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Guest Blogger: Debate Watching 101 with Kathleen Hall Jamieson

(Photo by Robin Holland)

By Kathleen Hall Jamieson

1) I recommend not watching the coverage immediately before the debate and, when the debate is finished, turn the television off and talk with your family about what you saw and what was important to you. And think about what you saw.

2) Candidates make different assumptions about government's role, about economic policy, about the value of government regulation, about the role of the US in the world, about appropriate use of military power, about US relationships with other countries... and the like. What are the governing philosophies of the candidates?

3) Come to a debate with a list of the issues that matter to you and ask what you learned about each candidate's record and promises on those issues. Where are they similar and how do they differ?

4) When a candidate promises a new program or any move that will reduce government revenue -- how will the candidate pay for it? Increase the deficit? Cut spending elesewhere and if so where? Raise taxes? On whom?

5) How accurate are candidates' descriptions of opponents' programs? And how accurate are a candidate's descriptions of his or her own record?

6) Is the candidate willing to tell voters things they don't want to hear about the challenges facing the country and what is required to address them?

7) If the country were faced with a crisis, what can you know from the candidates' past performance, character, and dispositions about whether the country would be in good hands?

In addition to Professor Jamieson's advice, you might wish to check candidate accuracy at one of the following websites: is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which Jamieson directs, that aims to monitor the accuracy of major national candidates' statements and rhetoric.

The journalists at CJR turn their attention to "auditing" campaign ads, speeches and other media moments. In addition to CJR staff a group of veteran journalists will add their perspective to the Campaign Desk's analysis.

The Fact-Checker
Run by veteran journalist Michael Dobbs, The Fact-Checker is a project of the WASHINGTON POST that publishes research evaluating and providing background and context to candidate statements and popular political stories.

Politifact and Truth-0-Meter
Politifact is an extensively cross-referenced fact-checking resource run as a joint project by the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES and CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY.

We invite you to respond in the space below.


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I was very disappointed in both candidates response to what can Americans sacrifice. How about helping others who may be loosing their homes...maybe not financially, but with food, clothes, or emotional support? If you can afford it, buy a fuel efficient car. If you can't, look for ways to reduce your trips to store, etc. Both candidates could have answered this much better! Obama was right, we can do better than going shopping!

It took a lick on the head, but Bob Woodruff may be the next Murrow. Billy Bob, Did you see that terrific report on China he did last month? (ABC)

Murrow wasn't perfect. He interviewed Lucy to save her from the red scare, and stood out in the shit storm when London was bombed, but he never sacrificed a piece of his head.

Emily: When I first saw Palin I thought she was Tina Fey. Now you've hit the nail: Dana Carvey's church lady.
Barack Obama might be-e-e-e-e-e, "SATAN?" Then she and daddy McCain do their "superior dance."

Delaware Joe and Bashful Barry should imitate the Smothers Brothers or Rowan& Martin. People want to be entertained, I guess, not governed. Walmart and Exxon can handle that.

KHJ's list of 7 seems to be a proper way to evaluate this years DNP & RNP, assuming one begins with an open mind.

William F. Buckley, Jr. held debates where both sides were allowed to express opinions for the audience to evaluate, and the above list of 7 would apply. However, recent elections have pundits spinning their sides mistakes, errors, poor judgement, and constantly answer questions with party platform verbage--thus no answer at all.

Being elected seems to be "the end", not the commencement, and politicians seem to avoid trouble questions & most follow up questions.
Where is Edward R. Morrow when you need him? With the other there seem to be only pundits around.

Sorry, Bill for that cheap line.
Billy Bob, Florida where the DNP now wants our votes!

I don't have academic qualifications like Professor Jamieson, although I couldn't understand much of the technical language I thought what she explained at the last passage was very informative in people making judgement calls in choosing candidates.


Todd said, "For me this was a glimpse of Moyers trying to emulate Rush Limbaugh (if only) and this Jamieson, more than anything, embodying Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" from SNL. Right? She seems to think so highly of herself that it would have been laughable were her opinions not so sad."

I did think she reminded me of the church lady, but only in appearance and mannerisms, not because she thinks highly of herself. I think she's a very smart cookie who makes a lot of enlightening points about our political process.

I would recommend "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman. Even though she was writing about the 14th Century, the reader can see how hubris and bad leadership can have an effect hundreds of years into the future.

"Protective OverWatch"
You commented that you didn't exactly know what this euphenism means. It is a code phrase for US and Western strategy for occupying Western Asia. It comes from "the Turkish Model" --which you will find discussed in the political literature over the last 15+ years-- and was first popularly descibed in Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" (you'll first find it about 20 pages into your copy of the book). In it, Lawrence describes how the Turks had posts throughout their Empire and used local mercenaries to do all the real repression and extortion. The US, UK and France have the same plan only relying more on their naval carrier forces and Marine amphibious assault ships equipped with heliopads. You will also see it in the Littoral Combat Ship building programs(and debates) as well as the Army's equipment orders for wheeled-uparmoured vehicles. (I forget which vehicle but the order is (or maybe a "was" now) for 164,000 of this armored vehilce.(maybe it is the Buffalo). Most of the "bases" will be there to support gunships, intelligence units, and forward components of UAV units.
After "control and consolidation" is achieved, the above mercenary units and "resistance"/terroist groups will lead the assault on Iran and Pakistan.

"Protective OverWatch"
You commented that you didn't exactly know what this euphenism means. It is a code phrase for US and Western strategy for occupying Western Asia. It comes from "the Turkish Model" --which you will find discussed in the political literature over the last 15+ years-- and was first popularly descibed in Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" (you'll first find it about 20 pages into your copy of the book). In it, Lawrence describes how the Turks had posts throughout their Empire and used local mercenaries to do all the real repression and extortion. The US, UK and France have the same plan only relying more on their naval carrier forces and Marine amphibious assault ships equipped with heliopads. You will also see it in the Littoral Combat Ship building programs(and debates) as well as the Army's equipment orders for wheeled-uparmoured vehicles. (I forget which vehicle but the order is (or maybe a "was" now) for 164,000 of this armored vehilce.(maybe it is the Buffalo). Most of the "bases" will be there to support gunships, intelligence units, and forward components of UAV units.
After "control and consolidation" is achieved, the above mercenary units and "resistance"/terroist groups will lead the assault on Iran and Pakistan.

Dear Kathleen:

The Republican party is going to suffer blowback because of George W. Bush's ineptitude and incompetence vis-a-vis a Democratic presidential landslide. Heretofore, I have not heard any discussions from either parties candidates' on abrogating Bush's belligerent 2002 National Security Posture which permits the preemptive use of thermonuclear weapons. Further, nuclear abolition is not being discused by either parties candidates', has this issue been ignored by the media?

Once or twice every week these days, we watch a debate featuring presidential primary candidates. The only problem: these “debates” are not debates!

As Matt Yglesias has been quoted as saying, on The Huffington Post, "Under this new dynamic, the role of the moderator is not to play host to an interesting, informative discussion but rather to maximize the odds that some particular 10-second snippet of an hour-long broadcast will be worthy of rebroadcast. Hence, the focus on inane questions designed less to draw out an illuminating remark than to trip someone up."
This is not a debate in any meaningful sense of the word; what’s more, it is not fair — to candidates, to viewers, to voters. The Tim Russerts of the media do not moderate; they manipulate. Their goal is neither to inform the public nor to provide candidates a fair forum for contrasting their positions.

One recent Democratic debate was promoted as focusing on the economy. How important this could have been. Some candidates have been clearer on current economic conditions than others, and their positions on these issues may represent genuine differences among them. Did we hear a full-fledged two-hour discussion of the economy? Definitely not. What took most of the time, and provided the most ten-second snippets replayed over and over again on network “news” were personal squabbles between the Clintons and Barak Obama. Good prime-time melodrama, but not thoughtful interaction with regard to the candidates’ stand on the economy.

Just once during this presidential primary season, I wish we could have a debate that’s really a debate, not a media event.

First, let’s have a moderator who moderates, instead of manipulating. No more Tim Russerts, please. Maybe a Bill Moyers, Bill Bradley, Bob Kerrey or Jean Carnahan, someone who will let the focus be on the debaters, not the moderator.

Second, limit the discussion to one major topic, so candidates have time to explore issues in some detail, rather than being limited to sound bites; for example, the economy, foreign affairs, national defense/homeland security, health care, education, or the changing role of the presidency in the 21st century.

Third, allot each candidate time to state a position on each of two major issues related to this topic. Let each of their opponents respond, and the speaker follow up. With the current viable candidates, limiting position statements to, say, five minutes and follow-ups to, maybe, two minutes, such a debate could be staged in a reasonable time. Candidates might be encouraged to provide white papers that would give the press and the people more details on their positions.

I suspect that such a debate would draw just as many viewers as the current ones. They would be fairer to candidates and voters — more thoughtful, more informative, probably less melodramatic, perhaps even more controversial. And, you know what? In the long run, they’d probably provide the “news” media just as many ten-second snippets.

Regarding what Obama said about Republican ideas before and during the debate and the ad controversy:

The Clinton ad about what Obama said was not lying. Obama is trying to have it both ways - his own version of lawyer double-speak. He tried to both give Republicans a compliment by saying that they were "the party of ideas" for the last "10-15 years or so."

Before that he said that their ideas had "played themselves out."

He is pandering to both sides.

What disturbs me is that he is giving a false compliment to the Republicans, saying "they were the party of ideas",
when those were horrible, disatrous ideas.

And the implication is that during those years, the Republican party had better ideas, than the Democratic party and that is not true.

They might have had more streamlined ideas, but they were bad ideas.

Later he at the debate he said he wasn't saying he liked their ideas. So the questions is then, just what did he mean when he said "were the party of ideas."

That they had ideas? If you listen to what he says, he states it in a very complimentary tone.

Why did he bother to say it?

If it didn't mean anything?

That is not unification, that is deception and pandering.

It's manipulative politics, and it's duplicitous, and he's not owning up to it, but it's all right there, for anyone willing to hear it.

He's being the one who'll "say anything." And it's all very hypocritical, and he needs to be called on it, because it's wrong.

I want Kathleen Hall Jamieson to host a debate, and/or interview all the candidates!

Am I dreaming?

As the week has progressed and the media and pundits and experts have weighed in on the debate between Obama and the Clintons, driving their debate into the weeds, I have to again raise the issue of leadership.

The debate question Hillary raised was/were:

Who is the leader? LBJ or MLK?

Who is the better leader? LBJ or MLK?

Who is the leader we need now for the US? LBJ or MLK?

My view, and anyone can fairly disagree with me, is that Gandhi, Tutu, MLK, are the leaders who have allowed nations to transcend their differences and set a new course.

On the other hand, if you are looking for an LBJ, then I suggest that Romney is the one who should be campaigning as the leader needed because he drove the process to address healthcare problems in Mass as governor, and he was successful where Hillary in her unilateral demand for a solution failed.

I find it interesting that Romney is running away from the leadership on healthcare that he showed as governor. That says a lot ro me about the nature of leadership he sees that his constituency wants for president.

The Bill Moyer Journal provides substance on various issues. It can be a provocative
when a person watching the program focuses on one single issues. Many individuals
felt offended, it is understandable. The Country is in CRISES: WAR, DEBT,
We have a political system of two political parties with one agenda “IMPOSING
The truth is the "Government is dysfunctional! There is no accountability today...”!
The presidential candidates speak for change. They do not provide
The duties and responsibilities of the Congress MUST be ”STRICTLY CONSTRUED”!
They have been rationing the RIGHTS one T-BONE at the time, such as, “FREE SLAVERY,
to ANYBODY, now – today, rather than to relinquish “HOPES” to express
A Change, “Amend the Constitution”!
The political system is an engine, like an engine in a car or truck, that propels
the economy, the war, the health care, the economy, the freedom,
liberty, race, class etc.!
Replace the current “ENGINE” with an “UNIVERSAL ENGINE” - an engine that fits
on ALL cars trucks, an engine of substance - the “PEOPLE TO EXPRESS THEIR WILL
Except the individual responsibility! We have no one to blame but ourself.!
It is the “UNIVERSAL ENGINE STUPID” which will run the “Economy stupid”, and
not the other way around!

I'm not much of a debate watcher either, but I will tune in every third or fourth one to see how the candidates' messages are changing from month ot month, as well as how they're work with and against each other. I'd like to go to one when they come by, but there are more important indicators to me as to who would make a good President. (Like, say, monitoring how they flesh out their policy statements and to which groups they tailor their messages, to name two.)

I hope you're planning on having Kathleen Hall Jamieson on for the rest of the year. Her analysis is straightforward and often brilliant.

There were many things I found forehead slapping and hair pulling about the things said by Kathleen Jamieson, but I'll pick just one to comment on because it is typical of today's press and punditry. In the comment on the treatment of Kucinich, Paul, Edwards and even Huckabee's "anti-corporate, anti-big money rhetoric" she expressed bewilderment that the message was failing to resonate into sound bites in the press.

Really? You have no idea why a corporate, follow the leader press corp will not repeat a message that directly attacks the system that gives them their Corporate News jobs as well as predicted billions of dollars in campaigning money for their companies to pay for political advertisements? Seriously? No idea whatsoever?

Don't misunderstand me, Jamieson is clearly a competent observer and insightful at what she does, but her "bewilderment" shows an enormous blind spot in her approach to media analysis; that of media self interest.

No matter how fervently pundits and the press try to ignore, deny or dismiss it, the fact is that media institutions are clear stakeholders in the political process. Media benefits as a class from policy decisions and direction, which reasonably causes them to take positions on issues and to promote narratives they favor while marginalizing those they don't. A message from candidates that calls for a reducing the power of money and corporations sounds like it is probably in the "don't promote" category.

Without the media-as-a-stakeholder blindspot, it becomes clear from the coverage record that mainstream media generally favors the establishment candidates whose interests align with theirs. Candidates whose interests don't align are decided to be "unelectable" and receive scant coverage of their message, regardless of how strongly their message may appeal to voters.

If there is any question lingering about the press as a stake holder consider this; the discussion by Moyers and Jamieson wasn't whether the Kucinich/Paul et al's message resonated with the people (which it does) but with the press corp (which it doesn't.) They were basically acknowledging the press as a class without actually saying it directly. The last time I checked it is the people, not the press, that elect our government, and so a truly objective press would report on what was of importance to the populace-not to themselves. Let's hope they take the blinders off and get down to real journalism.

Ms. Jamieson made one huge error when she said words to the effect that "Bush won in 04 because he was principled." First of all, he didn't win, he lost - the vote was hijacked and it's all well documented, here: for instance.

Secondly, Bush's guiding principle is that he is right regardless of facts. That's not a quality Americans admire, en masse.

Hooray for Jamieson's pointing to the shocking prevalence of death metaphors being used by the press today, in their coverage of the primary races. The use of violent metaphors in our everyday speech is so prevalent, most of us fail to notice. I'll share a poem I wrote in 1991 (published in my 4th book of poems, Surgeonfish), which is a response to something said by the first President Bush.
Words of Our Time

And have our tongues always not known what they speak?
Good students, smart as whips, always
hitting the books before killing the lights

Armed with knowledge, and struck by new ideas, who wasn't
proud to take stabs at it,
firing off questions like shots in the dark.

Dead right, dead wrong,
there was always a time we could talk without thinking of
dressing to kill. Drowning our sorrows.

Parties were blasts, or they bombed.
No joke was ever caught dead without
its punch line.

And here is a time when a president says
we still have a shot at peace
and the surest way to peace is through war

When the media says
fire that kills you is friendly
when it's from your own side

When we who say
Bring our troops home
are told we don't support them

In this time when words
can make any war just
and peace, a smashing success

In this time, words
like feathers
knock some of us over

And some of us stand

As a young computer programmer/engineer, I was sent to a project management training session - I didn't want to go, I didn't want to be a project leader, I didn't want to be there because I considered the whole thing crap, just a lot of talk about all the stuff that was going to be delivered with lots of promises of how much resources we would have, and in the end, the project turned out to be long on promises and short on resources or rewards.

Just like political campaigns.

Well, I end up at this training session that I didn't want to be at, and I was expecting to get a list of rules or tools for how to run projects, and I knew they were just crap because I had seen lots of projects that turned into disasters.

Well, for the first day of the three day project management session, he talked only about leadership. He hammered home for half that day that leadership was about getting things done through other people. Leadership was about figuring out the minimum requirements, the charter, and the goals, and then making sure that everyone understood them, and signed on to them, and agreed to them, and was commited to the challenge. And he emphasized that everyone is different and you must deal with them as they want to be treated, but always with honesty.

Then he went through the process of doing a project, first getting everyone involved in figuring out the problems, the possible solutions, the resources needed to complete them, and then to agree on the plan, and then to sign up for it and for the work needed to do the job.

The leader facilitated and removed obstacles, but didn't define what was to be delivered, how it was to be delivered, or who was going to do the work. But the leader did track the project, identify the problems so the project members could respond, and to encouraged and praised the team.

I see Obama as the leader, or I hope that he is. He is setting the goals, creating the vision, getting the project memebers to sign up, first for the possibility of doing something great, and then for the work and sacrifice that it will require, but emphasizing the excitement of being part of something greater than themselves.

That was the nature of the leadership of JFK, but also of Eisenhower, and of FDR.

On the other hand, we have Bush "the decider." He has never sought to define a real shared vision. He has never sought get anyone to sign on to what he unilaterally starts. And he never talks about the sacrifice or costs. And he doesn't track things and gather those who could solve the problems and get things back on track.

Bush represents a typical project manager, one who bumbles along with things getting done in spite of the lack of leadership, and when things go wrong, he is never the problem or cause, its always someone else.

As the key attribute of a leader is to create a vision and get people to commit to it, it should be no surprise that Huckabee shows the same qualities of leadership as Obama. And Ron Paul has that same evangelical nature.

One should not dismiss the leadership qualities of the evangelical preacher; consider the sizable enterprises they have created, for good and not.

McCain has demonstrated the leadership quality of getting people to sign on by making them part of the solution, but debating with people who criticize him until they agree with him. And he has said on many times, "yes, this was my position, but you have convinced me to change." He doesn't frame the alternatives as right or wrong, but different alternatives, with one preferable to the others based on what the team prefers, not by his dictating the solution.

Hillary failed the leadership test with the healthcare plan in the early 90s. She worked in secret and then pushed the solution on those would would need to commit to it, and then after the fact tried to sell it and get people to buy into it. But no one is going to buy into someone else's plan that is costly to them easily, if at all. Presumably Hillary has learned from that experience, and if she were to want to show it, she would talk of the way she worked with others to come up with legislation and got support for it from her constituents. I worry that she is too much like Bush, but more likely to pay attention to details and follow through.

Anyway, what I have as my checklist is:
1) is there a broad vision and set of goals
2) are people brought to the same vision
3) is the definition of the problem and solution a task shared by all who will have a stake in the outcome
4) who is credited with the definition of the project and with delivering it

In the world of business, people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are well know examples of great business leaders. They are evangelical, they have a vision which they bring others to, and they delegate the critical work to many others, and give many others authority to act, and they keep everyone focused on the goal.

Romney talks of his management experience but as Huckabee quiped, "Romney looks like the guy who laid you off." Yes, Romney is a leader, but is he the right kind of leader for the time? Romney might be like Ike, who accomplished a great deal without claiming credit for it, or dictating the specifics of what or how. He wanted the interstate, but the details were left to those who would use them and build them.

But is Ike what we need, or a JFK?

The criteria listed are ok if we are hiring a Roman Republic dictator, giving him a defined project to deal with for the next six months, typically fighting a war, as I recall.

Anyway, how about a discussion of leadership and what it really means and how it is that leaders succeed instead of the more common failure or just getting by. Is Bush a failed leader because his goals were always wrong, or because he really failed to lead. Was his immigrantion goals wrong, or did he just fail to lead by getting everyone to sign on and own it and then agree to it? Why did he get the US into Afghanistan yet fail to meet any of the goals and requirements he set out at the beginning?

Who is kathleen trying to kid? Hilary's emotional ploy was obvious. It was no different then the ploy by Bush getting teary eyed about protecting us from terrorists when he is using fear to undermine our democratic system.

Today, Saturday, just before I watched my recorded episode of your show with Kathleen Jamieson, I saw on CNN a clip of Hillary Clinton in a restaurant in Reno, NV...listening to a woman with terrible mortgage problems...
Hillary wiped a tear and was "seeming on the verge of tears"...again. I turned it off. Let's see how often this ploy works.
I don't dislike Hillary, and would vote for her if she is the nominee, but this performance is too obvious.

In fact, it is known that exit polls are accurate, which is why officials would rather do without them when an election is thought to be fixed: the exit polls will tell you the election was fixed.

I heard one newsperson interview another about the polling and he said "well, we were all wrong." Now, either something happened that nobody foresaw or measured - or doesn't this feel a little weird, that ALL the polls had Obama leading Clinton and suddenly, surprise! If there is the LEAST potential for vote rigging here - then I would look at it, because stealing elections seems to have become more popular than winning them. If so much as one EVM was used, I would call the election faulty.

The Country is in crises, the candidates and the Congress performance has been
very poor. The presidential candidates speak for change. They do not provide
a specific substance, other than that they have “experience”! Experience in what...?
The only real change has been bigger and deeper whole,
trillions dollars of debt, hopes of empty promises – brain washing the public,
ignoring their duties, responsibilities, plunge the country into a war for over
5 years and lost of lives.
A true change of substance will be when the people can express
“THEIR WILL” on “ALL MAJOR ISSUES”. The duties and responsibilities
of the Congress should be and must be ”strictly construed”.
Amend the Constitution for the people to “express their will”
on ALL MAJOR ISSUES! We need that “change” now - today!
The future destiny, liberty, freedom to live, work etc. should be in the POWER
of the people to “express their will” on ALL MAJOR ISSUES!
It is time to stop granting unlimited - absolute power to ANYBODY
now – today, rather than to relinquish “HOPES” to express
The Congress did not comply with their duties, responsibilities and accountability!
The truth is the "Government is dysfunctional! There is no accountability today...”!
A federal judge sentence an athlete to jail for perjury – lies. The ARTICLE III of the
Constitution states, “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one
supreme Court .... as the Congress ... has ordain and establish”, It should follow the
practice of the federal judge and sentence all the lairs for “lying to the public to
go to war”!

Kathleen Jamison is one of the best, most knowledgeable commentators you've invited on your wonderful show. For anyone to disparage her in any way shows an ignorance which should be cited and then ignored.

Lu Motley -

I always watch Bill Moyers Journal and saw the previous shows with Kathleen Hall Jamieson. It was very surprising, therefore, to hear both of you, but particularly Jamieson talk about the candidates bringing up "Change" yet criticize the candidates that they did not talk substantively about the ways in which they would do just that. Well, there is and has been ONE candidate who has done that from the beginning and continues to do so yet neither one of you even thought to discuss Dennis Kucinich! Ms. Jamieson also mentioned, of all things, how Clinama-ards (3 bodies, 1 head) are not Consistent! Again, there is ONE candidate who has been and continues to be consistent because of his character: Dennis Kucinich. Why is no one paying attention? Because he is shunned by mainstream media and he's shunned because he is Clearly a man who WILL do exactly as he has said he will do because: 1) He represents the only True Change and not the cosmetic, throw-the-people- a-crumb-change, and 2) He has consistently stated (and already voted on and continues to do so in the House) his plans for Real Change in Washington. It scares the living daylights out of ABC and now NBC, Des Moines Register, etc. who simply will NOT LET HIM BRING HIS MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! Ms. Jamieson made a point of saying how Iowa is favorable to less-monied candidates - that it's a State for the more Independent, etc., yet the one major debate sponsored by the Des Moines Register shut Kucinich out and prevented him from reaching the majority of Iowans. Is this black-out Coincidence? Hardly. The word is out: shut him up or WE'RE out! As President, Dennis Kucinich, is the ONLY Candidate who will make a Clean Sweep in Washington and....the Washingtonians and all the special interest groups and their lobbyists KNOW it, and so it's a shut out. He has virtually no major campaign contributions because he will not accept monies from corporations and be indebted to them. The "Three" have no problem accepting the funding and that's why you also don't hear them stating exactly what their plans are for change because first they have to "get the job" and then only when "in office" learn how much payback they have to make to their corporate backers thru favorable legislation. I don't expect mainstream media to do any honest reporting anymore (hasn't been since Watergate) but what a surprise that neither Bill Moyers or Kathleen Hall Jamieson (in particular because it's her field!) while decrying the lack of consistency and substance by the other candidates on how they would enact Real Change in Washington, never once said: EXCEPT for Dennis Kucinich and then list this man's plans, applaud his consistency and integrity, and the FACT that he is and remains the ONLY Candidate who will bring Real Change as President. Disappointing program with half-truths!

I just wanted to say thanks for the Kathleen Hall Jamieson interviews. Everytime she's on the Journal, I walk away with a little more clarity about the entire political process.

The issue of election fraud seems to be the third rail of pundit discussions. Not once during the discussion last night was the issue of all the polls being wrong once again. The logical gymnastics used by pundits on Wednesday morning trying to explain away the giant discrepancies between the pre-election polls and the reported results were amplified by their conspicuous absence of any mention of possible election fraud.

Why did the results from jurisdictions that hand counted their ballots more closely match the polls, while the electronically tabulated jurisdictions generate the wide discrepancies. At least raise the issue, and then investigate.

Why is it that the exit polls and polling in general are considered accurate for decades, and even currently on other issues, but when used with elections they suddenly lose their accuracy?

The tabulation programming for the election was done by one private company. It has been shown by independent and state commssioned studies that the voting system used has features where vote totals can be altered or swapped, and all traces of that manipulaiton eraced.

The only way to detect any discrepancies is to have random audits of specific precincts.

There is a reason that the recounts in Ohio resulted in convictions for rigging, and two thirds of the counties destroyed their paper ballots while under court order not to.

With electronic voting we can no longer accept election night results as fact.
New Hampshire needs to prove the accuracy of the results, and the media should demand it for the sake of the American people.

For eight years we keep hearing about large last minute vote swings with pundits using the most inane irrational explanations, but always omitting the possibility of election fraud. Election fraud has been around for as long as elections, but now it can be accomplished by one person in seconds with electronic voting.

At least raise the possibility as one of the explanations! Until election fraud is acknowledged as a problem, it will never be fixed.

I think the press should take its job more seriously in the area of moderating the debates. Why not confront each and every candidate about his or her voting record on the major economic, social, and foreign policy issues of our time. How about flashing a box beneath each candidate with the yea and nays of their congressional record while they are blubbering on. This way it will be made plain and clear if these people truly stick to their guns when it comes to ACTION. I am tired of all the cosmetics, and emotional analyses of the contenders. Let's get down to the brass tacks of legislative delivery. If the press continues to make a long drawn out soap opera of this campaign then it will be the best smokescreen for deciding who is best for this country. Obama's messages for HOPE and CHANGE and now FAITH need more SPECIFICITY..He needs to get into the streets and ask for a true dialog.. not just sweep crowds off their feet with inspirational oratory.

I enjoy Kathleen Hall Jamison's commentary. She can be quite insightful in unraveling spin.

But could she refer to the political party opposite the Republicans as the Democratic Party?

I am finding that I too have picked up the Republican spin that distorts the designation of their opponents.

But if she is going unravel the spin, she needs to be careful that it doesn't infect her own speech.

I was a little disappointed with this conversation as a week after excellent discussions with Dr. Paul and Dennis Kucinich, neither Moyers nor Jamieson could find the time to mention these candidates at any length.

Jamieson made a comment to the effect that the candidates weren't really discussing the tough issues. I wonder if she has been watching any of the Republican debates in which Dr. Paul, when he is permitted to speak, constantly addresses monetary policy, fiscal responsibility, foreign policy, and civil liberties. There really is little difference in the other R candidates, who fall over one another trying to be the first one who was for the surge, the first one to suggest building walls, etc.

Have you already written off those "fringe" candidates who do talk specifics about issues and policy, or are you just following the lead of the mainstream media by ignoring them?

Wow, this interview was so bad, I had to write. Who is this person and why is she on the show? As an occasional Moyers viewer, I was astounded at how she (and Moyers) continued on having so little of insight or interest to say. It really was a shockingly vapid and snidely empty conversation. The real topic was themselves and how relevant they (think they) are. For me this was a glimpse of Moyers trying to emulate Rush Limbaugh (if only) and this Jamieson, more than anything, embodying Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" from SNL. Right? She seems to think so highly of herself that it would have been laughable were her opinions not so sad. Lastly, I see it is "professor" Jamieson. Please! To subject college students to this drivel is one thing, but to pass this off to the general viewing public is a real shame.

If you're going to have Ms Jamieson as a repeat guest
please have the camera shoot her from a different angle: she looks too much like and sometimes sounds too much like SNL's
'Church Chat Lady'.

Sorry, but the association does register in some dark part of the brain...

Read "No Debate" by George Farah. When it comes to the national debates, they won't really be debates. Unless they are run by the League of Women Voters stricty on LWV terms, the national debates will be bogus by agreement between the parties (read the book.)

I personally, if allowed to ask unfettered questions of these people, could punch holes in 90% of what most candidates have said to the public. Many of us realize there is no forensic process, and no basic vetting of simple logic and reason. Candidates use cliches to answer questions without answering them, and the media are content to let them get away with it. But there is no media accountability either: the people have no organized way to confront media to make them responsible, and candidates are being and will be elected on the basis of almost no serious challenges they are forced to answer.

I want forensically refereed national debates - run by LWV and judged by three independent forensic judges. Fail to answer a question? BUZZ! "Penalty for failing to answer the question." Answer a question about your dumb policies by talking about how the other fellow has dumb policies? BUZZ/ "Penalty for failing to answer the question." Let the public see how poorly all candidates do when they can't distract people with BS. And let them find out how little candidates actually have to account for or admit to these days.

Talking with Bill Meyers you said others emotional moment would not be questioned the way Hilliary's is. That the question needs to be can she lead? She is co-dependent they do not lead they enable. This strong competent woman, ran home and got her husband when she did not get what she felt she was entitled to. She didn't bounce back and stand up for her self. Since Susan B Anthony we have been fighting against this response for autonomy. She can't have it both ways and lead.

I cannot believe the naivety of Kathleen Hall Jamieson when she said "some who is not trained as an actor ... I take their emotional displays at face value."

Mr. Moyers, think about it for just a moment and report that to Ms. Jamieson: although perhaps candidates don't get "acting lessons", learning to act only requires practice and feedback, and learning to act well, or properly, or at least not improperly, is in fact supremely important to candidates. The question is less whether Ms. Clinton's tears were real (perhaps they were) than whether Ms. Clinton calculated that to show tears would be advantageous and allowed the tears to show, since I am certain that she is at all times very much aware how she carries herself and how she presents herself, and that any display of humor OR tears on her part is deliberate and intentional.

Ms. Jamieson offers little to convince us that her "presuming the emotions to be valid" justifies believing the emotions or the intent behind their expression.

Both Senator Clinton's emotional moment and the press hype that followed were designed to meet a political necessity, which may well have been that a cover was needed for the anomaly in the voting vs. the polling. I don't put it past the press, since we should remember well that they clamped down on questions about the legitimacy of voting procedures in 2004. No mention in the discussion of these kinds of distortions from a press and a candidate who have corporate ties.

Senator Obama still did well in New Hampshire - we can overcome if we don't allow ourselves to be distracted. It is going to be a battle, but we knew that.

Hi Kathleen,
I enjoyed your comments tonight.
I’m an independent; I was leaning toward Joe Bidden or John McCain because of the leadership they have shown in the past. Joe has dropped out and I’m not very comfortable with McCain’s or Joe’s support for the Military Industrial complex.
I haven’t really seen any leadership from anyone else until this week. Obama started the band wagon for Change and everyone else has jumped on board. After his loss in NH he gave a speech and talked about “Yes we Can!” today other candidates are scrambling to get on this band wagon. I think we need a leader that others will follow and I’m starting to see a trend we need to keep an eye on it. I need to decide by Feb 5th. I’ll listen for your comments on leadership next week.
The good news is there are only twelve months before we start the 2112 campaign.

ya know, the way these "analysts" talk about the debates and candidates you would think we were headed for or had just watched an evening at the world wrestling federation rather than a debate about the issues. and the electronic graphics used on the debate "show's" intros, bumpers and teases are espn-worthy for sure!

again, it's a big business: this political industry.

i was almost giddy when i heard the pundits bemoaning "how could the NH primary polls be so wrong" the next day. as a former new englander, i can tell you why the polls were so wrong:

we outright lie to pollsters.

(oh and often to reporters too.)

when asked, bump up the income level, become a bit younger, acquire an additional family member or two in the household. how do i feel today, generally satisfied? less satisfied? unsatisfied?

maybe the polls in nh were "wrong" because we folks out here are tired of the attempt to manipulate us by creating soap operas around candidates and trying to make this political process into the next "survivor" for ratings purposes. instead of immunity challenges, it's the latest poll figures or outrageous pundit statement. i'd be curious to see how much ads cost during and around these debates and shows. i bet they've never cost more.

wrong polls? ha! nh voters may have lied to pollsters just to remind all those in the political industry as to who really is ultimately in charge of this whole dramatic election process:

"we, the people."

Regarding your comment on the program that only Hillary Clinton's emotional moment was questioned as phony while similar moments by others are not is patently false. A quick look through the media would have told you that. Here is just one example from a Boston Globe column on Mitt Romney that includes these lines:

"Cry me a river, Mitt"
Mitt Romney teared up recently on NBC's "Meet the Press," as he recounted how he learned in 1978 that his Mormon Church would finally fully accept blacks.
When voters see him cry, they should turn their Mitt detector way up high.

And I won't even bother to pull examples about Bush.

Of course, that is not to say that I think it is right or wrong to question their motives, but whatever the case, it is certainly not limited to Clinton. So, when you scold Mr. Moyers by saying "I don't live in your world," simply because he says that he does not know if Hillary's emotional moment was authentic, you may want to consider a move to the world of reality.

One issue I don't hear anyone talking about: We now live in a climate where "electronic election fraud" is a reality.

Whether you believe this was the case in New Hampshire or not, the fact is, we can no longer trust the outcomes of our elections.

I have seen the poll results that show in (every?) county where the ballots were HAND counted in NH, Obama beat Hillary, and Paul defeated Giuliani. Hillary is definitely the candidate Republicans would most prefer to run against. There is no more polarizing Democrat than Ms. Clinton. Up until the day of the election, every poll showed an Obama win, many by double digits.

On the Republican side, Bill, you said it yourself: "Despite McCain saying 10,000 more years in Iraq, Republicans opposed to the war broke overwhelmingly for McCain."

81% of New Hampshirites voted on Diebold Optical Scanners with a known outdated version of the scanning software (v1.94w).

When we have past evidence of electronic voting irregularities... both intentional and accidental... changing the outcome of elections, and suddenly we see such an unprobable outcome as we did in New Hampshire, "Where did the pollster go wrong?" shouldn't be the only question we're asking.

Thank you Kathleen Jamieson..I am so tired of hearing about Mrs. Clinton's emotional tearing up when talking to supporters. I for one believ it to be real and am sick of the double standard used against her. Go Hillary!!! If I was hesitating on my vote it won't happen again- you've got my vote because you have the guts to run against the tide.

I don't even watch debates. I read them afterward on the Internet and see what the fact checkers say. The only thing that would get me to sit through politicians bloviating in real time would be if they used the technology of VH-1's "Pop-Up Video" to interject fact checking as little balloons. (Burger King should sponsor it, so they can use a burger icon every time someone tells a whopper.)

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