22 October, 2006

Spencer, Clinton Spar In Final Debate

The second and final debate in the race for U.S. Senate from New York is now history. And let history show there was little-to-no new ground covered this morning at WABC-TV's studios in Manhattan

Sen. Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent hit all the usual topics and gave all their usual answers.

Photo Credit: WABC-TV

Spencer opened the debate by saying he's the only one on the podium who wants to be a senator for the next six years. Obviously referencing Clinton's expected run for the presidency.

I was about to give him some points for being clever with the following quote about his opponent, who won her Senate seat just a few months after moving into the state in 2000.

"Mrs. Clinton was given the welcome mat six years ago by the people of New York and now I believe she is using us as a doormat," Spencer said.

Pretty clever. Until you find out (via the state Democratic Party spin machine) that Spencer appears to have - borrowed - those words from one-time Senate candidate Jeanine Pirro, now running for attorney general on the GOP ticket.

According to a story on CNN's Web site in August of 2005 Pirro said the following:

"She asked us to put out a welcome mat, and New York did. But now she wants to use New York as a doormat to the White House."

It also looses its cleverness when you really think about it and realize that a doormat and a welcome mat are the same thing.

Anyway. I digress!

Much of the debate was spent on national security and foreign policy. Both candidates were asked, in retrospect, if it was a wise thing for the Senate to have authorized President Bush to go to war in Iraq.

The New York Times has a terrific piece today on how political candidates of all stripes are handling that very question.

Spencer's answer fell clearly into the "Second-Guessing is for Weenies" category of answers, as defined in the article.

Ever the nuancer, (I know that's not a word), Clinton's answer fell into three of the categories: "The "No, but..." Response;" "The Hypothetical Meets Hypothetical," (If we had known then what we know now there never would have even been a vote on going to war); and "The 'Only Authorization' Vote.

It's a good piece in the Times. You should read it.

For Channel 7's review of the debate, and for dowload of the video, click here.

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