Friday, April 18, 2008

Scoring the Philidephpia ABC Democratic Debate 4/16/08

Q1: GIBSON: Something inane about their campaigns appealing to different constituencies in the party, then a Mario Cuomo statement asking for a pledge to choose the other as a running mate, "So I put the question to both of you, why not?"

Score: D for dumb question.

BHO: Talks about issues that are in the election and why supporters of both candidates will support the eventual nominee. Doesn't respond directly to the stupidity of the question as it relates to presidential primaries and the entire history of selecting vice presidential running mates.

Score: C, an politician's dodge.

GIBSON then turns to HRC changing the question and he recites a section of the Constitution that has already been amended out of the Constitution and also the passage cited doesn't even apply to primaries but to open election. That section was about an open election when the first place was president and the second place was vice president which resulted in a president and vice president of different parties. Gibson seems to misunderstand the Constitution and the entire history of party politics that caused the Constitution to be amended to take out this section. Then he asks "If it was good enough in colonial times why not in these times."

Score: F

HRC: Says she will do every thing to make sure one of them takes office in January. Still contesting who will be nominee. Pledges to be a good Democrat and has seen the damage of the Bush years. Still she doesn't address the actual vice president issue.

Score: C, a politician's dodge.

Q2: GIBSON: Asks Obamba about talking to a closed door fundraiser in San Francisco and saying that small town Pennsylvanians get bitter and cling to their guns or cling to their religion or to antipathy to people who are not like them. Gibson says Obama admitted he misspoke and mangled his words. Asks, "Do you understand that some people in this state find that patronizing and think that you said actually what you meant."

Score: C a fair question poorly stated.

BHO: Admits he "mangled" what he meant to say, and won't be the first or last time. Says he "meant to say" that people are going through difficult times right now and goes into economic hard times. He says when people feel the failed promises of Washington to respond to the hard times, then they politically focus on those things that are constant, like church, This is a place where they can find refuge in voting on things like guns which is something passed from generation to generation and this is important to them. "Wedge issues" take prominence in politics, and when those issues are exploited then important issues like health care, education and jobs are not solved.

Score: B-. good restatement of the issue of how fear affects voters.

HRC: says she is a granddaughter of factory worker in Scranton PA worked in lace mills at 11 years old active in Methodist church raising sons. She doesn't believe that her grandfather or other people she knows and met in PA cling to religion when Washington doesn't understand them. Says it is a fundamental misunderstanding. of the role of religion and faith and she doesn't believe people cling to traditions like guns when people are frustrated with the Government. She doesn't believe that's how people live their lives. Says she sees people are frustrated. And she says she sees how people could be offended by the remark suggesting that Obama is not being .respectful by making them. Talks about all the wonderful people she has met in PA and despite any frustration with government people are resilient and positive.
Score: C-. She picks on the one point of vulnerability on the word "cling" basically saying these people love their churches and guns all the time so clinging in hard times is not a real factor. IMHO: Actually clinging "more" is a factor that Obama is correct about, but Clinton is able to exploit the difficulty of the nuance. But worst is the smarmy pandering in the way she talks about her grandfather and pretends that there are no Republican gun tottin' Bible banging Republicans in Pennsylvania. They are all just wonderful people. By saying she is offended by the remark ahe hops on the right wing band wagon.

Q3: Stephanopolous: asys McCain campaign is calling this a "killer" issue. Question to HRC saying that she told Richardson that Obama can't win against McCain. "Yes or no question, do you think senator Obama can win against McCain or not?"

Score: D this is a gotch-ya question trying to paint Clinton in the corner with contradicting herself or sliming Obama saying he can't win, which then would slime herself. This is not about any issue before the people to decide which candidate to vote for.

HRC: We have to beat McCain and either Obama or her will make it happen. She says McCain "has a great American story to tell" and "served our Country with distinction" but he has the wrong ideas about America. Says her 16 years on the receiving end of what Republican party dishes out how important it is that we try to go after every single vote.

Score: C politician's dodge. Good statement about McCain having wrong ideas about America but avoided question.

Q3 follow-up STEPH: But can he win?

Score: A given a bad question to start with he gets an A for at least keeping with it to the yes or no answer.

HRC: "Yes, yes, yes" followed by "now I think I can do a better job, obviously. I am better able and better prepared"

Score: B

STEPH: To Obama, can Sen. Clinton win?

Score D. a dumb question repeated doesn't get any better.

BHO: Says absolutely, but he also thinks he's the better candidate. Obama then goes on to say Clinton has criticized him for being elitist and condescending to people of faith since he is a person of faith and has reached out to people of faith about how Democrats make an error with Democrats don't show up to speak to people of faith. And that gun owners support him. Says Clinton has taken one statement if not properly phrased and beaten it to death over the last few days and that's politics. Important to recognize it's not helping the person sitting at the kitchen table trying to figure out how to pay the bills at the end of the month. He brings up the 1992 comment about baking cookies and people attacked her for being elitist. then says Clinton learned the wrong lesson form it by adopting the same tactics..

Score: B tries to get focus on bad questions about irrelevant issues. Could have been more direct with Steph and Gibson for asking about this.

HRC; Says her comments were about his remarks. (continued on next segment)

HRC: Continues saying that the people who heard the comments were offended. then goes on about her 35 years of proven record of results. Impowering people. etc.

Score: D. Says that people at the fundraiser were offended and implies again that she was too. She still either doesn't get it or she just wants to pander to these voters.

Q4. GIBSON: To Senator Obama about speech on race and Rev. Wright. Gibson refers to Obama's comment that he had not heard these kind of words from Wright before. Then says when Obama took back he invitation to Wright to come to come to campaign announcement that Wright said Obama acknowledged Wright could get rough. "What did you know about his statements that caused you to rescind that invitation and if you knew he got rough in sermons why did it take more than a year to publicly disassociate yourself from his remarks?"

Score: F. this is not anything more than a gotcha question trying to say Obama lied when he said he didn't know how his Pastor spoke. He's not even asking bout the content of Wright's words, but only about Obama's timing in disassociating from Wright.

BHO: Says he hadn't seen specific remarks that showed up on YouTube, only the remarks in Rolling Stone were the one's in mind when he asked Wright not to come to the announcement. He then comments that he has discussed this already. He again says he knew that Wright made controversial statements but not the kind that offended so many Americans. He said Wrights comments were objectionable. Goes on to say the reason of his success is because he is trying to bridge the divides and move beyond.

Score: D. He should have never given in to calling Wright's remarks objectionable. That's my bias and maybe Obama is right to take this strategy but I don't think so. Also Obama failed to challenge the question directly and acted like it was a valid question.

GIBSON: To Clinton about her saying she would not have stayed in Wright's church He says we have heard the inflammatory remarks and also hear testimony of the great things Wright has done, "Do you honestly believe that 8,000 people should have walked out on that church?"

Score: F. Again another terrible question. Sure Clinton was trying to pander with her comment about leaving the church but this is not a political question. It is a question not about the issues but about a comment she made about a non-issue. This is a debate with severely limited time constraints.

To be continued......

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