Live-Blogging the Second Debate

Thank God for broadcast television.

With the Observer’s cable down today, we’ve dragged our 11-inch Samsung TV and raggedy antenna over to the window, tuned in to WNBC, and we’re ready to go.

7:01 — Ben — Mike forced to watch cartoon.

Jess — Minus the gropy part.

7:03 — Ben — Mike: “The Republican Party gave me an opportunity the Democratic Party would not give me.” Freddy — “Aw, c’mon.” Plus some Spanish. Mike is gripping that podium awful tight.

7:06 — Ben — Gabe finds a good way into the Iraq question: Should the Mayoralty be a bully pulpit?

Jess — “Do you agree with him that the war should be brought to an end as soon as possible?” Gabe asks Mike. What kind of a question is that? It’s the “possible” part that gets folks heated….

7:09 — Ben — And Mike finally gets an Iraq policy: “Walking away at this point would make all of them having died in vain. It would be an outrage….” Instead, we should “stay there until the generals say Iraq’s government can maintain peace and maintain a democracy.”

7:11 — Jess — Bloomberg: Defend first, spend later. Doesn’t this take some
pressure off Washington? Extra money “would be nice”?

7:13 — Ben — Mutate! Mike is kind of a public health nut.

7:16 — Ben — That 50% dropout rate has got to be the single least solid stat of this race. And there is, as usual, quite a bit of competition.

7:17 — Jess — Though the $7 million to Bush actually seems a little dodgy, as well.

7:18 — Ben — Corrected! Mike: “Joel was wrong.” How hard was that, now? Kind of a trap, but probably worth walking into.

7:19 — Ben — Freddy sticks with the stat, as he has to. “Joel Klein was right.”

7:20 — Ben — A little bit of disdain there from Mike, quickly withdrawn. “Or maybe he just doesn’t understand…”

7:25 — Ben — Russo really opens Mike’s empathy gap here. When she notes that the woman they’ve interviewed already has a job and is still struggling, he responds with a non sequitur: “We’ve got to keep making this government as efficient as we possibly can.”

Jess — Mike is wagging his finger now. It’s not quite dancing, but it beats the white knuckles-on-podium routine. Bloomberg: “This is an expensive city, probably always has been, probably always will be….the best answer is a job for everyone.” Is this a re-emergence of the NYC as luxury product idea?

Jess — Mike says that the immigrants come here “with a not great command of the English language.” Sigh!

7:28 — Horowitz — As Mike lists endorsements: “What about the fucking Observer!?”

7:29 — Ben — Don’t get Freddy started on the Post. He told me on Primary Day that Post cartoonist Sean Delonas was “a disease.”

7:37 — Ben — “Second in size and mass only to the president of the United States.” This is a venerable old line…but really…it’s not that important.

7:41 — Jess — Ah, the Bloomberg billions. “Look, what I’m trying to do is to get my message out to everybody…no matter where they live.” This actually sounds like he’s trying to spin the spending as…. egalitarian.

7:42 — Ben — Freddy’s winning on style. A bit canned, but Mike’s stiff. And has a slight lead in the smirking department. But as in the last debate, Mike’s mastery of the content is evident, a bit dulling but effective.

7:45 — Ben — A glimpse inside Mike’s head: “Don’t look at your watch. Don’t look at your watch….”

Horowitz — Um. Defeatism watch. Did Ferrer just talk about Mike Bloomberg’s “next budget”?

7:50 — Ben — Ouch. Is that the best Mike can do? “I think my opponent is a great family man and he speaks Spanish better than I do.”

7:53 — Ben — Freddy to end overpopulation.

Well, that was the debate Freddy wanted. He was lively, and despite the occasional hairy moment, on top of the material. Mike was bored and wonky. Though very wonky.