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Paul Soglin Shows Commanding Political Skills In Mayoral Debate

March 2, 2015

Regardless of which candidate one intends to cast a ballot for in the Madison mayoral race there is no way not to be impressed with the political skills and spirit of Mayor Paul Soglin.  The mayor used his skills from many years of debating and amassing facts and figures to demonstrate Monday evening in a debate that he is not, as he said,  “old, tired, gray, and bland”.    In fact during the 90 minutes he proved quite the opposite.

Standing each time he spoke, unlike opponent Scott Resnick who remained seated for the entire forum, the mayor used the time allotted for answers in a powerful and often punchy way to show that he is fighting to win.  If one were to watch only the body language or gauge the debate by the style that the candidates used in the forum it seems correct to say Soglin surely feels he has the stronger hand come the spring election.

The mayor was able to use humor aimed at himself to make a point.  A genuine laugh from the crowd resulted from Soglin telling of his visit to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos concerning the idea of a regional transit authority.  After the meeting was over another meeting participant told Soglin he had never known Vos not to “chew someone’s head” off over that issue.   “Well, just call me Mr, Congeniality,” was the way Soglin summed up the story.

Without a doubt it was the best line of the night.

When Resnick used humor it was aimed at Soglin, and though intended to be a light-hearted comment struck some as just a bit odd in a room that was dominated by people older than himself.

When asked to provide something that each candidate respected about the other Resnick stated Soglin was his mentor and a “man of the century–last century”.   It brought a few smiles but also a sense that Resnick in trying to show why turning a new page over in government would be a good thing, also might be in need of finding a more tactful way to do so.  After all, some in the audience felt strongly Soglin still has lots of energy and ideas to carry him through four more years.

Soglin was agile while pounding on questions he wanted to make a point over including almost launching to his feet to start off a rebuttal with the stinging statement “you have to know what is happening!”    Resnick looked as if he were being tutored.

When Resnick wanted to tangle over allegations that some alderpersons have trouble getting meeting time with the mayor there was no question how it would be handled.  Soglin was not allowing his time with the microphone to be used for anything other than what best underscored his message.  Which is exactly what a skilled politician does.

With calm focused fact-filled responses Soglin proved to a packed room that even with gray hair he knows how to operate when in the arena.   And at the rate his campaign is going chances are he will be re-elected with a strong majority and stay in the arena he clearly loves.

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