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Here’s the link to Wednesday’s debate between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Unfortunately, MSNBC’s feed is a bit finicky and only wants to be viewed in Internet Explorer.

If you can’t manage to get the clip to play you can download a copy of the transcript. You’ll just have to imagine Matthews barking “So, you are the liberal in this issue?” when inquiring about Busby’s stance on the immigration.

While Matthews may have been baiting Busby with a label, she had an interesting reply:

I am a realist. We have a real situation here. In San Diego this is not some theoretical issue. We have people crossing the border here. We have people living here. We have people working here. We have people in our health clinics and our hospital and in our schools, and we need to address every aspect of that, and Mr. Bilbray only talks about enforcement and that’s not going to solve our problems in San Diego.

After discussing the war in Iraq, Matthews – who kept calling Busby “Ms. Bilbray” – also asked the candidates to rank President Bush ranks amongst America’s former presidents on a scale of one to ten. Busby said Bush ranks at the bottom.

Bilbray had a more interesting answer:

I would put him between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, which would be about a five or a six.

Take that, Jimmy Carter.

DANIEL STRUMPF

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