Debate II Review – Dazed and Confused

Well, let’s get the main thing about Sunday’s U.S. Senate debate between Ben Nelson and Pete Ricketts out of the way:

Who in the name of Jerry Garcia came up with the psychedelic background? We were wondering if the invisible Dale Munson was going to start playing “White Rabbit” and Rob and Julie were going to ask both candidates their favorite song off of Zeppelin IV. Did they misplace the lava-lamps and tapestries at Channel 7 as well? (But we really digress.)

The aforementioned River City Wrangle © turned out to be the River City Ripple ©. There were a couple of new barbs thrown in by each candidate, but no real waves to change the complexion of the campaigns. As in the first debate, we think it’s difficult to claim that either side won, but that always favors the incumbent.

Ricketts tried a few new lines, namely the issues of Nelson not sufficiently supporting troops and his biggie of Nelson never passing a bill. While an interesting point that may gain him a little traction, Nelson seemed prepared for this one, and volleyed back his position as one of the Gang of 14.

Nelson came up with a few gimmicks as well, first proposing that the candidates stop naming each other in commercials and then asking Ricketts for a yes or no on supporting the consumption tax. Ricketts whacked the first back at Nelson, pointing out that he (Ricketts) has gone positive of late, and Nelson has not. The second point had Ricketts hitting back at Nelson for his constituent letter on the point, and Nelson gave nearly the exact same answer he had in Lincoln.

As in the first debate, Nelson referred to and often kept his head down reading from a notebook with all the answers in it. Ricketts had notes as well, though only seemed to use them when searching for an exact number (like “82% of dentists think…”). Nelson also read his closing statement almost verbatim, head down again.

But Nelson was again pretty loose and aggressive. He was on the attack in every question, and was never on his heels with a question. Ricketts too seemed well prepared, but too often was claiming that he had NOT said something that Nelson claimed. The constant defense on what he “is not” has continued to let Nelson frame Ricketts, and takes precious time from Ricketts trying to do the same to Nelson.

We guess we were hoping that Ricketts would come out and lead-pipe Nelson in the knee, or something, so as to stir things up here. Instead we got polite back-stabbing, and in the end no real change in this race.

Unfortunately for Ricketts, he could come onto the stage at the last debate in Scotsbluff riding a lion, and no one will probably notice.

All images from KETV Channel 7.You can see the entire debate, cut up into bite-sized pieces, there as well.

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