CNN analyst Carlos Watson talks smack

Carlos Watson, a political analyst for CNN, arrived at UM on Tuesday. Before arriving, he held a conversation with The Hurricane’s Patricia Mazzei.

TH: You traveled the U.S. recently to get the public’s point of view on the presidential race.
CW: Yes, as part of the American Pulse series, we traveled to states like Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to meet with “real people” as opposed to politicians. It’s still a very tight race, and the biggest issue for people is who is going to keep them safe for the next four years.

TH: Do you think this presidential debate will help people make up their minds?
CW: The debates are always influential, especially since most people start paying attention to the campaign after Labor Day.

TH: What will President Bush and Senator Kerry say tonight? Given that the topic is foreign policy, will they only talk about Iraq?
CW: We will hear about more than just Iraq. I expect to hear about North Korea, Iran, Libya, Cuba-the debate being in Miami-and Sudan. In a more thorough conversation, I would also expect to hear about Venezuela, China, and the second most populous country in the world, India.
The two big questions will be, number one, where are the hot spots? In the 2000 election, no one thought Iraq was important; the debate focused on Kosovo. Number two, what about the doctrine of preemptive force? When is it ok? How is it ok? Is it only ok when the CIA has intelligence? Is it ok with or without the international community’s support? I have a feeling that [Bush’s and Kerry’s] answers to the first question will be largely-maybe 60 to 70 percent-similar. And I don’t know the answer to the second question.

TH: Florida has played an important role in this election, despite the recent hurricanes, due to how close the race was in 2000.
CW: I think Florida is gearing up to be the most important state in the election. [We can expect] the campaign will intensify, the number of commercials will increase, and there will be more visits to the state. More people will vote in Florida than in the last election. Florida will be super important.

TH: Speaking of Florida, I understand you have close links to UM.
CW: My mother was a graduate student [at the University], and we lived in married student housing from 1977-81. It was great because there were lots of kids [there] to get together and play football. [I’ve] looked forward to coming home and seeing my family and friends.

Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at