MN Senate Debate: Live Analysis

7:04 CT: They all did their over the top introductions and thank yous to the moderators.

7:08 CT: "We shouldn't be in this situation, but we are," Al Franken

7:13 CT: Here comes an unusual quote from Norm Coleman: "You're not going to generate hope if you're constantly destroying the other side." I thought Barack Obama was all about hope, Norm.

7:15 CT: "We have people who have lost 2 trillion dollars in retirement," Dean Barkley.

7:16 CT: Barkley first ran in 1992 and brought up the fact that Social Security was broke. Barkley says "[he] has been railing against Social Security since" because it is broke.

7:17 CT: "I would bring AARP into the discussion...if we get them to buy in we can fix [Social Security]," -Dean Barkley.

7:18 CT: Franken says that "Norm Coleman wanted to put the Social Security trust fund in the stock market. Can you imagine if we did that." Franken essentially wants to push back the Social Security issue to a later date. Social Security will remain solvent until "2040 something", but "we should not put the money in the stock market."

7:20 CT: Norm Coleman just called Al Franken "Alvin."

7:21 CT: "If we can put the partisan politics aside, we can, we have to get this done. We have to have the political courage to move forward," responds Norm Coleman.

7:22 CT: "I just saw the Texas two step, you side stepped the question," says Dean Barkley in his one minute rebuttal. "The longer we wait the longer the draconian issue [of Social Security] will be."

7:23 CT: Franken jumps on the no new FICO fees bandwagon for anybody making less than 250,00.

7:25 CT: "We can do a lot of fighting," on any issue, but "its the bipartisan way that fixes things. That's what [Norm Coleman] has done."

7:27 CT: "It would be a GRAVE mistake to use military force against Iran, as we did in Iraq. Senator Coleman and I disagree on this." Franken's sole objective seems to be linking Norm to all things Republican. Norm seems to be trying to link himself to both parties, and Dean Barkley is running as the anti-party candidate.

7:28 CT: Apparently Norm thinks that if Iran gets a Nuclear weapon "Egypt will buy one." If it were that easy Iran would already have purchased a Nuclear weapon.

7:30 CT: If 85 Senators vote against a bill that's probably a pretty good indication that it was a bad bill Mr. Coleman.

7:31 CT: "Iran is supporting terrorism," which is why Dean Barkley thinks Iran is of concern. "Make sure nobody can get their hands on the stockpile of Nuclear fuel and weapons. We should talk to Russia as a safeguard."

7:32 CT: Franked responded: "Military action should not be used. Iran has been strengthened because of US involvement in the Iraq war. We need to talk to Iran, using patient diplomacy. We need to end the cowboy foreign policy of the Bush administration."

7:33 CT: Norm replied by stating that "This is a problem for the whole world not just the United States. We cannot take military action off the table, but we also need to use diplomacy...Lets make ourselves energy independent and end our dependency on foreign oil."

7:34 CT: "We cannot allow Iran to get nukes; we need to safeguard the nuclear stockpiles throughout the world, not just Iran," responded Barkley.

7:35 CT: Franken started ragging on Coleman because of a provision in a bill that had something to do with securing our reports after 9/11 that Norm voted for. Norm chimed in and said "Minnesota needs to decide if they want a Maverick or somebody who gets things done. I want to be measured by what I've done. I'm tired of playing gotcha."

7:36 CT: Still on the topic of nuclear sovereignty Barkley stated that "there is a need to discuss the role of the US in the world...We have to much debt and our military budget is too large. We should put our efforts into Afghanistan."

7:37 CT: "I guess maybe I'm just a Maverick," Franken sarcastically retorted.

7:38 CT: In regard to the 6.2% unemployment in Minnesota Norm responded by stating that "the housing is a critical crisis piece, so more effort to bring stability in the housing market [is needed]. We have to decrease our dependence on foreign oil and we should not raise taxes."

7:39 CT: "We could have been [studying stem cells] in the last seven years in Rochester, instead of spending money on Iraq" proclaims Franken.

7:40 CT: One of the Moderator stated that he has is "running a cold."

7:41 CT: Barkley has repeatedly said that he "hopes the 700 billion bailout works." He does not seem confident. "Our economy is consumer driven. Until public confidence turnarounds around our economy will not turnaround."

7:41 CT: Norm Coleman on the economy: "You can't talk about it you have to do it. We passed, in this last bill a wind energy tax break, Franken would have voted against it."

7:44 CT: "The bailout should have passed on its own merit, it did not need [to contain] wind power;" Franken then went on to link himself to Obama.

7:45 CT: Barkley: "I was a key player in the homeland security bill. I didn't spend any money when I was [in the Senate]; Norm, you got me the money."

7:47 CT: "I agree with Barack Obama," Al seems to know the correlation between Obama's support and his own.

7:49 CT: "40% of that debt has occurred under your watch, Norm," Dean Barkley is positioning himself as very fiscally responsible candidate. He's hanging his hat on responsible spending.

7:51 CT: I wonder how many times Norm has said partisan during the debate. It seems he would rather say "[not] partisan" rather than "bipartisan". Coleman then stated that "We are very close to solving the energy issue." How are we close to solving the energy crisis?

7:52 CT: "I support Barack Obama's [health care] program," again Al links himself to Obama.

7:53 CT: "I'm not going to hold [Norm] responsible, but you were there, you didn't stand up.," says Barkley.

7:54 CT: "What a horrible idea to put kids into a government run program [for health care]," Norm replied in response to Franken's supposed position on health care. So are public schools bad for kids because it is a government program?

7:55 CT: "If you believe that hope can conquer fear...I challenge you to come together and make it happen," marked Barack Obama's, err sorry Norm Coleman's final remarks of the televised portion of the debate.

7:57 CT: "I you think President Bush has been right 90% of the time...laughs in the crowd...then I'm not your guy." Franken's final statement ends with his trademark "[list an issue I support]" followed by "then I ask for your vote."

7:58 CT: "I am the only person on this stage that can bring about the change we need," concludes Dean Barkley.

***Televised Debate Ends***
The remaining portion of the debate could be viewed on or one of the CSPANs and features questions from the audience.

7:59 CT: "A good Supreme Court justice will follow precedence, and adhere to the constitution. I would not ask how they would vote on Roe v. Wade," declared Barkley.

8:02 CT: "I take the responsibility of advising and consenting [judges] very seriously," said Norm Coleman in response to the Supreme Court Judge question. "Judges need to interrupt the constitution not legislate from the bench."

8:04 CT: "We may be settling a presidential election. If you wanna talk about bad decisions, Bush v. Gore would kinda be towards the top," Franken clearly defining himself as the leftist candidate.

8:05 CT: "I hope that Barack Obama will be nominating the next supreme court justices," if Al can make a vote for Obama a vote for himself he will likely win.

8:06 CT: Dean Barkley admires Justice Scalia.

8:08 CT: "The judiciary should not be politicized, but we've seen that under the current administration," responds Franken. Al also just made a joke, but I wasn't paying attention, the crowd laughed.

8:10 CT: "My favorite movie is the Godfather...but seriously, maybe John F. Kennedy's Commitment to Courage. It's all about courage. You gotta take tough votes," Norm's stance on leadership.

8:12 CT: Franken took the courage comment and ran with it, "Sometimes it takes courage. I wanna act, that's why I'm running for the Senate. It's about who you are acting on behalf of. I'm acting on behalf of American families."

8:14 CT: "I'll be the common ground. People can come to me to breakdown those barriers." Barkley then told a good story about his experience in the Senate. He moved a table in the cafeteria into the middle to where Democrats and Republicans would eat with him.

8:16 CT: Franken wants a time table (or "time horizon") for the war in Iraq. "In one month the war in Iraq will have gone on longer than World War II...Barack Obama wants a 16 month time table for withdrawal, and I agree with that."

8:18 CT: "I think one of the original goals of why we went into Iraq was to have a regime change, find the WMD's, and install Democracy...Its time for self determination, let Iraq settle their own political battles." Barkley then referenced to the "next president" unlike Franken, which seems to be a good strategic move for the Independent Party candidate.

8:20 CT: "We would have lost if we withdrew when Franken wanted to withdraw. I was in Iraq when Harry Reid said the war was lost, and the troops were very, very angry." How are we going to win the war now, Mr. Coleman?

8:21 CT: "Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq when the war started. How can [Coleman] still be for the war is beyond me," responded Franken.

8:22 CT: "We were all anti-war activists during Vietnam...What's the similarities between the two wars. When the job is done, and I [think it is], we should bring our troops," proclaimed Barkley.

8:23 CT: "We need to get out as quick as possible without losing what we have gained. I will take Ppetraeus' advice over Harry Reid's." This seems like a huge blunder by Norm. I see a flip-flop ad in the works with a nice quote coming down the pike.

8:24 CT: One more question.

8:27 CT: "All [current Senators] should be ashamed because of the position they put this country in...I hope the bailout package will start working." Barkley again mentions that he hopes the bailout works. There is great uncertainty in a potential Senate candidate regarding the financial crisis; this is the issue of the election.

8:28 CT: "It requires folks who have the ability to work with folks on the other side of the aisle...It takes 60 votes to get something done." Coleman's entire candidacy is based on the premise of "bringing people together."

8:30 CT: "We should not do what McCain did...but rather would Franklin Roosevelt did, renegotiate these bad loans one by one. We need to stop the downward spiral of the housing market," in this statement by Franken he distanced himself from McCain will agreeing with FDR.

8:31 CT: "We should prohibit Senators from taking campaign money from companies who you are regulating in a Senate committee. That would be about 2.5 million for Coleman and about half a million for Franken," Barkley then said he was unassociated with type of money.

8:32 CT: "Lets figure this out working together as Minnesotans," marked Coleman's final comment of the night.

8:34 CT: The final statement of the night saw Franken bring up Coleman's desire to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Franken stated that it would be difficult "to bring Democrats and Republican's to the table when your job is to defeat Democrats," in such a position.

[Update 7/5/2009]: First Debate, from Oct. 5 at U of MN Rochester, Audio:

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