I got to Bloomington only to find out that there’s no wireless, at least no wireless compatible with my laptop. So back to the office to hear the scripted debate.
(12:47) Sucks. There’s a word you didn’t hear a few decades ago. But now, I guess, “suck” is acceptable lexicon.
Peter Hutchinson uses it to describe Minnesota’s roads in answer to a question about the referendum on transportation funding. The room, by the way,is loaded with folks in support of that referendum, especially since the chamber is for it. Hutchinson
supports opposes it. So does Pawlenty supports it.
Mike Hatch, and I can’t tell this but it sure sounds like he’s reading a script (and he probably is since everyone got the questions in advance). Couldn’t tell what his opinion was of the transportation referendum.
Hutchinson puts Tim Pawlenty on his heels by criticizing the plan — and practice — to use bonding for road constructions. Pawlenty responds “you have to have a plan, you can’t just be a critic.” Hatch criticizes the bonding plan and suggests if it continues, there should be an “intergenerational impact statement” for such things. Can’t wait to hear how that proposal will fit in a 30-second commercial, which — since the two frontrunners here don’t want to debate — is how we’re going to hear these guys between now and November.
12:50 – Pawlenty answers a question about education and goes with the “need” strategy. I won’t repeat myself. Read my treatise on why candidates use the word here. Hatch responds by again reading something. And races through the answer. “I want tuition costs lower,” he says. Hutchinson invites people to the Deer Outpost Bar and Grille. Talks about a waitress there who worked hard in school, got a diploma, went to a community college and they told her to take remedial courses. Says that’s true with 36% of kids and calls for a doubling financial aid for need-based education.
Pawlenty takes on Hatch again — ignoring Hutchinson — and says Hatch is criticizing cuts Pawlenty made, that he now says he would’ve made too. Hatch, definitely not reading, raises his voice in response and says “I want to lower that tuition and by God I’m going to do it.” He sounded angry. I almost expected him to say “Pawlenty sucks.”
Given how much Pawlenty and Hatch hate each other, there’s hope for this debate yet. I’m ignoring the canned answers. The good stuff is in the rebuttals.
12:59 A right uppercut by Pawlenty gets Hatch to say “what I meant was….” Always a good day for a pol when you can get your opponent to start a sentence with that. Subject was cutting taxes. Pawlenty takes credit for getting Minnesota out of the top 10 in taxes. Brushes off Hutchinson by saying he’ll be happy to talk about Hutchinson’s running of the Minneapolis schools a few weeks ago. By the way, the Tax Foundation says we’re #4 in state/local tax burden…we’re 11th in federal taxes.
Hauser (Tom) says “didn’t get as many specifics as I wanted, but got some good one liners for television tonight.” Yeah. True.
1:08 Audience gets to ask questions now.
1:09 Is government role with business to be cooperative or a “watchdog.” “Both,” says Pawlenty. He pins the “we need” meter. Hatch talks about meeting with paper companies and railroad companies and how he got a letter saying he’s “anti business.” Major gaffe. You don’t raise your own negatives. Tries to explain. Runs out of time. Oy.
Hutchinson recounts his own business experience. “If you want to be pro business, you’ve got to focus on health care.” Suggest we’re on the precipice of extinction, business-wise, I presume.
Pawlenty rebuttal consists of “I think businesses are good.” Noted.
1:13 — Health care is topic. Hatch talks about his “going after” HMOs and how he heard he was anti-business because of it. Tries to explain. Runs out of time. Hey, is that a rabbit going down that hole?
1:14 Hauser changes format, apparently recognizing it’s been a deadly affair so far.
1:15 “50% of our youngsters when they get to kindergarten aren’t ready for school,” Hutchinson said. Calls for all-day, every-day kindergarten. But says “you won’t get there if you don’t invest in health care.”
Pawlenty says education spending has gone up, when measured by per pupil funding. “How do we get better results?” he says is the question. Talks about his initiative to get rid of seniority-based pay.
Hatch says “we’ve spent tens of million of dollars on a test to evaluate performance and it was supposed to be released at the State Fair. But something went wrong and we still don’t know what it was,” because it wasn’t released. Says the Department of Education decided to keep the results secret until after the election.
Pawlenty says there’s a delay because it’s a new test. “It’s not some conspiracy or black helicopter operation,” he says.
1:19 Question: Do you plan to raise taxes?
“I don’t plan on raising taxes, fees, or tuition,” Hatch says.
“Yes” Hutchinson says. That’s all he says
Pawlenty lauds Hutchinson for being honest about raising taxes. “Wait a minute,” Hutchinson says. “You don’t get to say what I said, I said ‘yes.'”
Polinaut has no clue what that exchange is all about. Pawlenty gets to his point, eventually, which is that Hatch will raise taxes.
Hutchinson, in rebuttal, says “I just want to be clear, my answer was ‘yes.'”
What’s the emoticon for “I have no clue where he’s going with this?” (The problem is not in your set. See comments section for clarification)
1:22 Closing statements. I don’t blog closing statements. Polinaut is glad we’re done and wonders if there’s any chance there’ll be more — hopefully better — debates and recommends the first question will be “why are you guys afraid to debate?”
1:26 OK, I changed my mind. Hey this isn’t scripted. Hutchinson, in his closing, says, “I have to tell you guys, your behavior the last two weeks has been unbelievably disrespectful,” he says regarding their refusal to agree to debates. “Minnesotans want you to have a job interview.”
Pawlenty (Hatch had already had his closing) didn’t touch it.
Audio of the debate will be posted soon. Here’s the audio of the debate. (RealAudio)