CBS4 is airing two taped half hour debates between incumbent Congressmen brothers Lincoln & Mario Diaz-Balart and their respective challengers former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia tonight at 7pm as something of a warm up for tonight's Presidential debate.
Of course we'll be live blogging. It kicks off after the jump.
7:00 pm -- Alright Mario and Joe are up first. The moderator just said that the district covers all of Collier County. It does not, just alot of the swamp land and Immokalee.
Also interesting, there are no time limits except for the 30 minutes allotted.
7:02 - The first question is about the candidate's position on the bail out. Joe, who said he would have supported it, said that we had to do something. Mario, who voted against it twice, says that the bail out helped out Wall Street and not Main Street, and that it's a blank check.
7:04 - The Moderator asks how do we help Main Street if we let Wall Street go under?
7:04 - Oh, God Mario is Smarmy. "Oh just some economists from some lil ole' pre-schools like I DUNNO HARVARD!"
7:05 - Joe says the problem was deregulation and runs down Mario's deregulation track record, and says if Mario saw a problem with the bail out bill then he didn't do enough to change it.
7:05 - Mario says he WAS in Washington dealing with it when Joe was in "Miami Beach, where he should have been." Snappy, and a subtle dig that Joe doesn't live in the district.
7:08 - Garcia says Miami is on "the bleeding edge" of the economy and Diaz-Balart should have been in the middle of the legislation, and couldn't get anything done about it before or during the crises.
7:09 - Garcia says Diaz-Balart was always with Bush until the heat turned up during the bailout.
7:10 - Oh, Mario says that Joe speaks very well but didn't propose anything, and then says he's not here to criticize his opponent.
7:11 - Tie review: both red and boring.
7:11- Drilling off shore: Joe doesn't think we should because of a potential oil disaster hitting our shores. Mario says leave it up to the State legislature.
7:13 - Joe does the "I know someone in the community and I will mention them by name, because I love my potential constituents."
7:14 - OMG Mario, you are being so smarmy. "Antonio, do you wanna give him another 30 seconds so he can answer the question?"
7:15 - Health Care: Ok, actually maybe Mario has a point. I'm not 100% sure on Garcia's proposal from his answer. Though Garcia's sounds more like Obama's and Mario's sounds more like McCain's. Which lets be honest, neither of these guys are fit to single-handedly fix the health care crises.
7:16 - Joe says Mario voted 5 times against health care for kids.
7:18 - The moderator brings up Mario's low effectiveness and power rankings. Mario says "well, I was effective in the State legislature."
7:19 - Antonio brings up the fact that Joe doesn't live in his district. Joe says something like, hey, true, but atleast I'm better than Mr. One-Bill Mario.
7:20 - Ah, the Cuba question. Joe says the current laws can be a travesty, and the dissidents on the island are against travel embargoes and disallowing remittances.
7:21 - Antonio asks Mario if the current policies he supporters are failures? Mario says that America has been vary generous to Cubans, and that the embargo has strong bipartisan support.
7:24 - Mario says we have to support a free trade deal with Columbia, treat Chavez as a dictator, and shouldn't meet with no preconditions with State sponsors of Terrorism.
7:25 - Closing statement time.
7:25 - Joe says Lawton Chiles asked him if can vote his conscious, and of course he can. Blah blah American Dream. Vote for me!
7:26 - Mario thanks Joe for running, because it's important to the Democratic process. The Democratic process indeed is important for the Democratic process. He says the debate was very civil, which for the most part it was, save for a bit of what I perceived as smarmy-ness on his part.
7:27 - Alright it's over. Hard to pick a clear cut winner and loser. I think they were both pretty effective.
7:28 - Haha, two minutes after Mario said how important it is to be civil his attack ad against Joe comes on. Then the even worse Anti-Martinez "Wheel of Corruption" ad comes on.
7:29 - And here's Joe's ad. And Now Lincoln's.
7:30 - And now it's time for Raul v. Lincoln in the battle for District 21.
7:31 - Same rules as the last one.
7:31 - Same first question. Bailout, good sirs?
7:31 - Lincoln, who voted against the bailout, says that Wall Street should have helped pay for the bailout. They should have purchased insurance to guarantee the Tax Payer's investment. It didn't do enough to help out with the common people.
7:32 - Raul also opposed the bailout. He says that Washington needs more common sense, and that none of the legislation prevents people from loosing their home. Wall Street was greedy, and deregulation was the problem, but doesn't take the opportunity to try and tie Lincoln to deregulation.
7:34 - Tie appraisal. Martinez: blue and boring? Diaz-Balart: Green??? Don't you know the rules of debate neck ware? Red and blue only. Why do you hate America?
7:36 - Raul agrees with Nancy Pelosi that we need a second stimulus package, and hey Lincoln does too.
7:38 - Antonio Mora decides to give Raul a history lesson about Coolidge or something. Not sure why. Oh, taxes!
7:39 - Raul says we need to lower taxes on the poor and middle class and small business.
7:40 - I think Antonio wants to move on from the tax issue, as do I.
7:41 - Housing question. Lincoln wants all the poor people to live at the post office or something.
7:43 - Raul highlights his strength as a Mayor, and that he knows what works in cities, and can bring that knowledge to DC.
7:44 - Raul's checkered past comes up as does his temperament.
7:44 - Lincoln says Raul doesn't have a legislature's temperament.
7:45 - Raul won't work with Ileana, but whatever, Lincoln handcuffed himself to the White House!
7:46 - This is getting heated. Raul says Lincoln calls his opponents communists, and says he says one thing in English, another in Spanish. Lincoln says that Raul is SEXIST for saying he hides under the dress of his campaign or something. Not following, but calling someone sexist is so hot this season.
7:49 - They are fighting like cats and dogs. Antonio pwns them both by saying something like "how can you work well wit other congressman when you can't get along here?"
7:50 - Shit is boiling up. Antonio says "check back at 11 to find out who was lying."
7:51 - Cuba time. Same question as the first debate.
7:52 - Lincoln's answer is similar to his brothers. Raul says the travel restrictions are wrong.
7:53 - Closing statement time.
7:54 - Lincoln is stumbling and stammering a bit, but says that he has never embarrassed us in Washington, which is totally not a subtle hint that Raul will at all. He goes over is accomplishment, including helping to keep Southcom here.
7:55 - Raul is recounting the story of coming to America and succeeding, which I think will stick with a lot of voters.
7:56 - Well now, that got heated. Again it's close to call, but I think Raul dominated the debate. With his powerful past sometimes it's hard to remember which one is the incumbent.