Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guns Blazing, Giffords Makes First Appearance

It is interesting to watch the dynamics of the debates change when Gabby shows up. Last night, she may have even overshadowed David Nolan's usual commanding presence.

Here's my take on her first appearance:

Out of the chute, Gabby was prepared and aggressive. After the other candidates offered soft openings filled with statements of appreciation to those who hosted the event and descriptions of their qualifications, Gabby unleashed a barrage of rhetoric against Republicans asserting her commitment to a variety of social outcomes. Complaining about negative attacks on herself, she stated emphatically that she would "set the record straight." Within a couple of breaths, however, she unloaded an extreme DCCC-like attack on Graf claiming, among other things, that he wanted to eliminate Medicare.

Leaning forward and speaking rapidly, Gabby appeared nervous but consistently smooth in her delivery albeit somewhat "pre-recorded." Her preparation was evident as she frequently flipped the colored tabs on her impressive stack of yellow paper where every imaginable question was matched with a well-rehearsed response.

Gabby's coaching came from the Clinton playbook making considerable use of human-interest stories citing so-and-so who she spoke to about this or that problem. She also played to liberal Republicans by citing on several occasions lists of Republicans that she agreed with on an issue.

Keeping Randy at bay, she even pulled out a bit of Geraldine Farraro offering a little "poor me" victim jab in one of her responses. Now that was nostalgia!

Although she was challenged a few times by Randy and David, for the most part, she was provided little resistance throughout the debate. David Nolan's question was probably the biggest challenge of the evening when he asked Gabby to name one group that supports her contention that she is not a tax and spend liberal. Unable to answer the question, Gabby simply mentioned something about being voted Technology Legislator three years in a row.

Gabby was strong and clear on her positions about her opposition to the war in Iraq, support for federally funding embyonic stem cell research, desire to overhaul the senior's prescription drug plan, funding for No Child Left Behind, and allowing illegal aliens to continue working in the U.S. as guest workers.

Less clear were her positions on when to pull troops out of Iraq and whether she supports mining in the Santa Rita mountains.

Gabby danced around the issue of making English the official language suggesting she does not support it. She also made a confusing statement about opposing amnesty and not giving Medicare benefits to illegal alien guest workers until after they are granted citizenship.

Not that this debate will sway anybody considering that nearly all attendees wore one campaign button or another and few will bother to watch the broadcast later in the week, but overall, Giffords first appearance was polished, somewhat commanding and generally impressive. One thing is for sure, Graf knows that in the debates where Gabby shows up, he won't be given the free pass he has been getting so far.


x4mr said...

I was looking forward to reading this blog's report on last night's debate. To both Framer's and your credit, TC (assuming you are one person), the original stories posted here are consistently intelligent, well reasoned, and factually grounded. This is no exception.

Of course we will see some things differently, and we could split hairs over this detail or that about last night, but I was there and at the "executive summary level" for what it's worth I think you've effectively captured a lot of the spirit of the evening.

Giffords did come out with pistols blazing and some attitude. Instead of tying her hair back into some neat, prissy little bun all perfect and quaint, she let her hair down and let it get a little disheveled, a tough gal unafraid of a fight.

I haven’t seen the television version, and it may show some nuances I missed, but I think we agree on one thing: Graf is going to have no walk in the park during these debates.

Gabrielle Giffords is NO Stevie Huffman. Unlike Stevie, she’s going to show up and not leave, packing loaded pistols already drawn from their holsters.

Kralmajales said...

This is just brilliant of her and her team. Graf must have thought he would be able to unload on her and get the jabs in, the free press, and the momentum. Instead, she took it to HIM and showed her metal.

She will be a GREAT representative for this district, clear, intelligent, reasonable, and not afraid to back down from the Grafites!

This was a big chance for Graf and he blew it. This could have set the tone...yes...five more, but will anyone pay attention now that they saw the front-runner take it to him?

There just isn't anything to see here anymore folks.

Lets talk about Kyl and Pederson.

Liza said...

I think you've nailed it with "let's talk about Kyl and Pederson." This CD8 House race is a done deal. Nothing short of election fraud will change what we all know will be the outcome.

Interesting post. I was expecting something very pro-Graf but you have chosen instead to focus on Ms. Giffords. The truth is that she hasn't any choice but to come out with "guns blazing." It's called "managing perceptions." A female speaker has a maximum of two minutes (maybe) to influence how she is perceived by the audience before they begin to judge her based on her appearance, her being a woman, the tone of her voice, etc... So, if you want the audience to perceive you as strong, assertive, and "congressional", then you have to immediately correct how they perceive women in general as compared to men. The only way to do that is with speech content and delivery. Based on what I've read here and on x4mr's blog, it sounds as though Giffords pulled it off.

cc burro said...

The so-called "tax and spend liberals" have been replaced by the "borrow/steal from your children and grandchildren so-called conservatives" who have driven the United States into an abominable state of indebtedness. What is the federal debt now, $8 or $9 trillion? With over a trillion of it owed to foreign countries?

Bush and company have gotten us involved in a war that has cost over $300 billion, thousands of lives, and with no plan for how to achieve what they said they wanted to achieve. Certainly no one wants Saddam back, but what is the price to Iraq and the U.S. going to be ultimately? And Graf supports this never-ending black hole.

Framer said...

You can talk about the Kyl-Pederson race all you wish. However, the margin of the CD-8 race is smaller than the senate race.

Plus we have three good weeks of blogging ahead of us!

Stick it out follks.

Zelph said...
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