October 9, 2006

Patrick Ducks Debates…

Carroll Andrew Morse

…you pick the last name.

Edward Fitzpatrick of the Projo reports on Attorney General Patrick Lynch’s last minute bail-out from a debate with challenger Bill Harsch scheduled for WLNE-TV (ABC 6)…

[Bill Harsch] last week accused Lynch of backing out of what would have been their first on-air debate — on a Channel 6 (WLNE) news program, ABC6 on the Record, hosted by Jim Hummel. The program was taped Thursday, with only Harsch present, and was set to air Sunday morning, Harsch campaign coordinator Tom Shevlin said…

Lynch’s campaign manager, Andrea Iannazzi, responded by saying, “Attorney General Lynch will absolutely be debating his opponent. We are not dodging anything.”

She said Lynch has received more requests than he can accommodate, but his campaign will review those requests and schedule debates soon.

Iannazzi said Lynch did not back out of the Channel 6 appearance. “Unfortunately, the attorney general had a prior commitment,” she said, adding that Lynch attended a ceremony paying tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty.

Shevlin said Lynch was offered the option of taping the program Thursday or Friday.

Given what the public saw in the Attorney General’s handling of the Derderian trial, maybe the Lynch campaign is telling the truth when they say “we’re not dodging debates; we’re just too disorganized to prepare for one!”

Meanwhile, Patrick Kennedy has still agreed to only a single PBS debate, and not responded to challenger Jon Scott’s suggestion that Congressman Kennedy’s traditional public-access cable debates be moved to a more high-profile venue. Congressman Kennedy (quite rationally) is employing a “the less people see of me, the more likely I am to win” strategy.

Ducking debates, however, leaves the Congressman free from having to explain how he and his party’s plan to raise taxes and spending as soon as they get into office. This is from John E. Mulligan in today’s Projo

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy would expect some share in the power to set legislative priorities in the next Congress, pushing his signature health-care issues onto the House ``to do'' list.

Democrats collectively would launch investigations into the war in Iraq, stifle the Republican campaign for tax cuts, and press for freer spending on an array of domestic programs.

Note 1: Since much of the near-term fiscal is debate about renewing temporary tax cuts enacted over the past five years, support for “stifling the Republican campaign for tax cuts” is support for tax-increases.

Note 2: If you don’t like the description of the Democratic agenda as campaign for “freer spending”, send your complaints to Mr. Mulligan, not me. And if Congressman Kennedy is not a supporter of freer spending, the best way for him to clarify that position is to make some unscripted appearances, i.e. debates, where he can explain his position on fiscal issues. (Of course, since the Congressman voted against earmark transparency and is a close ally of the Virginia Congressman who stated that he wants to earmark the sh** out of appropriations bills, it is possible that Congressman Kennedy would prefer not to face any unscripted scrutiny on the subject of free spending).

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Is this a surprise? The failure of Harsch to run hard-hitting ads exposing Lynch for the corrupt hack he is saddening.

Posted by: Mike at October 9, 2006 2:47 PM

Let's see, Kennedy is a career politician and Lynch's brother is the Chair of the RI Dem party. With all of this political experience at their disposal, why is it a surprise to either of them that they have to debate?

Posted by: SusanD at October 9, 2006 4:07 PM

Rest assured Patrick Lynch will agree to a debate on his buddy Dan Yorke's show? lol Bet wild horses can't keep Patrick away from that safe harbor.

Quite agree with your assessment of Bill Harsch and his lifeless campaign. Lynch could be beaten by an energetic and aggressive candidate.

Posted by: Tim at October 9, 2006 4:56 PM

I'm actually not sure what I'm more tired of, Dan's sucking face with the AG or his constant denial that he's NOT hard on the AG.

Posted by: Greg at October 9, 2006 5:24 PM

Looks like the Dems are at it again.

Here are some "Christian" commentators that are making a splash. See esp. their articles on Islamo-fascism, the elections and, the Bill of Rights. This type of shallow thinking must be dealt with if people like them are not to siphon off our base for the coming election.

Best to all.


Posted by: Abe Levine at October 10, 2006 12:35 AM

Lynch saves his job by appealing to conservative Catholics, promising not to let gay Rhode Islanders cross the border to marry in Massachusetts. You know he'll be asked about that decision if he ever sits down for a debate.

Posted by: Rhody at October 10, 2006 12:59 AM

When brother Billy polled gay marriage, it must have produced 50/50 results. That's the only explanation for Patrick's don't-pin-me-down, non-stance on this issue. I didn't think it was possible for an AG to issue an official opinion that completely straddles the fence on its subject but Patrick successfully accomplished this with his opinion on gay marriage.

Posted by: SusanD at October 10, 2006 1:44 PM

Tom Reilly executed a similar strategy in Massachusetts. Now that he's leaving office, though, he just wants to wash his hands of it.
There's been kind of a mutual non-aggression pact between the two sides here, but the Mass. decision (and any lawsuit it might spark) might force a R.I. showdown. The legislative and political ramifications are huge - nobody wants to touch it in an election year, but come January...

Posted by: rhody at October 10, 2006 2:22 PM

Tim gets the gold star! It's just been announced that the two AG candidates will debate on Yorke's show.

Posted by: SusanD at October 10, 2006 4:54 PM


Some things in life are sure things and Patrick Lynch ducking certain debates only to run into the arms of his media lackey and protector Yorke is one of them.
By the way was quite amused to hear Yorke speak of his relationship with the First lady Sue Carcieri during his show yesterday. Seems that Sue objected to some things Yorke has to say and as Dan put it (I'm paraphrasing) "she's got the nicest smile as she's telling you to go to he11." lol
The bloom is officially off the Carcieri/Yorke rose and that's fine with me. The governor should have told Yorke to kiss off a long time ago. Good ole Danny boy is a major league puss when it comes to fist pounding the issues with RI Democrats.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2006 6:31 PM

Speaking of Dan Yorke, did anyone hear the 4 oclock hour?

the topic was Harsch's new TV ad featuring Dave Kane. Judging from the audio, I would say lynch is in real trouble, as it is a highly effective ad with a sincerity that i think will really catch some eyes.

Posted by: johnb at October 10, 2006 7:23 PM

UPDATE: Just caught Ch.12's 6oclock news. They also ran a story on Harsch's ad.

When a political commercial makes news, you know that something's working.

While Harsch's numbers are low, Lynch's have fallen off a cliff. I suspect Harsch's numbers are more of a reflection of his name recognition. However, considering the buzz surrouding the AG's race, I suspect ALOT more people are going to become familiar with who Bill Harsch is. And for Patrick, that's not good news.

Posted by: johnb at October 10, 2006 7:27 PM


I caught the 4 oclock with Yorke. You could tell he wasn't wild about the ad and was biting his tongue mostly because of fellow radio talker Dave Kane's involvement. When Dave called in you could tell he was biting his tongue with Yorke because he knows what a shill Yorke is for Lynch.
Personally I found the ad quite provocative. Should be quite interesting to see what kind of feedback occurs.

Posted by: Tim at October 10, 2006 8:31 PM

And we haven't even discussed Lynch's corporate prostitution to CVS yet! I wouldn't bet more than a dollar on Lynch right now, and if the other shoe drops on the CVS/Blue Cross front...
If Lynch can put a usually reliably Republican talker like Yorke in his pocket, look out.

Posted by: Rhody at October 11, 2006 12:08 AM