Liveblogging the Obama/Clinton Debate from the Media Room

I managed to make it through the security and am seated next to several other bloggers. The UT band has played two numbers and the president of UT is now doing an intro.

6:31PM The Pledge

6:42PM Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie

6:45PM Damn….UT band again?

6:46PM Press photos spray. I was supposed to be allowed in originally, but they cut down the list.

6:51PM Waiting for candidates to enter

6:55PM Chelsea Clinton just came in. She’s speaking at ACC tomorrow if I remember correctly.

6:58PM CNN commentator dragging out Senator Clinton’s “Texas roots”…again. What a load. Registering voters 30 years ago isn’t roots.

7:01PM Here come Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama

7:04PM Finishing up the photos

7:06PM Sen. Clinton is first, brings up aforementioned voter registering in South Texas and then name drops Barbara Jordan and Ann Richards

7:08PM Can they be tough while sitting down? Sen. Clinton is done. Touched on health care and accomplishments in Senate. Sen. Obama starts out on the economy and is mentioning people he’s met recently who’ve fell on hard economic times.

7:11PM Obama: “Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die.” That one gets applause. Nice.

7:13PM First question to Sen. Clinton about Castro from the Univision correspondent. Will she sit down and talk with Raul Castro? She says yes, but with conditions.

7:16PM Obama seems to be standing behind his willingness to meet without conditions, but he wants “preparations” and an “agenda”. BTW, here’s a good link for Barbara Jordan.

7:20PM Clinton gets applause for saying she’ll put an end to unilateralism and preemptive policy. Obama thinks the President should be more involved in diplomacy.

7:24PM Obama gets the economy question. He’s talking eliminating tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and ending tax cuts for the wealthy. He’s heading into environmentalism and mentions dependence on foreign oil and sending money overseas. How do we get it done? Only if we form a working coalition for change. I’ve heard this from him before on NPR.

7:27PM Clinton: The wealthy and the well connected have had a President for the past 7 years. It’s time for you to have one. She wants tighter trade regulation and mentions the contaminated toys from China. She’s moving on to foreclosures. She wants a 5 year freeze on interest rates. She’s pushing “clean, green jobs”. She’s bringing up the deteriorating infrastructure, mainly roads. She wants to end George Bush’s war on science. That gets big applause.

7:31PM Clinton gets the immigration question from the Univision host. They’re both talking comprehensive immigration reform. Sen. Obama wants to tone down the rhetoric. He feels it’s been directed at the Hispanic community. We are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants and we can reconcile the two. They both want to crack down on employers who are exploiting the undocumented workers. They both want to provide a path to citizenship as long as they go to the back of the line, must work on learning Engish, pay fines and taxes. We need to clear the legal backlog. It’s too prohibitively expensive. Both want to get Mexico involved. Obama accusing Bush of dropping the ball with Mexico.

7:36PM The Border Fence is up next. Sen. Clinton: “There is a smart way to protect our borders and there is a dumb way to protect our borders.” Part of the border fence would apparently cut through UT Brownsville. Sen. Clinton is tying her vote for the border fence (Obama voted for it too) to her vote to Iraq (in my opinion). She voted for something she thought would be reasonable, but says the Bush administration has screwed it up (like everything else). She’s advocating more technology and personnel.

7:41PM Sen. Obama: “Bush administration is not real good at listening.” Obama wants to pass the DREAM Act. Allows the children of illegal immigrants to go to school. Sen. Clinton is asked if the USA can be a bilingual nation due to so many Spanish speakers. She advocates bilingualism, but English should be the common and not “official” language. English is an important part of the American experience. She fielded that one as you would expect. They’re pretty much of the same position on this one. Good point that not only should Spanish speakers learn English, but native English speakers need to learn a foreign language. Damn right, but what can the President actually do about that? The only way AISD elementary schools have Spanish for the kids who aren’t Spanish speakers is if the parents step up and fund it.

7:46PM First Break. My fingers are tired and this plastic chair sucks.

7:50PM First question back is asking about the tone when they’re on different stages. Clinton’s quote “My opponent give speeches, I give solutions.” She turns it around on GW Bush. She’s dodging it. And now she’s coming out swinging. She just brought up the Kirk Watson incident. She ended with “actions speak louder than words”. Obama counters with what he’s done. Sen. Clintion has implied that the people who support me are “somehow delusional”.

7:57PM Plagiarism accusation is coming up now. The notion that I plagiarized a line that was given to me is absurd. Got big applause. He’s saying that moves into “silly season” politics.

8:00PM She’s not letting it go. She’s hammering that she’s realistic and he’s idealistic.

8:07PM Second break. Damn Ecto. I fell behind. I’m guessing the wifi here is getting hammered during the breaks. I’m getting transcripts sent to me, Any interest in my posting those in extended entries?

8:10PM We’re back. Obama looked pissed when she wouldn’t let go of the plagiarism charge. First question to Clinton about whether she’d be ready on day one. She’s dodging that so that she can respond to Obama’s health care plan. She thinks you have to cover everyone. He wants to respond. He thinks forcing people to pay won’t work and is pointing to Massachusetts as an example of why it won’t work. She insists on responding. They both advocate fines for those that don’t get it? Obama referred to Robert Reich earlier in the debate. Go read some of his blog posts about why these two shouldn’t be arguing over their plans because they’re so similar.

8:17PM We’re back to Clinton’s lame “ready on Day One” line. Obama is turning it around on her and hammering on his favorite point that he has always been against the war in Iraq. You can’t say they’re not consistent.

8:23PM Sen. Clinton gets a question about The Surge. She points out that the point was to allow political progress and that it hasn’t happened. She wants to start withdrawing in 60 days. I don’t think they’re very far apart and Obama goes on to attack McCain. He’s pointing out the economic costs. We’re on to another break. I’ll post transcript and pictures right after the debate.

8:32PM They’ve both been critical of the secrecy of the Bush administration. Here come a question about earmarks to Obama. Isn’t pork and earmarks the job of a Senator?

8:34PM Obama says he’ll be transparent and that some of those earmarks are worthy projects. Clinton brings up the deficit and the actions of the Bush administration (no bid contracts, cronyism)

8:37PM Clinton dodged the superdelegate question. Obama wants to be sure the “will of the voters” will determine the nominee. He says the voters want a government who they feel is listening to them and says he can give it to them.

8:38PM Last question…what was the moment that tested you the most? Obama points to his whole life. Child of a single mother. Was off course. What was most important was learning to take responsibility for my own actions and on how I can bring people together. Points out that he rejected a job on Wall Street and became a civil rights attorney. Clinton says that she thinks everyone here knows that I’ve lived through some crises and challenging moments in my life (big cheer). She’s saying that her trials are nothing compared to what others are going through and is now talking about wounded soldiers from Iraq and what they’ve gone through. Both ended on a good note, but Clinton played that one well.

7 Comments so far

  1. CarterB (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    FYI, i’m following your coverage. This isn’t on KUT so the TV-less out there have to follow the live blogs…

  2. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 21st, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

    Awesome. Glad to hear that it’s useful.

  3. Richard (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2008 @ 8:10 am

    Thanks for blogging this Tim. I missed the debate last night, but am catching up now thanks to you.

  4. Rantor (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2008 @ 9:57 am

    The contemporaneous info and the transcripts are very welcome for those of us without cable or with other engagements or unable to stay up late enough to watch the Univision version on later. Thank you!

  5. Sal "The Muckraker" Costello (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2008 @ 11:08 am

    Sen. Kirk Watson is a SNAKE and Karma is a bitch. It’s just too bad that it has to make a presidential candidate look bad.

    In October, Sen. Kirk Watson voted to ignore the public and divert nearly a Billion tax dollars to convert portions of Austin existing freeways (183, 290W, 290E, 71E, and 71W) into tollways.

    This double tax scheme is Gov. Rick Perry’s!

    Tolling drivers to use public expressways to drive to work, school and shop, benefits Watson contributors, developers he was hired to lobby for and the City of Austin, who pays Watson $450 an hour to do land deals.

  6. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2008 @ 11:28 am


    You posted the essentially the same comment on the last post that mentioned Kirk Watson.

    We’ve got the idea. It’s fine to express your opinion, but you weaken your argument when you make a nuisance of yourself.

  7. Pablo (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

    Man, can I say plagiarism is silly the next time I get in trouble for plagiarism. I hate those essays. I wonder what the president of UT thought about that. Hey we can know claim the Obama defense? My friend said it was okay.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.