Sunday, October 21, 2007

Correia vs. Sullivan Round One

More than a week has passed since the first debate between Fall River's mayoral contenders Bob Correia and Dave Sullivan.

Certainly there is an expectation that in any debate one person will be declared the winner. In this debate there is no doubt in my mind that Bob Correia won the evening. He won it by being more polished and perhaps more skillful that Dave Sullivan. He won it not on merit, vision, or sheer knowledge of the issues, but by timing and rhetoric. This was an ugly debate.

The night's format was billed as a "Lincoln-Douglas" style of debate with each candidate directly questioning the other and being allowed time for rebuttal. The format allowed the candidates to go back exchanging barbs. Correia accused Sullivan of being ineffectual as a representative while Sullivan accused Correia of being more interested in headlines than results. Sullivan accused Correia of working for special interest groups while Correia accused him of accomplishing nothing of note in his 10 years in office. Back and forth it went with each man trying point out what they have achieved for Fall River as a state rep while discrediting the other.

While there might have been some entertainment to watching each man attempt to beat down the other and perhaps a smidgen of relevancy it came at the cost of not truly discussing how either man would effect positive change if elected.

What came across loud and clear is there is an extreme dislike for one another between these two men and that concerns me because one man will be our next mayor and have to work with the other man as one of our state reps.

It's interesting that I walked away thinking that both men needed to work on the image they presented that night. Sullivan needs to work on polishing his delivery. There are key points that he must articulate with passion and conviction, too often he seemed to be searching for the words that he should know by heart. Correia on the other hand is polished and didn't suffer from Sullivan's habit of referencing his text. Correia even delivered his points with conviction, but he comes off as uninspiring and extremely arrogant. It's a stark contrast after 12 years of affable, charismatic Ed Lambert. Perhaps Bob was just trying to play 'tough guy' against Dave Sullivan but it was extremely off putting.

Tomorrow is the next debate between these two men. Let's hope that they focus more a being Mayor of Fall River and less on being State Representative. Let's hope they spend less time telling me why not to vote for their opponent and more time telling me why I should vote for them.


Anonymous said...

Watch the debate again if possible, Sullivan won on the first 4-5 questions which did focus on city issues and I give as evidence of this the fact that Correia had a total mental breakdown as in "Oh, it's my turn to ask a question now?" and then again in a very awkward moment a few seconds later he repeated the line, "Oh, it's my turn to ask a question now?" It wasn't sarcastic, he genuinely seemed to be lost and having shall we say a "senior moment." I don't think he expected Dave to come out and hit him as hard as he did and it threw him for a loop, he was up against the ropes but yes later on he did recover.

Once Bob got into the whole line of questioning about how he did x,y and z and what did you do Mr. Sullivan where he essentially took credit for anything and everything that the delegation ever did as a whole I agree that Bob was more polished but he also came across as very arrogant and condescending. I would have to say that neither candidate won the second half of the debate, it was a stalemate.

Overall the losers in the debate were the people of Fall River because it got very far off the track in terms of what either candidate was going to do in the future for the city. I think it left people not really knowing who to vote for because you didn't feel like you knew either person's plans but yes if you only paid attention to the second half of the debate you might walk away feeling that neither won or perhaps leaning toward Bob Correia.

My summary is Sullivan won the first 4-5 questions, it was a draw during the second half with maybe a lean toward Correia for being more polished but overall it was a loss for the voters, we were the big losers because we didn't hear anyone articulate their plans.

What people need to focus on at this point because I doubt we will ever get in depth on the issues is which is the lesser of two evils? Not that I want to call either candidate evil but I think Correia certainly deserves or has earned that adjective more than Sullivan. Bottom line is Sullivan comes across as a decent human being whether you agree with him or not and Correia for me is too easily pictured as the guy who makes deals in smoke filled backrooms and those deals probably aren't in your interest or mine.

Lefty said...

I agree that watching the debate again makes sense. Sometimes what you remember isn't correct and sometimes you fail to notice something the first time around.

However, most people who watched the debate in person or on cable, or heard it on the radio are probably not going to do so again, so that first impression is really going to stick.

I think your observations are very accurate. Sullivan did come out fighting and he DID rattle Bob Correia. However Bob did regain his composure and I think managed to really make Sullivan look bad. Dave kept trying to hammer home that Bob was all for the headlines and Dave was for the bottom line. It didn't stick because every time he hit Bob with it, Bob used the chance to label Dave as ineffective.

Let me think about this do I want the egotistical State Rep or the incompetent one?

I agree that we, the voters, are the losers here (and I groan because it was a line I was going to use in the post)Neither candidate outlined their plans for the city. I stick by my opinion that Correia won because he was more polished, better prepared, and maybe had the least to lose.

I'm not taking sides, but I really don't think Sullivan did well at all. Most people I've talked to share that view.

Instead of running on state rep records Sullivan had a chance to show that he would be a better mayor because he knew the city better. He could have done this by asking Bob specific questions and using the rebuttals to demonstrate a detailed knowledge. For him I think this was a missed opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Sullivan is far from incompetent although I agree with the viewpoint that Bob Correia is egotistical. It is all a very clever tactic by Correia to label Sullivan as ineffective when Bob himself has quietly lobbied behind the scenes over the years to attempt to render Sullivan ineffective. It is extremely difficult to be effective when a member of your own delegation, a colleague that is supposed to help you is actually working against you.

An example of this is Dave's LNG Bill House 1418 which essentially resembled a bill that was passed in the RI State House. Bob lobbied against it up at the State House according to LNG Coalition members who went up there to lobby for it. It was a charge that Bob denied but eventually he exposed himself when he went on WSAR and told lies about the bill live on the air that it was site specific, etc. and other untruths. Thus the same arguments that he was making up at the State House to argue against the bill which he denied doing, he then came down here and eventually exposed himself by using those same arguments on air. You'll recall that he made this argument on the air after 1418 looked dead and the grand compromise and our savior was going to Bob using his position on the state's LNG committee to advance the city's agenda of stopping the project. Now let me ask you, how well did Bob do with the whole state LNG committee? Did that committee do anything or say anything to protect us? You would think after Bob lobbied the Speaker to keep Dave off the committee and to put Bob on it that something would've happened. Certainly makes it look like Bob's intentions were to prevent Dave from accomplishing anything on LNG as well as making sure no LNG legislation or language passed that would help us at all.

This isn't wild conspiracy theory this is fact, Bob has constantly undermined Dave over the years and has not fought against LNG but it appears has actually fought for it, he certainly made it look like he was doing something while at the same time undermining efforts to do anything about the problem. Is that the type of leadership you want in place?

Lefty said...


I'm not saying Dave is incompetent, I'm saying that that's the light that Correia is trying to paint him in.

I have had the chance to talk to Sullivan and I find him to be very bright and very candid.

I really appreciate such well thought out and detailed comments. You are really providing food for thought and helping to further the discussion