criticizes debate between Clinton, Obama as “gotcha”

April 17, 2008

WASHINGTON – is taking aim at ABC News over Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, arguing the network’s moderators trivialized the issues in the campaign by asking “gotcha” questions. rtr1zkm4.jpg

The liberal activist group, which supports Obama, has posted a petition on its Web site and promises to run an ad protesting ABC if it gets 100,000 people to sign the petition.

During a nearly two-hour debate, Obama frequently found himself on the defensive as the moderators grilled him about his fiery pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his relationship with a 1960s radical and his failure to wear a lapel flag pin.

The Illinois senator was also asked about his remarks earlier this month to a San Francisco fundraiser in which he said small-town Pennsylvanians “cling to guns or religion” because they are frustrated with their economic woes.

Clinton, his Democratic rival, and Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, have criticized Obama over the small-town voter comments. Obama has said his words were ill-chosen.

“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,” said in a statement.

The group also accused the moderators of “channeling Karl Rove” for asking Obama if he loves the American flag.

In Raleigh, N.C., Obama also expressed frustration with the debate, saying “it took us 45 minutes before we started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people.”  

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer (ABC News’ debate)


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The division in the party isn’t the candidates’ fault – they’re doing what candidates do. It isn’t the voters’ fault – they’re allowed to be divided. Democracy is a good thing right? But too little in this primary has been about democracy.

The DNC has caused it, with not only this FL and MI nightmare, but what Dean is doing right now, in trying to stifle the voices of the remaining voters. The media is doing it, by taking sides, slanting coverage, and focusing almost exclusively on rubbish. And the powerful democratic political action groups and other organizations, like, dailykos, democraticundergroud, etc. are doing it, by only furthering the agenda of half the party and spitting in the face of the other half. Folks, remember these are the very people who keep saying this primary is divisive and must be ended! NO, THEY DON’T DECIDE ELECTIONS, WE DO! If we give our power to them, we’ll never get it back!

Obama can dish it out, but he sure can’t take it. iM

Listen to Richardson at around 2:00 min.

Not to mention Obama’s a hypocrite: obamas_oil_spill.html

She’s been getting hammered at all the debates, and suddenly Obama gets an equal amount of tough questions and the whining is deafening.

This debate is a proof of how an “equal time” rule can be rendered totally unfair, depending on the questions asked.

When MOST of the questions up front are direct attacks (however juvenile) on one candidate, and softballs at another, remember that it takes longer to respond to attacks thoughtfully, than it takes to lob bumper-sticker sized accusations, however false they are. Watch the debate yourself to see which is which, and also remember that one of the questioners was a former Clinton White House staff member.
I think it was shameful to make Barack Obama have to try to repeatedly teach the 3 idiots surrounding him on stage (yes that is an accurate head count), about the fallacy of Republican manufactured political issues. All Hillary proved is that she can manufacture false issues about as well as any Republican, which makes me question what party she’s really fighting for. I’m sure Obama was quite tired of repeating himself, by the time they got around to any REAL issues. By then Hillary had built up plenty of “equal time”. I think they deliberately forced Barack Obama to repeat what was obvious to almost everyone off-stage (excluding you blind Hillary supporters of course) up front, so that Hillary would get more “equal time” when the real questions started later.

@Sunny Florida, Matt, Lisa, and Jen: Your idea of “tough questions”, as well as ABC’s, leave a LOT to be desired. Asking a former community organizer and civil rights lawyer, standing next to a rich lobby-backed corporate lawyer and ex-Walmart board member, about what constitutes “elitism” certainly doesn’t qualify. Nor does made-up dress codes involving Chinese-Made flag pins qualify as a question about “patriotism”. That is, unless you’re one of those “patriotism is how you dress, not how you act” idiots. If you think those questions qualify as “tough” or “important”, I believe you belong in the Republican party, along with the rest of the multi-national corporation lobby puppets.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

You leftists think that if the “issues” are discussed rather than “trivial” questions that reveal BHO as a radical Marxist who hates America you will be in a better position to win in November. When America finds out what you really stand for and think along with your “policies” you will be doomed forever. So go ahead: let’s discuss the “issues”

Posted by allen wahl | Report as abusive

I had to turn the debate off because it was so childish. Senator Obama is sincere and honest and intelligent. He stumbled because he is accustomed to debating issues and not trivia. Why does the press do this? They must believe that the viewing public has the interests of a fifth grader. Well here is a news flash, we have far weightier concerns than the questions the moderators kept asking. I hope Senator Obama does not appear on a debate again. Enough worthless retoric is enough.

Posted by Donna Preston | Report as abusive is SOOOO good at whining. We know next to NOTHING about B.O. and now that people are starting to ask tough qestions do we need this stupid group to whine about it??? WE are talking the PRESIDENCY, people! HELLOOOO?!?

While I agree that the media in general have appeared to be more interested in stirring up controversy to gain ratings than providing information to their viewers about the candidates. But that said, it is important to question the candidates on confusing or controversial remarks they make, or questionable liaisons they maintain. The debates are interviews for the top job of the land, and a range of questions are required. I believe most citizens are now aware of the similarities and differences between Senators Clinton and Obama, but the candidates must have an opportunity to reiterate and elaborate on their positions at every opportunity to allow the people to understand and make an informed decision as to which Democrat will be able to (1) protect our nation against another terrorist attack, (2) contain nuclear proliferation among rogue and enemy states, (3) apply diplomacy in a deft and appropriate manner, (4) resolve our very serious economic situation, (5) achieve universal healthcare, (6) elevate our educational system, (7) turn around global warming and other environmental issues, (8) solve the immigration issue, (9) protect Roe V. Wade, (10) defend the rights of women and minority groups, and (11) a host of additional issues. To date, Senator Clinton has demonstrated that she has the knowledge, experience, track record, connections, and tenacity and will to plan and execute the path to success on each of these issues. While Senator Obama has accomplished some good things in his short time in government service, he has not convinced me that he possesses the knowledge or experience to govern this nation; indeed, he has stated that he would be a very different President than Hillary Clinton in that he would adopt a figurehead position to provide inspiration and surround himself with the right people to get the job done. This is very different than Hillary’s hands-on approach to governing. We who have worked for large corporations know the difference between a CEO who is a figurehead and one who is involved with the management of the company. The figurehead usually does not know what is going on in his company, and this is where things can go wrong. These are the points that debates and interviews should reveal. We know who Hillary hobnobs with and who are likely to be in her cabinet. But, who would President Obama select for his cabinet — Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whom he loves and admires, or Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground? We need to know the answers to these questions. On the one hand the debate and interview moderators ask ridiculous personal questions and on the other they do not go far enough. A balance in the debates and interviews is sorely needed.

Posted by Jeanne | Report as abusive

ABC should be embarrassed by that ridiculous spectacle they aired. And, Hillary has a very short memory, now criticizing which originally organized as a group to help prevent impeaching President Bill Clinton by organizing a movement to censure and “move on” and drop it …get on to the important matters of state. The group consists of everyday citizens who believe in this country and the need to focus on our citizens and our government policies. VOTE OBAMA ’08 !!! supports Obama and that is why Clinton has done a total reversal. Unfortunately, she is no better than the typical politician willing to do and say anything to get what she wants. Aren’t we all sick of that?

Clinton’s LIES

McCAIN’S DEMENTIA AND DRAFT since he will be in the middle east for 100 years, he will be forced to reactivate the DRAFT. If you are young, pay attention when you vote !!!!!!!! OBAMA ’08

Posted by 4nola27 | Report as abusive

…all to protect life,liberty and pursuit of bitterness.
Life can be ended in Iraq
Liberty can be lost in Iraq.
Unless we specifically now know how we unconditionally disengage our current embedding . Our Soldiers embedded with our “loyals” will wind up
at gunpoint of an another trying to make their way home.
So ” bring them home ” or better “bring them home alive”
is a lot quicker screamed than done !!

Posted by hlg | Report as abusive

Clearly, America is a country that is run by a select group of extremely wealthy individuals whose main purpose is to suppress the consciousness of the people in order to maintain control. They will never ever speak to real issues of real people because they are selfish, greedy and calculating. Pointing out real issues would require them to be accountable, and the fact of the matter is ABC, its parent corporations, advertisers and alike don’t have to worry about health care (or the lack thereof), mortgages, utilities and the rising cost of gas. So I ask you; why on earth would they talk about that?

Posted by Michelene Erwin | Report as abusive

I watched all debates from the begenning with Hilary and Barack as well as the last 3,I wanted Hilary but have backed Barack until tonite. Barack needed to leave Bush out of the debate except to say he caused this finanical crises. I now feel stronger then ever that McCain has a better understanding of what this country needs to get us out of this mess. I hope people give their vote a good long look before casting it. Barack has not always kept his word in this campaign. We were cheated in 2000 when the election was stolen from us. PLEASE THINK and RESEARCH before you vote, we will make history this election regardless of who is elected. Who is the best choice? Only GOD knows the answer and I hope we make the right one for all of our sakes.