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Monday, February 16, 2004


WISCONSIN DEBATE: TRANSCRIPT - THE SOFTBALL QUESTIONS 

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Where there's a Democratic debate, there's easy questions. Sunday night's debate in Milwaukee was certainly no exception. The panelists were Mike Gousha of WTMJ, Craig Gilbert, the Washington bureau chief of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Gloria Borger is co-host of CNBC's "Capital Report," and is also a columnist for U.S. News and World Report. And Lester Holt is co-anchor of the MSNBC "Weekend Today" show and he's also an anchor on MSNBC.

Here are the maddeningly easy softballs tossed by the panelists. These weren't even questions, they were launch pads for the democratic candidates to use in order to air their talking points.

GILBERT: Senator Edwards, Democrats are questioning the president about his service in the Guard and they are saying he misled the country about Iraq. Is President Bush's honesty an issue in this campaign?

BORGER: Senator Kerry, I'll give you a chance to talk about the special interest money that you've raised, and why you are the best person to make the case on special interests against George Bush.

HOLT: And my question is to Representative Kucinich. Good evening, sir. Ed Gillespie, chairman of the RNC, says "Democrats are going to run the dirtiest campaign in history." John Kerry's Web site responds that "the Bush White House is going to run a gutter campaign." We've still got nine months to go here, gentlemen. Is anything political or personal off-limits in your view?

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC: And Senator Kerry, if I could just follow up on this same line of questioning, has this campaign, in your view, already gotten too personal against you? Has it crossed any lines, inappropriate lines?

GOUSHA: Senator Kerry, thank you. The next question is for Reverend Sharpton. Reverend, thanks very much for being with us tonight. The president said he is going to meet with members of the 9/11 commission. If you were a member of the commission and not a candidate for office, what is the first question you would ask the president?

BORGER: Well, Congressman Kucinich, what do you say to people here in Wisconsin who want to keep paying lower prices at Wal-Mart and don't want to lose jobs?

GILBERT: Governor Dean, you said in a recent debate about U.S. casualties in Iraq that those soldiers were sent there by the votes, in this case, of Senator Lieberman, Senator Edwards and Senator Kerry. Do you believe that because of the way they voted to authorize force in Iraq that they share some degree of responsibility for the war and its costs and casualties?

BORGER: This is a question I'm going to pose to Governor Dean and then to Senator Edwards. How do you believe that history will ultimately judge the war in Iraq?

check out these dubious questions as well as the even more dubious answers by reading the entire transcript of the debate.

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