Steph Defends Debate

By Big Tent Democrat:

Greg Sargent is still committing journalism at TPM, interviews George Stepanapoulus. The key snippet imo:

In an interview with me moments ago, Stephanopoulos strongly defended his handling of the debate. He dismissed criticism that it had focused too heavily on "gotcha" questions, arguing that they had gone to the heart of the "electability" that, he said, is forefront in the minds of voters evaluating the two Dems. "Overall, the questions were tough, fair, relevant, and appropriate," Stephanopoulos argued. And he rejected the claim by many Obama supporters that the debate had been stacked against him, saying Hillary had faced sharp questioning, too.

Nonsense, imo. ABC was incredibly unfair to Obama in this debate. Not quite as bad as NBC was to Clinton in those debates, nor has Obama faced anything like what Clinton has faced. But the ABC debate was a travesty imo.

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    Forefront of the minds of voters? (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:08:30 PM EST
    I think the average voter is thinking about the price of, well, everything and Iraq and the economy and other boring, mundane concerns.

    The only people I hear arguing "electability" are....
    and maybe
    Super Delegates & the DNC.

    Anyone else have an opinion?

    Bloggers aren't average voters? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by nellre on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:20:28 PM EST
    I'm thinking about electability. It's been an issue on my mind for over a year.
    I do have a blog, but nobody reads it. Am I still a blogger?

    In an ideal world, Electability (none / 0) (#18)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:25:08 PM EST
    would be way down the list.

    After all, what good is a candidate if they get your party's nomination and then implement no plans or bad plans?

    I think my list would be:

    Climate Change
    The Economy
    other stuff

    This primary is different than most, but times are uncertain and we have a lot of serious problems to solve.  Putting electability ahead of capability makes the election sound like American Political Idol.


    My thinking is (none / 0) (#83)
    by nellre on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:17:28 PM EST
    They can't deal with the issues unless they win.

    George disagrees (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by IndiDemGirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:25:06 PM EST
    Did you see where he defends going with electability and not issues.  "This is the core question for the campaigns, and a lot of Democratic voters right now. That's why we decided to lead with it."

    How does he know what Dem voters are interested in?  Did he take a poll? To come up with that question it must have been a Zogby poll.  It sure isn't a "core question" for me right now.  I just spent $67.00 to fill up my car (not an SUV) and I don't care to hear anymore about sniper fire or about flag pins.  


    Everyone knows where they stand (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:45:55 PM EST
    on the issues.  Go to the web pages and read their policy proposals, you will learn more. Most voters have questions about the very issues that ABC asked last night.  And I think it is important to know that Obama can not stand up to the kind of scrutiny that Clinton has gotten for a year.  It goes right to the electabilty question and people DO care about that.

    BS detector flashes Red (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:16:05 PM EST
    Has the Obama Movement now figured out that promoting bosnia discredits their attacks on the media and thus they have adjusted their opinion on bosnia accordingly, or at least backed off that line of attack.

    A more relevant question.   Is it too late?

    Speaking only for myself, I think it is.

    They can't get the benefit of a smear and then back off it when they're candidate is smeared and then pretend they were always against smears.

    Somebody needed to clarify Obama's (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:33:44 PM EST
    general election problems and issues.  It shouldn't have had to be one debate doing this!  Obama needed to be just as challenged on issues as Clinton was but he wasn't BTD.  He had not been challenged......when was he going to be challenged?  I know most of the blogging dems don't think that what Ayers and Wright have said after 9/11 is that damaging to Obama and his friendships with them but that's because they aren't listening to what people on the streets are saying about it.  This stuff is devastating to Obama, can he survive it and can he make it beyond it all?  I'd rather know now than later.

    Wright Issue (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:11:07 PM EST
    It will have an impact come November. I was listening to sports talk radio and in the middle of the discussion on baseball the guys started talking about Obama and Wright and voiced their disgust. Only rabbid followers can honestly think that those comments won't hurt. That's what's ruining the progressive net. Too many have stopped rational thinking. They sound more like Limbaugh than the clear thinkers

    If you average them out (none / 0) (#34)
    by myiq2xu on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:43:16 PM EST
    Obama is still way behind Hillary on the "gotcha" questions.

    Not according to Obama.. (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by FlaDemFem on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:12:00 PM EST
    he thinks that Hillary was right at home in that atmosphere. And he doesn't want anymore debates. I guess he figures they are only fair if they are slanted to make him look good. It couldn't be that he has nothing to say, and can't think on his feet. It couldn't be that he is worried that the debate forum shows up his lack of substance. It couldn't be that he knows that the American people are going to respect someone who is prepared and ready to state what she is willing to do for them and that someone offering hope and audacity and not much else is going to lose a debate between the two. No, it couldn't be that. He thinks 21 debates are enough, and doesn't want to do anymore. And he is heavily scheduled for the campaign. Can't take a day to explain himself and his policies to millions of people whose votes he wants. He just wants them to believe that he is the one for the job because he tells them he is.

    I didn't like the first half of the debate (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Dave B on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:39:45 PM EST

    Because they asked "hit type" questions of both candidates for 45 minutes straight. I thought the questions were of the "right wing nature," especially those asked of Obama. One of the reasons I support Hillary is health care. I have one of those tragedies in my family, a death due to no insurance. I would have liked to see more discussion. I wonder how many people actually understand the mandate and what Clinton is proposing low income folks pay for coverage.

    But, we know that these are issues that will be hit hard in the GE. I was disappointed in him because he didn't answer them well. There are two sides to asking these type of questions in my opinion. If the candidate answers badly, it really hurts. But if they really do a nice job of answering, it really gives them an opportunity to answer the question and clear the air, possibly put an issue to bed in front of a huge audience.

    I got turned on to a really good dhonig diary on dkos earlier today by Fabian. It's also on the rec list at mydd. I'll put up the mydd link because I know a lot of you guys won't go to dkos.

    Oh stop whining about ABC

    It was breathtaking to see all the hits on Clinton from MSNBC collected in one place.

    Incredibly unfair to Obama? Hardly (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by diplomatic on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:48:01 PM EST
    Maybe it's more accurate to say ABC was tepid toward him.

    They didn't offer him a pillow (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by myiq2xu on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:55:57 PM EST
    That's sooo unfair!

    the debate was a hatchet job (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:10:17 PM EST
    so what?  Steph/Gibson were operating off the assumption that Obama will be the nominee.  The controversies are relevant to his electability in the GE.  

    Obama today said, 'well that is how Washington is".  

    Scuse me?  Was it 'Washington' that called the Clintons and Ferraro racists? or was that the Obama campaign?  Was it 'Washington' who called Clinton a "liar" an "Annie Oakley"?  Was it 'Washington' that forced Obama to denounce Wright, then un-disown him, then disown him again last night?  Who is this Washington character?  To me it seems like Obama is shooting himself in the foot and smearing Clinton moreso than it is the other way around. Sure, Clinton screws up, but she owns the mistakes and moves on.  Obama can't.  How many times does he continually try and re-nuance his disownment/ownership of Wright or "bitter"?

    If he can't answer simple questions as a frontrunner in primary how the hell is he going to stand up to the scrutiny of a GE run?

    on a side (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:11:53 PM EST
    dhonig's diary at dkos should be required reading for those who think Obama is being put upon.

    absolutely......... (none / 0) (#86)
    by kc on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:46:14 PM EST
    ............you are spot on here!

    The Press is Unfair-And? (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by tdraicer on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:32:20 PM EST
    If it was a travesty it was the sort of travesty Obama is going to have to face over and over in the fall, and in the increasingly unlikely event he becomes President, in the White House. Yes we need a better MSM-but we aren't going to get one any time soon. Last night revealed that Obama only does well when coddled-and the coddling isn't going to continue, certainly not against McCain. There is still time for the Supers to save the party from its inane nominating system and pick Hillary. If they don't, Obama better learn very very quickly how to handle a media that wants McCain over him.

    We're all adults (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by txpolitico67 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:48:36 PM EST
    And running for the presidency of the USA is not some "tea party" for those of either camp to decry all this "unfairness".  

    I am rather tired by all the whiners complaining about how either candidate is being questioned by the MSM.  They both knew what they were in for.  And if the supporters for either candidate cannot handle it, Lifetime is showing reruns of the Golden Girls.

    It's politics.  And with the R's, we ain't seen nothing yet.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#69)
    by alexei on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:05:18 PM EST
    But it should be done for all candidates and until last night, the Media only went out for Clinton. So, I was quite happy to see this and Obama failed the test in that he couldn't put any of the "issues" to bed.

    Now, if they only would do the same to McCain (which I think that will not happen).


    Tweety (of all people) counted (none / 0) (#74)
    by kenosharick on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:34:20 PM EST
    how many times during the debate Obama whined about the mean and unfair questions--- grand total was SEVEN!!! How sad we will probably end up with a nominee who complained and cried racism to get that nomination.

    hahahaha (5.00 / 6) (#52)
    by blogtopus on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:04:49 PM EST
    Just got the predictable MoveOn email asking me to sign a petition. Where was this petition when MSNBC was hammering her? Nowhere.

    What a waste of a good organization it has become.

    haha (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:12:22 PM EST
    Howard Fineman said that Ed Rendell's comment last night after the debate, upon seeing Howard Fineman, was "hey there's that guy from the Obama Network".

    Too funny.  Course he immediately said he and KO were just reporters doing their jobs...as if to say they were unbiased journalists.

    love it... now Fineman's a journalist ?? (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by kimsaw on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:07:32 PM EST
    KO a sportscaster with the integrity depth of a football helmet. These guys are nothing more the Obama media reps. The corporations  want the candidate they can control and he is the only candidate that fits the bill cause he loves hearing himself preach to the adoring masses.  The Bloggers want someone who will give them power and recognition they think they deserve, like lobbyist on K Street. Obama loves himself- it will be President Access TV all day and night- so we can  program our souls and be for ever be in debt to the "One". I'm am so tired of the left and right and this bogus attempt at "change". I'd almost vote for Nader I'm not looking for a unity ticket just a little sanity. Obama is not ready, he's an immature politican and he's proving it. Clinton has baggage but I'll help her carry it cause she's the one that can lead the way. Okay off my soapbox ...

    The refugee- I saw that too and (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by kenosharick on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:37:18 PM EST
    burst out laughing, especially at Fineman's "righteous indignation." He was truly pissed.

    ABC News had to answer for (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:17:59 PM EST
    their actions on their news broadcast tonight.


    Apparently, according to MoveOn it's only fine to treat Clinton like garbage.

    I'll hold that neither should be treated like garbage; however, after this whole election cycle, what I saw last night was an act to set things on balance.

    And BTW, closely linking to Moveon (none / 0) (#58)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:19:21 PM EST
    isn't good for Obama's GE prospects....

    People soured on MoveOn because of the "General Betrayus" ad.  This doesn't score points for Obama.


    Watched the news (none / 0) (#64)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:42:08 PM EST
    nothing much.  Covered it as a debate about the debate...couple of comments on both sides, Obama shrugging it off, we welcome your comments, go to ..... on to Iraq.

    CNN on the other hand, Campbell Brown says Clinton not truthful do you think she needs to tear up again?  Laughing... Paul Begala loooooves her, thinks the clip on her was great, she's very funny and personable.  :)


    A travesty? No, not at this stage. (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:59:01 PM EST
    Obama's gotten the kid gloves treatment for months, despite the easy availability and opportunity for the media to address these so-called petty things as part of the news cycle - and as each new controversy came up, as each instance of Obama contradicting himself occured, we've all but begged the media to wake up and ask the questions of Obama that it had been ignoring.

    Well, they did.  Last night, in front of a reported 10 million people.  What's the real tragedy here - that it happened with such a large audience, or that it didn't happen earlier when no one was paying attention?  

    It could have been worse - Obama could have spent a lot longer on the hot seat on any number of issues, but Stephanopoulos and Gibson had to let it go.  I imagine Obama must have been somewhat relieved to move on to "real" issues, but he didn't perform any better on matters of substance than he did on matters he thinks no one should have had the temerity to question him on.

    That's telling, for me anyway.  In all the debates where it was Clinton who was on the hot seat, Clinton who got the heavy-handed treatment, she held her own, did not blink in the face of the challenge, did not stutter and stammer and look down her nose in indignation.

    Obama was rattled early, and he never recovered.  He was deer-in-the-headlights on economic questions, taxes especially, and he never connected the issues to the people.  He failed to stand up for Democrats, for previous Democratic administrations.  He said - again - that Democrats did not have a monopoly on good ideas.  Really?  Seems to me that when you're trying to sell the American people on putting a Democrat in the WH, you ought to be selling the cr*p out of Democratic ideas, lest you give people the impression that you think they - the voters - should seriously think that maybe they can vote for John McCain without feeling too bad about it.

    I'd like to thank ABC for allowing the American people to get a look at Barack Obama when things are not going his way, when the stars are not in alignment, when the tables are turned and the old okey-doke isn't working.  Seems to me that maybe if the voters could have had a good look at the petulant, immature side of George Bush, they might have decided to go with someone less inclined to pout when the chips were down.

    Obama's got some growing up to do - I'm just sorry the media waited this long to let people see that.

    They've all been useless (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:08:27 PM EST
    I know the outrage over the debate is because Obama faced the heat this time, but if you look back, none of the debates have had any substance. I'm still waiting to hear either candidate be asked about the destruction of every government agency, abuse of executive power,trampling of the Constitution, or accountability of the people in the current administration. How does either plan to get government working efficiently again? MSNBC and Russert were no better when they held there debate and I didn't hear KO screaming about that.

    barely on topic (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:04:58 PM EST
    but what does this show do for your electability argument?

    Let's see what happens (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:05:51 PM EST
    this was one debate.

    My take (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ghost2 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:36:10 PM EST
    I wrote in a previous thread that if this debate happened in October, I will be as outraged as anyone.  However, I feel differently now.

    The questions (excepting the silly one on flag pin) were mostly fair.  You see, Clinton has been asked and taken to task for every little thing and inconsistency.  Gibson and Steph posed questions that hadn't been asked before, and a lot had been happening since the last debate (6 weeks?).  It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone following this campaign that most of those questions ended up being on difficult topics for  Obama b/c well, he hadn't been yet questioned on them, and had so far gotten a pass.

    Plus, he is running for POTUS.  Don't you think it would be fair to be asked these kinds of questions at least once? As I said, they hadn't been asked before in a previous debate.

    Obama himself has made this campaign about character and fuzzy ideas (he avoids policy questions as much as he can). It's all hope and change, and of course, putting Clinton's character under microscope.  He can't at all complain when for once, it's his character that is getting the scrutiny.  

    Last point, I really liked the way Gibson and Steph followed up their questions.  Obama has a tendency to ramble and confuse his answer (even sometimes is intentionally misleading) and they did their job, which is putting a politician's feet to fire, well there.


    Suck it up, BTD (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by desert dawg on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:29:13 PM EST
    I can't believe you think it was terrible conduct--this was no different than ANY of the previous debates raising ad hominem arguments,it's just that this time it was leveled (slightly more) against Obama.  Steph raised sniper fire, he raised her honesty, but when he turns on the Anointed One, he's over the line. And BO brings up baking cookies (after calling her Annie Oakley during the week) and dares to thinks he was treated unfairly? Man, what a wimp. And so are those coming to his defense.  Since when is an elitist statement out of bounds? Since when is associations with terrorist out of bounds? And where's your mention that she CRUSHED him when it came to every policy question. You've just fallen for the Obama line--he lost the debate on POLICY points, fair and square, and he knew it when he walked off the stage.  He desperately needed to make it about her, and the attacks (and conflating the moderators with her)and make sure there would not be another debate or else NC would be in play, too.

    I totally agree with you. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:40:03 PM EST
    The thing to me that is astounding (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MMW on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:40:57 PM EST
    is that Obama is running on JUDGMENT, not his record, not his experience. He gave a speech excoriating her for referring to him as all words and no action (the plagiarised Deval Patrick speech - quoting the words of MLK, JFK...) yet has the audacity to continuously say that his words are being spun while he refines what he really meant.

    Now his supporters are screaming that it is unfair to question his judgment, proven by his relationships, dealings, etc. If he had a substantive record, they could go after it, but all he has is judgment. The questions asked last night questioned his judgment. They didn't even go as far as they should have.

    I do not think he was unfairly treated. Even today he's still going around blaming her for his treatment. You're right he is a WIMP.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:08:49 PM EST
    Let's see the results on Tuesday--and what the coverage looks like after that.

    It's silly (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Edgar08 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:25:55 PM EST
    The entire media support for Obama -- and the electability argument tied up into it -- is based on CDS.

    So if you want to be more accurate, if Media support or media intolerance is deemed to be the determining factor on electability, it is NOT that Obama is electable.

    It's that Clinton is unelectable.

    So whatever happens as long as Clinton remains in the race will have no bearing at all on what happens after she is out of the race.

    Am I admitting my candidate is unelectable.

    If we allow the media to choose our candidates, then I guess I am.  But the bottom line is we won't know one bit about how Obama will be treated by the media until Clinton is removed from the equation.

    Anything at all remains possible as far as that's concerned and worst case scenarios must be considered.


    Somewhat related. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Fabian on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:31:28 PM EST
    There's expectation of a "Unity Bounce" after one candidate is left standing.  Right now the national polls look horrible.  The proponents say that a Unity Bounce will change those ugly numbers into bright shiny numbers.

    I think it's another myth that people comfort themselves.


    I agree, but (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by cmugirl on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:38:43 PM EST
    If this goes to the convention, then there won't be much of a bounce. The Republican convention is a week later (I think), so I expect McCain will also get a bounce. Then there are only 8 weeks until Election Day. If Obama is the nominee and starts getting hammered, well, we've seen how long it takes him to respond to gaffes or weaknesses - a couple of weeks with 5 different explanations.  He won't have that kind of time.

    Add to that, I suspect some foreign policy bombshell (pardon the pun) will come out in October, and that's the ballgame.


    No way... (none / 0) (#82)
    by white n az on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:12:07 PM EST
    The media will be so focused - just as they are now, that McCain has absolutely no opportunity to get any traction.

    The relative unity bounce is related to how well/fair it all plays out and if the losing side's followers feels that their candidate was treated fairly will be of primary importance.


    I no longer listen to the Debates because of (none / 0) (#3)
    by Florida Resident on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:08:17 PM EST
    the questions asked.  ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX are as bad as bad can be.  They can not do a good debate and they have shown that.

    Unscripted (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Chimster on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:17:27 PM EST
    I quite like them. They are more indicative of a candidate's qualities than stump speeches because they are unscripted.

    I don't think the debate was a travesty of any sort. I think it helped show how media bias can affect a debate. The shor was on the other foot during debates before this one. Why should this one be any more of a travesty than the others?


    What is so obnoxious about this (none / 0) (#6)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:10:42 PM EST
    is that George is right. But the only reason this goes to electability is because that is how the traditional media shapes its reporting of the campaigns and the presidential race.

    What a sorry state of journalism. Rezko, Wright, Bosnia, Penn, Colombia, blah blah blah blah blah.

    We're in a cyclone of idiocy, spiraling downward. The media dumbs down the reporting, so viewers have less to think about, viewers get dumber, the media dumbs down the reporting even more.

    George Stephanopolous believes that electability hinges on a question about wearing a flag pin. This man was a high level advisor to a President of the United States.

    And americans are complicit in this, because we do not demand any better from our media.

    Oops, sorry, gotta go (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:12:37 PM EST
    There's a new story about Britney Spears out. I forgot what I was talking about.

    The Media, Not The People (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by BDB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:32:36 PM EST
    Look, I'll accept that Britney or Paris or whoever is on every fricking magazine because they sell and that's ultimately the consumers' fault.

    However, I've been at campaign events where Hillary Clinton spent two hours answering every question asked and they were not about flag pins or Bosnia snipers.  And the people ate it up.  The next day, the media wrote about how boring it was.  I haven't been to a similar Obama event, but I'm willing to bet the same thing would be true there as well.  

    The media is a disgrace.  And so are the many "progressive" bloggers that have remained quiet and in some cases cheered on the ridiculous attacks on Clinton.  How many times have I read that attacking Clinton over Bosnia was different than what they did to Gore because, you know, Clinton is a liar and so deserved it.  Crap.  And it's crap that's going to hurt Obama if he's the nominee every bit as much as it will hurt Clinton.  If there was one good thing about last night, it's that half of the Democratic party got reminded that the media isn't any democrat's friend (and, yes, Hillary Clinton and her supporters are democrats).


    it is not about the flag pin (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:55:35 PM EST
    it is about not being able to put the flag pin issue to rest.  It is about some Americans honest to God care about the flag pin and why Obama would chose that to take a stand on.  I happen to agree with Obama about the flag pin.  But on the other hand the thing was about pandering to the left and now he is getting bit in the ass over it.  
    My opinion is, that Obama doesn't know who he is and he is tripping up because of it.  I believe he is unelectable and would have done himself a big favor waiting four or eight years.

    Flag pin (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by wasabi on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:11:18 PM EST
    When I was campaigning for Kerry in Florida in 2004, I had a nice long conversation with a vet who could not be convinced to vote for Kerry.  His reason --- he wouldn't wear a flag pin on his lapel.  People base their votes on the craziest things.

    So that issue might seem really lame to you, but for some folks, it's not.


    does not seem like obama got (none / 0) (#92)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:30:54 PM EST
    much cred. from all those american flags  behind him during the speech about racisim.

    I've been thinking on this (none / 0) (#7)
    by nycstray on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:10:51 PM EST
    In every debate, they've brought the latest 'dust ups' to the debates. Could it be that just more came up about Obama vs Clinton and one of the issues was still fresh? She effectively shut down Bill a couple days before the debate, so her issues mostly stayed in the background while Obama was fumbling around with BitterCling.

    I thought it was looking very unbalanced in the first half, but I also won't kid myself that the GE won't be just like that. I just hope he learns how to give short direct answers before then. She needs to do the same.

    I'd like to find out why (none / 0) (#8)
    by 1jpb on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:12:06 PM EST
    Stephanopoulos asked if Wright loved America as much as BO does?

    Even Hannity couldn't have come up with that one.  SNL maybe, but probably not.

    The correct answer was (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:16:52 PM EST
    Reverend Wright was a marine who, unlike Cheney who got 5 deferments and Bush who got into the Texas Air National Guard, dropped out of college to enlist in the Marines 1n 1963. After completing his enlistment, he enlisted in the Navy to become a corpsman. During his time in the Navy he helped care for President Johnson. He has stated that he took this course of action because he took President Kennedy's speech, "ask not what your country can do for you" to heart.

    These do not seem to be the actions of somebody who doesn't love his country. But I do not speak for Reverend Wright. He speaks for himself. Nor does he speak for me. If you are serious about that question, you should ask him.


    I've Never Understood (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by BDB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:24:38 PM EST
    Why Obama doesn't go more with Wright's history of service.  It's very impressive and, whatever you think of his comments, indicates he's a much more complicated man than the media portrays (but who isn't).

    I'm honestly stunned that Obama apparently didn't do a very good job of handling Wright last night (didn't see it myself, but read the transcript).  I know he's tired, but he should be able to answer questions about Wright in his sleep.  For that matter, the flag pin stuff was idiotic and should never have been asked, but when it was, it should've been a home run for Obama.  Very weird.


    Then because of (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by kenoshaMarge on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:35:57 PM EST
    his service are we to not care about the things that John McCain says?

    As an old Army Brat I respect every vet's service. That doesn't give them a pass on every stupid thing they say and do for the rest of their life. I respect John Kerry's service. I don't respect John Kerry.

    I respect that Rev. Wright served his country. I am appalled at the kinds of things he said in his church. I'm not sure a whole lot of people that find his remarks repulsive are going to say it's okay because he has an impressive service record.


    I Don't Expect It To Fix Everything (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by BDB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:19:39 PM EST
    What Obama has tried to do is paint Wright as someone who is more than just a few excerpts from his sermons and I think his prior military service would help him do that.  Will it make everyone happy?  No.  Will it keep John McCain from trying to exploit Wright? No.

    But Obama's got to do something to try to neutralize the issue and pointing out that Wright is a veteran can't possibly hurt.  It's not a cure-all, but then there isn't a cure-all.


    yeah tim mcveigh (none / 0) (#40)
    by english teacher on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:05:16 PM EST
    wore the uniform too.  just sayin'...

    Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Whitman . . . (none / 0) (#47)
    by Trickster on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:40:11 PM EST
    Just to say "He was in the Marines" as Obama did last night just doesn't get there.  Everybody's known some guy who was ex-military and a big jerk.

    You're almost right, (none / 0) (#19)
    by 1jpb on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:25:08 PM EST
    that statement needs to be bookended with reiterating a disapproval of Wright's YouTube comments.

    And, maybe put a disapproval somewhere in the middle of the statement, for good measure.  


    I don't think 1jpb was asking that question (none / 0) (#22)
    by litigatormom on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:30:08 PM EST
    He was wondering why George Staphylococcus felt he needed to ask that particular question about an ex-Marine.

    I don't think that some questioning about what Wright said (and what Obama knew of his views) is out of bounds, but "does he love America" isn't one of the questions I would ask.


    And, Really, Who Cares? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BDB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:34:18 PM EST
    Since when is there some sort of litmus test requiring a candidate's pastor to love America?  The entire thing is bizarre.

    "He loves this country" (none / 0) (#36)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:49:27 PM EST
    but he thinks the traditional media is populated by  morons.

    I hear "ordinary" people talk (none / 0) (#15)
    by litigatormom on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:21:57 PM EST
    about electability too.  Most people I know are desperate to have a Democrat elected this coming fall. Opinion is quite mixed in terms of who my own friends and acquaintances think will do better against McCain.

    The problem is especially vexing because of the obscene amount of MSM pandering to John McShame.  Example:

    on his College Tour earlier this week, Tweety "interviewed" McShame.  He prefaced his questions with statements like

    "Most people like you because you're a maverick."

    Of course, McShame is neither a maverick nor a moderate; the MSM just insists in perpetuating the myth of McShame's maverick moderation because if people knew what McShame's positions really were, they'd be horrified. Not to mention that McShame condescends to them by chatting them up on the campaign bus and invites them to barbecues at his Sedona, Arizona ranch, one of the multitude of homes he owns with his heiress second wife Cindy.

    To Paraphrase War Criminal Donald Rumsfeld (none / 0) (#31)
    by BDB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:41:40 PM EST
    Democrats go into an election with the media we have, not the media we wish we had.

    From the sounds of it, the debate last night was almost as big a disgrace as NBC's (although nothing could really top NBC's), but that's the way it works in American politics these days, epecially for democratic candidates.  And what George S. is telling everyone is that it's going to continue to work that way.  The illusion that Obama was going to change it was just that, an illusion.

    This is the media treatment we will get in the general election.  The nominee, whoever it is, better be prepared to handle it.  

    As for the rest of us, we must continue to try to get a better media.  

    There was none of this upset (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:09:03 PM EST
    when ABC treated Clinton much worse.  She handled it much better.  I would be upset if they DIDN'T give Obama equal treatment and so should all democrats.  It goes the question of his ability to stand up to what is coming, just as you said.

    The point of the super delegates is to try (none / 0) (#33)
    by jawbone on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:42:52 PM EST
    to bring the Dem Party back from the precipice if it seems to be going over a cliff for a candidate who is not electable.

    The reason to go with Clinton is competence, experience, and electability.

    And I have heard people talk about that third.  They're not sure about Obama on all three, but their worries about the first two inform their concern about his electability.

    It may be an age thing--as old as I am I deeply fear another Repub president and the ruination of the Supreme Court. I dread dying along with our democratic republic. More of the Roberts/Alia/Scalia/Thomas thinking could neuter our Constitutiona and our rights. Roberts approves of the Unitary Executive--there cannot be more of him on the court.

    (NBC is reporting on the debate last night as if Clinton had forced the moderators to ask the questions they did of Obama--NBC works daily to make Clinton unelectable, which for some people is a huge factor in their decision to support Obama.)

    to me this is what is crazy about this whole (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:12:56 PM EST
    discussion.  To believe that Obama is more electable you have to believe that he will get fairer media treatment, he will not.  And his issues are all new and juicy AND he can't seem to stand the heat.  
    Yes NBC has spent all this time making her a target.  They will do the same to Obama and it will be worse cause now McCain will be his opponent.  
    Hillary has already proved she can remain standing.

    Media and Hilary (none / 0) (#73)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:24:40 PM EST
    The country has spent the last 7 yrs with a media that has given this admisnistration a complete blank check for everything they have done. To me, the fact that the media would be on Hilary's every move and decision is the main reason I support her now. I want politician's feet held to the fire. If you don't, you'll have another Bush administration.

    I dont know if it was unfair debate (none / 0) (#37)
    by ajain on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:51:52 PM EST
    But life is unfair. It has been to Hillary and Obama should get used to it.

    As he said in Iowa, they are running for the presidency of the United States, not City Council.

    In fact there is video of that (none / 0) (#38)
    by ajain on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:54:02 PM EST
    This is hilarious.



    CNN review of debate (none / 0) (#43)
    by waldenpond on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:13:48 PM EST
    review of debate...title: Obama's Fury-Anger after philly debate.

    Reporting, Obama may not debate Clinton again.

    Obama on the trail, 'she was taking every opportunity to get a dig (motioning with knife,) twisting' (motioning with knife.) He's brughing his shoulders off and the audience is laughing with him.  He was questioned about what his strategy would be after getting pummeled in the debate. Answer: if the repubs come after me, I will come after them hard.

    Crowley... if you're an Obama supporter, he got picked on.

    Meanwhile....Clinton is speaking in PA.

    and on and on it goes...

    Can't Stand the Heat (none / 0) (#45)
    by Petey on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 06:28:07 PM EST
    Check out how Obama is now trying to weasel out of the NC debate.

    Yawn. (none / 0) (#56)
    by digdugboy on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:16:35 PM EST

    Wow. You are such a great advocate for your (none / 0) (#65)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:44:00 PM EST
    candidate. I can feel the pull of unity now.

    Speaking about Move-On, (none / 0) (#60)
    by Chesserct on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:38:13 PM EST
    I could not believe my eyes when I received the following email from Move-On:

    Dear MoveOn member,

    If you missed the Democratic presidential debate on ABC last night, Editor & Publisher called it "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years."1 (Click below to see video excerpts.)

    Moderators George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson spent the first 50 minutes obsessed with distractions that only political insiders care about--verbal gaffes, polling numbers, the stale Rev. Wright story, and the old-news Bosnia story. And, channeling Karl Rove, they directed a video question to Barack Obama asking if he loves the American flag or not. Seriously.

    Enough is enough. The public needs the media to stop hurting the national dialogue in this important election year. Can you sign the petition to ABC and other media outlets and pass it on to friends who are also fed up? Click here for our must-see video with excerpts from last night--and to sign the petition:


    This was about one third of the complete email, which begged the reader in several places to just sign the petition because this horrible, biased treatment of Obama was putting the Democraft victory in peril. After what Clinton has been through, this is the height of whininess. I took the only action possible, going to their subsciption page, and removing myself from their mailing list, and leaving a long email with my thoughts. Maybe if Move-On loses a fair percentage of their audience, it may become evident to them that they cannot win the GE by alienating half of their base.

    Good. I quit a long time ago. Then (none / 0) (#66)
    by derridog on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:47:41 PM EST
    they sent me a "form" email begging me to reconsider. I ignored it.

    Lackluster ... (none / 0) (#67)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:56:01 PM EST
    rather than travesty is the word I'd use for it.

    By my count Obama got two more questions than Clinton.  But this also meant he had more air time.  But since Obama's is still favored to get the nomination that seems reasonable.

    All the questions (to both candidates) were fairly hostile.  But they weren't the MSNBC style of gotcha questions.

    But it was all rather dull.  This is not one of the debates that will be remembered in this campaign.

    the debates (none / 0) (#76)
    by macondo on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:49:39 PM EST
    are among the few times one gets to see unscripted responses from the candidates. So even if they are not really "true" debates they are still useful. I think the questions were appropriate given that Obama is still so unknown. Who Obama associates with is important because we have so little information about him and his record in the senate is so slim. We do not know how he would govern and in an attempt to get to know him better it is to be expected that his associations take a forefront and rightly so, imo.

    I didn't need to watch. Their records of (none / 0) (#77)
    by WillBFair on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 09:00:27 PM EST
    accomplishment and lack thereof have been obvious for months. But if the media actually confronted Obama on a few of his weaknesses, it's too little too late. They probably only did it to give the impression of fairness, and maybe to set the stage for when the Clintons are out of the way. When the media really start chewing on him, I'll take an unholy glee in watching his supporters get a dose of reality. I know it's wrong, because 'vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.'
    It's just been too painful: having to go on the net and make argument to the Obama brats, seeing them fall for a media smear campaing of such childish idiocy, and watching them throw mud at the most skilled, accomplised, and knowledgeable democrats of our time. I really can't wait till it's over.

    Actually (none / 0) (#84)
    by Natal on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 11:17:30 PM EST
    Hillary is doing Obama a favour with her attacks. If he's the nominee he'll be completely vetted just as Hillary says she is now when he's debating against McCain.

    Fair? (none / 0) (#87)
    by kaleidescope on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:41:04 AM EST
    The issue isn't really whether the empty suits' questions were harsher on Obama than on Clinton. Rather the entire sordid performance was unbearably depressing.  They treated both candidates like they were dogs or cocks put into a pit to pick at and bite each other, to be a spectacle to entertain to sell advertising.

    In the future there should be no more of the joint press conferences our degraded political vocabulary calls "debates."

    Neither Obama nor Clinton should agree to appear in any format other than a real high school debate team type debate -- be it on the war, the economy, health care.  And the question should be formed by the candidates' campaigns in conjunction with debate specialists.

    We've heard enough from the haircut and wardrobe allowance set.

    Calling Ayers and Obama friends (none / 0) (#88)
    by onemanrules on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 01:42:18 AM EST
    is a rather large stretch. For those who care about the truth of the matter, here is an article from factcheck.org concerning the relationship.

    Obama's Radical "Connection"

    Clinton exaggerated the violence committed by an Obama acquaintance who had been part of a radical group in the 1960s and 1970s and who refused to apologize for setting bombs.

    Clinton: Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. [William] Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.

    And if I'm not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York, and I would hope to every American, because they were published on 9/11 and he said that he was just sorry they hadn't done more. And what they did was set bombs and in some instances people died.

    In fact, nobody died as a result of bombings in which Ayers said he participated as part of the Weather Underground, at the New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, in a men's lavatory in the Capitol building in 1971 and in a women's restroom in the Pentagon in 1972. The deaths to which Clinton referred were of three Weather Underground members who died when their own "bomb factory" exploded in a Greenwich Village townhouse on March 6, 1970. Ayers was not present. Also, two police officers were murdered in connection with the robbery of a Brinks armored car by Weather Underground members in 1981. That was about a year after Ayers had turned himself in and after all charges against him had been dropped.

    Ayers did say ''I don't regret setting bombs'' and "I feel we didn't do enough'' regarding the group's violent protests against the Vietnam War. That was in a New York Times interview that was published the morning of September 11, 2001. The interview had been conducted earlier, in connection with the publication of a memoir of the year Ayers spent as a fugitive with his wife and fellow Weather Underground member Bernardine Dohrn. Ayers is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Obama and Ayers served together for a time on the board of an antipoverty charity, the Woods Fund of Chicago, from 1999 to 2002. Ayers also contributed $200 to Obama's campaign for the Illinois state Senate on March 2, 2001.

    When moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Obama about Ayers, the senator said he is "a guy who lives in my neighborhood ... who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis." He continued:

    Obama: And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

    Obama also correctly said that President Bill Clinton had pardoned or commuted the sentences of two Weather Underground members, who had, unlike Ayers, been convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. Bill Clinton indeed pardoned one and commuted the sentence of another.

    Obama visited Ayer's home in 1995 at the invitation of an Illinois state senator, according to a Feb. 22 story in Politico.com. But Politico concluded, "There's no evidence their relationship is more than the casual friendship of two men who occupy overlapping Chicago political circles and who served together on the board of a Chicago foundation." And while we by no means defend or condone bombings of any kind, Clinton strained the facts to make Ayers' 1970s activities sound homicidal.

    I think they were doing a favor to HIM (none / 0) (#89)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:03:39 PM EST
    They gave an opportunity to deny the "flag pin" issue [just like he denied being a Muslim in the debate.. lots of people after that debate came to know about his religious background .. you may argue if that matters or not but that DID help him].

    Similarly there were issues regarding Pastor, Ayer, and gun rights. He was given an opportunity, and he threw it aways and on the contrary is condemning the Questions. There are articles on blog-O-shpere condemning the VOTER who asked the flag pin question on the video!! That is crazy.. How can you criticize a VOTER to stop asking about ANY issue (however small that may be in YOUR mind).

    I think the debate also brought to the fore HOW Obama behaves in adversity.. that is very important for Voters.. I am sure he LET HIM DOWN in the eyes of many voters (he may care less for them is a different matter)

    By that logic (none / 0) (#90)
    by Claw on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:26:05 PM EST
    You could argue that all the "gotcha's" leveled at Clinton have been nice little favors to her.  I don't buy it.  
    "Hey, they're just giving her a chance to put this silly Bosnia thing to rest."  Nope.

    No they were the real gotcha's politics (none / 0) (#93)
    by TalkRight on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 03:54:36 PM EST

    Couldn't this have been predicted? (none / 0) (#91)
    by Pianobuff on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 12:31:47 PM EST

    If I were setting Clinton's campaign strategy, I would be getting out the word that the race is in the state it's in because Obama channeled it there.

    Seriously, Obama very early on countered the experience card with the judgment card (I was against the war....).  He countered the actions card with the words card (Words matter...).  He successfully engineered the media focus into looking at judgment and words.  So now the media is talking about his judgment via associations and parsing his words to try to understand what he is all about and it's unfair?   Does anyone else see him as being a victim of his own success?