Saturday, October 11, 2014

Scott Walker, Mary Burke - Debate 1

Scott Walker and Mary Burke took part in a televised debate Friday evening.

From the Associated Press:

Republican Gov. Scott Walker argued during a debate Friday that he turned around Wisconsin's economy, leading to more jobs and money in people's pockets, while Democratic opponent Mary Burke countered that Walker divided the state, didn't live up to his promises and is beholden to special interests, not the average voter.

Both candidates scored political points, but neither broke much new ground in the hourlong debate broadcast nationwide from Eau Claire, the first of two before the Nov. 4 election. For many voters, it was their first opportunity to hear from Burke outside of a campaign ad. She's in the midst of her first statewide campaign, while Walker is on the ballot for the third time in four years, having won a recall election in 2012.

The race has drawn national attention both because it's close and because Walker is widely considered to be in the mix for a 2016 presidential run should he win re-election. The latest Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Walker with a slight edge, up 5 percentage points with a 4.1-point margin of error.

Burke, a former state Commerce Department secretary and executive at Trek Bicycles, is a member of the Madison school board. She held her own against the more experienced Walker and avoided making any major gaffes.

The only time she stumbled in not quickly coming up with an answer was when she responded to a question asking for something positive about Walker. Ultimately, Burke said she admired his focus on helping victims of domestic abuse and his charitable work.

Walker, a veteran of high-pressure debates over his political career that began when he was first elected to the state Assembly in 1993, was unflappable while defending himself from a string of attacks by Burke on his record on women's issues, the economy, tax cuts and the environment.
Holy moly!

This AP article by Scott Bauer is way too kind to Mary Burke.

I wouldn't say she "held her own" against Walker. She made Tom Barrett's weird debate performances look brilliant in comparison.

Burke seemed frightened. During her responses her eyes were darting around. She seemed to be trembling at times. She frequently needed to look down at her notes. Her smiles were forced. Overall, she looked very uncomfortable.

That's probably because the woman is out of her league. You don't go from the Madison school board to a governor's race.

Without question, Burke's lack of experience showed. She clearly rehearsed a lot, which probably added to her stiff, awkward responses. She clung to her predictable party line rhetoric - hand-outs from a big, bloated government, making citizens little more than dependents, etc. If she offered a fresh, original idea, I missed it. If she offered a plan to realize a different, better Wisconsin, I didn't see it.

I thought the format of the debate was poor. No interaction between the candidates, no back and forth, makes for a boring hour.

It really wasn't a debate. It was an interview with each subject behind a podium - dueling interviews. Burke lucked out in that respect. The format protected her from having to explain herself or defend her points or discuss her plans.

I don't think Burke could have survived a legitimate debate with Walker.

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