Posts Tagged ‘debate’



Live from Los Angeles: Donkeys Run Wild

Saturday, April 17th, 2010


The big news at the convention: Jerry Brown challenges Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner to a three-way, pre-primary debate. It has to be all three of them, he said later at a news conference. More from Calbuzz on Jerry’s intriguing proposal to come.

11:10 Treasurer Bill Lockyer is challenging Meg Whitman’s assertions that California has one of the largest state governments and highest state tax rates in the nation, using a blizzard of stats and assailing Republicans for “selfish, scare-mongering, stupid and silly” policies.

10:33: The diminutive Barbara Boxer is asking delegates to stand with us against “Wall Street on steroids” and to join her in making California the hub for clean energy jobs  and ending tax breaks for corporations and the rich and add tax breaks for the middle class and small businesses.

Biggest whoppers: Boxer boasting of “working across party lines” on Capitol Hill and making a priority of reducing  the deficit. Best Line: Talking up health care as a big positive for Dems, she said: “Why would I want to pull the plug on grandma – I am grandma!”

10:24 Boxer was introduced and came through the center of the convention platform to a loud and enthusiastic non-spontaneous demonstration to the sounds of “Aint’ No Mountain High Enough” by Tammy Terrell and Marvin Gaye.

10:00 Chairman John Burton introduced Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis as “the only liberal in the Cabinet.” She delivered a tough partisan speech in which she challenged Republicans to campaign on a platform of opposing health care: “Bring it on,” she said repeatedly.

9:30 – After taking two buses, three cabs and a shuttle, Calbuzz finally made our way from the J.W. Marriott lobby to the L.A. Convention Center at the far end of the Earth.

Barbara Boxer scheduled a press conference before her speech. When she walked in, she went out of her way to greet Mickey Kaus, the pioneer blogger who’s filed a Democratic primary challenge to her. “I wanted to meet my opponent,” she said shaking his hand.

Kaus, who’s been banned from addressing the convention, told us he was allowed to come Boxer’s newser on condition he not ask any questions. In other non-news, Boxer said two reasons that the polls are close in her race is that she has “three strong (Republican) opponents who’ve been beating her up for months and voters haven’t been“paying attention to what I’ve done.”

In response to Calbuzz, she also offered a strong endorsement of AB32, arguing that Gov. Schwarzmuscle’s climate change legislation is necessary to jump-start a green energy industry in the state.  A batch of assembled press and bloggers had a bunch of questions left, but Boxer’s handlers cut it off at 9:45, saying she had to go make her speech to the delegates.

Epic Clash of GOP Titans – Giants Beat Rangers 8-5

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

After months of anticipation, build-up and trash-talking between the rival camps, Republican wannabe governors Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner met in their first critical face-to-face debate Monday night – and when the rubber met the road, the deal went down and the dust settled, 10 things were very clear:

1-She’s wayyyy taller than he is. Not since Mugsy Bogues took it to the hole against Manute Bol has there been such a vertical mismatch as that revealed by the shot of eMeg and The Commish shaking hands at the beginning of Monday night’s New Majority debate in Costa Mesa, which reminded us of that silly theory that the taller candidate always wins the election.

2-Ustream totally sucks. Okay, so Calbuzz admits we were a teeny bit late to the party vis a vis the whole debate thing, as we had a pressing engagement at Surprise Stadium to watch the Giants open a can of whupass on the Rangers, 8-5, with Fred Lewis going yard in the first inning to set the tone of the evening.

But, hey, we did the responsible thing and left in the top of the 6th, which was plenty of time to get back to the hotel, watch the web replay and come up with a host of characteristically blinding insights about the debate. But noooo…Ustream had to muck everything up so we could only watch the debate in four second increments, followed by endless stretches of waiting before the next four seconds of Meg saying “I’ve been in business 30 years,” and Steve yelling, “immigration, bold tax cuts, immigration” which got REALLY ANNOYING really quickly and left us reliant on the views of others, which actually turned out to be pretty uniform anyway.

3-The L.A. Times thought it was a snoozefest. How’s this for a grabber headline: “Poizner, Whitman cover familiar territory in debate.” And when Cathy Decker calls it “generally genteel” in the lede, you can be sure no one made news.

4-Poizner won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from his campaign that quoted communications director Jarrod Agen and said, “Steve Poizner Wins Debate.”

5-The San Jose Mercury-News thought it was a snooze fest. How’s this for stop the presses stuff: “Long anticipated first debate between Whitman and Poizner mostly echoes stump speeches.” Zzzzz.

6-Whitman won. We know this because there was an email waiting in our inbox from her campaign that quoted Tucker Bounds, her communications director, as saying, “This was an enormous victory for our campaign tonight.”

7-The Chronicle thought it was a snoozefest. “Poizner-Whitman: GOP Candidates’ First Debate.” This is what is known in the business as a “neutral headline.” Lock up the kids, Maude, those whacky Republicans are at it again.

8-The most entertaining webcast of the night was Flashreport’s guided tour of the food of the pressroom at the debate site. At least Fleischman’s video WORKED.

9-Meg looked silly forgetting her mic. From the pieces of the damn thing we actually got to see, Her Megness was  so excited to start ripping Poizner’s face off that she started delivering her mandatory thanks to the organizers and opening lines without remembering that she needed to hold a microphone to do it. Sheesh.

10-Meg won. As Ken McLaughlin pointed out in his piece, eMeg’s big challenge of the night was to prove she was “ready for prime time.” By at least holding her own with Poizner, not committing a major gaffe or falling off the stage, she clearly accomplished that, while The Commish fell short of forcing a turnover, which is what he needed to change the campaign narrative with the debate. Did we mention that she’s a lot taller?

eMeg Jumps NASCAR, Carly IEd, Meyer’s Latest

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

In the greatest tactical move since Hannibal whup-assed the Romans, Meg Whitman has stolen a march on Steve Poizner, copping an invite to fly the flag a day early at this weekend’s NASCAR racing in Fontana.

With Poizner set to ride in the pace car at the start of tomorrow’s Sprint Cup Auto Club 500, eMeg will wield the green flag for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Stater Brothers 300, with a field of drivers that includes auto racing buzz queen Danica Patrick.

“Sunday will be the only time Steve Poizner leads a race all year,” snarked Team Whitman spokeshuman, the volcanic Sara Pompei.

Although the Saturday night race is the AAA equivalent to Sunday’s Major League event, eMeg’s late entry into the NASCAR panderstakes came as a surprise that may take some of the steam out of the appearance by The Commish.

Bottom line: When Calbuzz speaks, the campaigns listen.

P.S. eMeg’s sudden agreement Friday to participate in a second debate with Poizner, this one to be broadcast May 2 on the electric television, may also help to blunt Poizner’s effort to foment trouble with a peasants-with-pitchforks petition demanding the two to face off at the March 13 GOP convention.

On the other hand, it kinda undercuts the “Hey, Hey, Steve, Steve, Get Out of My Race” line that the Armies of eMeg have been broadcasting to agree to join him in a debate in May. Talk about your mixed messages.

Negative Exposure for Hurricane Carly: The latest independent expenditure committee to surface in California — in the wake of the two aimed at boosting Jerry Brown for governor –  is “CarlyExposed.com,” an operation by the Lantern Project, a labor-funded political organization that waged a campaign against now-former Republican U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

“The first aim of the Lantern Project’s work in California is to make sure as many voters as possible are exposed to the facts about Carly Fiorina,” says Julie Buckner, a Los Angeles political strategist working with The Lantern Project. “It is absolutely our goal to help Californians understand that Carly is nothing like the innovative, problem-solving high-tech whiz kid she portrays herself to be, and to blunt misleading information conveyed to voters by Carly’s slick and well-financed campaign committee.”

At the moment, Buckner acknowledged, Carlyexposed is just a web site, a media plan and a fund-raising plan. But Buckner, an experienced political operative in Los Angeles (who also runs InYoga Center which fronts for her Laurel Canyon Media Group out back), and partner Celia Fischer expect to have a thriving anti-Carly operation running soon.

A preview: On the site is a video clip from a report by Mark Matthews of KGO-TV showing that Fiorina was for taxing internet sales before she was against it.

Buckner, Fischer and their liberal labor allies are strong supporters of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer who, according to sources, is more worried about a challenge from Fiorina (because she is a woman with some appeal to independent voters), than she is about Assemblyman Chuck DeVore or former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell. Thus the focus on Fiorina.

“On the occasion of Barbara Boxer formally getting into this race, it comes as no surprise that her public employee union allies would use a shady 527 organization to falsely attack Carly,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund. “Carly is clearly the candidate Boxer would least like to face in the general election because she knows Carly can beat her and will hold her accountable for her failed record.”

Whether Fiorina represents the greatest threat to Boxer, however, is arguable. Because he’s pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-environment, Campbell might well represent an even greater threat to Boxer in a general election. Helping knock out Fiorina in the primary could backfire on Boxer’s allies in the fall. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Tom Meyer today offers perspective on the, um, PR problem facing the spinners for Blue Cross Anthem, after the company imposed 39 percent health insurance rate increases for California customers.

In a weird week filled with political meltdowns and corporate furors, the Blue Cross controversy  was just one of many challenges facing highly-paid professional liars, who did their collective best to draw happy faces on dreadful situations.

Here’s the Calbuzz Top 10 quotes of the week.

I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable.
–Tiger Woods, master of understatement and major jackass

It’s not a secret that she has a medical condition for which she’s being treated. That condition does not affect her ability to do her job as a senator. But it can make her irritable, and when she’s irritable, she lets it be known.
–David Miller, press secretary to state Senator Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, challenging Tiger on spin, after his boss went nuclear at a hearing when a staffer forgot to refill a water pitcher.

History shows that great companies learn from their mistakes.
–Toyota USA president and CEO Jim Lentz, getting a little ahead of himself, in a full-page ad seeking to stop the bleeding as consumer confidence in his company plummets.

I was thinking tonight, I was trying to figure out that if I did announce, what the hell would I say?
–Jerry Brown, offering insight into why he’s running for governor, in a widely panned speech in San Francisco.

On a personal level I am glad that (Jerry Brown) has married. As I watched him awkwardly dance in the 1980’s with a songstress late at night at Eilish’s Bar, I gave his social development little chance. The subsequent growth may indicate some Brown progress.
–Former Congressman and current Calbuzz commentator Ernie Konnyu on how well Brown is not only aging, but maturing too.

If a Customer cannot comfortably lower the armrest and infringes on a portion of another seat, a Customer seated adjacent would be very uncomfortable and a timely exit from the aircraft in the event of an emergency might be compromised if we allow a cramped, restricted seating arrangement.
–A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines, dancing as fast as she can, after the airline was criticized for booting 340-pound director Kevin Smith off a flight for being too fat.

So, what I’m trying to do is run a smart, strategic campaign. We’re trying to get our message out.
–Republican wannabe Governor Meg Whitman moments before fleeing into the night to avoid answering questions from reporters at an appearance in Lafayette.

I was stupid and careless and fucked up and thought [the copy from the Wall Street Journal) was my own stuff, or it somehow slipped in there.
–Fired NYT business reporter Zachary Kouwe, setting a world record for prevarication to avoid taking responsibility for being a plagiarist.

If the Olympic champion doesn’t know how to jump a quad, I don’t know. Now it’s not men’s figure skating. It’s dancing. Maybe figure skating needs a new name.
–Dethroned Olympics skating champion and roundhouse jerk Yevgeny Plushenko trash talking American Evan Lysacek’s victory performance for not including a quadruple jump.

You know, I don’t live here.
–Jacques Barzaghi, international man of mystery and banished and disgraced former Jerry Brown aide caught lurking around Oakland by the Chronicle’s Chip Johnson.

DiFi Shocker: Whadya Mean She’s Not Running?!?!?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Feinstein shocker: We were floored – floored! – at Dianne Feinstein’s announcement in Orange County Tuesday that she’s decided not to run for governor.

Not because she turned thumbs down on the campaign, but because as a Convent of the Sacred Heart girl, we expected she would have the grace and courtesy to hold off until the official first anniversary of the piece with which we launched Calbuzz – “Why Dianne Feinstein Won’t Run for Governor” – so we could mark the momentous occasion in a properly flamboyant manner.

Madeline Sophie Barat would be soooo disappointed in you, Dianne.

We did, however, get a kick out of the world-weary tone of Dena Bunis, the Register’s DC chef de bureau, in reporting the news:

I don’t know anyone in political circles who really thought Feinstein was going to give up the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee – she’s the first woman to hold that post – to try for another run for California’s chief executive.

Ha! Excuse us while we build a stadium big enough to hold our laughter. Yeah right, no brilliant California cognoscenti insiders had that thought for a second – which is why stories speculating about DiFi jumping into the race got recycled through the California press (and blogosphere) with the regularity of the garbage guys picking up the cans on Monday morning. Sheesh.

There we were, out on the limb, as everyone from Costco Carla to the Oracle of Cruickshank seemed hell bent on sawing off our perch just to see if they could send us crashing to the ground. (Memo to Scott Sabatini at examiner.com: We’ll take our Momo’s martinis very dry).

What’s the matter – Larry King wasn’t available? So after months of bashing Meg Whitman for spending all her time talking to national media types instead of the greasy grubs of the California political press corps, Steve Poizner now decides to nominate a couple of Beltway Wise Guys to moderate the one and only debate he knows he’ll get with the elusive eMeg.

In a letter to the New Majority, the band of fat cats who are sponsoring the debate on March 15, Poizner campaign manager Jim Bognet tells the group’s leaders they have “an opportunity to raise the profile of the New Majority and you are in the rare position to garner significant statewide coverage for the event. “

Fortunately, two well-known and respected journalists have already expressed interest in moderating the debate:

–Juan Williams, Fox News and National Public Radio
–Mark Halperin, Time Magazine and Author of “Game Change”

We feel strongly that this debate should be viewed by as many Californians as possible and involving either of these journalists would greatly increase the likelihood of national cable news coverage or statewide coverage from network affiliates. Having this debate widely televised is key to giving Republican voters across the state the opportunity to learn about the candidates.

You gotta be kiddin’, Bognet. Putting aside the most obvious choice for neutral, well-informed, if not well-groomed, moderators (we name no names) there’s a whole batch of distinguished California types who’d not only do a superb job of making the trains run on time for the TV cameras, but actually know something about  state issues. Think John Diaz, Jack Kavanagh and Warren Olney for starters, not to mention the esteemed Dr. P.J. Hackenflack who, we have on strong authority, is free that evening.

At least she’s consistent: Joe Garafoli’s tape of eMeg cutting and running after one question from the reporters who showed up to cover her Baja Commonwealth Club appearance in Lafayette the other night is an instant classic. Although the quality of the video is only slightly worse than a 7-11 security camera might get of the guy cadging cookies over in Aisle 3, the spectacle of Whitman being hustled away, as if being chased by hyenas, while Costco Carla is in mid-follow-up mode, is priceless.

The volcanic Sara Pompei, one of the cutters-and-runners featured in the tape, insists eMeg is getting a bad rap on the whole she’s-afraid-to-talk-to-informed-reporters meme, noting that the candidate doled out a couple minutes each to several Bay Area TV types this week, including our old friend Hank Plante, who managed a couple nuggets out of her, including her claim that she can identify $15 billion in savings in the budget.

(Hey Meg, here’s a thought: If you really know where to trim $15 billion why not send a note to H.D. Palmer over in Finance and tell the poor, ignorant bastard where he’s overlooking the obvious savings that you, in all your wisdom, have divined.)

Even as eMeg starts to ease into talking to reporters who actually live here, however, communications director Tucker Bounds let the cat out of the bag in talking to Steve Harmon of  the CoCo Times:

The simple truth is this: California voters watch their local TV news a lot more than they read their local newspaper, and as a result, Meg Whitman has been interviewing with local newscasts at virtually every stop along the campaign trail.

Wait ’til the by-God L.A. Times reads that!

Foy coy no longer: Few Californians statewide have likely heard of Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy, but his endorsement of Poizner this week was a nice little pick-up for The Commish. A darling of the Tea Party set, the name of the conservative Foy was widely batted about early this year as a possible movement conservative to challenge the squishes Poizner and Whitman.

The endorsement of the pro-life Foy will capture the attention of right-wing believers among GOP insiders, folks who actually work on political campaigns:

As much as anything else, we need to have confidence in our governor and a belief in the values and principles he or she will bring to the job. But I ask you today to consider something perhaps even more important: We must also evaluate the judgment and instinct of our candidate and give special consideration to how they will approach those challenges and circumstance we do not foresee today. Whatever the issue, I am confident Steve Poizner will not veer off the conservative course.

Unlike a certain Van Jones-loving, Delta Smelt-coddling, Barbara Boxer kissy-pooing, other so-called Republican he could name but chooses not to in the event she wins the nomination.

In other news: Don Ringe today presents an exclusive interview with Sarah Palin, opining why Foy would have been just the ticket for the state GOP.

Never trust Husband #9: The AP finally tumbled to the fact that “Prince” Frederic van Anhalt, ninth spouse of Zsa Zsa Gabor, has decided to throw his crown into the ring as an independent candidate for governor.

Those who think he’s just another amusing goofball candidate, may wish to check out his background, chronicled in graphic detail by TMZ here, here and here.

Costco Carla & Lady Gaga Meet PiWi & The Flash

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Knockdown of the Week: A big alleged story in the governor’s race bounding across the blogosphere this week had Meg Whitman pulling  behind-the-scenes strings that supposedly yanked Tom Campbell out of the governor’s race and into the Republican Senate primary campaign.

But while certain members of the pajama-clad, tin-foil hat brigade spun dark conspiracy theories, Chronicler Carla Marinucci did a bit of what you might call your old-fashioned shoe leather reporting: yes, she actually called Campbell on the telephone and asked him about it.

At which point, not only did Dudley Do Right categorically deny the purported story, but also his campaign put out a statement from super-Sacto consultant Bob White, a key, unindicted co-conspirator in the alleged Whitman plot, which dumped several hundred more gallons of ice water on the paranoiac yarn.

Costco Carla’s knockdown left Julie Soderlund, campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, Campbell’s leading GOP rival, looking silly. Soderlund earlier sent out a heavy breathing e-blast trying to advance the uncorroborated blog report that portrayed Campbell as doing everything but lurking around Dealey Plaza with an open umbrella:

What did Tom Campbell know and when did he know it?
What conversations did he have with the Whitman campaign/Whitman’s supporters?
Was there some sort of quid pro quo in this situation?
And, last but certainly not least, what was he promised for jumping out of the Governor’s race?

Puh-leeze. Putting aside the fact that California voters have zero interest in this  inside baseball narrative, rushing out with a bunch of unsubstantiated, stop-the-presses innuendo simply reinforces the widening perception of Demon Sheep Carly as a flake, especially coming on the same day she dug herself a nice big hole on the issue of California declaring bankruptcy, which required emergency clarification spin from the campaign.

Steve Poizner’s campaign looked only slightly less foolish, in also rushing to judgment on the Col. Mustard-with-the-candlestick-in-the-conservatory story line.  Memo to Commish: You got your 15 minutes attacking eMeg over the now-infamous Mike Murphy email so give this line of attack a rest, man.

He calls ‘em as he seez ‘em and he always call ‘em Right: This week’s Nestor Chylak Award for first-rate umpiring goes to Jon “The Flash” Fleischman for his on-the-money essay calling on all the candidates for governor and Senate — he names no names, Meg Whitman — to debate at the upcoming Republican state convention:

This election cycle we have candidates running for major statewide offices that have no history in politics – and therefore no specific way to judge exactly what they will do…

If you are a major candidate for the GOP nomination for Governor, and you’ve not yet agreed to participate in a debate at the Republican convention, the time to do so is now.  Show your support of, and respect for hard-working GOP volunteers (not to mention the other 39 million people in California -ed.) by appearing before them with your sleeves rolled up, ready to take whatever questions should be posited [at] the event.

All this, and he used the word “posited” in a sentence, too. Calbuzz sez check it out.

Virtual Steve vs. Virtual Meg: Just can’t wait to see eMeg and The Commish go nose-to-nose over who hates the Delta smelt more? Calbuzz Online Video Political Cartoon Consultant Don Ringe previews the GOP smackdown here. Spoiler alert: Watch for eMeg’s sucker punch at the end.

If he agrees with Calbuzz, he must be right: Former state controller and Democratic big stick Steve Westly, an eMeg eBay colleague in a past life, argues at Green Tech Media that the Great Woman’s rabid opposition to the AB32 greenhouse gas legislation is not only bad policy but bad politics as well. Whitman’s promise to suspend AB32 on her first day in office, according to the erstwhile Democratic contender for governor:

…would be a stunning step in the wrong direction. Most of the people I know throughout Silicon Valley realize that to be a colossal mistake. This is the highest growth job segment. This state’s job engine for the future is in clean technology. It is one of the key reasons you will see a Democratic governor in 2010.

As we’ve noted previously, her Smokestack Meg play may play well in a Republican primary, but it’s a loser as a general election strategy.

Oh, wait, we’re already in the general election campaign, according to Whitman campaign chairman Pete “PiWi” Wilson, who claims in a this-just-in eMeg eblast:

Jerry Brown and his allies are beginning the General Election today. We must respond…It is now very clear that the entire Republican Party must unite behind Meg’s campaign. We have an outstanding party standard bearer. Since last summer, Meg has led among GOP voters in every independent poll by enormous margins, and those same polls show that she is the strongest Republican candidate against Jerry Brown.

We must unite. Meg and our campaign team are beginning the General Election today, and we are not wasting time.

Geez, who’s gonna tell Poizner? I know, let’s get Murphy to do it!

Life in imitation of art: Loyal Calbuzzers will recall that not long ago, we offered a learned discourse on the theory of political reporting known as Dull But Important, with a glimpse at the fictional magazine of the genre known as “DBI.” Imagine our surprise to learn that the eggheads and chrome domes at UC Bezerkely have broken the frame and are actually producing DBI for real.

Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Lady Gaga – she’s just like you and me.