MoveOn.org criticizes debate between Clinton, Obama as “gotcha”
WASHINGTON – MoveOn.org 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.
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,” MoveOn.org 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.”
- Photo credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer (ABC News’ debate)