Monday, September 17, 2007

Watts He Talkin' About? Mikal Watts Inconsistent on Issues...

You read last week about Rick Noriega: Huge Hit at UT UDems Meeting! but competitor Mikal Watts didn't seem to do so well in front of a crowd of about 100 of the University of Texas Democrats last Wednesday (half the number who turned out for Rick).

"Most realized he was skirting answers," said Jess Faerman, University Democrats member. She had asked Watts about his stance on abortion - one that has not taken well to most staunch democrats. When asked about whether he would vote against choice, "he claims that he'd walk and not vote...he totally dodged that [question about choice]."

About gay rights, "he wasn't really being specific," said Faerman. He claimed he was for equal rights for gays - just not marriage and such. Returning briefly to the abortion issue Watts stood in favor of stem cell research, even with his belief of when he believes life begins. "If he is consistent with that he wouldnt be pro embryonic stem cell. He just didn't make sense. I found inconsistencies all over the place," says Faerman.

She did say that Watts was a better speaker and seemed to talk about more about the issues than Rick, but that Watts just seemed to have more inconsistencies throughout his speech, and avoided questions on the issues. Capital Area Democrats and University Democrats are planning on making an endorsement in this race, and according to this UDems member, it may be a close one.

Watts' campaign called it an "ambush:" didn’t take long for the San Antonio lawyer to realize he’d stumbled into an ambush at his alma mater in Austin. After pitching his maiden campaign as a political candidate to about 200 members of the University Democrats - a group to which he belonged as a UT student - Watts found himself fielding a series of pointed questions that appeared to be aimed at making him look like a Democrat in name only.
Two independent sources I had said about 100 in attendance, but more importantly, Mike, these are democrats here talking to you. They're not ambushing you, it wasn't a setup. they're raising true concerns that democrats across the state are asking. Who are you, why are you anti-choice, and why did you contribute to judges presiding over your cases? If you're unable to answer these basic questions, you have no idea what's ahead of you. As for being labeled a DINO (Democrat in name only), at least one UDems member felt the same sentiment, saying "part of me says he'll cross party lines...these inconsistencies are so weird."

More coverage from Hal


Anonymous said...

I was there as well, and I think there are a couple things that should be clarified.

First of all, Noriega spoke at the first meeting of the semester. Attendance always drops off after that. Second, on the so-called "inconsistency" of his views on abortion and stem cell research: I'm not claiming to speak for Mr. Watts, but it's possible that he believes stem cell research is acceptable because the embryos used for research would otherwise, at risk of sounding crass, be simply thrown away. I know several people who are anti-choice, yet support embryonic stem cell research for this reason. The only question Watts really dodged was the one about his contributions to judges - however, the question was framed very combatively ("I read in the Houston Chronicle that you paid off judges"), so I don't entirely blame him for staying away from it.

For my part, I supported Noriega before seeing them both at the meetings, but now I'm leaning toward Watts. He was much more professional and charismatic than Noriega and is probably more likely to beat Cornyn - which, in the end, is what we all really want, isn't it?

NoriegaBlog said...

No way! A lot of people think I'm a little harsh on trial lawyers, but I agree that they do good work in the end. The Republicans would slaughter Watts on the lawyer issue alone, if not delve into the whole judge-contribution cloudiness.

I think Watts might be able to pick up a few points for being Anti-Choice, but overall, Noriega would pick up far more for being seen as a leader in the military, in the Texas legislature, and during the Hurricane operations. Watts can speak, Noriega can do.