Saturday Night Live: The Democratic Party Debate in Des Moines

170151_600Tonight, the three Democratic candidates for president will face off in a debate that has now been adjusted to reflect the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. This is obviously former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s bailiwick.  CBS experienced some push back from the Sanders campaign for this move.  The debate will be held at my sister’s alma mater Drake University and should prove interesting.

A top aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., one of the three candidates, got into a lengthy dispute with executives from CBS, the network hosting the debate, during a conference call on Saturday morning. A staffer for one of the other campaigns who was also on the call described the exchange to Yahoo News as “heated” and even “bizarre,” and a second source on the call confirmed the nature of the exchange. 

The dispute centered on CBS’s decision to increase the emphasis on terrorism, foreign policy, and national security in the wake of the attacks that left more than 100 people dead in Paris on Friday night. According to the rival staffer, Sanders strategist Mark Longabaugh lit into CBS vice president and Washington bureau chief Christopher Isham when the changes to the debate were detailed on the call.

“It was a little bit of a bizarre scene. The Sanders representative, you know, really laid into CBS and basically … kind of threw, like, a little bit of a fit and said, ‘You are trying to turn this into a foreign policy debate. That’s not what any of us agreed to. How can you change the terms of the debate, you know, on the day of the debate. That’s not right,’” the staffer recounted.

Another person who was on the call confirmed to Yahoo News that Longabaugh had a lengthy dispute about the changed plans for the debate format during the call with CBS. The Sanders campaign declined to comment.

CBS will be broadcasting the debate after 48 hours. It’s also possible to catch the live stream on the web.169938_600

The second Democratic debate will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 14. It will air from 9pm to 11pm ET on the CBS Television Network. Pre-debate coverage will begin at 8pm ET.

CBS News is hosting the debate in conjunction with CBS’ Des Moines affiliate, KCCI, and the Des Moines Register. “Face the Nation” anchor John Dickerson will be the principal moderator, and he will be joined by CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, KCCI anchor Kevin Cooney and the Des Moines Register’s political columnist, Kathie Obradovich.

With Friday’s attacks in Paris, the debate will also focus on foreign policy differences among the candidates and strategies to fight extremist groups abroad.

170061_600Many folks believe that Sanders will go on the attack and that Clinton will deflect.  Oh, and Martin O’Malley will still be looking to make an impression. ABC has made a list of things to look for during the debate tonight.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been on a hot streak since the first Democratic presidential debate last month. The main question heading into Saturday’s second encounter: Can her two challengers slow down her Big Mo’?

National security will play a prominent role in the debate in the aftermath of deadly terror attacks in Paris that killed more than 125 people and left about 350 injured. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, a development that will bring terror and the U.S. response to the jihadist group to the forefront.

Heading into the debate, Clinton expects to face a more direct challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in their first debate since the Democratic field has winnowed down to three candidates.

Both Sanders and O’Malley have taken steps to point out their differences and the underdog ex-governor is also trying to undercut Sanders as Clinton’s main alternative. But the debate could take a more somber tone following the Paris attacks.

Gregg Levine–writing for AJ–believes the switch in focus does benefit Clinton.

Questions on foreign policy and national security are generally believed to advantage Clinton. Beyond her years as head of the State Department, she has an international presence dating back to her time as first lady and extending through her work with the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit organization she started with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, focused on “global interdependence.”

But with great experience also comes great responsibility. Clinton’s time in the Obama White House ties her to the policies of an administration that has come under attack for its handling of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, specifically for its strategies to counter the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The armed group has claimed responsibility for the violence in Paris.

Clinton’s role in U.S. policy on Libya has proven one of her biggest potential tripwires, at least in the eyes of Republicans. The deaths of four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi in 2012, has spawned countless Congressional investigations and near-constant conversation in conservative media. Clinton, an advocate for military intervention in the conflict that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, has defended her beliefs, going so far as to praise the recent Libyan elections during the last presidential debate.

The debate’s shift from the economy to national security would appear to be a setback for Sanders, especially at a time when many feel he needs to communicate his core message to a broad electorate. His focus on income disparity and an under-regulated financial sector fit well with the original focus of tonight’s event, and recent polling shows voters think Sanders is as good or better than Clinton on those issues.

But economic worries and questions of national security are far from mutually exclusive. The debate over economic austerity and its effect on domestic security, for example, has been revived in the last 24 hours. In the wake of the January killings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, French authorities said that, even though some of the attackers were known to the government, they hadn’t had the resources to track all of them.

Tonight’s debate is also likely to include questions on immigration, especially in light of the European refugee crisis and the intense focus of GOP presidential hopefuls on deporting undocumented immigrants from the United States.

Watch along with the rest of the Sky Dancers as the Democratic candidates take the stage in Des Moines.


Live Blog: MSNBC Democratic Forum

Screen-Shot-2015-11-06-at-11.08.26-AMGood Evening!

I have internet and TV for a change!

Tonight, Rachel Maddow will be moderating a forum for the Democrats running for president.  There are three contenders.  Here’s information on the format from Mediate.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is set to moderate the network’s only event in the Presidential primary season, a forum from Winthrop University in South Carolina. Deemed the “First in the South Presidential Forum”, tonight’s event will feature frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland  Governor Martin O’Malley.

The event in Rock Hill, SC is scheduled to air from 8-10 p.m. EST on MSNBC. Although the event is primarily sponsored by the South Carolina Democratic Party, the event is also being co-sponsored by twelve other southern states.

Maddow was careful to make the distinction that tonight’s event is a “forum” and not a formal DNC-sanctioned “debate”. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has continued to be under fire for limiting the official number of debates to only six.

The debate is being held in Rock Hill, South Carolina.   There are many questions that loom. Will Bernie go negative?  Will any one notice Martin O’Malley?  Another question Alex-Seid Waltz wants to know is can Hillary maintain her monopoly on the black vote?

Clinton is likely to use the forum to focus on reaching out to people of color, who make up the majority of South Carolina’s Democratic primary electorate. In an op-ed published in Ebony magazine Friday morning, Clinton called for “a new and comprehensive commitment to equity and opportunity for communities of color,” that includes better investment in under-served communities.

The former secretary of state has a huge advantage among nonwhite voters over Sanders, capturing support from 8 out of 10 black voters in the Palmetto State. She lost the state handily to Barack Obama in 2008 in a bitter and racially charged primary.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during the "Fighting for Us" town hall event in Coralville, Iowa, Nov. 3, 2015. (Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Rep. James Clyburn, the most powerful Democrat in the state, said that’s been forgiven. “I have talked to a lot of people and they are not holding any of that against Hillary today,” he told MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki.

But Sanders will have a big chance to introduce himself for the first time to South Carolina black Democrats for the first time Friday night, and he’ll roll out a campaign leadership team in the state that includes Black Lives Matter activists and others.

Join us to watch the forum and get answers to these and more questions!!

The Democratic candidates for president will take questions from Rachel Maddow at 8 p.m. ET Friday in MSNBC’s Democratic forum from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET.

Here are instructions on how to stream the event on internet.

The event from Rock Hill, SC will air live on MSNBC at 8 p.m. For viewers who are eager to watch the forum through their computers, the option to use the MSNBC TV app is available as well. The app is a free download from NBC News Digital. Additionally, a cable or satellite subscription with an active log-in account can access the content through as it airs.

Live Blog: Third Republican Debate

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC


Get the popcorn ready folks. There’s another Republican horror show tonight.

I got the photo above at Politico. What a riot! Even before the debate gets going, there’s a fight over the size of the candidates’ green rooms.

DENVER, Colo. — Just hours before GOP candidates take the stage here Wednesday night, tensions over the Republican National Committee’s handling of the debates are flaring anew.
At issue this time: greenrooms.

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their greenrooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theater-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.


Here are some links for you to peruse before the debate begins at 8PM or if you just can’t stand to watch.

Politico: Donald Trump: CNBC debate will be ‘unfair.’

CNN: Lindsey Graham says why the kid’s table “sucks.”

Mother Jones: This Commercial Might Be One of the Only Factual Things to Air During Tonight’s GOP Debate.

The Daily Beast: Ben Carson’s Money Men Co-Sponsored Anti-Gay Conference.

The Daily Beast: Lindsey Graham Steals the Show at CNBC’s Undercard Debate.

Politico: Billionaire to Rubio: Time to step it up.

If you are listening and/or watching, please document the atrocities in the comment thread below.

Live Blog: American Horror Story, Freak Show (The CNN Republican Debates)


It’s that time again! Time for the current batch of freaks that call themselves Republican to jockey for who can be most xenophobic, woman-hating, GLBT baiting, and the one who oozes the most white privilege.

Here’s some links to check out as we try to wade through the hate!

From Politico:  The GOP debate: 5 things to watch

Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have a chance Wednesday to prove they’re for real.

From the New Republic: What’s at Stake in the Second Republican Debate: Full Panic in the GOP (Brian Beutler)

If the central thematic question of the first debate was whether the candidates and Fox News itself could puncture Trump’s bubble, this time it’s whether any of those potential consensus candidates can distinguish themselves and climb out of the doldrums where they’ve been stuck for weeks.

From CNN whose Jake Tapper is one of the adults dealing with the kiddie table:  7 things to watch at the CNN Republican debate

Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight:  Live Coverage Of The Second Republican Debate

From USA Today: Long-shot Republican candidates debate at Reagan Library

From Salon:  The GOP clown show comes to California: A candidate-by-candidate rundown of what’s at stake in tonight’s debate. With the candidates poised to take the stage at the Reagan Library, a look at the coming spectacle

The kiddie table is up with some noticeable changes.  Fiorina has been bumped up to the big stage with the bigger blow hards.  Rick Perry was the first to cry “uncle” and go home with his magic show.

Join us and analyze the insanity!!

State of the Union Live Blog

SOTU-Bingo-2014-1Tonight we’re watching the State of the Union address to see exactly what the last two years of the Obama presidency may bring.  It will be a tough few years given the group that was sent to Congress last fall.  We’re about to see a bunch of whackadoodle dandies go wild.  There are several rumors up on the internet concerning possible executive orders that will be announced to tonight.  Here is one of the more interesting ones.

It is being reported that one of President Obama’s surprises at the State Of The Union will be an announcement of an executive order that will take on the Koch Brothers and Citizens United.

Eleanor Clift of The Daily Beast reported:

Wednesday is the fifth anniversary of Citizens United, and reformers have been told that the president may announce executive action in his SOTU speech that would require businesses contracting with the government to disclose political contributions after contracts have been awarded. This would ensure that the contracting process is blind, but also give the public (and the media) the information needed to connect the dots to look for backroom deals or conflicts of interest.

Guess who happens to have multi-million dollar contracts with the Department of Defense? The federal government hatingKoch Brothers have tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts with the federal government. Rush Limbaugh also has a federal government contract that allows his showto be broadcast on the American Forces Network.

It is possible that the president will announce this executive order tonight, but he may also decide to wait and make a separate announcement. When/if the president does decide to make this announcement it will be a huge boost to transparency. The Koch brothers have a web of secret organizations that they route their money through, so most of their campaign spending will remain a secret, but it will become a bit easier to connect the dots and figure how much direct influence campaign donations are having on public policy decisions.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal  suggests we just the President’s agenda with this set of criteria.  Progress or Politics?

Republicans just seized control of Congress. President Obama’s job-approval ratings just jumped. Gas prices and the unemployment rate are down. The gross domestic product is up. Now what? Democratic and Republican leaders face a choice: Begin governing together, or treat this moment like just another stop on a perpetual campaign.

Unfortunately, both the White House and the GOP-led Congress seem focused prematurely on 2016. Republicans are sending to the White House legislation they know Obama will veto. The president is pushing an agenda he knows Congress won’t pass. It’s a recipe for more gridlock, more fighting, more courting of donors and ignoring the needs of a country in transition.

In other words: The state of the union is the status quo.

If you’re OK with that, stop reading. If you’d rather see progress than partisan gains, consider this: The State of the Union address is an opportunity for the president to chart a path toward consensus on issues like jobs, social mobility, education, infrastructure, energy, the debt, the environment, and terrorism.

Is Obama more interested in politics or progress? Here are five ways to tell from his address tonight.

SOTU 1Will Obama be effective?

Isn’t Obama a lame duck? After all, this speech comes after Republicans won control of both chambers for the first time this presidency. Here’s a trivia question: When was the last time a President gave his seventh year State of the Union to a Congress that wasn’t controlled by the other party? Answer: Franklin Roosevelt in 1939. Every other two termer had lost control of Congress by the last lap of his presidency. They all faced a steeper political terrain than Obama does. Dwight Eisenhower faced Cold War setbacks. Ronald Reagan spoke in 1987 right after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, and he had to lead the speech with a discussion and apology. Bill Clinton was in the middle of his Senate impeachment trial in 1999. And George W. Bush spoke at a time when we were losing in Iraq. He faced withering controversy over the “surge” of troops, which proved a good policy, but made for a challenging speech environment. Some of them had productive last two years; some didn’t. But there is much room for a creative president and Congress to achieve things, even by fighting.

For President Obama, the new party balance offers some unexpected benefits. In recent years, Congress has been paralyzed, polarized, and entirely dysfunctional. Now conservatives control it, but at least it might actually pass legislation. Obama suddenly will be more central, more relevant than he has been in domestic politics over the past year. His veto pen will be all that stands between the Republican agenda and enactment. He can draw lines, pick fights, or choose cooperation. In so doing, too, he will have the ability to make broad public arguments in the context of a real debate—on the economy, on the role of government, on contentious long-term issues such as climate change.

How can the President use this diminished but still potent platform?

So, grab the popcorn and let’s see if this year’s hostile audience pulls any big tricks.130212-sotu-bingo

President Obama is courting controversy with his decision to address a group that has become dominated in recent years by extremists.

Some have questioned the appropriateness of the President speaking to such an extremist group, especially because in the past it has issued threats against the United States government.

The SOTU will be streaming at CSPAN and on the White House Website if you want to avoid the District Puppetry errrrr Punditry.


Presidential Speech on Immigration Reform Live Blog

imagesThe three major networks will not be showing the President’s speech tonight.  We will be doing this tonight on  our blog because it’s an extremely important  issue.  You will be able to watch it on the cable news networks and of course,   who will be delaying its live telecast of the Latin Grammys to give airtime to Obama at 8 p.m. EST.

Here’s some background information.

How does America feel about Immigration and immigration reform? Here’s seven charts that break out poll results. 

The right wing is going nuts.  The Kansas Secretary of State considers it  “ethnic cleansing against whites”.6a00d83451d87169e2017d3da5e1e3970c


He then opened up the program to callers, including “Steve” – who asked the Republican elected official what typically happens in history “when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race.”

“When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them,” the caller said, warning that immigrant groups sought the return of former Spanish territories in the U.S.

Kobach initially threw cold water on the caller’s suggestion before implying President Barack Obama was tacitly endorsing violence against whites.

“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “The rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America, and now, of course, we have a president who disregards the law when it suits his interests.”

“So while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’” Kobach continued, “I wonder what could happen. I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, things are strange and they are happening.”

There’s some interesting analysis out there on what all the reactions by Republicans will do to the next two years.

Republican leaders who had hoped to focus on corporate tax reform, fast-track trade pacts, repealing the president’s healthcare law and loosening environmental restrictions on coal are instead being dragged into an immigration skirmish that they’ve tried studiously to avoid for most of the last year.

That’s largely because the question of how to handle the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. bitterly divides Republicans, and the party has been unable to agree on an alternative to the president’s plan.

To many, stark warnings from Boehner and McConnell sound more like pleas to the president to avoid reenergizing the GOP’s conservative wing, whose leaders are already threatening to link the president’s immigration plan to upcoming budget talks.

Another government shutdown is not what McConnell and Boehner had in mind when their party won control of Congress this month.

In fact, McConnell said flatly a day after the election that another shutdown would not happen. But calls by firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to use “all procedural means necessary” during Congress’ lame-duck session to block the White House’s immigration plans have left leaders scrambling to tame their rebellious ranks.

Republican leaders are increasingly concerned that if Obama follows through, the anti-immigrant fervor in their party will rise to an unappealing crescendo and the rank-and-file’s desire to confront the president will overtake other party priorities.

bagley11So, hang on until it’s all announced at 8:00 pm EST and we’ll see if all hell breaks loose like Crazy Tom Coburn is projecting.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a political firestorm but acts of civil disobedience and even violence in reaction to President Obama’s executive order on immigration Thursday.

“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation,” Coburn said on Capital Download. “You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. … You could see violence.”

Live Blog Primary Tuesday: Eric Cantor losing to Tea Party Primary Challenger


This is breaking news.  With 68% of the precinct reporting, it appears that Eric Cantor will lose his seat in Congress.Here’s some information on the race from earlier today.

Disorganization and poor funding have stymied the campaign of tea party activist David Brat, even as he tapped into conservative resentment toward a party leader who has been courting the Republican right for years.

Brat, an economics professor, simply failed to show up to D.C. meetings with powerful conservative agitators last month, citing upcoming finals. He only had $40,000 in the bank at the end of March, according to first quarter filings. Cantor had $2 million.

Despite those shortcomings, Brat has exposed discontent with Cantor in the solidly Republican, suburban Richmond 7th Congressional District by attacking the lawmaker on his votes to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, as well as his support for some immigration reforms. At a May meeting of Republican activists in the district, Cantor was booed, and an ally he campaigned for was ousted as the local party chairman in favor of a tea party favorite

Cantor was assumed to be the next Republican Speak of the House should Boehner resign.  Cantor lives in suburban Virginia.

. has called the race for Brat. loses in GOP primary

Another old school republican, Lindsey Graham, is on the ballot too and facing a tea party challenger tonight also.

Graham’s opponents are divided and getting little help from powerful anti-establishment outside groups.

With the most recent poll indicating Graham close to the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff, he spent the day before the primary on a bus tour through the conservative, voter-rich upstate region.

In his final campaign commercial before the primary, Graham touted his conservative credentials, which he said included support for “building the Keystone pipeline, opposing Obamacare, looking for answers on Benghazi, standing up for our military.”

Turn on the TV to watch the exploding talking heads of Washington.

2009_0326_Getty_Eric_Cantor_0Update from the NJ.

In one of the biggest political upsets in recent memory, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary election on Tuesday to a political unknown who focused his campaign on Cantor’s support for a path to citizenship for the children of immigrants.

Randolph-Macon College economics professor Dave Brat won the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Brat had 56 percent of the vote to Cantor’s 44 percent when the Associated Press called the race just after 8 p.m.

Cantor’s defeat will send shockwaves throughout Washington. The House majority leader was one of the most well-known Republican figures in the country, reputed for his strategic acumen and political ambition. He wielded an immense amount of clout within the Capitol and was widely expected to one day seek to become the speaker of the House.

His primary was never expected to be seriously competitive, and his loss is catching everyone — from veterans of Virginia politics to longtime analysts in Washington — by surprise.


The speculation is that District Republicans did not like his squishy stand on immigration and his talk of le Republican “Dream Act”.  He also was  not spending a lot of time in the District itself.


The bad news about the winner via LGF.

The big news of the evening: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has lost the Virginia GOP primary to Tea Party challenger Dave Brat … a Christian Reconstructionist who cites 16th century theologian John Calvin as an influence. Just what we need, another extreme right wing religious fundamentalist in Congress.