Monday, October 09, 2006

Gubernatorial Debate: DeStefano Comes Out Swinging

John DeStefano needed a win tonight. He didn't need just to place, or to keep with his opponent. He needed to win in order to gain ground on Jodi Rell.

He did it.

My first impression of the debate is that Rell ducked too many questions, and was far too careful, while DeStefano was a lot more direct. Rell scored some points on taxation, but she was forced to defend herself a lot, while avoiding much in the way of attacks on DeStefano.

Both candidates seemed awkward, at first. DeStefano's voice was hoarse. Rell seemed to stumble and forgot the name of an agency. But both seemed to hit their stride mid-debate. Rell focused on her acheivements while in office, which is an impressive list to be sure. But DeStefano, who as I have said is at his best when talking about ideas, talked a lot about his ideas. He was a lot clearer and more focused than in his debate with Dan Malloy in July, and his message came through better.

And when Rell ducked two questions, one about the Senate race and another about the biggest mistake each candidate had made, DeStefano was honest and direct. That, more than anything else, turned this debate around for him.

If it was his intention to draw Jodi Rell out and force her to engage on the issues, he may not have been entirely successful. But he did force her to dither and remain noncomittal. This could hurt her, and force her to engage more forcefully in the future.

One debate to go. We'll see if they have any effect. But this time, I think DeStefano was clearly the winner.

That's what I think. What do you think?

Who do you think won the debate tonight?
Jodi Rell (R)
John DeStefano (D)
I didn't watch
Free polls from


Anonymous said...

Jodi needed to give away Poland or say her daughter was her nuclear arms advisors

She didn't

Game over

Anonymous said...

What a surprise, GC calls the debate for the Democrat.

Rell is going down said...

I only hope that a lot of people were watching that debate. DeStefano was good, don't get me wrong, but the story for me was how awful Rell was. Watching her answer to the Senate race was like watching the scene from Swingers when Jon Favreau keeps calling the girl from the bar. I just wanted to yell, "please just stop talking." It was very clear that she doesn't stand for anything and only says what she wants people to hear. She even said so herself when she finished that answer by saying that the folks in the audience probably have a lot of different opinions. I think things would have gone better if she just answered every question with "No comment" and sat silent for 2 minutes. I haven't posted on this site for 2 months, but if this didn't get your blood pumping, then why do you vote?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Rell just hasn't decided yet who she will vote for? Surely, even a governor is allowed to be an undecided voter once in a while. I'll agree she could have handled the question better. She should have said it was inappropriate to talk about her vote in the Senate race in that forum.

Anonymous said...

When I first tuned in, I thought Channel 8 was running a Hollywood Squares rerun featuring Paul Lynde and Ruta Lee.

Anonymous said...

All Jodie has to do is hold her own; she doesn't have to score a win. I thought she a was controlled and articulate. I'm partisan, but I got tired of hearing about the 75,000 kids without health insurance and the leap of faith that you'll grow jobs but eliminate tax breaks to businesses.

Bobby McGee said...

DeStefano was a little too smirky.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. DeStefano clearly won, but i don't think he won enough. as the guy trailing by thirty points, he had to come out swinging, and he did. as the incumbent leading by thirty, she had to limit his ability to draw her out -- the tougher spot, but with the larger margin for error -- and she did. You had to go in thinking she'd take some hits, the question is: did JD land enough of them? It would take a lot, i imagine, to erase a thirty point gap.

Anonymous said...

I'm partisan, but I got tired of hearing about the 75,000 kids without health insurance

I'm sure they are tired of it too.

Anonymous said...

considering JDS's mentor Ed Marcus takes houses away from sick people for a living, raising the uninsured as a club is a rather ironic approach

Anonymous said...


I am a huge Rell supporter, but let's face it-- DeStefano won this debate. GC's analysis is right on the money.

Does it matter? Probably not. Maybe DeStefano brings some Democrats home to him who had previously supported Rell. He sounded like a huge liberal (raising taxes and redistributing wealth at every opportunity).

Rell bombed because of the two questions she dodged. People like her because she is an honest, straight-shooter. She was not in the Senate race and "one regret" questions.

My guess is that this race tightens from a 30-point slaughter to a 15-point landslide for Rell. But tighten it will.

Anonymous said...

Two seasoned politicians and neither one can do a one minute opening statement without reading it...pathetic. If DeStefano wanted to score a good punch he should have told Gov. Rell to ditch the glasses for the debate so that she would have to think about the answer rather than read prepared remarks.

Anonymous said...

DeStefano won and he won BIG. Jodi Rell showed up - gave only prepared answers as evident by the non-answered to the left field questions. Who wants a Gov. who can't think on her/his toes. Who wants a Gov. only willing to give a prepared response and not engage in a thoughtful and heartfelt debate. I don't.

Anonymous said...

Your critique of the debate is right on target.
Remember she is stepping down if elected and
Fedele will be Governor. So we need to go for
the hail mary and get John D. in there.

The Phantom of CT

Anonymous said...

Walter Mondale won Debate I in 1984 and proceeded to lose 49 states

Anonymous said...

Walter Mondale won Debate I in 1984 and proceeded to lose 49 states

Anonymous said...

I attended the debate tonight.

Rell got her clock cleaned.She embarassed herself and her supposed Party.

Rell was hired by Rowland because he thought she was clueless. Rell proved Rowland was right in that assesment tonight.

All the answers she gave were scripted. When called on to actually think on her feet she proved she was incapable of it.

It would be dangerous to elect someone of such low intelligence to the office of Governor.

Anonymous said...

A sore loser is never a good loser... To all you JDS fans out there - what of that so called Millionaire's tax we don't have - or that 80% State funding for the New HAven school system - if this isn't a referendum on what JDS has done for New Haven and can do for the state what is it?

Jodi was the clear winner - she actually answered the questions asked rather than repeating the same three lines over and over again

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

JDS got his clock cleaned, and more than once. The pantomime on the taxes - one pocket or the other - was devastating.

He needed a clear win and he never came close.

JDS: You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there who have not completed their Bachelor's degree who might take umbrage with your criticisms... how about all those folks out there supporting you tonight John that might not have a college degree but would like to run for Governor... are you telling them they are not welcome?

Anonymous said...

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody..... you know the rest.

Anonymous said...

Jodi Rell won hands down tonight - JDS appeared uncomfortable in his own skin and without response to important policy issues facing this state like how to spend the surplus THREE TIMES in spite of a constitutional cap on spending?!?!

To those who think otherwise I'd say that saying out loud that JDS won the debate - Won't make it true!

Anonymous said...

"Think on her feet" how about that nice long pause JDS gave when asked about Campaign Finance Reform... must have been the long list of lobbyists and contractors who donated to his campaign running through his head.

Anonymous said...

oh come on. Jodi was jodi - a class act the destefano thugs were there in full force and multiple times displayed their disrespect for any rules.

prior to debate time the crowd was reminded that audience participation/ comments were not welcome - and the usual disrespectful Destefano crew showed their true colors they at every opportunity made grunts, sighs, groans etc.

Every Rell supporter wanted to see a challenge to Destefano to defend the contrctor contributions, his secretary who coordianted a fundraiser, the elections commission fine and the other unethical actions of the candidate BUT rell has committed that she WILL NOT get in the mud - that she believes that people want to hear what is good about government - what good can government do and what is really the best that can be done for the dollar invested.

Big ideas that are unrealistic are not acceptable to the real person - a vision thats in outerspace is not in tune with the CT voter.... so sorry my fellow D's Rell by 25% is a very conservative victory margin --- give em rell!!
I am a proud Rell fan - she has grace she has classs... she lives her beliefs since she said when she announced herrun that she WILL NOT take the path of negative or tearing down but seeig things as what can be .... that leadership that I can support not the sky is falling the sky is falling kne jerk negative attitude of one candidate.

game over.

Anonymous said...

Low intellect? The woman raised herself from PTA to State Representative to Lieutenant Governor to the most popular Governor in America. Not to mention she's a wonderful mother. We always say that we want to elect a regular person with common sense as a leader. I guess the tune changes when that person's a Republican.

By the way, I got a big kick out of all the union hacks outside of the theater carrying signs making fun of Rell for not graduating many of them are in the same boat, but immeasurably less successful? How about 60%?

Anonymous said...

how sexist is the comment about her intellect - be real. She is far more street smart than some one who has a PHD. You forget that she has a huge lead amoung the real people. They can see thru those who talk details and stats and think that's leadership. The last time I looked Destefano had a huge safety / crime problem compared to other big city mayors so he should pay more attention to his job/ backyard than what the Gov thinks about the senate race -

Oh by the way lieberman will kick butt and destefano doubling up with lamot was a huge mistake ... loses on that one.

Timm Knibbs said...

The real losers in this so called debate were the citizens of CT. The fresh ideas of the minor parties were kept out. The public was once again decieved by the presentation of only the media perfered candidates.

Anonymous said...

JDS got no real bump in the print media this am ...the clock is running out

Anonymous said...

You say, "Rell focused on her acheivements while in office, which is an impressive list to be sure." Oh, really? Name something she's actually done.

Let's get CT back in the blue.

Anonymous said...

Rell seems like a nice woman, who's in over her head with her job. She kept talking about her 'transportation' efforts. Yet, the highways in CT are broken. Constant gridlock, jam-ups, speeding, and not a trooper in sight! You cannot drive any distance in CT, without a story. So, what did she fix?

Brass Anon said...

I saw about half of the debate. I though Rell made a strong presentation. DeStefano looked angry and was a little shrill.

The key point, which I think might have caused my wife to want to vote for JDS, was when JDS pointed out that most corporations do not pay one penny in corporate income tax in Connecticut. My wife thought that sounded unfair.

But when JDS talked about "corporate loopholes," it sounded like pol speak. When he put meat on the bones and talked about what that meant, he scored.

I'll vote for JDS, and maybe my wife will too, but Jodi still wins 60-40.

Anonymous said...

DeStefano would mean putting CT back in the RED...bye bye billion dollar surplus...welcome back NJ style fiscal crisis

ken krayeske said...

Ditto what Knibbs said.

This debate put the "mock" in democracy.

How can we honestly say this was a far-reaching discussion of the issues facing the state of Connecticut? Not a word about our $420 million budget for ever-expanding prisons. As long as we continue to ignore this, Hartford, New Haven and all our cities will continue to crumble.

Let Cliff Debate!

Shadow said...

> Brass Anon: I'll vote for JDS, and maybe my wife will too, but Jodi still wins 60-40.

Then what's the point? Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that there are times for political pragmatism and the lesser of two evils; I really thought Democrats could have put together a better ticket than the dismal Gore/Lieberman campaign in 2000, but make no mistake, if I lived in Florida or Ohio or some other decisive battleground state, I would have voted for them come hell or high water. I think it is vital for Courtney, Farrell, Shays, and Lamont to win their races so that the cancerous and corrupt leadership in Washington is defanged, because only a Democratic majority in the US Congress can prevent the Republicans from being the majority party for two more years.

However, the Democrats were also a mostly abysmal opposition party over the last five years, and do not deserve to be rewarded with a braindead down-the-line party vote either. And most imporantly, we both have conceded Rell is going to win this race anyway. So I have a hard time understanding why anyone would begrudgingly vote for DeStefano in this election, when Cliff Thornton better represents progressives in just about every way, and has more pragmatic, thorough, and well thought-out policy ideas, which also appeal to fiscal conservatives who would never cast their vote for DeStefano. I challenge all voters to go to both Thornton and DeStefano' websites, compare their positions, and ask yourself three questions: who's positions best represent you, who's are the best articulated and accounted for, and who do you trust most to stay true to those positions?

Progressives who prefer Thornton but are voting DeStefano because Thornton can't win, then admit in the next breath that DeStefano can't win either, really need to re-examine their logic. There are two choices; they can vote for Thornton and get him into double digits in order for him to debate and possibly win the next gubernatorial election in four years, or they can vote for DeStefano so he loses by ten points instead of twenty-five, and end up making NO progress for the next four years. What sounds more logical to you?

If DeStefano is still down by double digits by election day, progressives should take some progress over making absolutely none.

Ghost of Yogi said...

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!),

Taking notes from your 'ole girl, eh? Can't admit defeat? Sure, you will pick your favorite poll, but, and I believe from your skewed view that you where in attendance (I wonder why Malloy staff went over to work for the Republican Governor), JDS clearly won. Rell looked awkward, and she forgot things she SHOULD know. I mean, she is the Governor.

John is clearly the better choice. Unfortunately, you can't see that. Your eyes have been paid shut, so as not to let the light of true progress and ability in: JDS.

Let it go, ADANR. She lost and she looked, old, tired, annoyed, lost, out-of-touch, defensive, a little hungry, and everything else except Gubernatorial or a winner.

Ghost of Yogi said...

And, to all the trolls out there: I would be worried for the integrity of this Blog site if not for your ridiculous, over the top posts. The Rell campaign should have a seminar on Voice. All you Anon's, even A different one (No! Really?) sound the same, just like Rich Harris. (Hum…) Ha. I guess that is an argument for JDS's pre-K.

I know under Rell you will have to wait until you are 44 to receive help.

Anonymous said...

Rell may very well win her first elction for governor. Afterall, the voters of CT went for John Rowland in 2002 when he was clearly lying to anyone paying attention but maybe the alternate, Curry, wasn't worth not going for a liar. Rell ain't telling the truth because she doesn't know the truth. She's a strong beleiver in the ways of John Rowland but she just thinks he got dirty. She doesn't understand that Adrien's landing, a project that she helped generate, hasn't helped Hartford. She doesn't understand that RBS and Cabela's will help RBS and Cabela's while the rest of us pay for them to set up shop in CT. She's got great style and she tries to pass herself off as a lady. She tries to pass herself off as a fiscal conservative and so did Tom Delay but the truth is coming out.

DeStefano has the endorsemant of the head of the CBIA, a Republican, and others at the CBIA because DeStefano has programs that make sense to promote real economic growth. Rell basically denied the FDIC report on job growth last night. The problem with DeStefano, in my opinion, is that he doesn't tie his message in to a nice neat package that the average middle of the road voter can relate to.

Shadow said...

Correction: When discussing US House races, I accidenally said Courtney, Farrell, Shays, and Lamont when I meant Courtney, Farrell, Murphy, and Lamont.

CTRevolution said...

John DeStefano needed to hit a double to gain points in the race. Instead he hit a home run! I was amazed at how far he has come in articulating his points, and really understanding the problems facing Connecticut. He hands down won this debate. I don't see how anyone but the most biased Republican could say that Rell went even with him. Let's put this is in simple terms, she looked ridiculous. She came off as the same as her record for the last 2 and a half years, nice lady with no vision and no articulate defense.

I asked a couple of Rell staffers outside the debate why they were supporting Rell, and they were tongue-tied. Just like Jodi was on stage. Because what's become obvious to me is becoming obvious to others, Rell has no vision and has shown no leadership. You should’ve seen the look on Rell’s supporters’ faces as they left the theater. Dejected and depressed would be an understatement. They looked to the ground as the crowds yelled, “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Jodi Rell has got to go.” Connecticut cannot afford 4 more years of Rell. It's time we elected a Democrat for a change.

Ghost of Yogi said...


i wish i could hav been there. they must have been upset. i heard JDS had 300 people.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

CTRev & GoY:

Please, don't take my word for it.

"In his first face-to-face encounter with Gov. M. Jodi Rell Monday, John DeStefano delivered some detailed policy proposals and some pointed jabs - but not the blockbuster many observers say he needed to overcome deficits of 25 to 33 points in recent polls."

Some home run! Sounds to me like he dribbled it down the third base line at best ... To borrow a metaphor from your boy, he was swinging for the fences -- and whiffing most of 'em.

Ghost of Yogi said...


JDS will win. So have your fun now, for the rest of this election cycle is JDS's. I look forward to your new tune come early November. I am sure it will be "we are all Democrats, you know." Just like the primary Boy'o.

way2moderate said...

If you were keeping a scorecard of the debate as though it were a boxing match, JDS probably racked up more blows than MJR. Fine; we know she doesn't have the finesse of a more polished JGR.

But that's precisely how and why she did just fine in the debate. MJR has a God-given poise that works well for her. She is that 6th grade school teacher that we remember fondly because she made us feel safe and protected.

Laugh and ridicule this if you want, but MJR got it done by sticking to her script and displaying that same grace and personal style that has kept her 30-plus points above her opposition.