I attended my first televised debate last night, between Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Wendy Long at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.

Scott Wooledge had an insightful diary about the debate, what little I can add to that is based on being there.

It started for us (me, LuLu, Elizabeth and Bettyann) with the visibility outside the debate.

It was in part a reunion with Gillibrand fans who've been doing this since 2006, Gillibrand staffers met along the way, and a surprise meet-up with a trivia pal there with fellow postal workers.

Mostly it was about showing public support for our great Senator. We held signs and got lots of horn-love from passing cars.

Much more, below.

There was another visibility 50 yards away, another 40 or so people from Planned Parenthood all in pink.

What was remarkable was that there were no pro-Long people attempting visibility, especially given that a hundred or so tea party Republicans did a raucous demonstration outside an election eve event Bill Clinton did for Scott Murphy in Saratoga in 2010.

Long is the tea party candidate, the most conservative Republican in the primary she won, indeed the most conservative NY senatorial candidate in more than a generation, and yet none of her supporters were willing to get there an hour early and wave some signs.

Once inside, we got to see some Long supporters -- her family, state GOP chairman Ed Cox, state Conservative chair Mike Long, serial statewide GOP loser John Faso, Pataki hack/Long spokesman Dave Catalfamo, and a few others.

Early on, I was happy to hear Liz Benjamin of YNN ask Long most of a question I had suggested:

You have called Roe v. Wade "a horrible decision,"
and said, "I believe that the issue of abortion should be left to the
people to decide." Under Roe, the people most directly involved -- a
woman and her doctor -- make that decision now.
What do you mean by
'abortion should be left to the people to decide.'?
Benjamin left out the bolded part above, and Long predictably answered that state-level politicians are the deciders she meant.

Long acknowledged that New York, in a post-Roe environment, was likely to remain pro-choice, but said it should be up to all states (the only others she mentioned were Iowa, California and New Jersey) to decide what women and their doctors decide now.

Somehow, she neglected to mention the 20 or so states which would outlaw abortion as soon as they legally could.

Long also neglected to mention that she is 100-percent pro-life, no exceptions.

The audience had been asked to not make any audible reaction to what the candidates said, but Long's constant interruptions elicited audible groans from the audience.

And, several times, Benjamin and Errol Louis had to cut off Long as she went beyond her time and/or wandered off-topic.

Re: the time -- you didn't see this on TV, but there is a red light off-camera that warns candidates that they are out of time. Long often ignored the red light.

After the debate, LuLu and I were rehydrating at the water fountain, she said she was surprised Long was such a wingnut, I replied that I'd been calling her, accurately, Wingnut Wendy for months, and then an old white guy (a friend of Long booster Mike Long) horned in.

He asked us why we were so angry, then fantasized that we were because Obama was going to lose.

I saw no use to any more conversation with a frustrated tea partier, but LuLu kept it up, and reported that her one-on-one with the old white guy ended when he called her "a fucking idiot."

Gillibrand won the debate on points, on style, and mostly by not making any gaffe.

Long tried to make the debate all about the economy (or about Vito Lopez), and she failed.

Beyond her failure last night, Long has also failed to gain any traction with NY voters in every poll, and has failed to attract any of the Rove/Koch/Adelson multi-millions for lying attack ads.

NY conservatives has always wanted non-RINO candidates to run statewide.

They have one in Wendy Long, and she will lose by at least 20 points.

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