Momentum Much? Steele Scores Big in Debate, Even With the Post!

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 26, 2006 10:37 AM

Apparently, Steele made Ben Cardin look rather bad when discussing the issues of D.C. Metro-area Maryland. That's where Steele lives, a world away from the Baltimore area that's Cardin's specialty.

And sure enough, with just a couple of well-aimed questions, Steele, who grew up in the District and lives in Prince George's County, managed to transform his Baltimore-centric opponent in the U.S. Senate race into a stammering, defensive congressman from another planet -- or, at least, from a part of Maryland where nobody knows or cares about Metro's proposed Purple Line.

Now, these are just the basics Cardin is tripping up on:

The congressman, no orator, doesn't even bother to bone up on the top issues in Maryland's most-populous region. Asked, first by Steele, then by moderator Bruce DePuyt, then again by Steele, and then again by me after the debate, to say where the proposed Purple Line would run between Montgomery and Prince George's counties, Cardin failed each time.

Help Steele out, here.

Update: Allah shows me up by grabbing the video, but he's a deity. That's his way. Watch it. It's good stuff. (Correction: That's actually Ian, not Allah. You'd think I'd keep 'em straight.)

Update: The Steele camp reports that Cardin will be skipping tonight's debate, sponsored by the NAACP, after losing the first one. Here's Steele's statement. Ouch (emphasis mine).

“I am disappointed Congressman Cardin will not be joining me and Kevin Zeese at the NAACP debate tonight; however, it is clear from his performance yesterday that the Congressman needs more time to learn not only about how to strengthen our state’s transportation system, but also how to make health care more affordable and accessible, how to encourage economic growth and how to bring any kind of meaningful change to Washington, D.C. after his 20 years of producing no real results for Marylanders,” Michael Steele said.

Update: More on Cardin's reasons for skipping the debate.

Mr. Hunt and the Rev. William Braxton, president of the Charles County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Mr. Cardin, the Democratic nominee, had not officially confirmed that he would attend.

"We were actually in talks with [Cardin spokesman] Oren Shur, and we were under the impression that this thing was going to work out and [Mr. Cardin] was going to be here," Mr. Braxton said. "Initially when we talked, he said they had some scheduling problems they had to work out, and his final comment was that they could not work them out."

Mr. Shur said in an e-mail that Mr. Cardin "never confirmed his attendance."

"He's campaigning at community events in Prince George's County tonight and has accepted an invitation to debate at the statewide NAACP conference on Saturday. We expect to see Michael Steele there," Mr. Shur said.

Mr. Steele said he was "disappointed" that Mr. Cardin would not be attending the debate. 

And, the AP has a decidedly more bland take on the debate than everyone else does. I can't imagine it would read so dully had Cardin landed all the punches.