You read it here first: The Williams-Abraham DebateAs I said below, I was able to be at Channel 6 this morning for the taping of the Lynne Abraham-Seth Williams debate.
I will give a quick summary some thoughts before I head out the door, and I will write more tonight.
Real quickly- in the audience with the Williams campaign, along with his mother was Bob Eddis, head of the FOP. What quickly struck me was how important the FOP, and their rank and file officers, see this choice as. They, the cops on the street, clearly see that the DA system is not working correctly, and that Philly needs a change.
As for the debate:
1)It was far too short for my opinion. Since Abraham ducks Seth at every chance, and they never have any time for back and forth, we need more than thirty minutes.
2)Abraham clearly has no qualms about talking out of both sides of her mouth. For example, she kept talking over and over and over about the power of "we," and how she started community based prosecution, etc. It was almost startling to someone who has seen her sneer at things like that. Even more surprising, for someone who speaks with disdain about those who want the DA's office to do more than simply prosecute the cases they are handed, she kept talking about all the other things the DA's office must do. Reeeeeallly? C'mon. I hope, boy do I hope, that the reporters who cover this at least call her on that. She simply cannot have it both ways.
Seriously, watch for the power of we thing. In fact, maybe we should have a contest to think what the WE stands for? Maybe she meant the power of me?
3)Seth was his eloquent self. He came across as smart and humane. He is a credit to Philadelphia, and, if Democrats are smart, he will be a credit to the party. In a way, the fact that he is simply a decent guy, who refuses to make this a campaign about race, and who did not want to be outwardly disrespectful of Abraham hides the fact that she simply talks about of both sides of her mouth.
4)Somewhere, right in the beginning of the debate, Abraham starts quoting statistics about her record! Who knew she kept them?!?! I thought she doesn't govern by numbers?!
5)The death penalty: Abraham, obviously completely obfuscated. Basically, she said it is only for the worst, most heinous stuff. Problem is, her record is that, much like John Ashcroft at the DOJ, she basically has mandated that DA's push for the death penalty whenever possible. She says it is for the worst of the worst, then how come 25 percent of Death Penalty cases from Philly are overturned on appeal? Isn't that a scary number? If one quarter of all death penalty cases are overturned, how many slip through that shouldn't? How many people are sitting on Death Row courtesy of America's "deadliest DA" that shouldn't be.
5) The "Mama Lynne" story that the papers love came up after the debate. Basically, here is what I heard. Guess who gave Abraham the name "Mama Lynne"? Wellll, it was not Seth Williams, it was his mother. Do you know why she gave him that name? Because he worked his ass off so much at the DA office, that she thought it was almost like he had a second mother. And then, when he resigned, he dared write a kind letter of resignation! Geez! And he used "Mama Lynne" when doing so! (And by the way- Lynne Abraham sat on the floor of the home of Seth Williams' mother in 2001, and told him that not only did she think that Seth should be the DA in 2005, but that she would support him. This was confirmed by Williams' mother, wife, etc. If Abraham says otherwise, she is simply lying. Thats it.)
6) Lynne Abraham, who scoffs at community prosecution, in a Bush-esque moment, takes credit for implementing it in Philly! Oh boy. Lets see: yes, there is a small unit of the DA's office that is deployed geographically. It is called, I believe the repeat offenders unit. It was started by a smart ADA by the name of Seth Williams. But, in the DAs office? That is pretty much their only set of ADAs deployed that way. But, to the untrained eye, how would someone know? When the media will not go into the facts, focus on the real choices, and instead wants to talk personalities (with the Mama Lynne thing, etc) Philadelphia loses. Period.
All for now. I will write more this evening.