Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Every Packers victory is sweet for us cheeseheads. The win over the Redskins today is especially nice for at least half of us.

GOP demands IDs of 37,000 in city

The Wisconsin Republican Party's double standard continues. They're threatening to challenge any of these 37,000 voter registrations including those missing apartment numbers. If you have any questions about their motivation, consider the timing of it and that they're not challenging registrations in any place other than the heavily Democratic city of Milwaukee.

If the Democrats were to do this in a heavily Republican city like Waukesha, the GOP would be up in arms. It's not surprising that Republicans are asking city voters be held to a higher standard than the suburbs and other areas of the state.

The whole point of this is to cast a cloud of doubt, regardless of real evidence of fraud, over the election results should President Bush lose Wisconsin. Also, by challenging thousands of registrations at the polling place, they'll cause delays which will result in long lines and frustrated would-be voters going home rather than waiting around.

If you're a Milwaukee voter, see yesterday's post for a listing of Wisconsin voting rights.


Earlier this week, as part of the overall Wisconsin GOP's campaign strategy, Republicans attempted to get 5600 names removed from the Milwaukee voter rolls alleging that the addresses didn't exist.

Well, a preliminary inquiry into the matter shows that many do actually exist, and the discrepencies on the list so far can be explained by data entry and database errors.

The most telling part of this whole matter is that these Republican operatives are going after city (read Democratic leaning) voters and aren't challenging the voter rolls in conservative Wisconsin cities like Green Bay and Brookfield. It's pretty obvious that the ground game for these folks is minimizing the Democratic vote on Tuesday.

The DNC has put together a list of voting rights for Wisconsin voters. It's in Adobe PDF format, but here's the bulk of it:

  • If you forgot your ID, you CAN vote.
  • If records incorrectly show that you have moved, you CAN vote.
  • If you forgot to register, you can register on Election Day and you CAN vote.
  • If you have been convicted of a felony, but have completed your sentence and are no longer on parole, you CAN vote.
  • If you are in line at the polling place before 8pm on Election Day, you CAN vote.
  • If you live in Wisconsin while attending college or graduate school here, you CAN vote as a Wisconsin resident.
  • If you are physically disabled, or are over the age of 65, you have the right to an accessible polling place and help in voting.
  • You CAN bring your minor child into the voting booth with you.
You can register at the polls on Election Day, so that you can vote. If you have a problem, make it clear that you know your rights. You also can:
  • Talk to the Voting Rights attorney at your polling place.
  • Ask for the name of the person who is denying you the vote and write it down.
  • Ask to talk to a supervisor and lodge a complaint.
If you have a problem, please call 1.866.WI.POLLS.

At campaign rallies and in the debates, President Bush has disputed John Kerry's criticism that the administration outsourced the job of catching Osama bin Laden and therefore allowed him to get away.

Apparently, the president forgot that his administration admitted to the press two years ago that bin Laden escaped at the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001. Here's an excerpt from a Washington Post article dated April 17, 2002 and entitled U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight: Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error.

"The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.

Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan's mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December."

If you're a voter looking for your polling place, check out this site to locate where to cast your ballot on Tuesday.

Even if you think you know, it doesn't hurt to double check. In many places, Ohio for example, the sites have changed recently.


KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota has video which may be linked to the missing explosives in Iraq.

Reporters for the station were embedded with the 101st Airborne Division in April after Baghdad fell.

In the Times of London newspaper, David Kay, the former chief US weapons inspector David Kay said the video amounts to “game, set and match” to those criticizing the Administration.

Conservatives launch baseless verbal attacks on U.S. troops

One of many tactics used against Democrats and John Kerry when they question the president's handling of the war in Iraq is to accuse them of attacking our nation's service men and women. On the contrary, Kerry is being vocal on this issue to protect those men and women in uniform. Like many of us, he sees just how incompetent this administration is and how badly they've botched the job in Iraq. As the article above points out, it's Republicans who ought to be getting more blame for trying to shift the blame from the Bush administration to U.S. troops.

For example, here's former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani yesterday on the Today Show:

GIULIANI: "The president was cautious. The president was prudent. The president did what a commander in chief should do. And no matter how much you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn't they search carefully enough?"

Al-Jazeera broadcasts bin Laden tape: Neither Bush nor Kerry can protect U.S., he says.

I guess this confirms that he's not dead, and appears to be in good health. Conservative and liberal pundits alike are trying to figure out who this helps politically. I'd say at this point in the race, it won't matter. Both the president and John Kerry came out with strong words denouncing the terrorist and vowing to defend America against those who would do us harm. If anything, it reminds voters that after three years, we still haven't captured or killed the mastermind behind the attack of September 11, 2001 despite the administration's tough talk on terrorism.

On a related matter, what does this mean for the previous tape ABC obtained and handed over to the CIA? Officials have yet to authenticate the tape leaving many to question its source. The person on it spoke fluent english, and didn't resemble anyone on previous terror tapes. Even the reactionary freepers think it could be a hoax.

This weekend begins the big get out the vote push from both candidates. The Kerry campaign's Wisconsin site has information about local volunteer efforts. You can RSVP online if you'd like to help out in the coming days.

Here are some quality photos of the Kerry rally with Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday in Madison.

According to the AP, some 80,000 people showed up to see the senator and the boss in the state's capital.

More information from New Donkey tonight about the GOP strategy to keep voter turnout down on Tuesday.


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has endorsed John Kerry for president. There had been speculation the editorial board wouldn't endorse a candidate, but apparently it was just their way of building interest in the decision.

In 2000, the board didn't endorse either Al Gore or George W. Bush. In 1996, the board endorsed Republican Senator Bob Dole over Bill Clinton. The paper was created in 1995 when the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel merged into one paper.


The GOP's Shameful Vote Strategy

Leading up to election day, it's clear the president is looking like the underdog. Presidents with approval ratings below 50% tend not to be re-elected. In addition, high turnout is expected this year which helps Democrats. Among those turning out will be many young and first-time voters who aren't counted as likely voters in polls since they haven't voted before.

The solution among many GOP insiders is to suppress Democratic turnout as evidenced in the Post article. If the effort fails, but the election remains close, their backup plan appears to be to claim widespread voter fraud and head to the courts or at least to the television cameras to undercut the legitimacy of a John Kerry presidency.

For Kerry supporters, the solution is to get out the vote on Tuesday. Among friends, I've predicted that Kerry will win 52% to 47%. A result with such a decisive margin of victory would hopefully be enough to keep the lawyers and courts from getting involved and dragging the election out.

100 Facts and 1 Opinion: The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration

This one plainly states, with sources, examples of why George W. Bush does not deserve to be given another four years in the White House.

Discovered via Trebz.


Man knocks himself out stealing campaign signs

"A Republican in Colorado fell flat on his face trying to steal campaign signs touting John Kerry and other local Democratic candidates.

According to Wheat Ridge Police spokesperson Officer Lisa Stigall, Randal Wagner was already wanted for questioning about a rash of campaign-sign thefts when he was discovered lying unconscious across a stolen sign Oct. 13."

I found this one especially funny since I have friends and family who've had their lawn signs and bumper stickers stolen this year.

"Because blood is thinner than oil"

Bush relatives who urge you to vote Kerry have launched a website.


John Kerry's interview with the Journal Sentinel editorial board was posted yesterday.

The local daily has yet to make an endorsement for president this year. Four years ago, they chose not to endorse a candidate, and in 1996 they endorsed Republican Senator Bob Dole for president. There have been rumblings the board may not endorse again this year, but I suspect they're just hyping their decision.

President Bush did not meet with the editorial board, and decided to submit statements in writing to them.


Democrats decry Bush rally ouster over T-shirts

This article summarizes what's been going on at Bush campaign rallies all year. Attendees have to sign loyalty oaths, and pledge to vote for Bush, in order to get in to see the president. Undecided voters should consider this when considering who to choose. The same president who says he's promoting freedom overseas is subverting it at the same time at home.

This audience filtering also explains why the president performed poorly in the debates. Since he's been surrounded by supporters all the time who laugh at his jokes and cheer him on, he was bewildered by an audience not made up of yes men. In the first debate particularly, he looked like a man who felt he didn't deserve to be publicly challenged by John Kerry.


No casualties? White House disputes Robertson comment

Televangelist Pat Robertson and President Bush are disputing each other's comments about a conversation they had prior to the war in Iraq. Robertson claims he warned Bush to prepare for casualities. According to Robertson, Bush's response was there would be no casualties. More than 1100 American troops have sacrificed their lives in this war to date.

If we accept the White House's account of the conversation, why would Robertson lie about such a thing? Regardless, the last thing the Bush campaign wants at this point in race is to alienate the millions of voters who follow Robertson's lead on political matters.

The Boston Red Sox became the first team in playoff history to be down 3 games, and win 4 straight to take the series. It was extra sweet for Sox fans since the series was against the rival New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Yankees management will probably be updating their resumes in preparation for the wrath of owner George Steinbrenner.

On Thursday, the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals play Game 7 for the National League pennant. While I don't have a horse in the race, I almost want the Cardinals to win just so we don't have to listen endlessly to analogies linking a Boston-Houston World Series to the Kerry-Bush presidential race.


The latest Rasmussen poll in the race for Wisconsin's US Senate seat shows Sen. Russ Feingold leading challenger Tim Michels by 10 points.

Of likely voters, 53% plan to vote for Feingold, 43% for Michels, 2% for Libertarian Arif Kahn, and only 2% are undecided.

The poll also says 83% of Feingold's voters also plan to vote for John Kerry. This backs up what I've said before about his support amongst independents and Republicans.

For those interested, WisPolitics has posted the webcast of the 3rd Feingold-Michels debate.


Frontline: The Choice 2004 is now available for viewing on the PBS website.

The two-hour documentary covers the background of both candidates. It's quite well done, and I encourage people to give it a look. At the end, the narrator states that soon people will decide which candidate will lead and this will all be over. Let's be thankful for that.


Jon Stewart vs. Crossfire

Stewart appeared on Crossfire and blasted the media for failing to live up to their responsibility to the public. Transcript here. Wonkette has multiple links for the video.

The folks at CNN obviously thought Stewart was going to do his Daily Show shtick on their show, and he was having none of it. He took the opportunity to take Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala to task for doing the bidding of politicians, rather than using their forum to get past their spin. Both hosts were obviously taken by surprise, and thrown off their game as they lost control of their own fake news show.

Milwaukee County agrees to print ballots requested by city: Cost of extras will be split, unused ones will be returned.

Mayor Tom Barrett, despite his nice guy image, proved this week he can be tough when he needs to be. Thanks to his standing up to County Exec Scott Walker, and Gov. Jim Doyle threatening state action, voters can rest easy that wards won't run out of ballots on election day.


If you haven't visited Operation Truth yet, give it a look. It's a non-profit organization set up by troops who have served in Iraq, and believe the government and media haven't given the public the whole truth about the precarious situation there.

On a related note, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) gave a great speech on the floor of the House of Representatives last week. At the time, rumors and hoaxes were circulating about the potential for a draft after the election. For the record, President Bush responded at the second debate by saying there wouldn't be.

Here are Ryan's remarks on why many people believed this. Watch the video here.

Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

I rise in opposition of this bill, but I would like to clarify something. We are not trying to scare kids. This President's foreign policy is what is scaring the kids of this country. And people have said today, why are people believing this? Why are people believing this big Internet hoax?

It is the same people who told us that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11; the same people who told us Saddam Hussein had something to do with weapons of mass destruction; the same people who told us we would be able to use the oil for reconstruction money; the same people who told us we would be greeted as liberators, not occupiers; the same people, the same President who told us the Taliban is gone; the same President who told us that Poland is our ally 2 days before they pull out; the same President who tells us Iraq is going just great; the same President who tells us the economy is going just great; the same people who told us the tax cuts were going to create millions of jobs; the same people who told us that the Medicare program only cost $400 billion when it really cost $540 billion.

So please forgive us for not believing what you are saying. Please forgive the students of this country for not believing what you are saying. Not one thing, not one thing about this war that has been told to the American people or that has been told to these college students has been true. Not one thing. Bremer says we need more troops. The Pentagon says we need more troops, and this President cannot get them from the international community. There is only one option left. Let us be honest with the American people.


Today the campaigns, the media, and the public had a chance to digest the debate. Rather than focusing on the issues of health care, jobs, or even fighting terrorism, the Bush campaign lashed out at John Kerry for bringing up that Dick Cheney's daughter Mary is a lesbian.

If I was Kerry, I wouldn't have brought it up, but I'm one who believes politics has become too personal and should be more intellectual. Having said that, here's Kerry's comment that caused all the fuss:

"We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as." -Kerry from the debate.

Today Kerry issued a statement in response to criticism:
"I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with the issue"

Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan made some good points today on this. The issue of same sex marriage arose (and thus the debate question about homosexuality), because President Bush cynically thought he could use the issue to get socially conservative Democrats and independents to vote for him in November.

Also, how come the Cheneys didn't get bent out of shape when Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes called Mary Cheney a "selfish hedonist" last month? It's pretty easy for me to figure out which of the two statements deserves to be condemned.


The president's poor memory made itself known again tonight when he said this about catching Osama bin Laden in response to a remark by John Kerry:

"I don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. I think that's one of those exaggerations." -Bush in the debate tonight.

"I don't know where he is.You know, I just don't spend that much time on him... I truly am not that concerned about him." -Bush on March 13, 2002.

More remarks by Bush on the subject in the video here.

Well tonight's matchup was a struggle. At this point, the Red Sox are down 3-1 to the Yanks....

Oh yeah, there was a debate too. In short, I think John Kerry has gone 3-0 in these debates. I will say that this was President Bush's best debate. In 2000, Al Gore was criticized for modifying his personality in each of the debates. In 2004, the same can be said of George W. Bush. Tonight, he was calmer and less abrasive than in the town hall debate and seemed like he was listening more intently than in his first performance.

Kerry went after Bush on jobs, education, health care, and the federal budget deficit. When Bush tried to respond by calling Kerry a tax and spend liberal, it didn't stick. Bush, the president who hasn't vetoed a single bill, tried to blame the (Republican) Congress for spending too much. Perhaps he just hasn't found the drawer that contains the veto pen.

The biggest reason Bush lost tonight was that he couldn't get on the offense. If I was advising him, I'd have come prepared with a list of proposals to deal with the problems that Bush is getting attacked on. By not doing so, and having to defend his time in the oval office, he looks like he isn't acknowledging there are problems that have to be addressed domestically.

Unlike Bush, Kerry's persona has remained consistent in all three debates. He had a chance to be a little self-deprecating at the end when he said he can take himself too seriously and his wife and daughters keep him in check. When Kerry used that question to talk about the lessons his mother gave him about the importance of integrity, he was as genuine as I'd ever seen him.

Viewership may be lower than the previous debates now that the baseball playoffs are in full swing, but there are still just under three weeks until the election, and plenty of time for another shift in those polls. The world of politics moves quickly, but John Kerry performed well in these debates and is in a good position to win the White House on November 2nd.

Walker Cries “Fraud,” Barrett says "Phooey."

Michael Horne reports on the latest war between the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County over the number of ballots the county is providing to the city. Mayor Tom Barrett correctly points out that the 679,000 ballots the county agreed to print out are less than the amount given to the city in 2000.

Granted there are only 423,811 eligible voters living in the city. However, there have to be additional ballots on hand at all precincts to account for errors, and for the fact that some precincts may vote in higher numbers than others. With voter turnout expected to be much higher this year than it was in 2000, there's no reason we should risk running out of ballots and disenfranchising voters, especially those who may be voting for the first time ever.

Even conservative talk show host Mark Belling has come to believe what many of us could've told him months ago. Sen. Russ Feingold will win re-election in November.


Ignore the point spread by Mark Shields.

Another good one by the longtime syndicated columnist. He echos what was said recently by Democratic pollster Guy Molyneux. Basically, history tells us that presidents whose poll ratings are below 50% in the days and weeks leading up to the election are in serious danger of losing the election.

President Bush falls into that category. It makes you wonder what desperate tricks Karl Rove has up his sleeve to attempt to win back support before Election Day.

Sinclair Broadcasting is issuing an order to 62 of its stations to air an anti-Kerry film just days before the election.

In Milwaukee, channels 18 and 24 are both owned by Sinclair. Folkbum was kind enough to provide this contact information for those stations. If you're outside the area, visit Sinclair Watch to get the lowdown on the free airtime this propaganda is getting thanks to the public airwaves leased to Sinclair.

Since I'm pessimistic as to Sinclair reversing its decision, it can be answered by letting people know about the Freedom of Information Action Faction website where the movie Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry is available for download. The movie is also showing in theaters around the country. Visit the official site here.


If you missed the second debate between Sen. Russ Feingold and challenger Tim Michels, as I did, you can find it on the WSAW homepage under Featured Videos.

An Agonizing Choice: Conservatives have plenty of cause to abandon Bush

This column by former Republican Congressman Bob Barr gives voice to what many conservative Republicans are thinking. They're not pleased with George W. Bush's assault on civil liberties, and his inability to reign in spending. Bush hasn't vetoed a single spending bill since elected.


Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry has been made available as a free download courtesy of the Freedom of Information Action Faction.

The film by George Butler is a biography of the senator covering his youth, his service in Vietnam and his work after he returned home.

Wonkette has good blow by blow coverage of the debate if you missed it or need a refresher.

What to make of the town hall debate. Going into the debate, I thought both candidates would handle the atmosphere fine. When John Kerry campaigned in Iowa during the primaries, he regularly held town hall meetings. Also, President Bush's strength as a politician is when he gets out from behind a podium and interacts with people.

Kerry was clearly the winner in the first debate. Last night, I think he won again by coming across as more knowledgable on the issues and history. He nailed the president again on his mistakes in Iraq, his handling of the economy and the federal budget.

Bush seemed edgy and downright antagonistic. I was surprised at how he was shouting at times considering the intimate setting. Bush did do much better than he did in the first debate, but that wasn't hard to accomplish.

Kerry, on the other hand, was composed and very empathetic with the people asking the questions. He stumbled slightly during the stem-cell question, but took Bush to task for his stance on the issue. On importing prescription drugs from Canada, Kerry correctly pointed out that Bush came out in favor of it four years ago but continues to block it from happening.

I was very relieved to learn that Bush doesn't support slavery. He mentioned how the 1857 Dred-Scott decision was wrong in response to an audience member who asked him what kind of Supreme Court judge he would appoint. Also, watch out for those draft rumors on the internets.

Viewership will be down for this debate since it was held on a Friday night, but interested voters will have one more chance to watch the candidates head to head on Wednesday night.


If you missed Saturday Night Live's parody of the first presidential debate, it's the featured video over at the NBC site right now.

I have to say, Will Forte plays a great Bush, and Seth Meyers does a decent job at Kerry. Hilarious stuff.


WBAY-TV in Green Bay posted an AP article on its site today indicating President Bush has won the election.

The television station later posted a correction saying their automated system had picked up a "test article" from the AP feed.

Speaking of Russ Feingold, Wisconsin's junior senator will appear at an event this Saturday with Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama. Also appearing at the event will be State Sen. Gwen Moore.


Saturday, October 9 (Gates open at 9:00 am, rally starts at 10:00 am)

Washington Park Bandshell,
1859 N. 40th Street,

Doyle, Baldwin Appear on "The Al Franken Show"

The Al Franken show came to Madison yesterday. Guests of the show included Gov. Jim Doyle, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Russ Feingold and Cap Times/The Nation columnist John Nichols. If you missed it, go to to download an Mp3 of the show.

Bush is beginning to sound desperate by Howard Fineman

As much as the administration wants the public to believe it, the news out of Iraq is not getting any better. Additionally, their original rationales for war have been discredited by a report the president himself requested.

In the debate tomorrow, look for George W. Bush to go on offense accusing Kerry of being a big tax-and-spend flip-flopping liberal Senator who wants the terrorists to win.


Report: Saddam Not in Pursuit of Weapons: Report Finds Saddam Didn't Pursue Weapons Program, Undercuts Bush Rationale for Invading Iraq

The war that has cost the country billions, over 1000 American troops, and tens of thousands more injured. Iraq's ties to al Qaeda have been debunked, and now their pursuit of a weapons program.

The Bush Administration is now left with the argument that Saddam was a bad guy, and democracy is coming any day now to Iraq now that he's out of power. Those were not the arguments made to bring the United States to war, and divert our attention away to finding Osama bin Laden, and rebuilding Afghanistan. John Kerry needs to continue to remind voters of that as the administration revises its reasons for bringing the country to war.

The Cheney-Edwards meeting story has gotten some pretty good play today. The AP picked it up complete with a new screen grab of the prayer breakfast with Edwards, Bush and Cheney yucking it up. The Vice President thought he had a memorable line he could win the debate on, and it's now blowing up in his face.

The AP summarizes what we know so far:

On Feb. 1, 2001, the vice president thanked Edwards by name at a Senate prayer breakfast and sat beside him during the event.

On April 8, 2001, Cheney and Edwards shook hands when they met off-camera during a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderator Tim Russert said Wednesday on "Today."

On Jan. 8, 2003, the two met when the first-term North Carolina senator accompanied Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in by Cheney as a North Carolina senator, Edwards aides also said.

The exposure of Cheney's lie, as Newsweek reporter Rebecca Sinderbrand points out, is another story that gained traction thanks to the efforts of bloggers who investigated it and quickly found it to be bogus.

Cheney caught lying about not meeting Edwards... again!

When Elizabeth Dole was sworn in as North Carolina's junior Senator, Sen. Edwards (per tradition as the state's senior Senator) escorted her to be sworn in by Vice President Cheney.

“In my capacity as vice president, I am the president of the senate, the presiding officer, I'm in the senate most tuesdays in session. The first time I met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.” -Dick Cheney at Tuesday's debate with Sen. John Edwards.

Really, Mr. Vice President?

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Congressman Watts, Senator Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I honored to be with you all this morning.” [FDCH Political Transcripts, Cheney Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, 2/1/01]

Tuesday night was the much anticipated debate of Sen. John Edwards of Vice President Dick Cheney. As with the 2000 debate between Cheney and Sen. Joe Lieberman, this one took place at a table with the participants seated.

Watching the debate, it was an interesting clash of styles. Cheney is widely considered the hatchet man for the Bush Administration who frequently goes on the attack against their political opponents. What was interesting was to see Edwards attempt to do some of the same while maintaining that sunny optimism that endeared him to many voters.

At the outset, Edwards wasted no time going after Cheney's repeated misleading statements linking Saddam Hussein and Iraq with al Qaeda and the events of September 11, 2001. With a CIA report calling into question such ties, I would expect the Kerry campaign to continue to harp on this point.

As expected, Edwards also confronted Cheney about the illegal business Halliburton did with countries that sponsor terrorism in the 1990s. Cheney didn't refute what Edwards said except he mistakingly sent viewers to He obviously meant to send them to the non-partisan

I think both candidates got their shots in throughout the debate, and I don't think either ran away a clear victor. In the end, I suppose they both did their job for their respective candidates in energizing the base.

The next presidential debate is just three days away, and I suspect like past vice presidential debates, this one will quickly fade from memory, and not affect the race significantly.


The Hill profiles the tight presidential race here in Wisconsin.

The state hasn't gone Republican since Walter Mondale got trounced by Ronald Reagan in 1984. GOP strategists are speculating it could be the most likely Gore state to flip to Bush this time. With the Republicans pouring resources into this state, the Democrats are answering by sending manpower from states like Arizona, Virginia, and even from FIB country.


"You forgot Poland." That profound retort from President Bush in the debate last Thursday has now been given its own place on the web.

Meanwhile, the president may be disappointed to learn that the European nation plans to pull all of its troops out of Iraq next year.

This shouldn't be that surprising after Polish Prime Minister Aleksander Kwasniewski said last March he believed Poland had been deceived about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and "taken for a ride."


Sen. Russ Feingold and challenger Tim Michels met in their first debate last night.

Unlike the Kerry-Bush debate, I listened to this one on the radio so I don't know if anyone wore too much makeup or a bad tie and such. The debate started off on foreign policy with Feingold defending his votes on the Iraq war and the USA Patriot Act. Michels tried to criticize him on those votes, but he came off as a cheerleader for the Bush Administration.

Regarding the Patriot Act, Michels had two particularly damaging moments in the debate. While Michels said he would vote to renew the Patriot Act, Feingold pointed out that Michels has admitted to not even reading the legislation. Feingold used this to say how strongly he believes in voting for "quality legislation" rather than bills with fancy titles.

Michels then tried to recover by saying the Patriot Act hasn't resulted in any civil liberties violations. Again, he seemed out of touch with reality as Feingold accurately pointed out that earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero struck down part of the act as unconstitutional.

The rest of the debate centered on health care, trade policy and prescription drug coverage for seniors. Feingold held his own by explaining his own health care reform package, defending his votes against NAFTA/GATT, and touting his ongoing efforts to allow Americans to purchase drugs from Canadian pharmacies (an issue that Michels agrees with him on).

Feingold defended his record strongly on issues like campaign finance reform during the debate. While Michels tried to paint him as a "career politician," he failed to demonstrate that he had a firm grasp of the issues. The two will debate again next Saturday, but Michels has an uphill battle if he wants to unseat the two-term Senator.


Josh Marshall nails this point:

"The A.Q. Khan network has been brought to justice," President Bush said in the debate tonight.

Brought to justice?


The White House went along with a deal in which Khan was immediately pardoned after making a perfunctory apology for spreading nuclear weapons technology all over the globe.

I guess it's really not about law enforcement.

Around the horn

Atrios: Someone Needs to Retire

Kos: Conservative bloggers say Bush sucked

DNC Video: Faces of Frustration

Donkey Rising: Kerry sweeps debate polls

American Prospect: John Kerry sent a message last night, and it wasn’t mixed.

"As far as the debate goes, I don't see how anybody could look at this debate and not score this a very clear win on points for John Kerry." -conservative talk-show host Joe Scarborough

I waited to sleep on my thoughts before posting about the debate. Needless to say, there was much celebrating last night.

John Kerry won the debate hands down, because he stayed on the offense. When President Bush tried to nail Kerry with his vote on the $87 billion supplemental Iraq funding, Kerry built a wall on the criticism by saying he made a mistake when he talked about the war, but the President made a mistake in invading Iraq.

The president's recurring theme? Iraq is "hard work."

Kerry hammered home the fact that Osama bin Laden was cornered in Tora Bora, and instead of having our troops pursue him, Afghan warlords (loyal to nobody but the highest bidder) were sent in to get him. The rest is history.

Several times in the debate, the president seemed frustrated and looked lost in thought as if he was trying to remember what he said in the practice debate. I only remember a couple of moments where Kerry seemed to stumble. In the beginning of the debate, Kerry seemed a little tense but he loosened up as he hit his stride.

For a guy who has a reputation for being "long winded," Kerry's responses were almost always within the time constraints. Going into the debate, I speculated those little lights on the podium would've worked against him.

The priority for any challenger going up against an incumbent president is to pass the does-he-look-like-a-commander-in-chief test. Kerry's previous experience as a prosecutor showed last night. He stayed focused, cool and collected the whole debate and in the end looked more presidential than his opponent.