Virginia Senate race

I didn’t get to hear Jim Webb speak this evening, because just when Barack Obama was starting to introduce him, N insisted that he needed to use the potty.  Not a message I was able to ignore, I’m afraid.  We raced off to the bookstore that has public toilets and got back just in time to hear his last line, which was that "if you know me, you know there will be beer there!"  I assume that this was in reference to his victory party in November.

It was nice to hear Obama speak, although he didn’t say anything especially memorable.  His main line was that he didn’t ordinarily quote Newt Gingrich, but that Gingrich had said that if he were running as a Democrat this year, his campaign line would be just two words: "Had enough?"

I did get to see my recording of Meet the Press debate from Sunday, and think Webb did a good job, especially in the first half of the debate, which focused on Iraq.  Even if he didn’t have the huge advantage of his personal story, his argument — that this Administration doesn’t understand that you have to use diplomacy as well as force — would be a strong one.  Allen ducked hard on the question of whether he’s going to support Bush or Warner on the interrogation of prisoners, but he’s going to have to vote one way or the other before the election. 

I do think Webb’s answers on the role of women in the military were pretty weak.  I would have liked him to have said flat out that, with the benefit of hindsight, he wishes he hadn’t written that article about women in the Academy.  And I just don’t get the argument that says that it’s ok for women to be shot at and blown up (as they are when "attached" to combat units as military intelligence, translators, etc.) but not ok for them to be part of the combat units and shoot back.  But Allen calling him on it is a classic case of Pot, meet Kettle.

Webb is incredibly lucky that Allen screwed up with that macaca line.  Not because I  think that many voters are ultimately going to decide based on that moment.  But the Webb campaign was suffocating from lack of money — according to the Post, at the end of June, Allen had $6.6 million in the bank, and Webb less than half a million.  That’s a brutal disadvantage, since this is an expensive tv market.  Webb clearly hates to ask for money, and is bad at it.  Bu the macaca quote got the race back onto people’s lists of competitive races.  And that in turn brings in the national donors.  (Webb’s now #3 in the ranking of candidates who have raised money through the Netroots campaign on ActBlue.)

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