Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Steve Pagliuca: "I don't know if I have to vote on that or not."

You are looking live at the studios of WGBH-TV in Boston as the four candidates for US Senate are getting ready to face off for...

OK, who am I kidding. I have a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old. There is no way in the world I was able to watch a 7:00 pm debate live. I'd have loved to, but unless they're going to debate after 9:00, I'm just not going to be able to do it. So I recorded it and am now checking in a couple of days later. That's just the way it's going to be.

Anyhow, Emily Rooney is in her chair and we are ready to go...
  • Martha Coakley, are you stiff? No, and let me cooly and calculatedly and unemotionally tell you why.

  • Good, Rooney asks about the Father Goeghan case right away. I hope they get into that a little more, I think that is one area that deserves to be fleshed out. For her part, Coakley briefly explained that she did the right thing, and was not intimidated by the church.

  • Alan Khazei just can't stop talking. Coakley and Michael Capuano gave succinct answers and Khazei gave his stumps speech, which wasn't really related to the question about whether or not he's going to raise hell in the Senate.

  • Steve Pagliuca can't answer whether or not he'd had to sacrifice because of the recession. Because the answer is no.

  • Capuano charges his kids rent, and says he couldn't afford to let them stay with him for free? Really?

  • Rooney asks Khazei why he's in last place. She's asked more good questions in five minutes than Peter Meade did in an hour in the first debate. For what it's worth, Khazei is explaining why he's NOT in last place.

  • Pagliuca is really uncomfortable talking about his personal financial situation. He can't say what he would do with the Celtics if he wins.

  • Here is one of the differences between living inside 128 and living out here. Coakley says she doesn't make a big salary and hasn't. I'm pretty sure (I'll need to check later) that as Attorney General and before that District Attorney she makes quite a bit more money than we do. I certainly don't begrudge how much money she does or doesn't have, but the idea that she (and Capuano earlier) live paycheck to paycheck is hard to believe.

    (Update: According to the Boston Herald database of state workers' salaries, the Attorney General makes $133,644 and the Middlesex County District Attorney brings in $148,843. She makes a lot more money than she thinks she does.)

  • They have moved on to the question of what the candidates would do if their bishop told them that they could no longer take communion, using the Patrick Kennedy situation as an example. Interesting to hear the way the candidates describe their own religious situation. Khazei says he is a Catholic. Capuano says he considers himself a Catholic. Coakley says she grew up Catholic. Interesting that only one of them was comfortable describing himself as a Catholic without qualification (Pagliuca said he was raised an Episcopalian).

  • Coakley hits this one out of the park. I'm going to find the actual quote, but she essentially said she can't accept a church that protects pedophile priests telling people what they have to do to be a good Catholic.

    (Update: Here is the exact quote, courtesy of the Globe: “It seems to me a little bit ironic that a church that was willing to overlook the victimization of many, many children over several years is
    now turning around and saying to people who are good Christians, good Catholics, that, ‘You can’t join this.’")

  • Pags trying to answer a question about tort reform. He really doesn't have any more than a superficial grasp of any issue.

  • Khazei going on and on and on. I think he'd probably be a good senator. He seems wonky enough. Talking with him over lunch would probably be fascinating. But this is a debate, not lunch, and he needs to find a way to be more succinct.

  • Having said that, I'm not really interested in tort reform, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to catch up while these guys talk about it. They are actually getting into it here, though, for the first time. Khazei is for it (and Pags is tagging along), Coakley and Capuano are not.

  • Coakley would let the Bush tax cuts expire. Capuano agrees. Pags and Khazei too. I'll go on record right now as saying that each one of them will vote to extend at least the portion of the tax cuts that helped out the middle- or lower-class if they get the chance.

  • Funding health care--Khazei would tax the "gold-plated" health care plans. It's a bad idea. There are a number of people in employer-based plans who have what might be considered a "gold-plated" plan.
    Capuano wants a tax on individuals making over $500,000 (families over $1 million). Capuano is absolutely right on this one. Coakley punts, saying "we'll find some way to pay for it." That is not a plan.

  • Capuano is all fired up at Pagliuca. Pags has said--twice--that Capuano would not vote for the house bill. Cap has had enough. He's bringing the heat about the details of the bill itself, and sarcastically attacking Pags for "repeating sound bites" and asking him "Why don't you take out another ad?" Pags responds with what actually does sound like the same old sound bites (60th vote on health care, 400,000 dying, etc. etc.). Coakley hops in and explains her position and suggests to Pagliuca that women's rights don't have to compromised to get a bill. Pags responds that he is pro-choice which gets an "Apparently not!" from Coakley. Great exchange.

  • And Capuano zings Pags: "You would have voted for the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, because they have good titles." Kapow!

  • Emily Rooney with the eye roll! Fantastic!

  • Pagliuca is talking about all of the jobs that Bain has created. I guess he's got to defend his business, but it is risky ground. There are plenty of examples of companies that haven't done so well after being taken over by venture capital and private equity firms.

  • Talking about the footbridge at Gillette Stadium. Capuano with a good answer (although it might not be popular): I don't care as much about who gets the bridge as I do about how many people are employed to build it.

  • When the debate turned to foreign affairs, all of the life went out of the room. Pags and Khazei want nothing to do with this. Nothing at all. Capuano and Coakley are having a good discussion on the issues, but it's pretty clear that this isn't the priority for these four.

  • For instance, Rooney just asked Pagliuca if he would vote to defund the troops. Pags answer: "I don't know if I have to vote on that or not." Where have you been the last eight years, Steve Pagliuca? The entire 2004 election ended up being about John Kerry's vote on funding the troops--you know, "I voted for it before I voted against it." And you don't know if you have to vote on funding for the troops?
That's it. That was a hell of a lot better debate than the last one. Capuano and Coakley were clearly winners. If you want your candidate a little bit fiery and willing to mix it up, Capuano would be you winner. If you were looking for someone who came across a little more reflective, Coakley was your winner. Khazei was OK. Pagliuca was in trouble every time he was forced to deviate from his script. He is clearly not ready for this.

And I am clearly ready for bed...
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