Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Analysis: U.S. Senate Debate Broadcast

So in Seattle and environs, the big debate broadcast tonight is on KING-TV at 9pm. So most places around Western Washington will get to size up their candidates for US Senate (excepting, of course, Aaron Dixon, who was arrested trying to enter the KING building today.)

If you're somewhere that KING is not available, well, you're out of luck until TVW airs it Thursday night at 9:15. We know we're not actually part of the state in Clark County, Oregon, anyway. Maybe the cable access station will air a re-run of The vonHummer Hour or something.

I'll have to settle for Postman's live blogging. Or baseball.

UPDATE from the Executive Director: I'm watching the debate on KING5 and will update periodically with my observations and analysis.

Robert Mak asked the first question - who did each candidate vote for in 2004. The answer from each candidate, not surprisingly, was that they supported their party's nominee for the Presidency. For Cantwell, that meant Kerry, and for McGavick, that meant Bush, though McGavick tried gamely to then distance himself from the current unpopular occupant of the White House.

When the candidates were asked about North Korea, Senator Cantwell gave an outstanding response, outlining a very clear and practical strategy for handling the situation. But don't expect the administration to start bilaterial talks any time soon.

During the debate, the candidates were often shown all at once, even when they weren't speaking. The screen would be divided into three frames, with one half devoted to the candidate speaking and the other half also split into two showing the other two candidates.

When McGavick was not speaking, he was often shown with his head tilted away to the left of the camera, which made him look rather comical. If that wasn't amusing enough, McGavick could frequently be seen nodding, puckering his mouth, wiping his face, or patting his brow.

Guthrie, in contrast, stared down a lot and blinked his eyes, while Senator Cantwell generally looked straight on at the camera in a tight lipped smile when not speaking.

Some of the major topics covered were: Social Security, drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, healthcare, education and the Bush tax cuts. Cantwell was fairly eloquent and sharp, and she sounded cheerful and optimistic in her responses. Guthrie and McGavick seemed more edgy and somewhat agitated.

It was a memorable debate and a strong performance by Senator Maria Cantwell.

If you have a broadband connection you can watch the entire debate here on streaming video, courtesy of KING5. But be warned: the quality isn't that good. The Seattle Times also has a concise recap from correspondent Alex Fryer.

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