Tonight's U.S. Senate debate between Jack Conway (D-St. Xavier) and Republican Rand Paul (R-Not St. Xavier) starts at 7 p.m., and we'll be liveblogging it onsite from the University of Louisville. So turn on WHAS 11 to watch the debate and follow along here for instant commentary.
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8:09 p.m. The advantage of live blogging versus traditional reporting: I'm done and off to drink (well, once I go home, kiss my sleeping baby and thank my wife profusely for putting her to bed solo).
I've been in rooms with greatness. And I've been in rooms. Tonight was the latter. Christine O'Donnell rejoice: Neither Conway nor Paul were master debaters.
The winner? Conway, mostly for getting Paul to be on the defensive throughout the debate. And Paul's refusal to shake Conway's hand won't help. Voters know that political ads get nasty three weeks before an election, and it's not as if Paul's been all positive throughout the campaign (psst, that reallly isn't Obama's voice in this ad).
As for the substantive issues, neither candidate said much of anything that was new--or will even make the news, which is going to focus on the debate's tone.
Was tonight the knockout blow Conway's going to need to overcome his deficit in the polls, which is reinforced by the gamblers? No. But I'm all for any strategy that keeps Aqua Buddha in the news for the rest of October.
8:00 p.m. Crap. Guardian reporter left before I could give him my business card.
7:56 p.m. Paul says he believes in the individual. Exepecting Conway to turn that statement into an ad saying it's more proof Paul worships false idols.
7:55 p.m. Breaking: Paul not going to shake Conway's hand!
7:54 p.m. Can't believe I live in a state where both the Republican and Democrat can't bend over enough for dirty rotten filthy coal.
7:51 p.m. Who's treating Paul's patients while he campaigns? Did his personal medical board deputize a back up opthamologist?
7:48 p.m. Conway had a race horse in the Derby for god sake. Granted most big-time pols go outside of their state to campaign and fundraise and none of them every relinquish their salary, but Conway clearly could afford to have done so and score a point.
7:46 p.m. Anyone know Paul's stance on crème brûlée?
7:43 p.m. Talking about the new VA hospital. You're probaby not interested, but I'll just use this opportunity to plug my cover story for Medical News on this issue.
7:40 p.m. Thinking the best way to solve Kentucky's drug problem would be to bequeath Eastern Kentucky to West Virginia.
7:39 p.m. Jack Conway's met with lots of people.
7:32 p.m. Joe Gerth called out Paul on Kentucky being a net importer of Federal tax dollars (see 7:17 p.m.). Paul disputes stats, says the figure is inflated by active-duty military salaries. He said otherwise Kentucky pays out more to the Federal government than it brings back. Um, don't all states have active-duty military? Factor them out for all states--not just Kentucky--and this commonweath is still bringing in more than it pays most likely. Amazed that residents of this welfare state are so opposed to taxes.
7:29 p.m. Hoping healthcare talk opens the door to medicinal marijuana and then...Aqua Buddha!
7:27 p.m. Talking about immigration. In more important news, my fantasy team just won 87-50.3.
7:23 p.m. Conway responds to Paul's accusations of lying about his platform: "I'm not making any positions up. They're on the Internet." Apparently "The Internet" is a suitable reference. Good news!
7:19 p.m. Good
Aqua Buddha God!
7:18 p.m. Googling to find an answer to Conway's question, When is it appropriate to tie up a woman and have her worship a false idol?
7:17 p.m. Paul wants Kentuckians to keep more of their money in the state than paying it to the federal government. Per the Lexington Herald-Leader, "For every dollar Kentucky sends to Washington in federal taxes, it gets back between $1.51 and $1.82 in federal spending." Amazed Conway doesn't bring up that Paul wants to cost Kentucky a lot of money.
7:15 p.m. Candidates asked what they'd do first in office. I'd like to answer that as first-term senators, they'll do little more than greet Kentucky Girl Scout troops on their D.C. visits.
7:13 p.m. Wishing one of these candidates were a woman so we'd be hearing "Be a man" less often.
7:10 p.m. Sorry, Jack. I am yet to find proof in any pudding (although I have found 100 proof in Jell-o).
7:08 p.m. Did Paul just say "bondholder" or "bong holder"?
7:06 p.m. Two mistakes so far for Paul: bringing up Aqua Buddha, using "we can tell you're lying because your lips are moving" cliché.
7:03 p.m. Aqua Buddha is in the room! Paul's already referenced Conway's recent attack ad (and, based on Paul's hoarse voice, it sounds like he might have been spending some time with his false idol too).
7:01 p.m. Conway: "Elections are about choices." South Park fills in some details.
6:57 p.m. In addition to televising this debate, WHAS 11 is streaming it online. CSPAN's camera, and maybe its microphone, are here too.
6:53 p.m. Paul and Conway just entered. Anyone else notice that Rand Paul's hair makes him look like a patient from last night's "Saturday Night Live" Bosley commercial?
6:28 p.m. It's a mostly young crowd. I'm seated in the back at a table for print media (the communications people are mostly likely expecting visitors to this website to print out the article and take it to the can with them). The reporter next to me is a Scot from London's The Guardian, here because the Brits are no doubt fascinated by Jack Conway.
Photo: John Nation