August 23, 2006

Laffey-Chafee III: Open Thread

Carroll Andrew Morse

I’m going to try a different coverage format for tonight’s Republican Senate debate (WPRI-TV Channel 12 @ 8:00 pm, live Internet video also available) than I used in the radio debates. Instead of summarizing the debate blow-by-blow, I’ll try to provide details that usefully supplement what the candidates say about specific policies, past votes, past statements, etc.

Meanwhile, Anchor Rising readers are invited to use the comments section of this post to give their own real time reactions to the debate. Insightful comments, witty comments, and even comments that spin like a U-235 atom in an Iranian centrifuge are all welcome, but personally insulting or crude posts will be deleted as soon as I see them.

The comments will open at 8:00 are open now!

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Chafee is referring to himself in the third person quite a bit.

Posted by: Mario at August 23, 2006 8:33 PM

Greg thinks that's great. Greg noticed that Laffey is calling Chafee "Senator". Greg thinks the panelists suck.

Posted by: Greg at August 23, 2006 8:36 PM

"My record of voting with the adminstration is spotty at best"

-Chafee 8:37 PM

Posted by: Greg at August 23, 2006 8:37 PM

"We SHOULD have one Republican in the delegation from Rhode Island, I agree with that."

-Laffey 8:38 PM

Posted by: Greg at August 23, 2006 8:38 PM

The Club for Growth is "nefarious"!?

Posted by: Greg at August 23, 2006 8:46 PM

So, pork barrel earmarks are "property tax relief"? !!

If Linc loses the primary, maybe Tim Williamson and Harrah's can hire him to be a spokesman for their "property tax relief" plan...

Posted by: John at August 23, 2006 8:51 PM

A few things I noticed –

Laffey appeared comfortable, Chafee was not smooth with his answers (this is part of his mannerism but it didn’t look good next to Laffey). It wasn’t Kennedy – Nixon, but the difference was noticeable and may give Laffee an edge he didn’t have in the radio debates.

It was disappointing to hear them both address the problems with entitlements in the light of “how to fund them.” It would be encouraging to hear them talk about ways to reducing those costs.

Chafee pushed his ability to bring “earmarks” to RI. Kennedy (patches) uses this a lot. It may be a weak link for Laffey if he is portrayed as an extreme outsider or troublemaker.

I can recall Laffeys answer to the immigration question, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what Chafee said. Was it one of those non-answer answers?

And yes Greg, we SHOULD have at least one Republican in the delegation. Nice jab Laffey.

Posted by: Bill Felkner at August 23, 2006 9:19 PM

Reducing entitlement costs - Lafeey did mention his push on prescription drug costs but I think he is wrong on this one. Price manipulation never works and purchasing in Canada will eventually result in higher prices in Canada (and they won't allow that).

Posted by: Bill Felkner at August 23, 2006 9:33 PM

I think both candidates did a good job of presenting their positions. The nature of the questions and format prevented the back and forth exchange that usually allows one candidate to develop an advantage.

Chafee made some good points (particularly when talking about his ability to work with others) but missed some opportunities (he praised Laffey for being energetic but then strangely failed to say anything good about himself--which was the softball part of the question).

Laffey had some good lines (like saying he would repeat his commercials into the camera), but then showed some nervousness (Donald Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defense, not the Secretary of State--if you call for a guy's resignation, you'll at least want him to resign from the right office).

It wasn't the most exciting debate I've ever seen. The panelists did touch on most of the major federal issues, so I give them some credit...even if the event was, well, uneventful.

Posted by: Anthony at August 23, 2006 9:43 PM

I forgot who mentioned it, but whoever said that the whole debate over "earmarks" is a red herring was on target. The vast sucking sound of taxpayer dollars is for entitlements like Medicare and Social Security.

Which brings up an interesting point for the Laffey supporters. In his ad, talks about his parents living on Social Security and Medicare. What is his approach to bringing the entitlement problem under control?

Posted by: Anthony at August 23, 2006 9:55 PM

I really thought Laffey acquited himself well. So much of Chafee's answers were non-speak (spending 20-30 seconds repeating the question, talking about Tip O'Neill and Reagan or Daniel Patrcik Moniyhan, general statements about working together with no facts to back it up, etc).

Chafee came across as weak, petty, and with very little grasp of the issues.

And one final memo to the Chafee people: PLEASE TELL HIM TO STOP WITH THE HAND GESTURES!!! Why does he always do that? It looks akward.

Posted by: Jeff Hamilton at August 24, 2006 12:16 AM

I will agree with Anthony on one thing: it was not the most "exciting" debate. The format was very controlled, no blood or guts. Oh, darn. However, I think it may have been useful for those people who might still might have been undecided (meaning, people unlike us). Perhaps we can all agree on one thing: were those truly the "best" panelists they could find? If that's the best of RI, I'd really hate to see the worst. No McLaughlin Group there. Yuck!

I can't stand when Chafee does that whole hand gesture thing (W does it, too -- should we blame Karl Rove?). I imagine that it's very distracting to some. I'm so used to it, I barely notice it anymore. I'm not voting against him, based on ill-timed or unnecessary hand gestures -- I have a plethora of other reasons not to vote for him.

I thought Laffey came across very well, even "senatorial," in so much as he kept his composure, and was clearly comfortable giving detailed answers to the questions asked. As for Chafee's "energy" comment, I was perplexed that it was given by him completely without reservation. I liked the segway Laffey used from that comment from Chafee, to then talk about national energy policy. Laffey segwayed (sp?) very well throughout the debate.

If anything stood out, I especially thought the part when Laffey mentioned increasing spending on the military and the need for missle defense, and then bringing up other areas of waste to cut instead (corporate welfare, reining in entitlements, etc.) was very effective -- it showed that he was able to think on his feet quickly. He was good with the whole "vision thing," as well as emphasizing himself as the "reformer" who wants to clean "the mess" and then by inference painting Chafee as part of the "establishment" that is responsible for creating it in the first place. That outsider vs. insider, David vs. Goliath thing tends to appeal to a broad range of voters.

For any number of reasons, I would certainly would have to have given the edge to Laffey on this debate, especially considering that he is the challenger to a well-known and well-financed incumbent. There were no "knock outs" obviously, but that clearly was not what he was going for. He was attempting to keep Chafee either on the defensive, or at least, to prevent him from mounting an effective offense. I think Laffey was clearly successful on both counts.

Posted by: Will at August 24, 2006 2:21 AM

"And one final memo to the Chafee people: PLEASE TELL HIM TO STOP WITH THE HAND GESTURES!!! Why does he always do that? It looks akward. "

You could totally tell that his 3x5 cards had:


[Insert hand gesture here]


Posted by: Greg at August 24, 2006 6:56 AM

Laffey defended his benefactor, the Club for Growth. Chafee dodged the question and would not embrace or repudiate the NRSC ads equating Mexicans with terrorists. If Chafee wins the primary, his relationship with the NRSC -- an incompetent ally -- will come back to haunt him. WHo needs enemies with friends like that?

Posted by: E. Guzman at August 24, 2006 11:42 AM