The Pennsylvania Debate

Tonight, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama met in Philadelphia for what might be the last debate of the Democratic primaries.  ABC, which hosted the event, has video and a transcript.  The early press is mixed:

NYT: Clinton Employs Broad Attacks in a Key Debate
Washington Post: Obama Pressed in Pennsylvania Debate
AP: Clinton emphatically says Obama can win White House
CNN: Clinton, Obama face off in Pennsylvania

Penn_416_apBut ABC is taking a lot of heat for the tone of moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, which focused on process for much of the debate and keyed on GOP talking points and candidate controversy.  As Editor and Publisher put it:

In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent "bitter" gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.

Did you see the debate?  What were your reactions? 

Discuss.

Comments

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Even Hillary supporters are calling this an ABC hit job on Obama and secondarily on the Dem. party. One consolation as an Obama supporter, the lead story with the media outlets- "Clinton concedes Obama can beat McCain." No more argument left to the SDs to overturn the primary results.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    What debate? KATU did not see fit to allow us to watch it live. All the blogs were buzzing, live blogging. Cable news bobbleheads gave us their $5 million a year out of touch take on it. But we Portlanders and much of the West Coast are left out of the national conversation, only allowed to experience things in a three hour flashback.

    By 8 when it aired I was driving the kids to and fro for sports since we now must pay for city leagues so that they can participate. So much for the family being together in the evening, gathered around free teevee, you know, the public airwaves, to enjoy an important American event.

    Thanks for nothing KATU.

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    I'm just finishing up watching the debate right now on KATU.

    I agree - I was really disappointed in the questions. They allowed way too many trivial questions to be asked in this debate. There was the chance for questions from the public (prerecorded), and they were often times on things like - do you believe in the U.S. flag? I don't think you do because you don't wear one.

    There are so many questions that should have been asked that never were.

    They spent way too much time on the pastor issue. Many of us attend churches where our pastor says things we disagree with. A church is much more than just a pastor - it is a community. And just because the pastor may say things you disagree with, doesn't mean you have to leave the church. I've been in that predicament more than once, and I understand the situation that Obama is going through.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    I turned off the debate at 50 minutes in. I thought that ABC's choice of topics was entirely off base. At 50 minutes in, the only "policy" issues were those that Obama and Clinton worked in on the side as they answered to more personal attacks.

    I was especially dumbfounded to see what I had previously thought as legitimate media ask Obama about the former Weather Underground fellow he was on a Board with. I am just old enough to remember McCarthyism. Guilt by association and innuendo was how that played out – just like that line of questioning.

    I thought Obama handled the McCarthyism as well as anyone can, and it is forever to Clinton’s shame she did not confront it.

    ABC has a major black eye, self inflicted.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    First, I'd like to commend the person who chose the picture of our two candidates. Great shot of Obama looking very presidential - and Senator Clinton looking very, well, sad and saggy? Is someone playing into Limbaugh's "nobody wants to see a woman age in the Oval office (or something like it)" quote? Give. Me. A. Break!

    Second - May I be the first to say, finally. Finally the media has heard the American public say it's about time we ask tough questions of both candidates in this election. These issues with Obama aren't Senator Clinton's fault and it's silly to say so. An Obama supporter I watched the debate with tonight said he looked scared, nervous - or "something was off." This is what will happen in the general and if Obama wins I sure as heck hope he's stronger than he was tonight. And the flag? Just put a freaking flag pin on your jacket for crying out loud. That does not need to be an issue but it is! This is how it works, get used to it and get into the game already.

  • Jon Chandler (unverified)
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    I rarely post and rarely get on a public soapbox, but I simply have to vent - this was the most pitiful, embarrassing, demeaning, atrocious excuse for journalism I've ever witnessed. Who in the hell cares if Obama wears a flag pin? or if Hillary whiffed the Bosnia story? My only regret is that there's no effective way to punish ABC for this travesty, and I realize that my new commitment to boycott ABC will likely have as much effect as my long standing boycott of Starbucks, but goodgawdamighty, this was horrible.

    There, I feel better.

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    Steve:

    I agree on the guilt by association stuff. I've been on boards with people that I completely disagree with. I'm sure everyone who has ever served on a board has been in the same situation.

    Sometimes you're on a board because you agree on one thing - the organization, company, etc. whose board it is that you're serving on. So when I served on a YMCA board, we all agreed on the benefit of Alvin, TX getting a YMCA and the wonderful things it could do for the community. With some of the people on the board, that was the only thing we agreed upon.

  • Teri B. (unverified)
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    This debate was the most fair one yet. I liked that the responses were timed, and each were given an equal amount of time. I liked that the questions were staggered, and that they "flipped a coin" to see who would go first on opening and closings. I was impressed that both were challenged with tough questions and not allowed to wiggle out of fully answering.

    ABC handled this debate in a very admirable way, and I think both candidates' supporters should have been satisfied with the fairness of the debate, for a change. This is how journalists should handle debates. Both got tough questions.

    My main observation is that Clinton was ASKED questions about her positions on Wright and Obama's bitter comments, and she responded, owning her position, while Obama hedged on the Bosnia question, admitting his "campaign" was hammering on it, "of course," yet somehow dodging personal responsibility for what his campaign is doing? That just seemed dishonest to me. If his campaign is doing it - HE is. I'd much rather see the candidates own their positions and actions, than try and appear above the fray, when their actions don't match the perception they're trying to falsely portray.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Jenni writes, "They spent way too much time on the pastor issue. Many of us attend churches where our pastor says things we disagree with. A church is much more than just a pastor - it is a community."

    I'm a Unitarian. We are supposed to disagree with our ministers! Who ever agreed that belonging to a community like a church means agreement? Why, I know that the Republicants put "agreement", or as least obedience, forward as a key value, but don’t Democrats understand that having differences of opinion is part of what makes life interesting?

    Who ever said we all had to agree!

  • backbeat12, Woman (unverified)
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    From Editor and Publisher (3 hours before we even got to see the debate here in Portland):

    NEW YORK In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.

    Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the health care and mortgage crises, the overall state of the economy and dozens of other pressing issues had to wait for their few moments in the sun as Obama was pressed to explain his recent "bitter" gaffe and relationship with Rev. Wright (seemingly a dead issue) and not wearing a flag pin while Clinton had to answer again for her Bosnia trip exaggerations.

    http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003790556

    ABC Switchboard: 212-456-7777

  • Bitter Working Man (unverified)
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    Wow, and they call this the "liberal media". A new nadir in American political television.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Backbeat, Yeah, we as the American public need to be educated on April 16, 2008, about our 2 democratic Presidential candidate's thoughts on the issues. That's what we've been doing for how many months? A simple visit to each of their websites will tell you all you need to know. Each campaign has been raising these personality issues and we're in an interesting situation here - we get to look at how they will react to these questions that Rs will raise. I say lucky us. I think this is exactly what we needed to see this late in the game.

  • backbeat12, Woman (unverified)
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    Each campaign has been raising these personality issues and we're in an interesting situation here - we get to look at how they will react to these questions that Rs will raise. I say lucky us. I think this is exactly what we needed to see this late in the game.

    Yes, by all means let's keep reinforcing the phony republican memes that got us into this mess.

    Time to change the conversation.

  • Nick from Eugene (unverified)
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    It was not the worst debate ever...but it was pretty bad. It took them 50 minutes to ask a question about an issue facing the country. That was the saddest part.

    This was also a case of the media trying to show that it is not liberally biased (which it is not, since the media is corporately owned), and thus overcompensating and using Republican talking points. Since when does Sean Hannity control the debate in this country...it is a sad day when that happens. Almost all the questions played into the Republicans hands, and had the intention of doing so.

    I agree with Katy about the picture posted on here. Obama's picture makes him look Presidential, and Hillary's makes her look tired...that isn't even handed at all.

    That being said, Hillary looked ridiculous attacking Obama on simply knowing and taking a small contribution way back in the 1990s from William Ayers from the Weather Underground when Obama pointed out that Bill Clinton pardoned two members of the Weather Underground.

    Overall, I feel like Obama won this debate because Hillary had to go after him to shake up a race that is going to be won by Obama if nothing dramatic happens to change the dynamics. But Obama deflected her attacks and the negative questions very well. And thus, he won the night.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    The photo is just the first result on Google Images for "Obama Clinton," it looks like. There are worse photos of Clinton, to be sure. A photo could have been chosen of her smiling, I suppose, but Obama isn't smiling, either. And Clinton just doesn't do a lot of the sort of beaming upward poses that Obama does.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    The corporate media cannot and will not sponsor responsible debates. All the debates have accentuated the trivial and marginalized the crucial. We get democracy in the service of crony capitalism.

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    It's like Glenn Greenwald is always pointing out, the press likes to know about the sordid stuff, as it doesn't require much investigation or analysis. They manage to do all of this while decrying the practice of smears, but they always assert with admiration that it works.

    Maybe this time it won't. Been noticing the climb in Clinton's negatives and the stability (so far) of Obama's numbers during the past couple of weeks.

    If it holds, it may show how little regard that the slimers (both pros and press) have for the voters. Obama stayed steady throughout and with people booing the moderators at the end, this may have been a net plus for him.

  • larry lefler (unverified)
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    WTF happened to The League of Women Voters - When did we give the debates to the networks?

    Honest question -

  • Taylor M (unverified)
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    Nothing about the environment, or Bush's greenhouse gas speech today. Torture? Nope, not even "interrogation" writ large. Iran? Terror? They discussed Who Tasted the Same 1998 Fondue as the Weather Underground, but given the state of the world I'm not thinking that constitutes terror. Nothing about federalizing education standards, NLCB- they didn't even address education. Spending and the deficit? Health care?

    We got played us all for suckers. Tim Russert's just pissed he didn't get invited to the GOTCHA party.

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    Obama's retort on Ayers was a gleaming diamond in a stall full of donkey dung. When he said, "I'm friendly with Tom Coburn too, Republican Senator from Oklahoma. He says we should give the death penalty to people who perform abortions. Am I supposed to disassociate myself from HIM now, too?" I about fell out laughing. That's some major jujitsu, but it perfectly explains how ludicrous and demented it is to pursue this line of questioning.

    And I had barely formed the thought in my head, that--wow--he really made it plain why this was a big waste of time, when here comes Hillary to say, "But you know, I do think it IS a concern, when you were on the board of..." as if she had totally spaced on everything he had JUST SAID. Which of course she did, she wasn't paying attention to his answer--she was waiting to pounce with her oppo research. I bet some of Frank Luntz's desire meters slammed sharply down to the left when he started in on her tone deaf Ayers accusations.

    I'm less certain of some overt ABC bias against Obama, although I'm ready to believe a lot of things these days. But there's no denying their primary bias is to controversy, a close horse race, and sheer titillation. That was one ugly display. I think Obama's right, the American people are smarter than that, at least.

  • Taylor M (unverified)
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    Oh and Katy, get over the picture- that's ABC's OFFICIAL PA HILLARACK DEBATE! photo. It's on every media institution's coverage of the event, from ABC to the Drudge Report. BUT!- Did the Hillary campaign leak it to Drudge? Developing...

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    Great job by Senator Obama navigating through hostile and biased questioners. In doing so, he showed again why he has the composure and intellect to be our next President.

    As for ABC and its "moderators", what a disgrace. In the first 55 minutes of the debate, they asked Obama 6 accusatory slanted questions on everything from the Weathermen, his patriotism, Rev Wright, and the whole bitterness thing. Ironically though, this is when Senator Obama won the debate and shined the most by hitting his unity themes in a presidential manner.

    During the same time period, Hillary was allowed to pile on to the accusations and twice was thrown the softball "Do you want to respond to that or wait for the next question?"

    In contrast to Hillary's piling on, Senator Obama refused to do so on the Bosnia issue when asked if Hillary was being truthful. He could have easily ripped her explanation to shreds, but once again took the high road and backed her up. That's why so many of us appreciate Senator Obama's approach to politics.

  • Murrow's ghost (unverified)
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    Personally, I find ABC's fascination with the trivial to be pathetic. Let's take Obama's choice of lexicon for a spin: Try a small exercise. In place of the term "cling to", substitute one of the many synonyms that would or could carry similar meaning.

    Microsoft's Word program suggests the following: -keep hold of -clutch on to -be dependent on -latch on to

    and my own suggestion: take comfort in

    Now if Senator Obama has used any of these in place of "cling" I think ABC and by extension, Senator Clinton and her surrogates, would have a much harder time creating the pigpile.

    Because when people-and not just people from rural Pennsylvania- are stressed, whether they are stressed by loss of job, community, health or safety, they naturally revert to those things that are familiar, safe and that bring them comfort.

    Religion and shared experiences (like hunting) with old friends can fill a void and help to give those affected by such circumstances a break from the ever-present troubles that beset them.

    Conversely, dealing with challenging and in some cases unsettling issues and people does exactly the opposite--it increases that stress and discomfort.

    Where Senators Clinton and McCain have been most successful is when they have welded that discomfort to Senator Obama, using the words bitter and cling like so much flux.

    It is an indictment of their (and the media's) ethics and a testament to their craftiness that they were able to use up 5 days of news cycle with this distracting jeremiad.

    Of course using such language probably makes me an elitist. Who knew a 1980 bachelor's degree from OSU could qualify me for such a title?

    On that note, didn't we just have a national tournament where hundreds of athletes attempted to become a member of a group known as the "Elite Eight"?

    Boy, those guys must be really arrogant and out of touch.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Mathew Iglesias of Atlantic Monthly summed it nicely:

    "I had thought the Clinton campaign couldn't sink any lower, but thus far she's really just been giving us the full GOP. Listening to her talk about Barack Obama is like reading a Weekly Standard blog post. The lame excuse that she's making this and that outrageous smear because the Republicans will do it later is pathetic. Maybe they will. But she's the one doing it now."

    The negative campaign is backfiring. Zogby poll out today says that :

    Latest Zogby Poll: It's Statistically Even in PA! Demographics Still Favor Clinton, But Obama Appears to Have Absorbed the SF Attacks, And Even Gained on Clinton. "Pennsylvanians by a two to one margin (60% to 29%) are more likely to agree with supporters of Obama that voters in Pennsylvania are bitter about their economic situation than with Clinton and critics of Obama that he is an elitist who does not understand working people."

    Mark Halperin of Time.com reports that some prominent Pa. Clinton supporters are changing sides because of the Clinton negative and divisive attacks.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    WTF happened to The League of Women Voters - When did we give the debates to the networks?

    FYI, "we" didn't give the debates to the networks, the two major parties wrested control from the LWV sometime during the Clinton administration as a way to keep any third party candidates out of public view and reinforce their stranglehold on American politics.

    Thus giving us the “choice” of J-Mac, Hillary, and BHO.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    The Wash. Post media critic takes ABC to the woodshed:

    <hr/>

    In Pa. Debate, The Clear Loser Is ABC

    By Tom Shales Thursday, April 17, 2008; C01

    When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

    For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

    The boyish Stephanopoulos, who has done wonders with the network's Sunday morning hour, "This Week" (as, indeed, has Gibson with the nightly "World News"), looked like an overly ambitious intern helping out at a subcommittee hearing, digging through notes for something smart-alecky and slimy. He came up with such tired tripe as a charge that Obama once associated with a nutty bomb-throwing anarchist. That was "40 years ago, when I was 8 years old," Obama said with exasperation.

    Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to "take one statement and beat it to death," he said.

    No sooner was that said than Gibson brought up, yet again, the controversial ravings of the pastor at a church attended by Obama. "Charlie, I've discussed this," he said, and indeed he has, ad infinitum. If he tried to avoid repeating himself when clarifying his position, the networks would accuse him of changing his story, or changing his tune, or some other baloney."

    <hr/>

    It should be noted that Gibson and Stephanopolous were roundly booed and heckled by the audience. ABC's message board on the debate was taken down after being deluged with critical comments. And their online poll was also taken down after it showed overwhelming support for Obama. Other online polls at MSNBC and even (gasp) Drudgereport also show overwhelming support for Obama. One pundit noted that given the fact that Obama was dealing with a defensive action against four adversaries, he did rather well and it solidified his status as the front-runner. The big losers in this debate are ABC, whose standing will be forever diminished, and Hillary Clinton, whose negative campaign sounds more like a right wing talk show than that of a Democratic presidential candidate,will continue to sink. The WaPo ABC poll out this week showed 59% consider her untrustworthy and without credibility. She is the one now whose electability is most problematic. This debate revealed who is the progressive Democratic candidate and who is not.

  • (Show?)

    @Katy - No. No, he shouldn't just "put a freaking flag pin on". WTF? Are you sure you're a democrat? Will a flag pin help him answer the phone better at 3 am? Will a flag pin turn our economy around? Give. Me. A. Break.

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    Just put a freaking flag pin on your jacket for crying out loud. That does not need to be an issue but it is! This is how it works, get used to it and get into the game already.

    Katy, I'm surprised to hear you go after Obama for not wearing a flag pin to the debate. It's a cheap shot. And I don't think Barack Obama needs advice from the Clinton campaign about "getting in the game." Viewing this as nothing more than a game is part of the problem with our politics anyway.

    I don't know what to tell you about the picture except that it's a standard one Alworth picked up from the AP.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    After this debate it's pretty clear that Hillary should be running as a right wing Republican, and not a Democrat. The appeal for unity by Meredith Wood Smith rings very hollow right now. When Hillary is running attack ads (with phony testimonials I might add) touting "God, guts, and guns" theme against another Democrat, and talking about how much more "American" she is than that "elitist" (that's code for the African American from South Chicago), then a threshold has been crossed. We're in a civil war in this party thanks to her kitchen sink tactics. Hillary donors are taking back money from the DNC as a wedge. I look at the Clintonite officeholders and say, "Why should I give a dime to this outfit, if they've taken up the Republican cause?"

  • Tyrone Reitman (unverified)
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    This was a terrible debate. The editorializing, focus on the trivial, and general disregard for substantive issues really led to two hours of media blather. Opportunity lost.

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    Incidentally, I posted this thread, and the picture comes from the ABC coverage--and it seems to have been broadly picked up by other media. I used it to try to avoid getting into a meta discussion about whether the photos held some hidden bias. Oh well!

    I thought it was beyond belief in terms of journalism. The Weathermen bit was especially fine work--straight from Sean Hannity to George Stuffy's mouth. Now that's fine journalism.

    But as a response to Teri above, who thought this was a fair debate, I have to ask--to whom? Even the hacks at the Corner said it was shockingly pro-GOP. While there may be some thin argument to be made for regurgitating GOP smears in the general election (there's not actually, but we could have a rational discussion), this was the inverse of valuable. None of the questions illuminated the issues Democratic voters need to make a decision. It was a symptom of what modern journalism has become--a pantomime of real journalism that badly conceals the networks' interest in prurient sideshows.

    The nets have proven they have reality-TVed themselves and can no longer comprehend what the public trust is all about.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with Jeff and others. It was a total shit sandwich of a debate.

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    Katy, really, the flag pin? Debasing the flag that represents out country on pins, t-shirts, hats and all other swag is dumb and it is not a campaign issue. People ran to that flag after 9/11 and haven't let go. PS: Haven't seen your girl Clinton in a flag pin...

    Obama tried to raise the level of debate - and defended Clinton I might add when responding to gaffes made on both sides - and Clinton stayed in the mud.

    And regards to the photo. People get old, face it. There is nothing that will fix Hillary's face in a picture except some Vogue level airbrushing. She's sixty and she holding her own, get over it. You are the one assigning her the "haggard" look.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Nothing more be said about the lamentable hatchet job performed by ABC.

    Obama looked for the most part stumbling and unsure of himself. Clinton looked for the most part more self-assured. And yes, those things shouldn't matter. And I still plan to vote for Obama in the primary.

  • BR (unverified)
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    I think at this point the Hillary office holders like Hooley and Kulongoski have to start asking themselves, are we here to carry water for the Republican attack points on Dem. candidates? This idea that Hillary has that she's just being a surrogate for the right wing attack machine so she can "test" Obama is nuts! She's just making Ads for McCain and his cronies and lending credence to all the distraction away from the real issues, like war in Iraq and Iran, financial meltdown, and the eroding health care crisis. Do we want to give our money to a party like this, so they can adopt the right wing propaganda points and undermine progressive policy goals?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    This "elitist" bullshit really has me pissed off. The references to urban tastes, international flavor, and alt culture are code. The real target is mining the persistent current of anti-intellectualism in the US. That is what gave us no-nothing Shrub, who would be great to have as a drinking buddy, never mind that he would make a mess as mayor of a small town, let alone heading the most powerful nation on earth. That is what gave us Ronald Reagan, who blamed pollution of trees as he dismantled government and committed war crimes.

    The elitism that matters in politics is the common tendency to carry water for the super-rich, the real elitists in this society. Keep that clear in your mind.

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    The worst thing that could happen seems to be happening: the public and media are simply getting bored with the candidates and moving on to the "Britney Stage" of tearing down the idols they've built up over the past year and a half.

    This campaign has gone on far too long for anyone's good; media coverage will only get worse as the media looks for new angles to keep the weary public interested and tuned in. Hopefully we can compress the primary season next time to a couple of super-Tuesday-like events before familiarity breeds contempt for the whole field again.

  • Christa (unverified)
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    The moderators kept trying to start a fight by bringing up Obama's so-called "bitter" remarks. BTW, I think those remarks were right on the money and nothing to apologize for. How is it elitist to point out that way too many Americans are way too stupid? Yet here we got to watch the moderators again beating a dead horse. My husband and I turned it off. There is only so much BS one should have to take. We are voting for Obama, so are both of our children and their spouses.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    BBC's presidential election blog commentary:

    Deeply flawed hopefuls

    So Barack Obama is out of place in small town America. For the record this is what he said at that now infamous San Francisco fundraiser:

    "The jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    Reasonable points. Points with which no Democrat could disagree. But points a social scientist might make, not a man seeking the presidency.

    In the past Obama has bounced back from statements regarded by the media commentators as "gaffes" but this?

    It brings me back to the issue we discussed some time ago: that, contrary to popular belief, neither of these candidates, Clinton and Obama, is actually very strong. They are deeply flawed, not as people but as presidential hopefuls.

    So is McCain of course: which is why it will remain such an interesting race.

    <hr/>

    Obama has to start running for President of the United States again and forget about his alternate ambition (as I envisage it) to be president of the faculty senate somewhere.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    The US electorate has shrunken as the young and the cynical disengage from politics as usual. Obama, to his credit, has challenged some of rules of behaving like a candidate. That is why he inspires hope. Without that, he is toast.

  • Jeana in Oregon (unverified)
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    Deplorable debate, and I can't effectively say I'll boycott ABC News because I never watch it anyway. I think all presidential candidates should only committ to debates with a certain (very high) percentage of issue questions. Sure, a couple of "gotchas" thrown into the mix is acceptable, but 53 minutes of rehashed, trenchant nonsense, mostly against one candidate (6 questions to 2!) is shameful. Senator Obama kept trying to redirect to issues in a gentlemanly way. I wish he would have just laid into those two "moderators." BTW, has anyone ever noticed HRC wearing a flag pin? Just wondering.... I think it probably clashes with the $8,000 Tahitian pearl necklaces, so maybe that's her excuse. Anyway, I've never heard HER criticised on this. (Not that anyone should have to wear one of the dumb things!)

  • CAC (unverified)
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    Obama did great, despite the obvious attempts of the moderators to continue to bring up tabloid issues and obvious attempts by HRC to keep the issues alive. Just as Hillary said, she has a lot of baggage, why didn’t we talk about that too? Agreed 6-2! Trust me, the Republicans will certainly bring up "hillary's baggage"- lies told and questionable actions by all of the Clintons. And just how old is Hillary anyway? She has been doing this for 35 years, really??

    I almost turned the TV off because who wants to hear a debate that re-hashes what the news channels have picked to death over the last number of weeks. I wanted to hear issues!! I wanted to hear HOW the candidates were going to keep thier promises... how they were going to change the economy, make gas and utilities more affordable, get troops out of Iraq, etc. When will we have a debate that asks... HOW will you do that and not WHAT will you do? If people think Barack isn't knowledgeable then why do they resort to attacking him instead of asking him!!!

    Obama continued to point out that “we should be talking about the economy, $4 gas, my shrinking salary and rising costs, recession, Iraq, etc." and not all the side stuff with no relevance.

    It was an obvious attack on Barack and I am appalled. Not that he can’t take the heat, he has been taking it for weeks and STILL pulling ahead. And yes, WHERE was Hillary’s flag pin or anyone elses for that matter.

    Barack hit the nail on the head when he said “there will always be something for the media… if not one thing another.”

    When Hillary talked, it sounded like “story time” at the library… “well, back in my day… and we did this and I did that…” all the while pausing and moving her head and talking slow like she was trying to entice me into her words with tone... or maybe she was being elist and talking down to me like I am stupid and if she doesn't talk slow I won't understand! I can sure say her speaking pace picked up quickly when Bosnia sniper fire came up. Pretty sure Barack felt like he was under sniper fire last night.

    It was a sad night for politics, the media and the democratic party. I was a Republican, voting Democratic for the first time because of Barack and his ability to "fight the norm" in this campaign. I have had enough of the norm and unfortunately, change isn't easy and people don't like it. The constant "Barack Bashing" is proof Barack is real and for real change, otherwise the "powers of norm" wouldn't be fighting him so vindictively.

    Obama 08 or bust...

  • Adam Smith (unverified)
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    Forgive me in advance for this rant, but I am angry.

    Having worked in and around politics for some time, it takes some doing to get me indignant about this kind of thing, but:

    That was a shameful and abhorrent display on the part of ABC News. And as an Oregonian, with our primary still to come, we were as much the audience for that debate as anyone, and have, I believe a responsibility to let ABC know that this is not acceptable.

    Really? Flag pins? The Weather Underground? "Do you believe that Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"!!!

    Millions of Americans face the prospect of losing their homes this year. Our leading scientific lights tell us we're on the verge of a climate-driven catastrophe. We're involved in two wars with a plan to win or disengage from neither. We may be facing the greatest financial crisis of our generation. Parents across the nation are going to bed wondering whether they can afford to take sick children to the doctor. Commodity prices are beginning to spark food riots around the globe. And on, and on, and on.

    The hit job on Obama is almost besides the point. These are our airwaves, and it's our election, and what we saw last night was beyond negligent.

    I urge you to call KATU (503) 231-4222 and tell them to get a message to Corporate that this is going to cost their local affiliate viewers and potentially advertisers.

    Sorry for the length and the tone here. Carry on.

  • TR (unverified)
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    It is obvious neither candidate can be trusted in what they say. Both flip flopped all over the place continually making contradictory statements. Examples: both made strong comments about not raising taxes on the middle class with the $200,000.00 threshold figure batted around. Later both suggested they would consider raising the tax on capital gains without mentioning or considering small middle class investors. Together, both statements are not compatible. Second, both opposed the war in Iraq. Yet both said they would consider doing the same thing in Iran. Both are candidates are totally unbelievable and have plenty of less than straightforward baggage to expose all their flip flop talk.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    TR? -Ah.. a McCain troll aboard! They love to stir the pot. Well, Hillary is doing your work for you, so no need!

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    The genius of Obama as a politician is he takes challenge and attack and turns it into strength. What better illustration of the need to change our politics than last night's debate. And a correct diagnosis of Hillary's having adopted the tactics that were used against her in the 90s.

    Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlR9DNfqGD4

    "I will tell you, it does not get much more fun than these debates. They are inspiring events," Mr. Obama quipped. "Last night, I think we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people. It took us 45 minutes!"
    "Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care. Forty-five minutes before we heard about Iraq," he continued. "Forty-five — 45 — minutes before we heard about jobs. Forty-five minutes before we heard about gas prices."
    
    "That was the roll-out of the Republican campaign against me in November. That is what they will do," Mr. Obama said. "They will try to focus on all these issues that don’t have anything to do with how you pay your bills at the end of the month."
    
    "Look, I understand that because that’s the text book Washington game. That’s how our politics has been taught to be played," Mr. Obama said. "That’s the lesson that she learned when the Republicans were doing that same thing to her back in the 1990s. So I understand it and when you’re running or the presidency than you’ve got to expect it."
    
  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steve Bucknum:

    .....about the former Weather Underground fellow he was on a Board with.

    Bob T:

    "....was on the board with" ?

    Cute.

    Steve:

    I thought Obama handled the McCarthyism as well as anyone can

    Bob T:

    Well, whatever it was (the label McCartyism is itself too often a cheap talking point), he did a lousy job at handling it.

    Steve:

    ABC has a major black eye, self inflicted.

    Bob T:

    Give me a break. They need to be congratulated for treating Obama as a candidate instead of gushing and drooling over him like he walks on water. Or do you prefer that he be asked questions by Chris Matthews who said that Obama gives him a tingly feeling running up his leg?

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Jenni Simonis:

    They spent way too much time on the pastor issue.

    Bob T:

    The pastor issue?

    That's another cute one!

    Bob Tiernan

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Thanks to Buckman Res for cutting through the bullshit: "the two major parties wrested control from the LWV sometime during the Clinton administration as a way to keep any third party candidates out of public view and reinforce their stranglehold on American politics."

    Analysis of the debate for real progressives: progressive analysis.

    "The candidates are using certain catch phrases. They’re saying 'no permanent bases' and 'we’re going to start a withdrawal' or 'we’re going to get combat troops out.' But they’re not committing to having troops out of the region in the first four years of their presidency. They have left it very open."

    Republican Lite supporters: beware the truth, for it will embarrass you.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Bob T writes, "Steve Bucknum: .....about the former Weather Underground fellow he was on a Board with.

    Bob T: "....was on the board with" ? Cute.

    Steve: I thought Obama handled the McCarthyism as well as anyone can

    Bob T: Well, whatever it was (the label McCartyism is itself too often a cheap talking point), he did a lousy job at handling it.

    Steve: ABC has a major black eye, self inflicted.

    Bob T: Give me a break. They need to be congratulated for treating Obama as a candidate instead of gushing and drooling over him like he walks on water. Or do you prefer that he be asked questions by Chris Matthews who said that Obama gives him a tingly feeling running up his leg?"

    Really? Cute?

    I've now had a chance to see again that part where the Weatherman fellow was brought up. Yes, part of that was about Obama and this fellow being on the same Board of Directors for some community group. I watched the question being asked, I watched Hillary Clinton, and I watched Obama.

    Obama was sandbagged. No if, and or but - Hillary was ready for the question to be asked, and he wasn't. It was a complete guilt by association thing. And yes, in the political context, one way to express guilt by association is by calling it McCarthyism.

    When Obama is asked six questions out of eight about stupid stuff like the American flag lapel pin - I have to wonder about the media. Bob, you say something like its about time they stop gushing over Obama. Really! Except for Saturday Night Live, I who have watched lots of, but not all of, the debates, haven't seen "gushing". What I saw last night was a hit job, pure and simple. So, what kind of questions were there to ask besides "gushing" and "hit job"?

    Lots and lots and lots. Bob, Really! How about the war, taxes, health care, infrastructure development, the effects of deregulation, the housing value and credit crisis, the falling dollar and its effect upon oil prices, energy, the politicization of the Department of Justice, torture, Habeas Corpus, wire tapping, our relations with the governments of the Middle East, our policy towards China, Free Trade with Columbia, the oil deposits in the Dakotas, education both at the public school and University level, jobs, US missile defenses in Europe, the changing face of NATO, our relationship with Russia, and what about Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden?

    If I can think of those questions, that would take 2+ hours for two serious candidates to answer, in two minutes and 30 seconds, then where were the paid journalists?

    Really Bob, really!

  • (Show?)

    Guys, engaging Bob T is a losing venture, just as an FYI.

  • indie (unverified)
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    Steve Bucknam writes: "Obama was sandbagged. No if, and or but - Hillary was ready for the question to be asked, and he wasn't. It was a complete guilt by association thing. And yes, in the political context, one way to express guilt by association is by calling it McCarthyism."

    This was 100% my impression as well. Clinton seemed ready for it, and even though Obama handled the question quite well, she stuck to what seemed like a prepared attack. She also seemed surprised when he brought up Bill Clinton's pardoning of some Weather members, and had no response when Gibson if she wanted to give one. What a low point in this campaign.

    If I was a Clinton supporter I'd be cringing over her tactics last night - folks, it won't help her.

    Stephanopolous should be ashamed. Unfortunately, its not clear whether the discourse led by talking heads like Stephanopolous will improve any time soon now that they've gotten some of these irrelevant questions off their chests.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    The fact that Bob T., perpetual loser, is in here trolling means the republics are running scared.

    bwahahahahahahahah!

  • (Show?)

    200k is middle class? In this state, only in Lake Oswego!

    If you make 200k, you're about in the top 3% .

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    This is the Bob Tiernan. Best you stay in retirement, Bob, you give a bad name to politics. Even the Republicans of Lake Oswego had the good sense to show you the door.

  • (Show?)

    No, no, no...

    The former GOP state rep. Bob Tiernan does not comment here at BlueOregon.

    The Bob Tiernan that comments here is the Libertarian from Gresham.

    I've been debating politics with Bob T on the intertubes since the early 90s... from way back when the other Bob T was still in the Lege.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Memo to the Super-Ds: From Howard Dean:

    I want your decision NOW! From CNN- today.

    One consequence of Hillary's lovely performance at the debate last night. No more slashing and burning of the Dem. party.

  • Willard Freeman (unverified)
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    Remember early in this campaign when the polls showed Hillary unbeatable and there were seven or eight candidates for the Democratic nomination?

    I remember Senator Obama, when asked if he would meet with Fidel Castro, Kim Jong Il, and other leaders of unfriendly countries, if he were elected President and he quickly replied: "I would" and went on to say the problem with American foreign policy is that we don't talk to our enemies.

    Senator Clinton replied that she would not and that there needs to be certain conditions to just any dictator getting an audience with the President of the United States. I applauded her answer (even though I think our Cuban policy is silly, at best) and Senator Obama in later debates, tried to compare Clinton's answer to Bush's foreign policy (or lack of), calling it "the politics of the past".

    I told many people that Obama's promise to have this revolving door meeting with all the world's tin horn dictators would be the first promise he would break.

    Well, it seems that yesterday, Obama criticized former President Cater for meeting with Hammas on his trip to Israel and the West Bank.

    But isn't Hammas a terrorist organization? Well they are now. But so was the Igrun, a group lead by Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel. In 1946, this group bombed the King David Hotel in Jeruslam, killing 91 British soldiers.

    Regardless of how one feels about Hammas, they were elected to represent the Palestanian people. So let's support Democracy as long as we like the election results.

    Senator Obama is the one emulating Bush in this instance. In his pandering to the American Jewish vote, through his actions and words, he is saying, "Democracy is not important. Political expediency is trumping all."

    I might or might not vote for Obama. I haven't made up my mind yet. But he has a lot to learn.

    --

  • (Show?)

    I'm sorry, I was unaware that Carter was re-elected President. What does who a private citizen meets with, have to do with what a President does?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Senator Obama is the one emulating Bush in this instance. In his pandering to the American Jewish vote, through his actions and words, he is saying, "Democracy is not important. Political expediency is trumping all."

    Almost all politicians pander to the perceived Likud/Kadima lobby. When the Israeli air force was committing crimes against humanity in southern Lebanon a few months ago all senators and all but a few representatives (Dennis Kucinich and others) in the House endorsed these war crimes.

    Before he began running for president and after he had the benefit of Reverend Wright's candid analysis on the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, Obama had the sense and honesty to recognize the human rights abuses committed against the Palestinians, especially in Gaza. He has also been getting foreign policy advice from Zbigniew Brzezinski who seems to be redeeming himself lately by talking sense on the Middle East. Perhaps, after his election Obama will be able to move to a more sane policy and make the United States what it should have been but never has been - an honest broker. And, yes, he should talk with our perceived enemies. Perhaps in the process we will find they are not enemies after all. As Winston Churchill once said, "To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war."

  • sandra longley (unverified)
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    I don't think the "flag pin" would be an issue if it were not for a continuing thread, of comments and associations with people who are considered to be unpatriotic, so it is noticed and commented on. The main thing is that Obama Lied in response to the question by saying he ever said he wouldn't wear a flag pin-He Did Say That-in the lead up to the Iraq war-he said "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest as a substitute for real patriotism". seems like a good reason to me-why lie about it?

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Willard Freeman said: "Senator Obama is the one emulating Bush in this instance. In his pandering to the American Jewish vote, through his actions and words, he is saying, 'Democracy is not important. Political expediency is trumping all.'"

    I agree with most of what you say: that he's emulating Bush and that he's showing a lack of concern for democracy or human rights, and that he's pandering. But he is not pandering to the "Jewish vote".

    First of all, the number of Jewish voters is very small. Second, Jewish political opinion tends toward the progressive side, even with regard to Palestinians.

    Bill Bodden is closer to the truth when he suggests that the "perceived Likud/Kadima lobby" is the object of the pandering. There is a well-funded, energetic lobby of conservative Jewish-Americans, and that lobby serves an important propaganda function in service of U.S. empire and Israeli expansionism.

    There are far more powerful interests at work in U.S. Middle East policy than "the lobby" or "the Jewish vote", however. Israel is perceived by those who make policy, the true elites, to be a strategic asset in the new "grand game", the attempt to control the remaining fossil fuel supply. So Obama's pandering is also (and perhaps most importantly) a message to them.

  • Back atcha (unverified)
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    Hey Sandra, I see you're peddling your anti-Obama screed on multiple threads tonight. However, your comments on whether or not such deep and insightful topics as flag pins would "be an issue if were not for a continuing thread of comments and associations" ring hollow.

    You and your ilk are the source of many of the continuing threads of comments, in what must be an attempt to diminish Senator Obama's credibility and electability. As far as with whom he associates, God forbid I am ever held to account for my "associations" the way you attempt to smear Obama with his.

    In the interest of inoculating myself against any future attacks, I now provide some personal background for the record:

    As a native-born southerner, I associated with many people who espoused segration and militarism. Of course they were my grandparents and uncles and I was around 10 years old, but don't let that rationalization cloud your rush to judgement.

    In the mid-to-late 70's I lived with a large number of right wing college students in an elitist living situation known as a fraternity. Many of us exhibited behavior that, in retrospect, should have been beneath us.

    I once had a customer in Clarkston Washington who was a bona fide John Bircher and painted his window with a Sovereignity Forever-UN Rule Never! sign. He was a pretty good customer though.

    Later in life, as I became more aware of the accelerating depletion of planetary resources, I attended meetings where concerned citizens planned protests and other demonstrations in an effort to focus public attention on the environmental misdeeds of government and industry. Some of these demonstrations resulted in a few arrests and fines. Due to Republican led efforts, many of those misdemeanors would now be bumped up to felony sabotage and terrorism charges.

    Currently my career leans toward convincing the captains of industry to wean themselves off their least sustainable practices. Hopefully my association with these questionable characters won't be the subject of some Stephanopolous/Gibson jeremiad anytime soon.

    Keep at it Sandra. You may be able to drag Obama down with you, but you're doing even greater damage to Senator Clinton's legacy.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I actually didn't mind the policy part of this mess taking the Republican talking point stance, that is what the election is about, defeating it. I object to the personal attack right wing stupidity of the first half and to the lack of real substance in the second half. I was hoping to see one of them drop kick Charlie Gibson into the stands with an answer - the closest one I saw was Obama's replies in re: capital gains tax. This catastrophy was pretty close to blog trolling in substance and content. Why can't MSM ever seem to get the good aspects of the web?

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Tom Civiletti:

    The corporate media cannot and will not sponsor responsible debates. All the debates have accentuated the trivial and marginalized the crucial. We get democracy in the service of crony capitalism.

    Bob T:

    Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn.

    ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz..............

    Bob Tiernan

  • Randee (unverified)
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    This is where the real debate is going on...in the blogosphere. http://www.hipolitical.com

  • sandra longley (unverified)
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    Backattcha-I believe this is a new name you are posting under-Irecognise you anyway_The fact is, unless you are running for the Presidentcy-I have absolutley no interest whatsoever in your history, and Obamas candidacy is in his own hands, as is Hillarys, you and your -ilk_(thats what gave you away)have created the division with your constant personal attacks on Hillary, and I stress the word-personal-You forgot you will need our support to win a general election-so republican right wing attacks disguised as left wing proggresive did not serve you well.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Bob T:

    Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn.

    ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz..............

    Cypher:

    I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

    They'll reinsert my body, I go back to sleep. When I wake up, I won't remember a goddamn thing.

    Tom C:

    It's your choice, Bob.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bill R:

    The genius of Obama as a politician is he takes challenge and attack and turns it into strength.

    Bob T:

    The genius of Obama? The jury hasn't even gone into the jury room yet on this one. It's only April, and this gushing is foolish on your part.

    Calling him a genius must be a MoveON.org talking point.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Harry Kershner:

    Thanks to Buckman Res for cutting through the bullshit: "the two major parties wrested control from the LWV sometime during the Clinton administration as a way to keep any third party candidates out of public view and reinforce their stranglehold on American politics."

    Bob T:

    This was a response to LWV inviting Ross Perot into the debates. Both major parties, as institutions, don't believe there should be more than two choices in the end so they formed a "bipartisan" committee to come up with a pre-determined solution to protect us from being bothered with multiple choices.

    I would like to see every office in the nation be officially non-partisan, with instand runoff. The best set of choices Portlanders ever had for mayor (just to paick one example) was about a decade ago when 17 people were on the ballot at primary time.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Steve Bucknum:

    When Obama is asked six questions out of eight about stupid stuff like the American flag lapel pin - I have to wonder about the media.

    Bob T:

    The flag stuff is stupid, no doubt. But far more people than you care to admit (including many registered Democrats) are interested enough in knowing more about Obama's close relationship with a pastor who says whitey invented AIDS to kill off blacks, and who rationalized the mass murder of 9/11, spews Jew hatred, etc, and also his relationship with someone involved in a bombing campaign and who's admitted guilt to this and who has said that not enough was done.

    When people saw Obama's responses to earlier questions about Wright (Gee, I hardly know the guy), they began to see a lightweight.

    As for the other questions you think needed to be asked, we have heard many of these already (you apparently know his answers aleady, don't you?), but the Wright and Weather Underground stuff is fairly new in the Obama coverage. If a Republican candidate was found to have a close relationship with a murderous redneck who was an unconvicted murderer of black campaign workers in the 1960s, I'd hold that against him a great deal -- wouldn't you?

    Steve Bucknum:

    Bob, you say something like its about time they stop gushing over Obama. Really! Except for Saturday Night Live, I who have watched lots of, but not all of, the debates, haven't seen "gushing".

    Bob T:

    Oh, like gushing is going to be reported on 620 AM. You never heard the Chris Matthews stuff about Obama giving him a tingly feeling crawling up his leg? Or another MSNBC talking head gushing about the "aura" of the man, as if he enters a room and people just know he's great? Maybe you ought to listen to converage of the campaigns on radio and TV talk shows you'd prefer to avoid. Hard to argue with actual audio clips. Oh, has Obama stopped that magic water bottle tossing stuff? I guess so, now that he was exposed on that one. Somehow, the fainting has stopped. Interesting.

    Steve Bucknum:

    What I saw last night was a hit job, pure and simple.

    Bob T:

    What a hoot! I guess it would have been better had they asked him what his favorite ice-cream flavor is. Let's see now, can I conclude that you no longer think that asking Bush about his relationship with Ken Lay was appropriate?

    Bob Tiernan

  • sandra longley (unverified)
    (Show?)

    new poll in fla. shows McCain "trouncing" Obama, Hillary beating or tieing-The Democratic party and Obama have failed miserably in assessing and dealing with that situation. This will become a serious roadblock to an Obama candidatecy, a vote in fla and mich, no matter the outcome for either candidate would be a plus for the democrats in winning this election-voters blame Obama and the democratic party no matter the rational.

  • Mari Anne (unverified)
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    ABC moderators took questions right out of the Karl Rove Playbook! I was very disappointed in the media. Obama is right when he was speaking to how we get off point and waste our energy on bs rather than working on the real issues and getting anything done. The issues of WAR, ECONOMY, JOBS, HEALTH Care need our full attention! The more time we spend debating the bs, the less we have to spend on the real issues. AS for ABC news, I am changing the channel.

  • Karol (unverified)
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    Yes, the questions were ridiculous. But this is part of the process - and this is how we get to know our candidates. And I think this is good for everyone, because I'm beginning to see qualities in Obama that I really don't like. I can understand him being annoyed, but I think it's more than that.

    The first 40 minutes were filled with the stupid things that Hillary has been hit with in every debate for the last several months. I was glad to see him finally taking a little heat. And disappointed by the fact that he seemed to be annoyed that he was asked the questions in the first place. Of course they are going to come up - again and again. The next day, however, when Obama held the rally in North Carolina, he really showed a shallow and petty side of himself - remarkably unpresidential. The shaking off of the 'dirt', the sarcasm and arrogant remarks. It was a disappointing display. And people compare this man to John Kennedy? This is not the candidate of hope - at least not for me. He acted like a little kid.

    During the debate, I was impressed with Obama's answers to the stupid questions, and disappointed by how he answered the true questions on issues. Clinton had a far greater grasp of the issues and in some areas, Obama seemed to stumble - or worse, parrot Clinton. It's hard to imagine, since he's been running for 18 months.

    At any rate, the debate was crap - it had the smarts of a reality show. But let the thing roll on to it's logical conclusion. Howard Dean should be ashamed of himself for telling the superdelegates to decide now.

  • (Show?)

    I should point out that Howard Dean did not tell the super delegates to decide now - he said they should be making their decisions now if they can, but definitely by shortly after the last elections in early June. He has asked that this race concluded shortly after the primary season is over and not continue in a battle until the end of August.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Torrid Joe:

    Obama's retort on Ayers was a gleaming diamond in a stall full of donkey dung. When he said, "I'm friendly with Tom Coburn too, Republican Senator from Oklahoma. He says we should give the death penalty to people who perform abortions. Am I supposed to disassociate myself from HIM now, too?" I about fell out laughing.

    Bob T:

    That made you laugh? You probably laugh at Jerry Lewis movies, too. Anyway, that was a lame comparison. You see, as terrible and un-American it would be for there to be the death penalty for performing an abortion, that is what Coburn was advocating--passing a law. Not what Ayres did, i.e. work on blowing up people.

    Or are you saying that a politician who was advocating getting out of Vietnam was doing something equal to blowing up people to protest the war?

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bored with Board affiliation (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Has anyone on this post ever served on a Board of Directors?? I have. Some of my fellow Board members were people with whom I agreed politically and others were not. That's the point of having a board. You want some diversity so that the board doesn't engage in groupthink and make dumb decisions.

    I can't tell you I know the personal and career histories of more than 4 of the 20 or so board members I served with. It doesn't come up, as you're generally busy with hiring executive staff, strategic planning, raising money, passing budgets, etc. You know DIRECTING.

    It was a specious, but marginal question for Stephanopolous to ask, but it was way beyone the pale for HRC to "insist" on an explanation of the relationship. Sadly, it's now part of an all-too-familiar pattern.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Bob T said: "Or are you saying that a politician who was advocating getting out of Vietnam was doing something equal to blowing up people to protest the war?"

    Bill Ayers, a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, would today be in prison if he had "blown up people". To my knowledge, the only people who were blown up as a result of his group's work were three members of the group itself.

    They did blow up buildings, and in our society property often is considered to be equal to people, so I can see why you might have equated the two. However, a WU member always issued warnings to evacuate the buildings ahead of time via phone.

    You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, even now.

  • (Show?)

    "That made you laugh? You probably laugh at Jerry Lewis movies, too. Anyway, that was a lame comparison. You see, as terrible and un-American it would be for there to be the death penalty for performing an abortion, that is what Coburn was advocating--passing a law. Not what Ayres did, i.e. work on blowing up people."

    The content is irrelevant; the point is using the speech of others in some associative game to tar a candidate. Coburn's said some reprehensible things...under the Stephanopolous/Clinton model, Obama should be held to account for associating with Tom Coburn. Anything beyond the notion that perhaps the candidate AGREES with those statements is spurious attack politics, and not legitimate.

  • Lani (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This "debate" was a disgrace. It was almost as bad as the "Compassion Forum" that CNN held with the two candidates over the weekend.

    During a time where stagflation is running amok, record foreclosures, financial ruin, increasing levels of crime, a war without end, and half the money for Iraq going to contractors, they wasted 45 minutes on idiotic questions.

    What a joke.

    The "Compassion Forum" was even worse. After they asked Clinton what her favorite bible story was, I couldn't stomach it anymore.

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