Monday, February 25, 2008

Time for the big debate. How exciting.

Rajoy is taller than Zap. He's also got a phony smile that he's not very good at; he really isn't a handsome man. He's gone with the red tie and the blue suit, while Zap's gone with the blue tie and the gray suit.

The moderator is droning on and on in that ineffably Spanish way of using lots of large words to say nothing. Here we go, finally. Rajoy started off his opening statement; it's memorized. He's going straignt on the attack: the economy, housing, immigration, and took a whack at Zap's antiterrorist record, saying he'd negotiated with ETA on his own.

Zap's opening up now, claiming that he's done a hell of a job, so good that Spain's economy is bigger than Italy's, which it isn't. He slammed the PP's job in the opposition, saying Rajoy had attacked him personally and had used terrorism for political reasons.

Topic number one: the economy and jobs. Rajoy's quoting stats--boring. Now he's hammering on inflation and unemployment, which have increased under the Zap regime. It's a good argument. Zap's comeback: Growth and job creation are up, and the economic slowdown isn't his fault, but he's on the defensive. He used the words "redistribute wealth," not a good sign. Now he's taken credit for the budget surplus, which is fair enough.

Zap slammed him for using ETA politically again. Rajoy had a chart he used badly. He's got more stats, which aren't going to go over well. Now he's on the trade deficit. Zap's attacking the PP's record during its time in office, not a great idea, and he's got his own charts. He let loose a good low blow, blaming the PP for the alleged "price roundup" during the transition to the euro, which didn't happen.

Rajoy's now slamming the PSOE's record under Gonzalez, when unemployment was 22%. And he is leaning very hard on inflation. Zap's response: It's the fault of the world economy. He's attacked the PP's liberalization of the labor market way back when. Now he's talking about his four hundred euro tax, and saying Bush did the same thing; Rajoy's come back saying he never thought Zap would praise Bush. Inflation, inflation, inflation. Zap's talking about growth, growth, growth.

First round to Rajoy on points.

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