Palin and Debates

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Conlin vs ?: Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin is down big in the polls and tried to get some attention going her way (getting Iowans’ attention on her race) by staging a “debate” at the Des Moines Public Library. She challenged Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to show up. She said she would debate an “empty chair” if he didn’t come. Actually, the chair didn’t show up either; she used a lectern. But you get the point.

Grassley’s spokesman, Eric Woolson told me Grassley would be out-of-state taping Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil? Woolson said Grassley and Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu worked on a bill together to foster adoption and they are taping an appearance on Dr. Phil Monday in California to talk about it. No word whether Oprah and Maury Povich could be next. Regardless, no way was Grassley going to show up at this.

Grassley had agreed to the Iowa Public TV appearance and a debate on WHO radio October 26th. But it looks like that might be it. Hardly a surprise for an incumbent to rebuff challenger’s attempts to get as many debates (and free air-time) as possible. Western Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King isn’t debating his challenger, Matt Campbell, at all (he hever has debated an opponent since he has been in Congress). And I only know of one debate between 3rd District Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell and his challenger, Brad Zaun (are there any more?) Governor Chet Culver and his challenger, Terry Branstad agreed to three.

Conlin is a skilled trial lawyer with experience in the courtroom. Is anyone suprised Grassley would risk his large lead by debating her numerous times? Probably not. But the bigger question here, I think, is what happens because of this? Does Grassley hurt himself with Iowans by not showing up at the library? Does it look like he thinks he is above it? Or does Conlin hurt herself by losing credibility for the office with what Grassley’s campaign calls a “stunt”? What do you think?

Radio Iowa’s Kay Henderson offers a few highlights from the event today.

Cards Collapse: I’m struggling to figure out if it’s time for St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa to go. I’m sure he’s a hall-of-famer. But he’s become a cranky old man at the age of 66. He feuds with players…Rasmus, Pujols, Carpenter, just to name a few this year. And the team tanked down the stretch (which it has done nearly every year since 2004). I was disappointed ownership/management constructed the team with no real backup at third and a very inexperienced bench before the season started. But I think LaRussa (hitting coach/cheater Mark McGwire?) has to take some of the blame, too. The players look like they have run out of gas again as the season winds down. They don’t blame with energy or excitement. And they don’t look like have ANY fun. Something has to change.

Punkin Price: Poor little Hayden. Look what his mom and Aunt Jill did to him! Thanks to Howell Tree Farm in Cumming for the awesome backdrop for the picture that is sure to surface at Hayden’s wedding one day:)

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