Will the two big post-election stories be about the impact of the struggling economy and of secret corporate money being spent on "independent" ads to help GOP candidates? Are the Democrats facing a perfect storm election? (Listen to this weekend's highlights version below.)
On a Niagara of Secret Money Swamping Democracy: Kellyanne Conway, sitting in for a traveling Mary Matalin, dismissed these concerns -- expressed by the president Thursday -- as partisan and hypocritical since Democrats happily benefited from Soros, 527-labor money in prior election cycles. Arianna strongly disagreed, noting the big difference this cycle is not only the volume but especially the secrecy - voters were told who were behind such ads in '06 and '08 but not this year.
Is there a legislative or citizens' response? Arianna talked about a public financing bill and the possibility of a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United.
On Reid-Angle and O'Donnell-Coons: Both Sides Now will be focusing on two races a show as we draw within a month of the mid-term elections. The women debate the merits and the ads of the above-mentioned contests, especially on whether O'Donnell can morph from witchery to the-girl-next-door. Arianna discussed the absurd attacks by Angle on Reid's responsibility for illegals and Viagara - and lacerated O'Donnell for talking about herself rather than voters. Kellyanne thought that if the Nevada race becomes a referendum on the economy and Reid, he'll go the way of ex-majority leader Tom Daschle in 2006.
On Military Murder & Suicide: What wrong with our military when the most serious charge of criminal conduct in two wars has been brought and the suicide rate of soldiers and veterans (18 a day) is at record levels? Arianna and Kellyanne agreed on the need for better mental health services for returning troops with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Kellyanne pushed back hard on the issue of whether those politicians who were most-pro war had a special responsibility for providing care for returning troops - "should Cheney write a check?" Then the two exchanged on how and when to exit Afghanistan.
Fox and Facebook: In "Quick Takes", the women sharply disagreed on the propriety of a news channel hiring four potential president candidates and its owner donating another million dollars for GOP ads - Arianna said it "violated journalistic ethics" while Kellyanne thought it a smart business model to put on those "who have been in power and may be in power." And the two had an interesting exchange on whose call they'd take and why if Mark Zuckerberg were on Line One while Aaron Sorkin were on Line Two.
On the Radar: Arianna looked ahead with glee to potentially decisive debates in the Nevada, Delaware and Connecticut contests while Kellyanne talked about "Obama's Woman problem". i.e. , his decline, in her view, in popularity among women.
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