaman or Republican Wilson."Jarol Eckert, ABQ
--I thought Heather won the debate hands down. I actually was nervous and embarrassed for Patsy a few times...I just don't believe Bush lied. I do think he had bad intelligence, or intelligence that was old...Hindsight is 20/20 as they say and the Democrats are great at that. I think Heather will win."Joe Barela, Rio Rancho-
-"Wilson appeared stone faced, cold... Others I called saw her as scripted or robotic like. She was very condescending to the attorney general of the state... Calling her Mrs. Madrid was an attempt to demean her...
"The most interesting thing to me was the access question. I have always thought of Heather Wilson being inaccessible to her constituents, but yet she's there for the big bucks from corporations. She's no saint. Dirty money from saints like Tom Delay and Mark Foley. That gets access with her...Wilson's claim that KAFB and Sandia will lose jobs if Madrid is elected is just another scare tactic..Under this administration, Sandia is slowly losing jobs. There are no layoffs but people are leaving and not being replaced. There is simply no evidence to support that Sandia will be worse off with Democratic leadership.Republican Alligator
--After Tuesday night's fiasco, there is no doubt Patsy has had good reason not to debate Heather. Heather did win on presentation, poise, and content. Patsy focused too much on trying to correlate her talking points into her answers and several times got lost and/or confused on what she was saying. For a lawyer and former judge, I have seen very few performances that were worse than what Patsy put forth. If the war in Iraq was running smoothly, and this debate happened a month ago, Heather would be up on Patsy 10-15 points in the polls.John Lattauzio, Former NM GOP Chair, Alamogordo
--"It is easy to see why Patsy avoided debates. As I watched her mix apples with bowling balls, I couldn't help but think that this race would have been over long ago had there been debates."
--"Madrid was caught in double talk on healthcare. Patsy explained how we need healthcare reform, but did not indicate that she supported Universal Healthcare. Wilson quoted the debate article in the "Citizen" magazine where Madrid states: We can't sustain the employer-based health insurance system in the U.S." This really made Madrid look like she is just saying what she thinks the audience wants to hear."LET'S HEAR SOME MORE!Tod Singletary
--"I was actually shocked that Madrid made her paying for access statement. How can I vote for someone that admits they won't listen to me unless I bring cash or a check? Simple, I can't. I had been considering a vote for Madrid, but no way I can do that now."Nancy Hendrickson, ABQ
--"Joe, As usual, you did a great summary...Patsy was extremely nervous which put me on edge, as I was just waiting for the shoe to fall. However, when it did, she seemed to be able to slide her foot into it again and pound home another point. Heather is definitely the most confident stage presence, but Patsy related to the 'common mom' and the audience gathered itself behind her, sort of David and Goliath."Rodney Adams, ABQ
--"In regards to the "known terrorists calling Denver ad," Heather denied that the FISA law provides for immediate wiretaps as long as a warrant application is made within 72 hours, as Patsy clumsily attempted to point out. As a member of a very relevant congressional committee surely Heather is aware of this provision in the law. How can she stand before a TV camera and display either her ignorance, or simply lie about it?..All in all it was pretty ugly. Like you said, they both looked terribly uncomfortable." Jade Andrews
--"Patsy scored a big one when she painted Heather into a corner about whether or not George Bush was a "good president?" She refused to answer--twice. While Heather clearly has a lot of foreign policy experience, I was really turned off by her "know-it-all" attitude. This is one reason Heather has so many problems with women--the very voters she so desperately needs. This was probably the first time she didn't trot out references to her kids. It would have helped soften her up. Even Patsy mentioned her son and grandchildren."Jon Michael and Family
, ABQ--"You wrote that (on Iraq) Patsy was "forceful, persuasive and well-informed"??? You're insane. I watched the entire debate with family, a mixture of Madrid and Wilson supporters. Everyone thought Madrid did very poorly and Wilson was the clear winner. No-one was supporting Madrid after this fiasco.The Madrid fans were especially disappointed with Patsy's dismal performance. She's clearly not ready for prime-time. Everyone agreed she was the opposite of "forceful, persuasive and well-informed" on every subject."Brian Bennett, ABQ
--" I wish someone would point out the simple fact that George Bush is not running! How is his performance in the Presidency indicative of either one of the candidates' qualifications? It's partisan sniping on the part of the Democrats. I'd really like to hear what they have to offer to the voters besides the mud slinging aimed at someone who really doesn't have much to say about what happens to the 1st District."Alligator, ABQ
--"The knockout blow came in the last minute and was self-administered by Madrid to her own noggin and sending herself to the canvas. It wasn't the casino issue, in particular, but Madrid's astonishing admission that lobbyists buy access to her via their contributions. The second I heard that, I thought, "Oh, man--she did herself in with that one." Sure enough, Wilson applied the coup 'de grace with a one-two punch that must have played well with most any listener: Not only is her office "not for sale," but ANY member of the public--not just those who "pay to play"--can, and will continue to have access to her."TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINKJohn Gniady
--"Wilson's direct appeal to folks at Kirtland and Sandia was an especially smart move on Wilson's part. It clearly caught Madrid by surprise. It will be interesting to see if and how Madrid responds. I also agree this was some of the finest television I have ever seen. Even Carla Aragon, who I usually can't stand and refuse to watch--most viewers are not inthe 4th grade--thank you very much--handled herself extremely well. I especially liked the playing of and responding to the most negative of the attack ads."R Seth Heath, ABQ
--"Heather won hands down..Madrid came off as grossly out of touch with the issues and unable to represent us in DC."Lauri Lee Castro, UNM
--"Wilson's oratory skills are stronger than Patricia Madrid's. Madrid stumbled verbally quite a bit. Nonetheless, Madrid made some strong points. One involved No Child Left Behind. Many educators feel there are countless flaws with it and so in that regard challenger Madrid may well have a great deal of support from educators...Rep. Wilson is also very smug about having the military-Kirtland-Sandia labs vote. Sometimes people get mad at candidates that take their vote for granted."Republican Alligator
--"I have had five calls tonight about the debate--best comment was that Heather was great and Patsy was so bad that she made (98' Dem nominee) Phil Maloof look like a debate champion compared to her performance--explains why they have been hiding her."Betty Hileman
--"Cheap trick of the night--Heather calling her "Mrs." Madrid instead of "Attorney General Madrid."Republican Judy Vanderstar Russell, Rio Rancho
--"Heather won hands down. While she appeared nervous at first, her answers were well thought out and intelligent. She had Patsy scrambling on the bio weapons thing. I worked as a defense contractor in 1990, and I had to do a study on threat assessment through the year 2020. I picked out Iraq then--not because of nukes, but chem/bio warfare."Dem Alligator
--"How long do you think it will take Heather or the NRCC to get up an ad with Patsy talking about giving donors access to her office?"
AND THEY KEEP WRITINGDiane, Roswell
--"Heather started out stiff and a little slow but Dem blood was left on the floor, showing a stark difference in who looked or presented themselves as "Congressional."...Madrid lost on all counts! Madrid made a crucial mistake by saying she did take money to gain entrance into her office. Great TV ad I'd say!.. Madrid does not realize the $$$ importance of our military bases in New Mexico let alone Sandia, White Sands and LANL. Madrid will not be taken serious in Washington, she'll be as lost as Moses was for 40 years before his people were led out of the desert."Bruce Krasnow, Santa Fe New Mexican-
-"The major media was way too generous to Madrid, who fumbled and was actually made to defend her position on the Iraq war. She failed to frame the race, it's not about Heather Wilson but about the leadership in this Republican Congress..Patsy came off like a thug. She called our President "Bush" instead of President. Wilson came off as warm, likeable and even humble. She politely schooled Madrid on some points about North Korea and wiretapping and was able to distance herself from the troubles facing the congressional leadership...A knock out for Heather--if anyone watched."Michael Folsom, ABQ
--"Not to burst anybodies bubble but the folks that are hyper concerned about Kirtland were already voting for Heather anyway. It may help a bit with turnout but that's all. I've knocked on those folks door too many times and they haven't voted for a Dem in many many years and ain't about to do so in the future."
Alan Pezaro, ABQ-
-"If you are still undecided at this point your IQ level should probably prohibit you from voting. Either you have been paying attention and are as outraged as apparently at least 60% of the public are or you are a blathering idiot. I watched a rerun of "Eureka" last nite. I, like many others, have already voted via absentee ballot."
James Mitas, ABQ-
-"Madrid may have scored on Iraq, but am I wrong in assuming it was nothing more than anti-war rhetoric? "Iraq this" and "Iraq that", Patsy rambled on ad nauseam. I'm sure the incessant rambling from Patsy on Iraq is bait for her masses, be it rhetoric or otherwise. I have seen Heather more composed in past debates. It's too bad this was not one of them."OUR FINAL FOUR
Marilyn Hannahs, Corrales
--"I definitely found humor in last night's debate: Nothing could be funnier than Patricia Madrid touting how she supports the Strategic Defense Initiative. Nancy Pelosi would hang old Patsy if she even thought about supporting SDI. The Dems have done everything to kill that program..Patsy trying to shake hands with everyone after the debate without falling off her "perch." She almost lost that battle."
Santa Fe Alligator
--"Pay to Play is the rule in Santa Fe and Vigil and Montoya pale in comparison to the master, Big Bill! In order to do business in NM you must contribute. It truly pains me to vote for Patricia, however, she is the lesser of the evils and quite frankly, there is too much at stake nationally."Andrew Leo Lopez, ABQ
--"Heather was smooth, controlled and yes icy. She landed some good blows...Patsy failed to allay fears about her being a tax and spend liberal..By standard grading Heather won, but Patsy did not hurt the movement to her. There are things out of the control of either candidate..Voters want the Republicans out of control of the government. People understand that checks and balances protect them from the perfidy of either party at least until it is time to throw them out again. This year at the Federal level:¡ya basta con los republicanos!"Bob Grant, Former GOP State Rep. ABQ-
-"Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of last night's feature presentation was that for the first time in New Mexico's incomparable political history we got to see two female major league candidates duke it out. It didn't quite turn into a cat fight, but the venom was certainly apparent. A male third party candidate standing between them wouldn't have stood a chance!"
And there was much, much more, and I thank all those who took time to send their thoughts. I am grateful for such a great readership, and always look forward to hearing from you. I know I make my share of mistakes, but with all you "cyber-editors" out there, I never stay wrong for long.
This is the home of Campaign 2006.
(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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