Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coverage roundup: good debate, lots of weaseling; nationals fixate on Obama-vote flap, locals don't

Debate coverage from all over (recording is now online):
  • The debate was "really good," says John Harwood of CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. Alison Lundergan Grimes "performed very well" for a newcomer, and "Mitch McConnell was the best Mitch McConnell can be. . . . The moderator was also good."
  • Grimes "struck an aggressive pose as she repeatedly interrupted and lobbed attacks at McConnell, who often gave long, lecture-style answers," reports Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
  • Youngman writes for The Daily Beast, "it is still unclear how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would simultaneously reopen the amendment process in the Senate while not allowing votes on 'all these gosh darn proposals' like raising the minimum wage."
  • "McConnell, 72, has been the narrow favorite in the race, and Monday’s debate did not appear to dramatically change that reality," writes Susan Davis of USA Today.
  • Emily Schultheis of National Journal writes of McConnell, "the one area where he stumbled a bit was over a series of questions about Obamacare and its impact in Kentucky."
  • "Grimes may turn some environmentalists’ heads after she put forth a strong defense of climate change science," Politico's Alex Guillen writes. James Hohmann of Politico has 10 key quotes.
  • "Each ducked a high-profile question," Grimes on her recent presidential votes and McConnell on climate change, reports Francine Kiefer of the Christian Science Monitor.
  • The candidates "reached absurd heights in the art of weasel-wording," writes New York Times editorial writer Juliet Lapidos.
  • The debate "was notable for the contentious nature of the exchanges but not the content of the discussion," writes Joe Gerth of The Courier-Journal. "Viewers . . . saw the two candidates stick to the talking points they both have been focusing on for the past year and a half — but they were also treated to several volleys that indicated the two really don't like one another."
  • The race "has become deeply personal after months of attacks in a race focused on character," writes Alexander Bolton of The Hill. "McConnell painted his opponent as a novice who does not understand the nuances of policymaking, while Grimes characterized him as a self-dealing insider and obstructionist.
  • The Washington Post offers video of "the most heated moments of the debate."
  • Liberal columnist Greg Sargent of the Post writes, "If Grimes were to admit now that she voted for Obama, that would not only give McConnell the sound bite he wants; it would show her backing down in the face of his attacks after waffling and appearing too weak to stand behind her own vote."
  • On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Howard Fineman of Huffington Post said of Grimes's stance, "
    It's both embarrassing and question-raising for her to do that. . . . There are all kinds of ways you can answer that question and hit it out of the park." Fineman said Grimes "should answer so that people like us would stop talking about it. ... She did a petty good job in that debate. ... That was all obscured."
  • Actually, local news coverage downplayed the Obama-vote issue. However, "There were almost no memorable moments in the debate, and that could be bad for Grimes," Perry Bacon Jr. writes for NBC News.

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