TUESDAY'S HUM (9-19-06 )
DOES PETER WELCH HAVE A CRUSH ON MARTHA RAINVILLE?
Probably not, but the Welch Terrier looked leashed and luminous in the big debate last night sponsored by the AARP. Welch wondered aloud how he could be annoyed by "Martha Rainville" after moderator Steve Delaney tried to stir up the nest by asking both candidates what annoyed them about the other. Rainville successfully ducked the question and the civilfest kept going.
Rainville performed strongly and consistently during the debate, staying on message for the most part. She clarified her stance on many issues, including term limits and medicare. On the subject of term limits, Rainville put Welch on the defensive, suggesting that some career politicians are good and some not so good.
Rainville has been accused of not being specific enough, charges which could dissipate after her many detailed answers given last night. She avoided the appearance of nervousness, in fact, she appeared polished and poised, with an easy smile and a forthright manner.
Peter Welch also performed strongly, and appeared to be enjoying himself. He was at his best when he was describing various political moments in his long career of public service. His worst moments were his incessant gripes about the failed Bush strategies, even apologizing at one juncture. With Welch's experience and dedication, he would be better served focusing less on Bush and Rumsfeld and more on his ideas and successes. With an opponent like the ebullient Rainville, if Welch is increasingly perceived as a whiner/naysayer, he'll lose.
This debate was a big one. It fell on a night where many people are at home, and it was televised statewide. The first debate, at the Tunbridge Fair was missed by many. There will be nine other debates in the near future.
Vermont Hum thought the debate was dead even, not unlike the current poll numbers. It's gonna be a helluva race.
P.S. - Have you noticed the dearth of coverage with regards to the debate. The Burlington Free Press ran a small piece on page 3 in the Local section, Channel 3 had weak coverage this morning, and many online venues had little or no coverage. The BEST coverage on the debate will be local news blogs.