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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Debate #9 - Pregame

Rich Galen

Thursday February 20, 2020

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  • Here was the talk in the run-up to the debate on Wednesday night. And when I say "the talk" I mean, of course, "Here's what I was thinking."

  • Many games and even wars are largely won and lost before the first ball is thrown, or the first bullet is fired. Same is true of political debates - including debates being a contact sport.

  • A good debate story.

  • In 1980 when Governor Ronald Reagan was running against President Jimmy Carter, I was press secretary for Congressman Dan Quayle running against U.S. Senator Birch Baye.

  • As I remember there was going to be only one debate - Reagan and Carter had only onc debate as well.

  • After the walk-through of the hall in Indianapolis, Quayle's staff worked itself into a frenzy about Sen. Bayh's talent for looking directly into a camera and speaking to the people at home.

  • I don't remember where we got this idea from, but it bedeviled us all day.

  • Finally, I could stand it no more. I went back over to the hall and asked to look it over again. This was, remember 1980. The cameras were this size of refrigerated trucks and were equipped with what are called "Tally Lights;" those lights that come on when the camera in which it is installed is on the air.

  • One by one I unscrewed the red lens. Took out the small bulb. And, put the lens back on.

  • End of Tally Lights. Birch wouldn't know which camera was on. Level playing field for Congressman Quayle.

  • Quayle easily beat the 18-year-incumbent on election night a few weeks later.

  • Which leads us to the Las Vegas debate.

  • Early last October, Bernie Sanders experienced "chest discomfort" during an event and went to the hospital. After some hemming and hawing, the campaign admitted he had suffered a heart attack which was treated with the insertion of two stents to keep the blocked artery open.

  • October. November. December. January. Early February. Mid February.

  • Four and half months after the event, the matter of Sanders' medical records were the breathless subject of panel after panel on cable chat shows.

  • You think everyone had forgotten about the fact that Bernie did a Trump and had doctors release vague letters attesting to his good health - for a 78-year-old man with a heart attack in his recent past?

  • No. Everyone was pretty satisfied we knew enough and we could see that Sanders was functioning pretty well on the campaign trail.

  • Someone got the drums beating about Bernie Sanders' health records.

  • I'm betting that someone was either the campaign of Joe Biden, the campaign of Mike Bloomberg, or both.

  • The Sanders campaign was so badly rattled that it sent its press secretary out to claim that Bloomberg had had stents inserted and had, himself, suffered "heart attacks."

  • This was not true. The stents part is true, but I had stents inserted back in the day, to prevent a heart attack. They were the very stents that had to be pried out so my thoracic surgeon could perform a cardiac bypass in March of 1998. Also to prevent a heart attack.

  • But that's not the end of the pre-debate maneuvering.

  • Michael Bloomberg has been in business (and in the Mayor's office) in New York since he got an MBA from Harvard in 1966. He used bad language and ogled women with the same zeal as just about every other male on Wall Street until Harvey Weinstein's arrest two years ago.

  • Do you think it is just coincidence that every stupid utterance about women by Bloomberg burst on the scene this week? It even shoved "stop-and-frisk" out of the discussion.

  • It is not.

  • In both cases, the campaigns have been tirelessly working the press corps planting stories that, having been blanketing the media like confetti after the Superbowl, will work its way into the question list at the Las Vegas debate and then will be batted back and forth by the other four candidates like a beach volleyball near the pool behind the Belligio.

  • As I noted above, debates are a contact sport and this is the ninth one for most of the candidates.

  • It is the first for Bloomberg. His people say he has a plan for dealing with the issues that will be thrown at him.

  • As Mike Tyson has been quoted as saying: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the American Heart Association's discussion of Sanders' heart attack, to NBC's overview of the debate, to the Wikipedia entry for the Quayle v. Bayh Senate race in 1980, and to the NY Times' examination of Bloomberg's statements about women.

    The Mullfoto is another in the line of interesting license plates.

    --END --


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February 2020

02/20/20 - Debate #9 - Pregame
02/17/20 - Next Up: Nevada
02/10/20 - The Political Coriolis Effect
02/5/20 - Iowa, a State of the Union
02/3/20 - Big, BIG Week


January 2020

01/27/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 5
01/24/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 3
01/22/20 - Impeachment Trial - Day 1
01/16/20 - No Heat, No Light, No Debates
01/13/20 - Off the Ledge
01/09/20 - Off the Ledge
01/06/20 - Hard Questions; No Easy Answers
01/02/20 - Finally, the Election Year


December 2019

12/30/19 - Fifty Years Ago
12/25/19 - Christmas 2019 - Six Words
12/19/19 - Walk Time
12/16/19 - When You're a Jet You're a Jet all the Way
12/12/19 - Impeachment Moves Ahead
12/09/19 - Bulldozers and Airplanes
12/05/19 - Impeachment (Ver. 1,205,736)
12/02/19 - How Many More Democrats?
November 2019

11/21/19 - Political Ambassadors
11/18/19 - Impeachable? Maybe
                 Ugly? Absolutely

11/14/19 - And So it Begins
11/07/19 - Is Past, Prologue?
11/04/19 - One Year to Go


October 2019

10/31/19 - A Reason to Celebrate
10/21/19 - Doral
10/17/19 - Pennant
10/14/19 - Meanwhile, the Dems
10/09/19 - It's Government, but is it Good Government?
10/04/19 - Slow Down, You're Movin' Too Fast
10/01/19 - 2019 Subscription Drive


September 2019

9/30/19 - Main Event
9/26/19 - Impeachment - I
9/23/19 - Bullying Ukraine
9/16/19 - Iranian Drones
9/13/19 - Democratic Debate - III
9/12/19 - Boone
9/09/19 - NOT a Sharpie Column
9/03/19 - Aaaaand ... They're Off!


August 2019

8/29/19 - Back to School - 2019
8/26/19 - G7
8/22/19 - Rooting for Recession?
8/15/19 - Campaigning in Iowa - I
8/12/19 - Jeffrey Epstein is Dead
8/08/19 - It's Not All Trump's Fault
8/05/19 - Running with Trump
8/01/19 - The Democrats' Debate II


July 2019

7/29/19 - The Debate Effect
7/25/19 - The Mueller Hearings
7/22/19 - A Brief History of Technology
7/18/19 - Tranquility Base Here
7/15/19 - The Socialist Envelope
7/11/19 - Acosta
7/8/19 - Good Vibrations
7/4/19 - Happy Birthday, America
7/1/19 - Busy Times


June 2019

6/28/19 - The Democrats' Debate II
6/27/19 - Debates: High-Risk, Low-Reward
6/24/19 - Democrats' Dismay
6/20/19 - Crocodile Tears
6/17/19 - Deter, Safeguard, or Defend
6/10/19 - Military Service Fantasies
6/6/19 - Overlord
6/3/19 - California Dreamin'


May 2019

5/30/19 - Mueller Speaks
5/27/19 - Memorial Day - 2019
5/23/19 - A Clowder of Cats
5/20/19 - Spahn & Sain and Pray for Rain
5/16/19 - Then There Were 23
5/13/19 - Biden Widens His Lead
5/9/19 - That "I" Word Again
5/2/19 - Dems One - Barr None


April 2019

4/29/19 - Devotion to Socialism or Wanting to Win
4/25/19 - Requests, Demands, & Subpoenas
4/22/19 - Get Off the Impeachment Train
4/18/19 - Hung Jury
4/15/19 - Senior Citizenship
4/11/19 - Dis-Barred
4/8/19 - Kirstjen Nielsen: You're Fired
4/1/19 - April ... Ah, You Know


March 2019

3/28/19 - Opening Day 2019
3/25/19 - That's Over. Nothing's Changed.
3/21/19 - Why?
3/18/19 - Those Iowa Caucuses
3/14/19 - Cheating
3/11/19 - Democrats and Socialism
3/7/19 - Gone Fishing
3/4/19 - Just Walk Away, Don J.


February 2019

2/28/19 - Michael Cohen Speaks
2/25/19 - Managing Expectations
2/21/19 - The Mueller Report (1)
2/18/19 - Presidents I have Known
2/14/19 - Enough, Already, with the Wall
2/11/19 - Gals-Gals-Gals
2/6/19 - SOTU - 2019
2/4/19 - Blackface


January 2019

1/31/19 - Disrupter
1/28/19 - It Ain't Over
1/24/19 - Polling the Shutdown
1/21/19 - The Shutdown Offer
1/17/19 - The Fixer Fixed the Polls
1/14/19 - Pelosi Can't Afford a Wall
1/9/19 - Nine Minutes
1/7/19 - Relevance
1/3/19 - Shutdown


December 2018

12/27/18 - Trump in Iraq - 90 Points
12/24/18 - Christmas 2018 - Six Words
12/20/18 - The "I" Word - II
12/17/18 - The Nay-C-A
12/13/18 - The "I" Word
12/10/18 - Close, but No Cigar
12/6/18 - A State Funeral
12/3/18 - H.W.


November 2018

11/29/18 - The Election of 2018 is Over
11/22/18 - Thanksgiving 2018 - Rainbow Shiny
11/19/18 - January 3
11/16/18 - I was Right, This Time
11/12/18 - The War to End All ...
11/08/18 - Elections? What Elections.
11/05/18 - And ... Down the Stretch They Come
11/01/18 - Steve King


October 2018

10/29/18 - On Being Jewish
10/25/18 - Simultaneous Bombs
10/22/18 - Permanent Final Week
10/18/18 - Oil Without Saudi
10/15/18 - 45750
10/8/18 - Moderates?
10/4/18 - That Blue Tsunami
10/2/18 - End Game
10/1/18 - The 2018 Subscription Drive


September 2018

9/28/18 - The Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing
9/24/18 - Supreme Court
9/20/18 - Razor's Edge
9/17/18 - Statute of Limitations
9/13/18 - A Poll Dump
9/10/18 - Whodunit?
9/6/18 - Senate Judiciary Hearings
9/3/18 - Back to School - 2018


August 2018

8/30/18 - Monkey Around
8/27/18 - We Make History
8/23/18 - The I-Word
8/20/18 - Zero Shades of Grey
8/16/18 - 82 Days & Counting
8/13/18 - Stiffing a SCIF
8/9/18 - Ohio-12
8/6/18 - A Tweet Storm
8/2/18 - Audiences, Crowds, and Mobs


July 2018

7/30/18 - Good Numbers, Bad Numbers
7/26/18 - Putin isn't Coming
7/23/18 - Trump's Brove Affairs
7/19/18 - The ServPro President
7/16/18 - CNN is Not an Enemy of the People
7/12/18 - America's Resting Face
7/9/18 - SCOTUS Pick
7/4/18 - Happy Birthday, America
7/2/18 - Ghostbusters


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