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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thumbs down

That appears to be the consensus of just about everyone in regards to the Abbott and Costello wanna-bes who hosted last night's debate:

The Washington Post's TV critic says Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos "turned in shoddy, despicable performances."

"For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with," Tom Shales writes.

Time's Joe Klein says he has "slightly--well, a microscopic smidgeon--more sympathy for the gotcha-moderators from ABC than Tom Shales does." He blames the trivial nature of the questions on the trivial nature of the campaign.

Guardian America's deadlineUSA blog issues its verdict with the headline: "Worst. Debate. Ever."

Over at the Huffington Post, Greg Mitchell slams the moderators for focusing on "trivial issues" and says the debate is "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years."

Andrew Sullivan seems to agree. He slams the Gibson-Stephanopoulos team in The Atlantic's Daily Dish blog. "The loser was ABC News: one of the worst media performances I can remember - petty, shallow, process-obsessed, trivial where substantive, and utterly divorced from the actual issues that Americans want to talk about," he says. "At the end of the debate, it appeared that the crowd was actually heckling Gibson."

Heckling, hell, I would have thrown a rotten tomato at Gibson's face and by the look of things, I wouldn't be the only one.

Between his bullshit questions and Stephanopoulos taking talking points from Sean Hannity, ABC disgraced America and clearly showed way the League of Women voters should be the only organization moderating future debates.

Meanwhile, today Barack Obama gave his two cents on last nights trainwreck.
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama dismissively talked about his debate with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the line of questioning from ABC News' moderators, arguing that it focused on political trivia at the expense of the problems facing average voters.

At a rally in the May 6 primary state of North Carolina, Obama drew roars of approval Thursday when he mocked aspects of the presidential debate that had him on the defensive Wednesday night. He faced tough questions about his controversial pastor, his comments about bitter voters in small towns and his relationship with a 1960s radical.

Deadpanning, the Illinois senator said, "It does not get much more fun than these debates. They are inspiring events."

In criticism of his rival, he called the debate "the rollout of the Republican campaign against me in November" and said it represented textbook Washington politics that Clinton was very comfortable playing.

"They like stirring up controversy and they like playing gotcha games, getting us to attack each other," he said. "Senator Clinton looked in her element. She was taking every opportunity to get a dig in there. That's her right to kind of twist the knife a little bit ... that's the lesson she learned when Republicans did it to her in the 1990s."


"Last night I think we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people," Obama told the North Carolina crowd. "Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care, 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq, 45 minutes before we heard about jobs, 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices."