Friday, April 27, 2007
Breaking Out Is Hard To Do; Big Bill Tries His Best At Big Debate; Did He Try Too Hard? Plus: Some Friday Bottom Lines
Break out of the pack? How to avoid getting lost in it was the bigger concern of Big Bill as he joined seven other wanna-be Dem Prez candidates last night in an MSNBC broadcast debate from the early primary state of South Carolina. (Complete video is here.)
It was a pedestrian, but not a damaging performance by the NM Governor who did not appear on TV screens until ten minutes into the 90 minute "debate" which was actually a Q and A session with no exchanges between the candidates.
Richardson seemed anxious to perform and that had him trying too hard, reflected in the trouble he had closing his thoughts out to meet the time deadlines. He improved with each subsequent question, but ended the night with mixed results. The pressure was evident with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blogging that the Guv fell victim to a "Nixonian flop sweat."
Predictably, he peaked when a foreign policy question on Russia was thrown his way. A fastball for many, it was a softball for the old college baseball pitcher. He fielded it with aplomb, detailing a complete and cogent policy. It was the one time in the broadcast where viewers could conceivably see him as President. One of his weaker responses came when he outlined his health care plan which sounded convoluted and hard to follow.
"Overall, the Governor probably helped himself a bit," said one veteran Dem analyst who believed John Edwards won because "I believe he was sincere; the public will see it and he stands the best chance of moving his numbers." He added that Hillary Clinton turned in a "leadership performance" that should help solidify her front runner position.
New Mexicans will be interested to know that the Guv pointed to his inability to pass a statewide minimum wage in the 2006 NM Legislature as a major mistake of his career. "I was too aggressive," he said. He noted the irony that a Governor known for his international diplomacy failed to use it with the state senate. The statewide minimum did pass in '07.
The stiff competition Richardson faces came into focus at the debate as Hillary and Edwards turned it on, but Obama was somewhat flat. One of those three will have to start falling for Big Bill to start climbing.
THE BOTTOM LINES
Apparently Javier Benavidez, assistant to ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich, did not know he was supposed to run for Heinrich's council seat now that Heinrich is giving it up to run for congress. But Benavidez's family and friends sure did, flooding our email box saying he was likely running and that they had spoken with him about it. But Benavidez is not running, and he apologizes for the runaway family and friends that led to his name being floated. Don't play with the Alligators, Javier. They bite...Both the D's and the R's pick state chairmen at their respective party conventions Saturday--the D's in Cruces, the R's in ABQ. I'll have the winners and losers posted here Saturday afternoon and come back with my analysis on Monday.
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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2007
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