Street Journal Presidential Democratic Candidate Debate
Thursday, September 25, 2003 at Pace University's downtown campus, New York, NY 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET.
Three of the campaigns had material on journalists' tables before the debate began. The Dean campaign, anticipating attacks on their candidate, started with a clever fill-in-the-blank piece. "Dean libs" opened with the sentence, "Today [CANDIDATE, CANDIDATE, CANDIDATE, ETC] continued their [ADJECTIVE ADJECTIVE] attacks on Governor Dean's record on [VITAL DEMOCRATIC ISSUE]." The piece went on in a similar vein. The Kucinich campaign, which did not engage in the rapid response flurry as the debate progressed, instead presented basic information on their candidate's views and the distinctions between him and the other candidates. The Lieberman campaign presented a focused three-pager making the case that Lieberman will "build on the Clinton-Gore economic legacy that created 22 million new jobs."
Dean: "Dean libs - Dean for America Debate Pre-Buttal: The Real Opponent is George W. Bush and the Republican Party" (2 pages)
Kucinich: "Information for the Media" included five documents: (1) Press Release "Kucinich Introduces Legislation to Repeal Sections of the USA PATRIOT Act." (2) Press Release "Seven Prominent Endorsers Circulate Letter." (3) "Dennis Kucinich: The Progressive Vision." (4) "Who Is the Anti-War Candidate - Dean or Kucinich?" (5) "Which Way for the Democratic Party? Kucinich vs. Gephardt, Kerry & Dean." (9 pages)
Lieberman: "Joe Lieberman:
Building on the Clinton-Gore Economic Legacy" (3 pages)
|Unleash the flood|
Thus while the ten candidates were debating on stage before a live and television audience, five campaigns were engaged in a paper skirmish visible to themselves and to the journalists in the hall (who were trying to watch the debate). The Dean and Kerry campaigns went at each other most pointedly. The Edwards campaign seemed to be an equal opportunity fact checker, responding to Dean, Gephardt and Kerry. The Dean campaign started with a clever pre-buttal, and its technique of simply writing on other campaign's releases was quite effective, particularly its final issuance which had three concise points scrawled on the bottom of a Kerry release. The Edwards campaign also came up with a sharp response to Kerry's polling release. In sum, there was some clever back and forth, but it is an open question whether the flood of paper had an impact on any of the articles the reporters filed.
Note 1. Every effort was made to obtain all releases, but it is possible that one or two were missed; also some campaigns sent out releases only via e-mail.
1. Kerry: "Kerry, Dean Now Top Two in Iowa - Gehpardt [sic] Slips to Third" ...cites a Global Strategy Group poll conducted 9/20-23 for John Edwards
2. Dean: "The American People Can Handle the Truth" ...rejects Kerry's recent arguments for guarding those cuts that apply to the middle class and defends Dean's support for repealing all of the Bush tax cuts ("John Kerry can continue to slavishly follow the political advice of his pollsters...")
3. Dean: "Dean Takes Clear Stand on $87 Billion Supplemental"
4. Kerry: "Dean Gets It Wrong Again!" ...takes issue with Dean's statement in the debate: "...with all due respect to Senator Kerry and all those in Washington that voted for tax cuts..." Points out that "Senator Kerry and every Person On That Stage Voted AGAINST the Tax Cut"
5. Kerry: "Another Outrageous Dean Claim" ...takes issue with Dean's statement in the debate: "I stood up against all the President's tax cut and I find it somewhat surprising that some folks are supporting some of the Bush tax cuss [sic]. They are a mistake. The middle class never got a tax cut for us to defend." Cites the example of a New Hampshire family, Ted Walsh and Maya Glos of Barrington, and finds that they would pay $3000 more in taxes.
6. Edwards: "Dean Fact Check: Dean Fails to Admit He Balanced the Budget By Cutting Key Services." ...takes issue with Dean's statement in the debate: "Tell the truth.... Let's be fiscally responsible and balance the budget. Bob Graham and I are the only people up here that ever balanced a budget."
7. Gephardt: "Dick Gephardt: Real Plans to Grow the Economy and Create Jobs" ...makes the claim: "The Gephardt health care and energy plans will create 3 million new jobs."
8. Gephardt: "For middle income families, the Gephardt health care plan provides roughly $2,000 to $3000 annual economic benefit."
9. Dean: "When is Outrageous Truly Outrageous" ...continues the strand on repeal of the tax cuts. (see 5. Kerry)
10. Edwards: "Gephardt Fact Check" ...takes issue with Gephardt's statement in the debate "Let's Go Back To The Clinton Tax Code." Points out that: "When Clinton Left Office, Gephardt Called For Huge Tax Cut."
11. Lieberman: "Dick Gephardt's Big-Spending Proposals Woud Break the Bank"
12. Lieberman: "Kerry's Trade Flip-Flop" ..."John Kerry Has Long Supported Free Trade Agreements... ...But Kerry Backed Away From Free Trade This Summer. Now Kerry Has Flipped Back To Attack Dean and Gephardt."
13. Lieberman: "Dean's Trade Flip-Flop" ..."Dean Supported Free Trade As Governor of Vermont. But as a Presidential Candidate, Dean Abandoned Free Trade. Dean Later Acknowledged He Flip-Flopped on Free Trade."
14. Gephardt: "Edwards is once again 'grossly mischaracterizing' Gephardt's position on tax cuts." ...(see 10. Edwards)
15. Dean: "Governor Dean Supports Fair, Constructive Trade: Does Kerry Agree?" ...concludes "When the real opponent is George W. Bush, Democrats shouldn't be engaging in unfounded attack politics that represent the politics of the past."
16. Dean: "Governor Dean Proud of Fiscal Record in Vermont" ...(see 6. Edwards)
17. Edwards: "Kerry Fact Check" ...takes issue with Kerry's statement in the debate: "I'm Desperately Concerned About Jobs. But You Don't Fix Them By Pandering to People and Telling Them You Will Shut the Door" on Trade.
18: Edwards: "Gephardt Fact Check" ...takes issue with a couple of Gephardt's statements in the debate on his health care plan: 'Gephardt Says Employers Will Provide Health Care "Because My Bill Makes Them Do It" and "My plan is the only plan that helps everybody.
19. Edwards: "Memo to the Kerry Campaign" ..."Thank you for releasing the results of our Iowa poll. The results of our South Carolina poll are below, in case you'd like to release them next." Shows Edwards atop the field in South Carolina with support of 23 percent of likely voters. (see 1. Kerry)
20. Dean: "Dear Joe: Newsflash!" ...This is the same release (15. Dean) the Dean campaign put out on trade and Kerry, with Kerry's name crossed out and Lieberman's name written in throughout. (see 13. Lieberman)
21. Gephardt: "Dean wrong: NAFTA is Bad for Vermont"
22. Kerry: "Does that include his suggestions on cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Veteran's Benefits" ...this looks like it came from the Dean campaign because the top half is the Dean release "Governor Dean Proud of Fiscal Record in Vermont." (see 16. Dean) The Kerry campaign put its logo, countering points and disclaimer at the bottom.
23. Kerry: "Dean Tries to Take Credit for Drug Program He Tried to Kill" ...takes issue with Dean's statement in the debate: "In my state... a lot of seniors, have prescription benefits, this does need to be a system built on what we have, we have done that, in Vermont, I would like the opportunity to do that for the whole country."
24. Gephardt: "Expert Says: The Gephardt health care plan has cost controls that are identical to Kerry's."
25. Gephardt: "Howard Dean on Newt Gingrich and the Republican Majority" ...no campaign logo or disclaimer on this.
26. Gephardt: "Howard Dean on Medicare" ...no campaign logo or disclaimer on this.
27. Dean: "Fact Check: Dean and Gephardt Fought Newt Gingrich, Republican Right Together" ... (see 25. Gephardt)
28. Edwards: "Dean Fact Check" ...takes issue with Dean's statement in the debate, talking about seniors' prescription drug coverage: "We have done that in Vermont. I would like the opportunity to do that for the whole country." ...(compare 23. Kerry)
29. Edwards: "Another Kerry Exaggeration" ...takes issue with Kerry's statement in the debate: "I Have Offered a [Health] Plan Which Costs About $75 Billion a Year."
DeanKerry Gets It Wrong Again!"
...continues the back and forth between Kerry and Dean over repealing the
Bush tax cut. The Dean campaign took the Kerry release "Dean Gets
It Wrong Again!" (4. Kerry)
crossed out the logo, changed the heading and wrote in three concise points
at the bottom: "(1) He supports keeping significant parts of the Bush plan;
(2) He voted against zeroing out the 2003 tax package. (3) He supported
divident tax cuts in a Cleveland City Club Speech.