Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Worst. Debate. Ever.

ABC spent the first hour of this debate dealing with Reverend Wright, William Ayers, Bosnia, elitism, and all the peripheral nonsense that has bogged down our national discourse during this silly primary season. People are going hungry in America, dying in Iraq, and being tortured in Guantanamo Bay and we have to listen to the political equivalent of Paris Hilton for an hour. Absolutely shameful.

Barack Obama is performing horribly in this debate. Just horribly. Partly, he doesn't seem prepared for the style of questioning that Gibson and Stephanopolous is asking. Partly, it's because the style of questioning is petty, framed poorly, and skewed towards a Republican ideology in many ways. Insane. Hillary Clinton isn't exactly setting the world on fire either. She is rehearsed and especially stiff tonight. She occasionally can be seen looking up in the air as she answers as if to try to recall something she'd memorized earlier.

One ethical question...

Is it okay for the former Communications Director of the Bill Clinton campaign and presidency to be one of the moderators of a debate between Bill Clinton's wife and a second hopeful? How is that ethical? The appearance alone is problematic for a "news" organization. I don't think I can ever take him or ABC seriously again.

Last thing for now...I'm sure I'll be posting more later. Is Charles Gibson the biggest jackass that's ever moderated a debate. He's playing "gotcha" moderator at every turn. He's more visible in this thing than the two people running for president. Hell, he's helped to make John McCain more visible in this thing than either of the Democrats participating in the Democratic debate. Here's a great clip of the crowd booing Gibson for his shameful performance:

UPDATE: Here's a snippet from the ABC News Live Blog of the "debate":

"Live Blogging from the Democratic Debate

April 16, 2008 8:52 PM

9:50 pm ET: Apologies for drop-off in postings as the debate wore on -- the overwhelming number of comments slowed down our server.

Overall -- with the preface that all of this may not matter, since Obama was and is the delegate leader, this was not a good night for the frontrunner. He hasn't been all that strong in any of the debates, and we saw some of his less attractive qualities tonight -- odd comparisons (Ayers and Tom Coburn?), some slippery answers, and a general prediliction to avoid confronting his own words and actions directly.

Clinton had one of her better nights -- set a generally positive tone, despite the need for her to score some points. She managed to avoid overt attacks but still found ways to differentiate herself -- and make herself look presidential.

Bottom line: I don't think Sen. Obama got this much scrutiny in any other two-hour period during this campaign, but then again he shouldn't have been surprised by any of the lines of inquiry. I'm not sure he held up that well -- not that he fell apart, but he didn't do himself all too many favors. There are a number of answers I think he'd like to have back. But for his supporters -- the soaring above his opponent is almost certainly attractive."

The key point is that ABC apologized for a dropoff in posting because the overwhelming number of postings slowed the server. By all accounts the comments section was SLAMMED with negative responses, so I guess that would make it likely that ABC would shut things down. They've done it before. You can send your opinions to ABC News Media Relations: Natalie Raabe at or 212.456.2418

UPDATE2: This Washington Post article sums the whole thing up very well from the shoddy moderators to the poor direction that showed Chelsea, Ed Rendell, Mayor Nutter, and other Clinton supporters throughout the debate. Also, this excellent post from Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News.



bfadds said...


Totally agree with you. I compared this debate to more of a talk show than a Presidential Debate. I real disgrace for the first hour that took away from a decent, at most, second half.

yankz said...

He sucked big time, but I bet it's hard to try to transcend this bullshit without looking like you're running away from the questions.

Fortunately though, the story will always be that ABC sucks and those two assclowns should be fired, which will take the focus off him.

Oh, and he destroyed her in the last debate (I think in Ohio). And I don't think the attacks are what threw him off; he seemed tired from the start.

Mike Plugh said...

I think you're right yankz. This was really a disgraceful setup from the start....

mike's spot said...

I thought Obama's performance was way better than Hillary's. I only saw the last 20-30 minutes though. Was the beginning that weak?

as for the questions- eh they are never that impressive anyway. Even the Youtube debates wussed out- and I had high hopes for those.