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Debate Probed Policy, Too

By Perry Bacon Jr.
While Barack Obama spent much of Wednesday night's Democratic debate -- as well as the days since -- on the defensive about his personal associations and beliefs, that night the two Democratic candidates also offered some interesting insights into their views on key policy issues -- views largely lost in the hubbub over the questions asked by moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Here's a look:

Iraq. Both candidates made iron-clad what they have been saying on the stump for months: no matter what the generals say, they will start withdrawing troops from Iraq as soon as they get into office. Democrats have spent years criticizing Bush for ignoring the views of the uniformed military that more troops would be needed in Iraq, but both candidates have committed to withdrawing 1-2 brigades of troops per month no matter what the situation is in Iraq when they take office.

Both have left open how many troops will remain in Iraq.

About half of the 140,000 troops who will be in Iraq when the next president takes office are not in a combat brigades, meaning either candidate could carry out his withdrawal plan and leave ten of thousands of soldiers there.

"The commander in chief sets the mission, Charlie," Obama said, referring to the debate's moderator. "That's not the role of the generals. And one of the things that's been interesting about the president's approach lately has been to say, 'Well, I'm just taking cues from General Petraeus.' "

"Well, the president sets the mission," Obama said."The general and our troops carry out that mission. And, unfortunately, we have had a bad mission set by our civilian leadership."

Gun control. Obama has been repeatedly confronted with questions about a questionnaire he signed when he first ran for office in which a box was checked assenting that he supported a handgun ban. (There is a dispute about whether Obama or aides signed this form; Obama says an aide incorrectly filled out that question on it.)

But asked a more current question about guns, namely if either candidate supported the ban on handguns in D.C that the Supreme Court may strike down later this year, neither would answer -- a surprising non-response after both had spent the weekend touting their support of the Second Amendment, following the controversy over Obama's remarks that "bitter" Pennsylvanians "cling" to guns because of economic dislocation.

Obama, who frequently touts his credentials as a constitutional law professor, said "I confess I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence." Clinton, whose aides describe her as a "policy wonk" said, "Well, I think a total ban with no exceptions under any
circumstances might be found by the court not to be [constitutional], but I don't know the facts."

Affirmative Action. When the Supreme Court in 2003 declared affirmative action legal, a major rationale was the notion of diversity, namely that students learned better when surrounded by a racially mixed group of students around them. There's little data to support or refute this, but many Democrats, including both Clinton and Obama, have supported affirmative action publicly. Asked about this Wednesday, neither candidate suggested diversity was the goal of affirmative action, and Obama described it as a means to make up for past discrimination.

"Race is still a factor in our society," Obama said, defending affirmative action. "I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination, but I think that it can't be a quota system," Obama said "and it can't be something that is simply applied without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black, or white, or Hispanic, male or female."

Clinton said "we've got to have affirmative action generally to try to give more opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, whoever they are" and then quickly shifted toward touting her support of early childhood education and universal pre-kindergarten.

Social Security. After Clinton attacked Obama for suggesting he would raise the cap on income taxed under Social Security, Obama pointed out the obvious: Clinton would very likely have to do something similar, if only because she has proposed creating a commission to look into the problem. Such a commission would likely recommend -- if the past experience is any guide -- some combination of benefit cuts and tax increases to make Social Security solvent. Both Democrats have said they would oppose benefit cuts.

By Web Politics Editor  |  April 18, 2008; 8:08 PM ET
Categories:  On the Issues  
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Thought is article was interesting:

Hillary's Terrorist Ties, By Kathy Miller | The Hillary Project

Then, Hillary ran for Senate on her own and suddenly it was payback time. On June 13, 2000, the American Muslim Alliance's Massachusetts Chapter held a very successful fundraiser for her candidacy. Tahir Ali, the chairman of the chapter, said "we must support all who have [Muslim] interests at heart."

Perhaps conscious of how controversial the contribution would be, Hillary or someone on her staff, tried to pull a fast one, recording the donation on federal filing forms as being from the "American Museum Alliance." But alert observers weren't fooled and Senate candidate Clinton was forced to acknowledge who the real donor was and, four months after getting the money, she returned it.

The Palestinian terrorists know that Hillary hears their point of view. WorldNetDaily.com reported on October 7, 2007 that leading terrorists have publicly called for her election. Aaron Klein, WorldNet Daily's Jerusalem correspondent, wrote, in his wonderful book Schmoozing with Terrorists, Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group said "I hope Hillary is elected in order to have the occasion to carry out all the promises she is giving regarding Iraq."

Senakreh has high hopes for a Hillary presidency. He told Klein "I hope also that she will maintain her husband's policies regarding Palestine and even develop that policy.

Posted by: Kathleen | April 20, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama was way out of his league with his glib smirk and mocking of Senator Hillary Clinton during the debate. He tries hard to copy the answers of Senator Hillary Clinton, but lacks her insight, knowledge and professionalism so must stick to his hollow message to "change" bad, bad, Washington if everyone will just "hope" he has the ability to lead this country! Obama was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, eyes bugging, nervously licking his lips while fumbling for answers in a televised debate with a knowledgeable, intelligent woman of substance. The audacity of this dolt and his toadies trying to tell us that he won the debate and denying there was any connection between him and Ayers! The Boston Globe (4/17) reported Obama's political career was launched in 1995 when Ayers and his wife introduced Obama to their Hyde community with a small house party when Obama was running for the state Senate. This man Obama lies, lies, and lies.

This morning "Classic Roundtable," with ABC's Cokie Roberts, Sam Donaldson and George Will examined Obama's nonsensical rhetoric. According to the long-time political analysts, what Obama is proposing to do in Washington simply doesn't make any sense! George Will questioned Obama's economic plan to tax the middle class making $100,000 to 200,000 which would hit the teachers of this country, the police and many blue color workers. What's with this novice Senator who is unable to participate in any discussions of substance think he has the ability to be the President of this country? What makes him think that Americans are stupid enough to elect someone who is unable to discuss policies and can only hide behind empty words? Does anyone believe this novice gifted with the gab of a snake-oil salesman? Who is this man Obama?

Posted by: Cantabrigian | April 20, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I took a look at therealnews.com. There premise appears to be that they want their editorials to be on the front page rather than those of the other channels. Shouldn't the news be on the front page and the editorials be in the editorials section?

The challenge with reporting is the the news providers give the people what they want - pre-chewed, pre-digested information! That is good for folks who have little time for the context on the world or read with any level of discernment -- convenience at the price of pre-packaging. Infotainment will attract the masses and the advertisers -- it pays the bills. This tempts those in media to engage in pre-packaging with a preference towards that which yields power. That is, if the media can persuade the people through convenient and entertaining packaging, why not use it to get the Government to act the way we want? Is that not what therealnew.com and so many others are doing? Why should we pay for that?

The majority of Americans who do read the news are yearning for "just the facts" on the front page - fair and balanced. We can find our way to the editorials for further flavoring. Anything else is an infomercial!

Posted by: Dr. Obvious | April 20, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Those "Hillary" supporters who say they will vote for McCain are probably McCain supporters now hoping to prolong this primary election.

I'm an Obama supporter who realizes that McCain is so unqualified for the office in temperament and in performance that I could not pull the lever for him. As to whether I would vote for Hillary I can not honestly say, possibly but I would feel auful. I feel four years of Clinton or McCain would be a disaster for our foreign policy. From my perspective Hillary might be better than McCain. Unfortunately not by much. But then there is the right to nominate judges. That makes Clinton more appealing

Posted by: Ron M | April 19, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

The United States does not have a tv news media anymore. We have infotainment media. Gibson and Stuffinenvelopes are NOT journalists. They are infotainers.

ABC, CBS, and NBC -- not to mention CNN -- will never, ever do real news reporting ever again. So stop trying to shame them into it. There's more money to be made in infotainment. Real reporting is expensive, which is why they don't do it anymore.

So stop complaining about network and cable media, and start supporting some of the new noncommercial news media that is just beginning to be born. You can start by subscribing to http://therealnews.com which is in beta.

Posted by: Laura | April 19, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

IT IS ABOUT TIME THE PRESS AND NEWSPAPERS STARTED ASKING TOUGH QUESTION TO AND ABOUT OBAMA. THUS FAR HE HAS BEEN TREATED LIKE A ROCK STAR. HE IS NOT THE "PERFECT" PERSON MOST SUPPORTERS MAKE HIM OUT TO BE. ASK YOURSELF: WHERE IS HE GETTING ALL THAT MONEY FOR HIS CAMPAIGN? IT CERTAINLY IS NOT COMING FROM THE PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET. LOOK FOR THE SOURCE OF ALL THIS MONEY. IF WE CAN FIND OUT, BET LOTS OF VOTES WILL NOT GO TO HIM.

Posted by: Millie Burt | April 19, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

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N E O C O N S

F O R

C L I N T O N

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Posted by: NEOCON | April 19, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

True of False? Was Hillary Clinton Fired from Watergate Investigation for Unethical Misconduct and Then Lying About It?
.
Did her boss in the Watergate investigation fire her, refuse to give her a letter of recommendation and said she was a liar who did highly unethical things?
.
Does her boss say that she conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality, that she was an unethical and dishonest lawyer; that he should have reported her to the bar association for disciplinary action; that she wrote a fraudulent legal memorandum which if submitted to a judge would have gotten her disbarred; and that he could not recommend her for any subsequent position of public or private trust?
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Check it out for yourself at the websites below, what do you think?
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http://www.jzeifman.com/
http://www.aim.org/aim-column/hillarys-crocodile-tears-in-connecticut
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If it is not true, wouldn't the Clintons' have shut these sites down?
.

Posted by: swuzy | April 19, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Ditto - the worst presentation by moderators, Charles and George (who was part of the Clinton camp when Bill was President). This was a totally biased debate, which reflects the arrogance of the journalist and the Agency they work at. Yes, it was very obvious that Mr. Gibson is having a problem with the CG tax; and then how Hilary backed down was very slapstick.

Posted by: kimba | April 19, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Vote for Obama is a vote for Rev. Wright's racism and Ayers socialism. What a great 2 for 1.

Who is the real man behind the curtain?

Posted by: Robert | April 19, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Who do you predict will win the Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=2127

.

Posted by: Frank, Austin | April 19, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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The 44th president of the United States

President Barack Obama

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Posted by: + | April 19, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

When I think of the Debate sponsored by ABC, the word "Shill" comes to mind... ABC's team certainly were not looking at the issues that the American People were interested in. Instead, they appeared to be interested in what dirt they could scrape off Obama that would help Clinton dig out of her delegate dilemma. I'm supposed to be a democrat for what reason again - to be associated with this kind of behavior? The tactics employed by the Clinton campaign appear desperate and ruthless -- are these the types of tactics we want our American President to use on the International scene? I'm afraid of the consequences. Some of Bill Clinton's mistakes are still with us Internationally -- he gained recognition while America paid the price. And Hillary appears to be even meaner?!?

Getting back to the ABC debacle-ate. I tried to log onto the ABCNews website to convey my concerns, and for some reason my password wouldn't work. Hmmm...perhaps, I'll send the message via a competitor. Let's see, George Stuffyourlyinglips, what was your job in the Bill Clinton presidency years? Wow, you are really credible here for the debate -- if I fault Obama, it's for not having the good sense to avoid walking into this lair. ABC, either you need to apologize to the American people or you should change your name to the Associated Broadcasting Company. You certainly are not working in the fair and balanced interest of the American People! This is a dark day in journalism; a dark day indeed.

Posted by: Dr. Obvious | April 19, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

George, Charlie, and ABC News I have only three things to say. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

Posted by: WE The People | April 19, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

To ymaxoneil, who in a long list of Clinton issues listed "Chelsea running through the towers 9/11" check out media matters. Seriously crazy rhetoric on either side makes people not want to engage in the process

http://mediamatters.org/items/200803270008

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

This "Obama Is The Victim!" line being spun by his campaign is nauseating. He has a short but very spotty record, and for the first time people are starting to question it. What is his reaction? Whine, whine, whine. Like the boy who kills his parents and then asks the court for mercy because he's an orphan.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | April 19, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Choice is clear:

Clinton- McCain = Clinton

Obama - McCain = McCain

Do not intend to vote for someone with zero experience and no track record of accomplishment. Community organization just doesn't cut it.

Result = McCain by landslide.

Posted by: Indpependent | April 19, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama wants democrats to forget about Florida and Michigan !!!!!!!

If Florida and Michigan is not counted, this nomination is flawed and should be rejected. Obama wants to keep Florida and Michigan out which in terms of population is equal to keeping 20 states out ( like Arkansas, Kansas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington DC and Wyoming).
I am surprised not a single Obama maniacs are responding to this math and they are the ones with the so called "mail order degreed" supporters who drink only at Starbucks. These 2 states are more important than the 20 rigged caucus states which Obama has "won".

Posted by: vs_sv | April 19, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

I have still serious doubts about all three of the remaining candidates. I would like to hear every question and every answer, on every relevant issue. I have a right to hear it all.

The press has the right to ask any question it wants. It does not have any specific obligation to you. If you do not like the job being performed, seek out some media source that will ascertain the information you want.

I wonder if some of you who post on various sites truly understand how the "real world" works, how the American political process works -- not just the "world according to you"? Did any of you even take American Government in high school?

I suggest that people stop demanding that potential candidates "drop out". There are no "candidates" yet. Stop trying to circumvent the political process. We haven't had any conventions yet. THERE ARE NO NOMINATED CANDIDATES. The Republicans have a "presumptive" candidate. The Democrats have two main potential candidates - no Democrat has the required number of firmly pledged delegates yet.

Having several viable candidates in a primary election provides a much more thorough "vetting". If all primary elections were as contested as the Democrats have been this time, we would have had more definitive general elections, based on the "real" substantive issues, in the past. One party's candidate would not be easily defeated because of smaller, seemingly irrelevant issues. Better to "vet" your own party's candidates so that the opposition party is forced to proceed with the election based on major policy issues.

Yes, there are "REAL" ISSUES waiting to be discussed! Extracting ourselves from an unjustified war and handling the mess created thereby; dealing with lost employment and loss of domestic industrial, intellectual, and creative productivity; an economy which is "crashing and burning" before our eyes; severely damaged international relations; serious scientific and policy questions concerning climate change.

However, nothing will actually be addressed until after the general election and inauguration. Serious policy suggestions concerning the substantive issues will be most important during campaigning and debating of the general election.

So, people - STOP ALL THE WHINING! Everything that has happened thus far in this election is exactly what is supposed to happen in the "primary" portion of an election -- it is called VETTING - selecting a party's nominee. Find "skeletons in closets", weed out undesirable positions, and look for "elect-ability". We need to ascertain if the basic, necessary pre-requisites for Presidential candidates exist for each candidate before we ever begin to discuss the issues which we expect our next President to address. That is one of the main purposes of primary campaigns, debates, and elections - the primary process is not just a popularity contest to pick favorite candidates. This is not American Idol!

Read and listen to everything. Ask every question. Think about every answer (or evasion) rationally, logically, and as knowledgeably and intellectually as possible. Let the political process unfold as it should. THIS IS HOW WE DO IT IN AMERICAN!

Posted by: CJ Learner | April 19, 2008 6:28 AM | Report abuse

If Hillary is president, Soon will be in another WAR. She will attack with full force imediatly any country that attack Israel. But
that is OK .I fill proud of her.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 4:46 AM | Report abuse

Clinton is such a mean and dishonest person .... unbelievable

Posted by: Anonimus | April 19, 2008 3:28 AM | Report abuse

re: "Ask the people of Chicago that voted him as State Senator and US Senator. How are they feeling now?"

OK ask

I'm from Chicago, so I'll tell you. We love Barack.

proof

on feb 5th Cook country (where Chicago is located) voted 69% for Obama vs. 29% for Clinton (more than 2 to 1)

Statewide, Illlinois, voted for Obama 65% vs. 33% for Clinton

Chicago, as well as the people of Illinois, who know him best, love Barack...when you drive on the Outer Drive, or you go to the (Rebublican)suburban North Shore, all you see are Obama bumper stickers....oh, you'll see the occasional Hillary...maybe 1 in 20 (1 in 50?)...but all you see is OBAMA.

Like so much of the anti-Obama smears in these comments, your insinuation that Chicago doesn't like Obama is total horse sh*t

Posted by: Chi Town | April 19, 2008 2:15 AM | Report abuse

I think the debate was great and the questions were brilliant because they were unexpected. The candidates had talk about health care, education, Iraq, economy for the last 20 debates and the media concluded, wrongly, that there is little or no difference between the two. Thus, the seemingly trivial questions actually brought out the nature of each candidate. I think Obama anticipated and had rehearsed his answers and thought he could wink them, he was caught and sorely mistaken. He was caught off guard, not able to answer the follow-up questions sincerely and truthfully. The questions gave some insight to the candidates temperament, ability to respond to sensitive questions, withstand criticism, have a sense of humor. I was hoping Obama could respond the questions in kind, given his charisma and eloquence, instead he got caught and showed me that he is just a typical politician that makes unbelievable and undeliverable promises: withdraw from Iraq, he can't do it within 16 months, health care when a lot more people are still uninsured, social security, tax cut. How amateurish, making promises knowing fully well that they are not deliverable, remember Samantha Powers comments on BBC. I expect him better than that, knowing how to respond without giving any answers. He is just the kind of president we don't need next year. i would not be surprised that people that vote for him would regret within one year. Ask the people of Chicago that voted him as State Senator and US Senator. How are they feeling now? Ask people of Mass how they benefited from his friend-governor of Mass that he used the phrase of "Just words".

Posted by: Kalli | April 19, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

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The 44th president of the United States

President Barack Obama

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Posted by: . | April 19, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

to Michael: I agree with you! how about..
Economy, NAFTA, Columbia trade deal (Penn & Bill $mega bucks, Bosnia, Ireland, Macedonia, Chelsea jogging thru towers on 9/11, the list does go on.

But when you have an ex employee who probably owes his ABC post to the Clinton's what do you expect..you saw how they sic'd Carville on Richardson right?

Posted by: ymaxoneil | April 19, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse

The 44th president of the United States

President Barack Obama

Right................

Posted by: fred | April 19, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

"Debate Probed Policy, Too"...REALLY?

Since when do 3 sentences from both candidates amount to a substantive debate? The candidates were both not allowed to speak about real issues - they were prodded like cattle to fight each other. And when that didn't work - George & Charles attacked Obama with media gossip and open the door for Clinton to take swipes. When the shoe was on the other foot - as usual Obama took the higher road. I was really impressed at his graciousness; I wanted him to really dig into Clinton's lies but I believe that is what good ole George, Charles and Hillary wnated. Then they would have said.."oh I thought you were so different" These people are hypocrits and hide under the guise of 'media' or 'journalist' but they are really just pathetic tools.

Posted by: ymaxoneil | April 19, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Those of you who thought that not talking about policy for the first hour of the debate was legitimate:

Do you think it was legitimate they asked Obama about his lapel pin, and there was literally NO MENTION OF MARK PENN?

Posted by: Michael | April 19, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

"Bill Clinton was a paid adviser and member of the Board of Directors of Yucaipa. Together, the Sheik and Yucaipa have formed a new company, Dubai Investment Group Limited, to jointly invest Yucaipa funds and the Sheik's personal funds.

So Bill Clinton was formerly an adviser and member of the board of directors of a company that is in partnership with the government of Dubai -- a part of the world that blatantly discriminates against women, abuses workers in violation of international law, outlaws unions, deports strikers, and bans Israelis and their products from ever entering the country.

The Clintons won't reveal how much the former president pocketed for setting up this deal, except to report on Hillary's Senate disclosure form: "more than $1,000."

It's a lot more. According to San Francisco Examiner columnist P.J. Corkery, Clinton makes $10 million a year from Yucaipa.

At the same time, the average worker in the Dubai and the UAE construction industry makes about $177 per month, not enough to support a family. According to the U.S. State Department, 98 percent of the workforce in the UAE is made up of foreigners, who Human Rights Watch are for "indentured servants, with no right to form unions or hold strikes." About 20 percent of them work in the Dubai construction industry. Most of these workers are illiterate and have paid huge fees (usually with loans) to get the job. It is a routine practice for employers to withhold paychecks for several months and to hold the workers passports as "security."

• There is no minimum wage.

• There is no right to organize for collective bargaining for foreign workers or domestic workers.

• There is no right to strike. Those who dare are either deported or banned from working for a year.

• There is no right to freely move from job to job unless either the current employer agrees to provide a letter of "no objection," or the worker leaves the country for six months.

• Worker safety is not an important matter and there are only 80 inspectors to monitor over 250,000 employers.

• Workers are out in 104 degree temperatures in the summer with only a two and a half hour break in the middle of the day -- a break that used to be four and a half hours, but was recently shortened.

• The workday is 8 hours, but employers frequently require overtime -- without extra pay. There is a six-day work week.

Many of the lowest skilled workers live in horrible conditions. The U.S. State Department report on human rights in the UAE notes that:

"Low-skilled employees were often provided with substandard living conditions, including overcrowded apartments or lodging in unsafe and unhygienic "labor camps," often lacking electricity, potable water, and adequate cooking and bathing facilities. Some low-paid workers did not receive these benefits, even if stipulated in their contracts."

For the full report, Click here.

But while Bill collects the checks for the Clinton family from anti-worker Dubai, Hillary lectures about workers' rights.

Just last week, Hillary spoke at the convention of the Communications Workers of America and urged its members to contact Republican Senators about pro-union legislation:

"Let them know this is a voting issue; this goes to the real heart of whether we're going to be a country that stands on a principle that every person should have the right to join a union, to be part of a bargaining unit that will stand up for your income ..."

Hillary doesn't have the same interest in the workers whose employers enrich the Clintons -- she apparently has no objection to collecting the Dubai dollars or to Dubai's disgraceful treatment of workers.

Our own government has recognized the severity of the abuses: "Since 1995 the country has been suspended from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) insurance programs because of the government's noncompliance with internationally recognized worker rights standards."

Hey, Hillary, stop the hypocrisy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Dick Morris served as Bill Clinton's political consultant for 20 years, guiding him to a successful reelection in 1996. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Because He Could, Rewriting History (both with Eileen McGann), Off with Their Heads, and Behind the Oval Office, and the Washington Post bestseller Power Plays."

Eileen McGann and Dick Morris

Posted by: Dick Morris | April 19, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

We don't need to use half of a debate to delve into non-policy questions. The media does a great job of that on a regular basis. We hear on the news and talk shows and read in the "political" blogs incessant 24-7 chatter about lapel pins, whether Obama is an elitist, Clinton dodged sniper fire, etc. The only time we get to hear the candidates answer questions about policy is during these debates. The ABC debate was short on substance, long on commercials, and, in my opinion, biased in approach.

So, I think Obama is just telling the truth. As far as the accusations of whining coming from the Clinton camp (Bill), given the multiple instances when Hillary truly whined about her treatment at the hands of the media and other candidates during this campaign, nothing could be more laughable or hypocritical.

Posted by: murcanman | April 19, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

It's very upsetting to think that one of these three will become president. THEY ALL ARE BOUGHT AND PAYED FOR. There needs to be campaign reform now. Unfortunately, it'll never happen. The people in power have all the money and will not ever level the playing field. I want a brilliant leader with no ties to lobbyists. Thomas Jefferson was right when he said there needs to be a revolution every 200 years in order to keep the leaders in check. We are way overdue!!

Posted by: kaboom | April 19, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

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The 44th president of the United States

President Barack Obama


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Posted by: + | April 19, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I think the majority of Hillary supporters who will vote for McCain simply see Obama for what he is - a fake.

He preaches a new outlook on Washington and plays the same games as everyone one. He's a hypocrite who wouldn't have gotten the time of day if the media didn't fall in love with him.

I know I'm willing to vote against my self interests for the next four years to make sure we don't have this man with nothing more than grandiose aspirations from getting in office.

Posted by: Ethan | April 18, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

To those of you vowing to vote for McCain should Obama get the nomination (which, nothing short of a miracle guarantees him):

Even Hillary, during that appalling, Disney-dismembered debate, vowed to use all of her energy after the DNC *whether or not she gets the nomination* to ensure that a Democrat is in the White House in January. If you support her as voraciously as you claim, why do you not support her main, overarching commitment to rid the executive of the abortive Republican Party?

If you vote for McCain, you are betraying her most impassioned plea to her constituents! I certainly hope that your threats are nothing more than a reflection of your sinewy passion for your candidate, rather than an earnest intention to betray the Democratic Party and continue the devastating war, economic policies, etc. of the Bush administration -- which we all recognize is what McCain is offering.

Yes, I am an Obama supporter. However, should Hillary win, I will not think twice about voting for her (no matter how awful the thought of a revolving Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton aristocracy may strike me). Clearly, I am aware enough to recognize that the differences between she and McCain are substantial enough to not destroy the chance we, as Democrats, have to rid the country of the nightmare McCain is committed to intensifying.

GROW UP! (Talk about BITTER!)

Posted by: Brian Davis | April 18, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Early in the campaign, the media focused on the two candidates with the most "star" quality -- Clinton and Obama. Unfortunately, members of the Democratic Party followed the media's lead and also focused on those two, who just happened to be the least experienced of the candidates. As a result, the Democratic party may be poised to lose an election to a Republican Party that is saddled with the least popular President in the past 50 years.

I have not been a supporter of either of the remaining candidates, and I believe that neither of them is destined to be a "great" President. However, any Democrat who is willing to vote for McCain because his/her favorite does not become the Democratic nominee is a fool.

Regardless of one's views regarding the shortcomings of Obama or Clinton, McCain's shortcomings are far greater. By promising to continue the "debacle" in Iraq, McCain has demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding international relations and how best to protect the security of America. McCain has admitted that he does not understand complex economic issues, at a time when our country faces significant economic problems due in large part to past actions of Republican administrations. McCain also is likely to name more right-wing activist judges, such as Scalia, Roberts and Alito, to the Supreme Court and to the various Courts of Appeals, thus ensuring a long period of disrespect for the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, particularly the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.

Democrats often criticize those in the lower income brackets who vote for Republicans as voting against their own economic self-interest. However, any Democrat who votes for McCain simply because his/her favored candidate fails to get the party's nomination will be voting not only against his/her own self interest, but also against the best interests of the country as a whole.

Posted by: Taikan | April 18, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Linda...that Wednesday night ABC "debate" was more of a "debacle".

Can you honestly say with a straight face that "debacle" was good and relevant one?!

The first 50 minutes was spent on dumb "a$$" questions about Obama's former pastor Rev. Wright like "Do agree with Rev. Wright?" "Is Rev. Wright patriotic?" "Why don't you wear a flag pin?" "Isn't that unpatriotic?" "Why are small-town Pennslyvanians bitter?" Who is Bill Ayers and why do you associate with him?" and oh yeah, "Hillary what about that Bosnia trip?"

There are numerous important current issues going on that deserved a lot more attention than what ABC's debate offered!

Posted by: AJ | April 18, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

The press is DEAD (long time ago in the US). And we are still singing the song "long live the press". Trying to find the perfect press in this country is just a big mistake. People, don't waste your time with criticizing the press. Just get out and vote guided by your real interest. Your income and income distribution should be your main guide. Don't be confused! Wake up finally!

Posted by: Billyforever | April 18, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Mike you go right ahead and vote for old man McCain. If the economy slips from recession into depression under McCain, blame yourself. If the war in Iraq causes a war with Iran under McCain, blame yourself.

I keep hearing that Hillary has the support of die-hard Democrats. If you support McCain over Obama, then you are not a Democrat. Hell, if Hillary supports him why wouldn't you!

Posted by: AJ | April 18, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

The disappointing thing about Wednesday night's debate wasn't the questions the moderators asked of the candidates, but the collective whining by the Obama supporters afterwards. Poor Obama, now he knows what it's like to not be the obvious favorite of the biased media. How unprofessional is it for that sanctimonious Obama supporter on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann (aka "Obamamann"), to refer to the debate as a "crapfest" simply because the moderators chose to ask Obama (and Hillary) legitimate questions that voters (especially in Pennsylvania) are interested in hearing the answers to, and not just the same questions (albeit important ones) they've answered during each of the last 20 debates. Hillary's right -- if Obama can't stand up to a few questions that make him uncomfortable, maybe he shouldn't be running for president. Because he sure as heck isn't going to be able to stand up to the Republicans in November, if this is any indication of his toughness, or lack of same.

Posted by: Linda | April 18, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Yes there was a couple of new and interesting statements on policy spoken by the candidates at the debate.

I'm surprised the mainstream media has not be more diligent about condemning the ABC "debate" due to pro-Hillary supporter Stephanopolous being a moderator as well as the format of the "debate".

I thought Obama and Hillary's foreign policy answer as to the what-if scenario about Iran attacking Israel was illuminating and trouble-some. Hillary was talking about America taking an active role of protecting Israel (and some other middle-east allies?) should Iran attack them. Neither Charlie or George bothered to pick up on that response and probe it farther.

Posted by: AJ | April 18, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

If Clinton is not the nominee then I'm voting Mccain period.Obama is the rigmarole

Posted by: Mike | April 18, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Saying that the ABC debate dealt with policy issues is being defensive and silly. It almost as bad as all those saying the questions were tough. The whole thing was exasperating. The only new thing I learned was that Charlie Gibson dosen't want to pay any higher captial gains tax on his investments. Thats OK. He's entitled to his desire but thats not what I tuned in to hear about. As for the rest of it there was nothing new nor was anything of importance explored in any depth. In summary it was the worse performance by moderators of a Presidential Debate I've ever seen and I've seen a great deal of them in my 68 years.

Posted by: Richard | April 18, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hell no we are not voting for Mccain, you did not have enough misery in the past 7 years, you did not have enough with gas price price, you did not have enough with the BS of so called free market, hell no I'm not voting republican period.

Posted by: tony | April 18, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Lil boy got some hard questions.He is the fake and must drop out.

Posted by: Mike | April 18, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

It was a very good debate. All the way through. Finally tough questions on character and associations. Matters that are important even thought the Obamabots love to deny that.

Obama failed the issue portion of the debate also. He showed how devoid of experience and knowledge he is. He does turn a pretty phrase though.

Obama has had a free ride for too long. If he thinks things are tough now when the republicans get a hold of him he is going to fold like a baby.

It's too bad the press didnt do their job earlier. Obama would never have gotten this far. If the press had done their job OR michigan and florida voters listened too then Obama would just be a footnote. Now he is going to be destroyed by McCain.

The democratic party has failed us again. Myself and many Clinton supporters will be voting McCain this fall.

Posted by: reason | April 18, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

And the last 85 debates probed policy, too.

Posted by: Bacon Bacon Jr. | April 18, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

If there was substance and issues covered in the debates, it was after I stopped watching. I've heard the same from a lot of other people.

Posted by: Sueb2 | April 18, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Punch and Judy

It's not merely a simple bribe when the president for personal financial gain advances special interests and annoints powerful lobbyists to inform and influence executive orders and decisions. The president, as leader of the party, validates political practices that extend beyond the White House. A stealth machine or a dark cobweb of laws and politics is secured in place to concentrate power in the few, thereby systematizing abuses and reducing the strength of the democratic political process. Voting the wrong president brings about the dis-empowerment of the majority.

A political Punch-and-Judy show to launch Hillary as the puppet president is more than just a ruinous distraction at a time of domestic economic peril and moral bankruptcy abroad, it is the sell-out of American democracy.

Michael West in Germany

Posted by: Michael West | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Punch and Judy

It's not merely a simple bribe when the president for personal financial gain advances special interests and annoints powerful lobbyists to inform and influence executive orders and decisions. The president, as leader of the party, validates political practices that extend beyond the White House. A stealth machine or a dark cobweb of laws and politics is secured in place to concentrate power in the few, thereby systematizing abuses and reducing the strength of the democratic political process. Voting the wrong president brings about the dis-empowerment of the majority.

A political Punch-and-Judy show to launch Hillary as the puppet president is more than just a ruinous distraction at a time of domestic economic peril and moral bankruptcy abroad, it is the sell-out of American democracy.

Michael West in Germany

Posted by: Michael West | April 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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