Friday, August 11, 2006

Stumping in Dubuque

Though I was still officially "on vacation" Friday, I came to the office for an Editorial Board interview with U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who is seeking the presidency.

The Iowa caucuses kick off the campaign season and thus they have great influence on the nomination process. A good showing in Iowa builds momentum (and money) for the primaries that follow. Conversely, fall short of expectations in Iowa and your campaign is in trouble. Recall, after failing to convert his early lead in the polls into a strong showing in the 2004 Iowa Caucuses, Democrat Howard Dean made it worse that night with his fanatical, shouting speech (followed by some sort of unidentifiable scream) and soon was out of the race.

Anyway, Iowans enjoy special access to those who aspire to the White House. It is relatively easy for a citizen to shake hands with candidates, hear them speak and, occasionally, ask them questions.

When the TH hasn't scheduled the candidates for editorial board interviews -- some don't come in because the TH does not endorse in the caucuses -- I haven't taken advantage of enough of those opportunities by going to hear them speak. Both Republican and Democratic candidates will be stumping for the 2008 nomination, and I have resolved to attend and observe more of those appearances.

Which brings us to Biden, who is making an extremely early start to the process. After all, the presidential election is 27 months away. Nonetheless, we gladly honored his staff's request for him to visit with the editorial board and our political reporter (Mary Rae Bragg).

Biden has something to say -- lots to say -- about the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and anti-terrorism efforts. Mary Rae will have the details in Saturday's TH.

Going into the interview, I had read that Biden had a reputation for being long-winded. Well. By our calculations, we asked four questions in the 80 minutes he spent with us (that might have been the longest we've been able to spend with a candidate in one sitting). In the future, we might have to be less polite and interrupt more often to introduce questions on more topics.

All in all, though, I'm glad to have had (another) chance to meet Sen. Biden. (I don't recall meeting him 19 years ago, the last time he campaigned in Iowa.) It was worth a little vacation time.


Anonymous said...

So, all y'all sat in a rapt trance instead of aggressively interviewing Biden. Bet not one of you remember that in his last campaign Biden plagarized speeches from a British politician.

I also say, had this been a non-Democrat, all y'all would have been peppering him with questions and had actually done in depth, not superficial, homework in to his background, past campaigns, and current positions and proposals.

Bunch of political lightweights the lot of you.

Brian Cooper said...

You'd lose the bet. In fact, he made a passing reference to the issue of lifting others' words.

In my experience, long-windedness is not a partisan trait. Interjecting with questions can be as challenging with Republicans as with Democrats. We had similar challenges, I recall, with then-Gov. Branstad. We strive to strike a balance between engaging our guests and being rude in the interview setting.

Anonymous said...

No, I won the bet. I said YOU and your fellow editorial boardmembers remembering, not Biden.

You don't want to admit when you are wrong. In that, you are worse than the ding-a-ling left's perception of the President not admitting to a mistake. By the way, the left's demand to admit to a mistake is to agree that the left is right in all things.

Brian Cooper said...

Well, we did remember it -- at least enough to chuckle when Biden made the reference. Doesn't that count?

In any case, since you're right and I'm wrong and you won the bet, what were we playing for anyway?

Anonymous said...

The lint in your change pocket.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Tim Russert gets more questions to Biden in less time than your entire board did. I don't think Russert is rude.

Also, in 80 minutes you'd think if Biden is talking about his plans, you'd think you would get some details like where he'd redeploy troops to and for what reason. I mean is this verbal misdirection for "Cut and Run"?

Also, the follow up never asked is if you redeploy, what would trigger you sending the troops back to Iraq?

Anonymous said...

Just thought you'd like to see yourself in a snip from an Q&A on

7) This is a big one for me. Liberals genuinely believe there is no liberal bias in the media. In fact, I've seen on a number of left-wing blogs and even from some liberal politicians that they actually think that the media is biased in favor of conservatives. What do you have to say to those people? And do you think it would be acceptable for them to slant the news if they simply stated their bias? Why or why not?

I would have to disagree with you on this. Most liberals know that the media is biased to the Left and they want to keep it that way. However, being liberals they can’t just say “you’re right.” Instead, they have to find a way to undermine reality and the way they do this is by using the methodology I call Feigning Confusion, also known as the Sucker Strategy. And guess who the sucker -- you, me and every other conservative who sits there trying to explain the same thing over and over again trying to someone whose only goal is to keep pretending they don’t understand.

Just look at the ratio of journalists who openly identify themselves as liberals. I forget the exact number but it’s something like four or five to one. That in itself tells you everything you need to know. Besides, you never heard liberals attacking CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC or anyone else, have you? No. The only mainstream news outlet they attack is Fox, the only one which may arguably be slanted to Right, but more often than not presents a more than balanced perspective of each situation. The reality is that liberals have become so biased to the Left that to them, any sort of objectivity is immediately interpreted as a bias to the Right.