MoveOn.org criticizes debate between Clinton, Obama as “gotcha”

April 17, 2008

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. 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,” 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.”  

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

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

60 comments

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The debate was not a debate. I’m not sure if ABC copied the tactics of Fixed news. It thought it was Hannity and O’reilly doing the debates.

Two seasoned media men who made a specticle of themselves.

What an embarrassment.

Posted by Catherine Houghton | Report as abusive

What on earth is all this “indignant” reaction to ABC’s debate about? Please people, we are talking about looking at hiring someone (and it is that) to do the toughest job in the world and we are afraid to ask the really tough questions that linger in the minds of many, many people? I can read about the plans of both people on their websites, ad nauseum, and I can read the opinions of those plans or things less tangible about the candidates in columns, but I want to see how these people can handle the really tough, revealing questions that show a person’s character, on-point, without a speech or teleprompter. This was a very tough, stark (no applause – love that!) debate that pushed issues we have with both candidates and those that will certainly be pushed by the Republicans. This is not a job for the faint of heart, or light of spirit, otherwise we all would be applying. Then again, looking at how Obama’s income quadrupled since he started running for President in 2007, maybe it would be a good move financially for alot of us. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!) :-)

I sat thru the entire debate and tried very hard to keep an open mind. Afterall, one of these two people could be the next President. The only problem I had with the moderators was not nailing the candidates on a direct answer to a specific question, or even an indirect answer would have been nice. All in all, I think Hillary won this one. She seemed to maintain her composure (a good thing when times are tough as a President) and answer most of the questions, more so than Obama. She did loft a few bombs his way and one can argue it was personal, but I thought maybe there’s another reason: maybe she really knows that if he is the nominee, that the Republicans will make mincemeat of him with his questionable ties to Rezko, Ayers, Wright, and his revealing comments behind closed doors when cameras aren’t rolling and teleprompter is off. If the Republicans can destroy the character of two very good, credible men (Gore, Kerry) without much to work with, what on earth will they do to this guy? Afterall, isn’t it MOST important that we elect anyone except a Republican who still thinks Sunni’s and Shiites are reversed and thinks GWB’s policies are “OK”?!

Posted by Sunny Florida | Report as abusive

That was a dirty debate. I have more respect for Obama now than Hillary Clinton. I could have gone either way, but Hillary was going right along with ABC’s slimy attacks couched as serious issues questions. ABC blew it. Debates are supposed to be above the weekly back-and-forth personal scandal fray. ABC was not only NOT above it, they were part of it, trying to find more juicy gossip. Lame, Lame, Lame.

Posted by Atlas, PA | Report as abusive

Even giving the most generous spin to all that B.O. has said, and granting his authenticity and talent, if he is elected in 2008, one may predict enormous disappointment. He has made so many improbable promises to young people, they will expect improvements rather quickly, and thus they will be disillusioned with Obama in short order.
Worst of all, Obama, with his naivete, is likely to be led into being hoodwinked by leaders to whom the U.S. is opposed (e.g., in Iran) in just the way we see jimmy Carter in his post-presidency: he’ll think he’s made friends, but we will be the dupes—and so will Israel.

In the mean time, there will be constant flare-ups at home caused by semi-radical activists that Obama will invariably have to put in positions of high power, and such a build-up of activities to uphold “African-American” values, “African -American” History (in the schools), African-American religious leadership (as part of his government as in his current campaign) and the like, that we will start seeing other “tribal” activities (e.g., if they can have church’s freely claiming to support African American values, then how can people object to those who openly support White values).

The result? A one-term president, soundly defeated by the Republications in 2012.

If Obama can just give himself 4-8 years to grow some savvy and depth for the politics he could be great; but if he runs and is elected (itself somewhat doubtful) the opportunity will have been lost!

Posted by Hatshepsut1988 | Report as abusive

ABC will not apologize for it’s outrageous behavior moderating this so-called debate.

Move-on is in their rights to call them out on it in a public forum.

Only false patriots consider a Chinese-made flag pin a relevant issue to Americans.

Posted by elmerg | Report as abusive

If you cannot take politics from someone on the same party, how are you going to take it from someone on the opposite party?

You going to cry now?

Posted by john | Report as abusive

I am a senior, registered Democrat, and was really interested in hearing about the “issues” not the trival questions put to the candidates last night in the debate. I tuned out about half way through, realizing the moderators cared nothing about substance! What a waste of everyone’s efforts!! I wish the media would get a clue about what Americans want to know and forget about obsessing on ratings.

Posted by Ruth De Vore | Report as abusive

i don’t understand why obama is such a sore loser and gets so vicious after losing a debate. the debate was very informative.it seems he doesn’t like to be asked tough questions but thinks nothing of throwing them out. it has to be a 2 way street. i am a democrat and i would vote for whatever democrat got in. after hearing him dismiss every legitimate question as silly and ridiculous , i am feeling that myself and many other democrats that i talk to everyday will now turn to the republicans if obama wins. if he wants the democrat vote he has to own up to some of the tough questions asked. he calls hillary clinton a liar but doesn’t explain the true relationship of 20 years that he has with reverend wright and farakhan. he likes to dismiss all these questions
thank you
don s

Posted by DONALD STEIN | Report as abusive

Hooray for David Brooks of the New York Times! Finally, Brooks has come around to this red skinned woman’s tough traditional American Indian point of view. I do enjoy watching Brooks and Shields on PBS. Those two are quite the pair to draw to.

I much enjoyed last night’s debate between Obama and Clinton. I understand many sissified Americans are upset, as is expected. I am not sissified nor upset. This debate last night provided America a chance to observe the behaviors of both Obama and Clinton when confronted with surprise questions and confronted with tough questions. These are a type of questions which will be foremost during our general presidential election. Be sure, the republican party will raise all these issues and much more. Both Obama and Clinton must be prepared to tackle seemingly silly personal topics. Any weakness displayed in dealing with these types of questions will be votes lost.

My personal take is Obama stuttered, stammered and stumbled over his words being taken by surprise. Obama was not prepared, not ready for unexpected topics.

Clinton, such a wonderful performance, such wonderful dodging of personal issues! Clinton did not hesitate, she was articulate, assertive and did not miss a beat. Clinton made a point to diplomatically chastise Stephanopoulos. Clinton was clearly prepared for anything.

This debate was a critical display of how each candidate, Obama and Clinton, will react and will conduct themselves when subjected to surprising and stressful issues.

Obama fell apart. Clinton proved herself cold, calculating and cutthroat. Clinton is no sissy!

My congratulations to ABC news for daring to broach issues which have sissified Americans tugging at their hair while anxiously screaming, “This is not fair!”

All is fair in love and rock & roll.

Job well done ABC, my feather is off to you!

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation

Posted by Purl Gurl | Report as abusive

ABC staged this debate like a price fight, beginning with “trailers” of previous trash talk. The assumption all along seems to have been that the audience consists of morons interested only in seeing blood. No doubt some in the audience liked it, but it will be a long time before I tune into ABC news or This Week with George Stephanopoulos again. This strategy may temporarily raise ratings, but its eventual outcome will be that ABC ends up with the moronic audience it courts. Of course, it may be that I’m just an elitist!

Was last night’s debate supposed to be a joke or did it just turn out that way because of the incompetent moderators ? Charlie Gibson and George ( can’t enough of those good years that I worked for the Clintons ) Stephanoupoulos. Did anybody notice that Chelsea had her own lighting to try and make her look good and even a soft filter in front of the lens….Do you think that maybe she had her own camera devoted to only her close ups ?How can McCain possibly lose this election. He has such a commanding grasp of economical issues . His way to fix the problem of soaring gas prices is ” Let’s give the people a tax holiday.” I am afraid that it is John McCain who needs a holiday

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

yes well done bringing up these issues. America needs a president that is concerned about all the American people.
The present choice we have is to pick the lesser of evil.
Where are the people going to be represented with our present choice of candidates, democrat or republican.
Shoring up Social Security, Universal Health Care, Jobs and Wages that allow a family to survive and prosper. And why shouldn’t somebody cling to their religious values. Are we not suppose to be a nation who trust is in God. I for one am very displeased in the choice of Candidates Give me a candidate who is God fearing and Loves America (the people).

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

What would Edward R. Murrow think if he had listened to that debate.
It is amazing how low the news networks ?

This is not American Idol. We need real discussions on a new health care system, and a real plan on how to get out of Iraq. Now.

Posted by jim sackinger | Report as abusive

I’ve always believed that moderators were supposed to be neutral (i.e. unbiased). It appears that such was not the case at this debate…could it be that the moderators were pro-Clinton? It would seem that way.

Posted by Paul E. Truesdell Jr. | Report as abusive

Besides giving very little insight into the candidates’ positions, it made for a boring debate. The thing it most revealed was Hillary’s witchy side and Obama’s desire to move to the big picture and his willingness to rise above it and look for agreement.

Posted by Michael Wortman | Report as abusive

So here we are Mrs. Clinton blames Obama for not distancing from Rev Wright (an ex Marine with three letters of commendation) but she herself defended her husband who cheated on her, abused women in the White House, and was impeached. She tells him about his association with foul men but what about the hunderds of midnight pardons of Bill Clinton gave on the eve of his departure from the white house. She calls him an elitist but forgets her own background. She tell him that she is short of experience when she herself has been in elected office just athird of that time. What a gutter-ball!

So here we are Mrs. Clinton blames Obama for not distancing from Rev Wright (an ex Marine with three letters of commendation) but she herself defended her husband who cheated on her, abused women in the White House, and was impeached. She tells Obama about his association with foul men but what about the hunderds of midnight pardons of Bill Clinton gave on the eve of his departure from the white house. She calls him an elitist but forgets her own background. She tell him that she is short of experience when she herself has been in elected office just athird of that time.

What a gutter-ball!

Hi, the moderators were a disgrace. If you were to review the questions from the past, for years, that came up in any of these debates , I think we would find that the questions had nothing to do with the reality of the real issues.
When the media talks about the economy, they are talking about the macro economy; GDP ,exports vs imports etc.
Most us us live in the micro-economy world, which is light years different from the macro. when we lose our job, there is no magic way to be retrained to get a new one. you can’t just pick up and move. etc,etc
the USA is in bad shape. people are more than bitter ,
small towns or big cities.
All small towns have lots of guns. I used to live in one. I had mine. Best wishes—-Herb

Posted by HERB CLARK | Report as abusive

An underinformed, overstimulated Wesleyan sophomore liveblogs the Democratic debate:

“8:22: Gibson poses a question to Obama about Jeremiah Wright’s anti-American comments. But has anyone considered that Wright said some pretty true things about pervasive racism in America? Read your Cornel West, folks.”

http://www.236.com/news/2008/04/17/the_d emocratic_debate_guest_li_5926.php

Posted by Eliana | Report as abusive

Move on dot org should practice more transparency and let us know who are its leaders, who is funding them, and the postal address for their headquarters.

Posted by Luigi | Report as abusive

I don’t know Moderator Charlie Gibson’s intention. But I can understand the ‘gotcha’ questions from the Ex-press secretary of Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulos, was baseless and bias.

On one hand, there will be a backfire that regret them.

Posted by NoWhereNear | Report as abusive

George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson were a total disgrace. They were completely out of focus on the real issues, and biased in favor of Clinton. Obama appeared more presidential than Clinton. He gets my vote.

Posted by Chelsea | Report as abusive

As far as whether Obama can deliver as President, if he can get us out of the Iraq mess AND in winning the presidency create an overwhelming majority of dems in the house and senate he can get everything he wants done, his approval ratings will be high enough and he is smart enough to write good legislation.

Obama (or Hillary for that matter) won’t be blamed for the poor economy. He can do some smart things to at least we don’t go into a bad long term recession but can’t guarantee the sort of economy Clinton was fortunate enough to inherit.

I think people will see he is fixing Bush’s mess….and while a lot of the needed policies will cost money we might not have there are others that won’t…replacing the three retiring supreme court justices with competent ones, fixing the justice department…creating green jobs, cutting peoples health care costs.

It might take until the end of his term to turn it around but he could do it. He will be tested more than any other president in his first term.

As long as he shifts to responsible economic poliices all of a sudden our dollar will be worth more.

It is not an easy situation but if he can inspire us we can move forward. I think he can some will question it…but if he can inspire young people who supported him to volunteer, get involved in politics that would be great.

Also if he can lessen the power of lobbyists and all the bs in washington that could really cut the amount he has to tax people…so much of the spending is unnecessary. He will appeal to the Republicans if he can cut government spednign.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

Shame on ABC!! I always preferred listening to ABC News but not anymore. George Stephanopoulos is definitely seeking his old job as White House press secretary if Hillary is elected. He was so biased as a moderator and Charlie Gibson was almost as bad. They tried their best to dig up very old and not relevent information on Obama. Shame on you George!!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Obama didn’t go into the gutter with the bottom dwelling Hillary and her crony Stephanopoulos. Just goes to show that he is the only one in the game with the discipline and judgement that deserves to be president.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

Obama and his supporters are used to him being treated with kid gloves, being asked very easy questions and not being grilled. He’s gotten a free pass from the media and now the tables are starting to turn.

The truth is, he experienced a very small fraction of the heat and criticism Hillary has been dealt over these past 4 months.

If he’s going to be the Democratic nominee, he must learn how to handle these questions because he’s going to be under fire from the GOP. It’ll be 100x worse than the mild questioning he was subjected to at the Philadelphia debate. Judging from his awful ramblings and stuttering, he’ll need to prepare better so McCain doesn’t devour him.

Posted by Jen | Report as abusive

I think some type of boycott of ABC is the appropriate action for this ambush of Mr. Obama! Either refrain from watching the news or ABC programming for a certain time period to let them know that this is unacceptable journalism!

Steve
St. Charles, MO

Whine, whine, whine. It’s so hard for the elitist media/politicians/liberals to admit that Hillary won the debate on April 15th hands down. The best they can say is that BO was on the defensive….etc etc etc. Hillary from the beginning has never gotten a break but just the opposite from the BO supporters. I don’t blame her for doing/saying all she can to win this nomination. Who else does she have on her side except her family and we loyal Hillary supporters. Until Texas/Ohio/SNL BO supporters were bashing her, thrashing her– a fellow Democrat — like I’ve never seen one Democratic candidate do to another. BO supporters thought that BO had it in the bag. Then they went into a panic and are now crying foul because Hillary cannot only “take it, but she can dish it” and they’re realizing BO can’t. You can say BO hasn’t gone negative in this campaign– he hasn’t had to because his surrogates have done it for him to help preserve his alleged squeaky clean image. BO supporters with a loud microphone have spinned and twisted information enough to deamonize Hillary. She was kicked when she was down without mercy. What did she do to deserve this kind of treatment from fellow Democrats. Now BO and his supporters are complaining because she’s throwing daggers left and right to BO. It’s your fault—- you who did BO’s dirty work. I say go for the juggler, Hillary. Negative ratings are your badge of courage as far as I’m concerned. Go all the way to the convention. And as for you BO, get used to what you got last night, cause if you win (God forbid), you ain’t seen nothing yet. Your jokes and making light of questions asked at last night’s debates shows your immaturity. Super delegates: were you watching?????

Posted by Michelle | Report as abusive

[...] Soros water-carriers say they will run an ad against ABC–Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulous photoshopped as Hitler and Eva Braun? Nah, too [...]

It’s the last time I will support moveon. All the debates are important ones, and this was one whereby
the voters could take a view into their character, their
views and the issues.

ABC gave to us a professional debate, and I have no
dislike for any of them, or their format with this
debate, and have no need to smear the candidates.

Posted by Fannie | Report as abusive

Thanks MOVEON.ORG for taking a stand on such a ridiculous and very obvious attempt to waylay Obama.

Posted by Cynthia Pendergraph | Report as abusive

i think the debate was an embrarrasment to the voters,and then to the world you have pleople losing their jobs,homes and, gas,food,and everything else going up and the only thing they could think about is a flag pin which i might no-one was wearing these 2 mens was suppose to be profesionals but you could’t tell that by watching the hillary special.so i will not be watching abc just like fox.but this type of tv need to stay off the air and we are tried of it and we know that our God is fed up so we are bitter.

1. Strong Woman 2. Strong Blackman 3. Strong POW

We have exceptional strong professional candidates – That we put on this list – I think we did a pretty good job – if not whose fault is it really?

I thank you three for the courage you have putting yourselves under this horrific microscope.

Jesse Thurmond

Posted by Jesse Thurmond | Report as abusive

I hope the voters can see that the questions from Beavis & Butthead from ABC are a distraction from the real issues. And I hope that Barack Obama actually gains from the terrible “debate”.

Posted by joe | Report as abusive

Are people serious in thinking that the debate was unfair, and that certain mistakes and issues should actually be off-limits when dealing with a candidate for President? This is unbelievable. Why Obama thinks he has some sort of sacred circle of protection around him that allows him to avoid tough questions is beyond me. He is basically auditioning for a job–the job of the most powerful person in the world. This guy is a complete joke. If I had ever thought I would vote for him in the past, I have changed my mind. I’m disgusted by his inability to face up to the questions and answer them. He seems to feel that he is above them. He isn’t. They are serious questions about his judgment and his ethics. Hillary Clinton has had to answer many tougher questions than Barack has. She has earned my trust and my vote. I hope the people in Pennsylvania think twice before giving their vote to someone who thinks the way Obama does. What a liar he is.

Posted by Brian Williams | Report as abusive

The U.S. system of excessively lengthy campaigns is a great part of the problem in generating “divisiveness.” Zero-sum situations (i.e., where competitors can not share the “prize”) are well researched by economists and social psychologists, and naturally results in each party working to “defeat” the other. It is absurd to claim that either candidate is to blame when it is the way the system is set up. The UK’s Prime Minister campaigns last approximately 3 months from start to finish. There is no evidence (from the research) that “divisiveness” in zero-sum situations can be eliminated without altering the system. We should do that.

Posted by bill | Report as abusive

No wonder the US Networks are stealing our Canadian journalists. Charlie and George should come to Canada for some schooling.

ABCNews isn’t running for President of the USA. Obama and Clinton are. I learned more about the candidates in that one evening than the media has given me in past nine months. If the candidates can’t handle the questions then they can get the hell out of the race.

Obama’s attitude on capital gains taxation is tripe and shows an immature understanding of how our economy works. Good job, ABC!

Posted by RLythgoe | Report as abusive

You have got to be kidding me. Earth to Moveon – Hillary’s a big girl, Barrack’s a big boy. Trust me, they can sit at the adult table now and take the hard questions. Do you really think that, once either of them becomes President, they won’t be faced with these types of questions every single day? Have you never seen the Washington media in action?

Blame SNL – Their the ones who embarrassed the media over their fawning over Barrack.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Has anyone been watching the debates for the last year or so?? They came at Hillary with everything they could get their hands on and lobbed it at her!! We were so Awestruck by Obama that he was not asked the same tough questions or treated in the same aggressive manner. One of these 2 will be the PRESIDENT and I want to know RIGHT NOW who they are, under pressure, not under pressure, winning, losing etc. Obama choked, pure and simple, unsure, unprepared to be asked and treated like the candidate for President he is. If you can’t take it now, you are not the right man for the job. Who someone associates themselves with, goes to church with, does business with tells reveals alot about them, and being unwilling or even evasive about those associations tells even move about them. Please, Look at the Whole Person, not just the novel, new and pretty parts. Obama is extremely appealing, but will people really vote for him?
Can he win against McCain? How much do we want these lunatics out of the White House and our country back. Please think about these issues, because it is what it will all come down to.

One thing people are forgetting is that during one of the early Republican debates is that CNN spent about 40 minutes on immigration which was proceeded by a special on the subject during, you guessed it, Lou Dobbs. ABC’s forum– er, debate– was just another example as to why nobody trusts the media anymore. The Big 5 corporations that control the media have their own interests, not the peoples, and have gradually become Foxified. Look if you’re not going to vote for a person over a lapel pin, chances are you weren’t going to vote for that person anyway, there is something wrong with you, and you’re an idiot who shouldn’t follow politics anyway. This was a waste of time and ABC should be getting blasted for it’s shody journalism.

Posted by Travis | Report as abusive

The bit about the flag lapel pin was one of the most ridiculous “arguments” I’ve ever heard; after hearing that, I expected to see coverage of the next Britney episode (would be as relevant).

“W” often wears a flag lapel pin & look what he’s done to his country & its reputation around the world – for heaven’s sake, GET REAL!!!

Posted by Chris Grogan | Report as abusive

To me, it’s not a matter of “who won the debate” but, rather, how poorly the debate was run. [Ridiculous questions -- posed to both candidates -- about trivial matters does not a good debate make.]
I tuned in to learn more about where both candidates stand on the many issues concerning America. Sadly, between the tabloid rehash and all the commercials that were aired all I learned was 1) why ABC’s ratings have gone down, 2) that Stephanopoulos should stick with his day job, and 3) that I wasted my time.

Posted by Aida. | Report as abusive

Federal Reserve is bailing out billionaire stock traders, weakening the dollar in the process

We’ve cut and run from Afghanistan and let bin Laden escape to Pakistan.

We’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.

Social Security is heading toward Insolvency.

Gas is approaching $4/gallon.

Industrial plants are moving to Canada to take advantage of free Universal Health care.

The US Economy is collapsing.

Global Climate change is looming.

World food prices are sending millions into starvation.

…..so lets spend an hour of national network television coverage on lapel pins and retired preachers.

If you want some good gotcha questions, how about these:

How are your planning to get out of Iraq?
How can we afford to stay in Iraq?
What do you plan to do about Global Climate Change?
What are you going to do to rebuild our conventional military forces?
How do you plan on fulfilling our promises and obligations to our troops that are currently being denied.
Explain how you are going to provide health care for the 50 million Americans that are uninsured.
What do you plan to do to mitigate the coming economic crisis?
What will you do to undo the damage that has been done to our International reputation?
Specifically how will you help to restore our constitutional rights? Eliminate torture and extraordinary rendition? Roll back the presidential signing statements.

These people are trying to get us to make one of them president. Let’s cut the crap and start forcing them to address important issues that affect us all.

Posted by Pilgrim | Report as abusive

America does not have a television news media anymore.

What we have is infotainment. Gibson and Stuffen-envelopes — like Katie Couric, Wolf Blitzer and Bill O’Reilly — and all the other sideshow barkers and carnival caricaturists who populate the airwaves are not journalists. They are infotainers.

Politicians should stop appearing on these programs. Doing so is an insult to voters and an insult to American democracy. The league of women voters should instead host internet debates, or debates on C-span and public television. Let the infotainers amuse themselves with Britney and Branjolina, and let the adults get some real news and information for a change.

Posted by Laure | Report as abusive

Not sure if the politicians were asking the questions or answering them: Dems Debate or Reps Ruse.

Hey USA folks!

Hillary is a “SCREECHING” old foggy who makes more promises than “Carter” has pills and then has the audacity to claim that she’s more qualified to answer a telephone call @ 3AM during a national emergency than Obama!

Gimme a break!

I do not think Obama was weak during the “gotcha” debate that was just held. I think he purposely held back because I hate to say this — there is a gender issue that he is aware of (that is why I think he will do well against McCain) — it would not help him to attack Hillary! People do not like seeing men attack women. Hillary knows this. He will not need to have the same restraint against another man. Hillary could have taken the higher road many times past and showed herself to have principles. Fighting is acceptable when done fairly. Also, when has it become the job of yellow journalism to decide for the voters if any party candidate is electable?

Posted by Maria Weiland | Report as abusive

I think the debate was an embarrassment to the voters.
So, it is about time now to direct questions to both candidates about Issues & Problems Americans want to hear of & know how either candidate was ready to resolve after
becoming a President.
Who is Sen.Clinton any way to be asked whether she believed that Senator B.Obama were electable or not? She is full of
B.S. & therefore believes to be the only electable candidate nowadays!!

Posted by Jean Michel Nehme | Report as abusive

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 moveon.org, 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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JNq7-aNI iM

Listen to Richardson at around 2:00 min.

Not to mention Obama’s a hypocrite:

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/ 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

Moveon.org 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 moveon.org 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 !!!
MoveOn.org 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.