Olbermann moderating the AFL-CIO debate on MSNBC

Watching the Democratic debate from Chicago’s Soldier Field. Keith Olbermann is the moderator.

The AFL-CIO is live blogging, too.

The questions so far have been about infrastructure, NAFTA and China. Real issues that affect real people and our economy.

All the candidates seem pretty fired up.

I find it harder to live-blog the Democratic debates because I tend to agree with most of what they say. Most. So, then it becomes a question of style and all the other things the political punditry get into a lather over. I hate playing that game. I just keep thinking that I’d take any of these Democrats over any of the Republicans. No question.

7:37 PM UPDATE: An Iraq related question from a union member wondering what will happen if we leave Iraq and al Qaeda ends up taking over anyway. Obama actually gave a pretty strong response and sounded confident. Hillary mentioned her “three point plan.” She does stick to her talking points.

7:47 PM UPDATE: Dodd took a smack at Obama based on a question from Keith about a criticism made about Obama on foreign policy. Obama then gave a very, very strong response — this was a good moment for him. Obama pointed out that he’s getting criticized by people who got us into the mess in Iraq when we went after the people who didn’t attack us. Sounded like Clinton’s response got booed.

Next come questions from the audience. I’ve become a big fan of the non-traditional questioners. The YouTube debate evoked some of the best dialogue yet. Same for the Yearly Kos forum. Joan McCarter, a.k.a. McJoan, was fantastic. I think this development in the debates has been a positive development. The candidates can’t give their usual canned and rehearsed responses — well, they can, but do so at their peril.

7:56 UPDATE: First question from the widow of one of the miners who died at the Sago mine in WV last year. Her question about mine safety was to Biden…who got booed because he gave her a perfunctory answer, then started talking about foreign policy. Bad form, Joe.

8:02 UPDATE: Very compelling health care question to Edwards from a worker who lost his pension and his health care when his company filed bankruptcy. Edwards gave a pretty good answer, but he could have nailed this one…he then turned it into a rally cry for his campaign for all the picket lines he’s walked with labor.

There must be something about the forum that is compelling the candidates to shout, because they are all talking really, really loud. Shouting even.

8:27 PM UPDATE: Barry Bonds?

8:34 PM UPDATE: Edwards finally gave his powerful health care answer…not to a health care question.

I could have done without that last question on the next campaign starting right after one of these folks was inaugurated…but by and large, this was a feisty forum.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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