Tuesday, October 03, 2006

# Posted 11:59 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SLIGHTLY BELATED SUNDAY MORNING ROUND-UP: Once again, the highlight was NBC's Senate debate, in which Ohio Republican Mike DeWine squared off against Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown. Before the debate, Tim Russert did a brief interview with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. CBS had on Joe Biden and White House communications chief Dan Bartlett. ABC led off with Bartlett followed by John Murtha.
Musharraf: C. He lied through his teeth about about getting tough with the Taliban. But dictators always lie, so I can't say I was surprised or disappointed. What was disappointing was that Russert didn't ask Musharraf a single question about the absence of democracy in Pakistan. In fact, you wouldn't even know from this broadcast that Musharraf was a dictator rather than an elected president.

DeWine: B+. I've never heard him speak before. I was impressed. Instead of just reciting his talking points, he seemed to understand the arguments made by the other side and had thought of responses to those. In spite of all that, he didn't sound wonkish. But he did let himself get into too many shouting matches with Brown, which seemed undignified.

Brown: B+. Confident and aggressive. His position on Iraq wasn't any more coherent than other anti-withdrawal Democrats, but that probably won't hurt him much given resentment of the war. Like DeWine, let himself get pulled into too many shouting matches. (Russert actually had to start shouting at one point: "Time out! Time out! Time out!"

Biden: B. For once, he wasn't boring. Instead, he told a very strange and possibly true story about how he met with Bush and Cheney in the Oval Office and said to their faces that Cheney deserves to lose his job at least as much as Rumsfeld. The best part was listening to Biden swagger like some sort of political tough guy. It's the kind of gimmick that probably won't be credible more than once.

Bartlett on CBS: B. Had no trouble deflecting Schieffer's questions without sounding like a spin doctor. Not exactly a challenge, but numerous others have failed to pull it off.

Bartlett on ABC: B. He doesn't just sound calm and reasonable. He sounds like he's actually having a discussion instead of going through talking points. But when your job is to defend the White House during a bad news week, it's hard to sound candid.

Murtha: C. Incoherent, yadda, yadda, yadda. But let's focus on the positive for a moment. Murtha has more real emotion than anyone else on Sunday morning. And his emotionality often paralyzes his interviewers completely, so that they fall back and just let him rant. So Murtha wins.
See ya next week.
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

So what did you think of DeWine's explaining that "We’re not in Iraq primarily for the Iraqis. We’re in Iraq for us"?

Wouldn't it be unsurprising for Iraqis to not, y'know, be excited to learn this?
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