Debate Coverage

I missed last night's debate.  If WETM posts it on their site, I'll watch and report.  In the meantime, here's the area media coverage:

The Star-Gazette had the longest coverage, including a short issues round-up.  The Corning Leader's piece was shorter, but mentioned an exchange on negative ads, where both claimed the other had been doing it.  (Of course, the difference is that the Kuhl campaign originated their negative ad, and the anti-Kuhl ad was made by a third party.)

WENY's online story mentioned that Kuhl called Massa a "carpetbagger".  Massa is a career military vet and the son of another career military vet.  He grew up in military bases all over the world, and moved all over as part of his career.  Though I've always found the home-town boy claim a poor reason to vote for anyone, Massa had no home prior to retirement, when he chose to move to the 29th.  That's different from the classic carpetbagger, who leaves a long-time home somewhere else to live in a district where it's easier for him to win.

WETM's story is brief and covers the reductive "Yes/No" portion of the debate. One question where both answered "Yes" was supporting stem cell research.  The devil is in the details on this one, because Kuhl voted against it last year.  Either he changed his position, or he supports research on existing lines or on non-embryonic stem cells.  Those last two are just a dodge.


The stem cell research question was interesting. Massa quickly said "Yes". Kuhl asked if it was 'Adult Stem Cell?". The announcer said, "Yes or No". Kuhl himmed and hulled for a couple of seconds and then said "Yes". Eric acted very surprisd.

Ok, that explains it. Thanks for the clarification. Apparently, the question was poorly phrased, and Kuhl took full advantage of that. The question should have been "Do you support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research using new lines of cells?"

After some confusion (we had thought the debate would be airing on WETM in Penn Yan but it wasn't), I watched the debate via streaming video on the WETM web site.

Best parts: when Randy claimed he has never run a negative ad (and was drowned out by laughter), followed by his long pause and "deer-in-the-headlights" look during the lightening round when he was asked if he supported stem cell research. He tried to give an answer other than yes or no, but then was told he had to respond with a yes or a no - and to everyone's shock after another long pause he said yes, but looked confused and upset. He seemed nervous and mis-spoke a couple of times using the wrong word or very awkwardly phrased words.

My hat goes off to Eric on an issue I've never heard him discuss before - wind farms. This is near and dear to my heart, as some shysters are making a proposal in my backyard (in the town of Benton in Yates County). It's a situation of a few people hoping to get wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. The thought of my quiet rural peace disturbed by a 400 foot whirligig topped with blinking strobe lights literally makes me sick to my stomach. Randy gave his typical Albany non-answer - scoffing responsibility off to local communities but seeming to be supportive. I was a little bit afraid of what Eric might say, and expected him to say something lukewarm/temperate. Far from it. He gave a fabulous answer. He pointed out the drawbacks and did so eloquently and with passion. This is what I love about Eric. I'm so used to politicians giving compromising, half-assed answers, that it blows me away when they shoot straight.

If you check the WETM schedule I think they are airing the debate again on Sunday morning after the Today show. Hopefully, they’ll also post the debate on their web site so people who live outside of the viewing area can stream the video.

Of course, the upsetting thing is - Kuhl is a horrible debater, but virtually nobody is seeing these debates, and that's to his advantage.

Interesting. After watching the debate finally, I was surprised by what I saw versus what was reported. And with the recent Truth Squad video on WETM on statements made on the debate, it makes me wonder if the discourse in the blogs is not stilted toward one side versus the other.

What bothers me is that I do not like Randy Kuhl, but everyone made it out like Mr. Massa was outstanding in the debate. He is a very passionate speaker, but I wonder why he did not answer the quests asked to him. And, in earlier comments on this post, I noted some ommissions in the recounting:

Asked for three things other than bringing jobs to the district, Mr. Massa answered "access to health care, jobs, and balance the budget". Mr. Kuhl answered "balance the budget, immigration reform and social security reform".
When asked about what would be your plan for energy conservation, Mr. Kuhl said he was against taxes ("never saw a tax hike I didn't like") and that the Energy Bill had a focus on ethanol production. Mr. Massa's answer was the need for leadership in Congress.
Mr. Kuhl's stutter on the question of stem cell research seems to have been borne out of the differences between stem cell and embryonic stem cell research, which seems to be a distinction he draws.
Mr. Kuhl, after pushing for private accounts for Social Security reform then answered in the lighting round that he was AGAINST private accounts (which drew a surprised look from Mr. Massa).
Mr. Kuhl's response to the negative ad question was surprising since I saw the ad, but his "deer-in-the-headlights" response was more annoyance at the audience members who laughed at his response (which my assumption that the audience had been instructed to maintain decorum, and I have seen how Mr. Kuhl has taken to "disruptions"). And his clarification of what he considered the ad we saw was, he seemed to have rationalized it as a policy issue (Mr. Massa stating things on blogs that would, if implemented, would lead to higher taxes). I found it very interesting that the argument that Mr. Massa did not suggest taxes would be raised was in direct contrast to the question Mr. Kuhl asked him regarding the repealing of tax cuts. Instead of denying the repealing of tax cuts, he suggested that it was the problem of Congress that needed to be fixed.

I was very surprised at how Mr. Kuhl spoke and how he seemed to have his own grasp of the issues, and while not a debator, has a strong speaking skill as well. Mr. Massa has a strong grasp of the national and international issues and a strong focus on the families in the District.

I saw many of the good things others speak about on the debate on "Rural Patriot", but some of the other things I just mentioned seemed to be missing in the blog coverage.

One last thing: I watched the Truth Squad on the ads and noted a very interesting commentary on the online web poll that was being conducted after the debate. Supposedly someone had been gaming the poll somehow, and I was surprised they did not discuss it. I had to go to the Star-Gazette and look at the bottom of the page in the Story Chat description of what had transpired. I will only place some of the details up to keep with focusing on the statements made:

Some very interesting news.

Anyone wondering why WETM removed its web site poll about who won the debate?

Here's the scoop.

Last night, the immediate poll results, mosy likely based upon those who actually watched the debate showed kuhl winning the debate by 70-85%..

This is what was on the WETM site last night.
Who do you think won tonight's Kuhl/Massa debate?
Randy Kuhl (R): 72.8%
Eric Massa (D): 27.2%

By late Tuesday/ early was up to 85% for Kuhl..

The by midday today..I noticed the numbers were I did a litrtle investigative work..and found the post below on the DailyKos web site. (The Daily Kos is an extremist liberal web site on which Massa keeps a web diary.)

NY-29: Help me destroy the integrity of another online poll
by Pogues Fan
Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:44:58 AM PDT
I love taking online polls. Is there anything more indicative of the decline of civilization than the media's desire to conduct completely unscientific, unrandomized polls and then try to pass them off as meaningful? There may be, in fact, but remember you can take an online poll without having to listen to Clay Aiken or Taylor Hicks.

WETM Channel 18 in Elmira is running an online poll asking who won last night's debate between Eric Massa and Randy Kuhl. Stop on by and take the poll: scroll down and you'll find it in the lower left-hand corner.

For the record, Massa won the debate. Though also for the record, Kuhl is not a bad debater. He made a few gaffes but his primary problem was that the president he blindly supports is wildly unpopular in this part of the country. It's hard to proudly proclaim one's fealty to a president your district despises. ]
kind of expalins why the numbers changed, doesn't it?]


I phoned and e-mailed the news director of WETM..the TV station that posted the poll on their news site..and informed him of the Daily Kos' attempt to hijack the poll.

I e-mailed him the post from the Daily Kos and gave him the link to it as proof.

The news director thanked me for informing him and pointed out he was wondering why there had been 2,000 votes..which is more than they EVER get on the poll!!

His words? "They were obviously trying to hijack our poll!"

He pulled the poll from the web site..and there will be NO mention on the news of any debate "win" for Massa..

(snip, snip)

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:54 am

And I assume someone from the Massa Campaign is watching this blog. Would any of them make a comment on behalf of the campaign on what happened on DailyKos?

This does not make me like Mr. Kuhl in any way shape or form, rather it makes me wonder if supporters see things the way they want to.

I'll reserve comments on the debate until I see it.

On the "poll": Long ago, newspapers would print "straw polls", which it would ask readers to mail in. It has been common practice for years, long before the Internet, for partisans to "pack" these polls. Campaigns would contact individuals by phone or in person and have them send in extra copies of the poll. Supporters would do it on their own. Quality newspapers stopped running straw polls for this reason. Internet polls are worse than straw polls because the barrier for packing the poll is lower - no stamp needed.

Straw polls (and Internet polls) were invented by lazy journalists to generate non-stories. They shouldn't exist, and if someone on DailyKos or any other site wants to stuff a poll for kicks, then they're administering a lesson to to a media outlet that should already know better.

I'm with Rottenchester. Internet voting is so suspect that there's no way it can be reliable. To even issue or believe a poll like that is asking for trouble. The paper got what it was asking for, and there's nothing to say that the republicans were stuffing the ballot before the DailyKos post. 85% for Kuhl? Comeon now, let's be reasonable. There's no way a poll can be that lopsided.