ABC is getting terrible reviews for the Democratic primary debate the network hosted this week.
You’re off to a bad start when you choose a moderator with direct ties to one of the two candidates. (George Stephanopoulos was “a senior political adviser to the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and later became Clinton’s communications director.”)
Andrew Sullivan is livid:
No questions on the environment, none on terror, none on interrogation, none on torture, none on education, none on spending, none on healthcare, none on Iran … but four separate questions in the first hour about a lapel-pin, Bitter-gate, Wright-gate and Ayers.
At one point, Obama was asked: “Does Jeremiah Wright love America as much as you?” Which leads me to ask: wtf?!
53 minutes passed before the moderators finally asked a policy question (about the Iraq war).
Glenn Greenwald comments:
My favorite (unintentionally revealing) media commentary about the debate is from The Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut and Dan Balz, who devoted paragraph after paragraph to describing the substance-free “issues” that consumed most of the debate … Obama’s “remarks about small-town values, questions about his patriotism and the incendiary sermons of his former pastor … gaffes, missteps and past statements” … and, at the end of the article, they added:
The debate also touched on Iraq, Iran, the Middle East, taxes, the economy, guns and affirmative action.
It’s just not possible to express the wretched state of our establishment press better than that sentence does.
By the end of the debate, the studio audience was turning hostile:
Here’s Obama’s response:
There’s an interesting moment two and a half minutes into the video. Obama brushes some imaginary debris off his shoulders, and the audience goes wild.
Translation: It ain’t no thing! Ben Smith explains.