We probably should all be committed.
Two Allentown cops were on hand in case a blogger started rolling around on the floor or foaming at the mouth. Since nobody was actually willing to throw a punch, the cops slipped off to a side room to watch the game.
So who won?
Judging from the applause in the beginning, during eight minute speeches from each contender, I'd say most of us miscreants thought Sam came out on top. They're already posting comments on my previous blog about tonight's festivities. By night's end, however, it was Charlie Dent who was swarmed by spectators while Sam Bennett was forced to wander the room, hoping for a few minutes with different people.
Dent was clearly the better debater, informative and extemporaneous. Bennett, on the other hand, was actually reading off cheat sheets. When Dent spoke, instead of listening with the respect that Dent gave her, she would smile and shake her head "No" the entire time. Don't believe me? You can make your own call, thanks to a webcast done by Channel 69
This debate will also be rebroadcast on Channel 69, making it the first of three televised face offs between the two candidates. There will also be two non televised showdowns.
So much for Bennett's debate ducking charges.
Candidates answered seven audience-prepared questions, vetted by a panel of three rabbis, about energy independence, job creation, health care, Israel, Iraq, immigration and our local economy. I will transcribe two of their answers below, and hope to have a few more by Tuesday. Three of these questions concerned foreign policy and national security, playing into Dent's strength and Bennett's weakness. Nowhere was that more apparent than when she declared Hamas "must behave."
These are not elementary school children, Sam.
One thing's very clear. There's no love lost between these two. Before the night was over, they were both accusing each other of personal attacks. They may belong to the same church, but I'll bet they sit in different pews.
Bennett teed off with this, after the question about Iraq. "While we're talking about war, I would like to point out - Charlie, I guess there's no more Mr. Nice Guy anymore. I have to tell you I've been disappointed that everything you've done in this campaign has been a personal attack upon me in TV, radio and mail. Our country is in a terrible state, our finances melting and we are at war. Charlie and I actually go to church together and I have to ask you a question, Charlie. Are you proud of the way you've been conducting this campaign?"
"Yes, if you want an answer," responded Dent. She didn't. "Onto Iraq."
Dent responded at the end of the evening. "I want to say something about personal attacks. During this campaign, she accused me of using my job to enrich myself without one shred of evidence or substantiation. When she was called on it, she said, 'Big Gas, Big Oil.' That's a bunch of hot air. It was offensive and insulting to me and to my wife, especially to my wife. We don't like that. That's a personal attack."
"This summer, in July, she talks about nasty campaigns, I was burying my aunt at Arlington National Cemetery. . . . The Democratic Congressional Committee on that day started attacking me falsely and calling me names."
Blogger AJ Cordi served as cameraman and beautiful Pam Varkony was color commentator, passing me hilarious notes at different points. She's already posted her Perspectives. Blogger Michael Molovinsky, who earlier today called Rendell a "reluctant Jew," is hiding in some bunker somewhere.