CNN Presidential Debate Links

by Paul William Tenny

The Democratic candidates debated on CNN Monday evening, working entirely from questions recorded and uploaded to YouTube. I thought the idea was stupid at first, because which questions would be presented was still up to the organizers of the debate - not the public. This was partially true, as quite a few of the questions were very inappropriate and some very irrelevant to election. Some were downright stupid. Slavery reparations? In a list of top voter priorities, that wouldn't even make the top-50. What a waste of valuable time.

That said, it was lighthearted and revealing in a couple of different ways. Obama danced around virtually every question asked of him, and dodged the moderators follow-ups asking him to answer the question instead of giving speeches. I personally believe he came off badly, as a guy more concerned with having the best campaign rather than just saying what he thinks, having the guts to answer questions he hasn't mentally prepared for.

The rest of the field provided exactly what you've seen from every other debate. John Edwards clearly lead the pack with passion, conviction, and thoughtful answers to most every question, including those on same-sex civil rights which clearly tear him in two different directions.

For some reason though, everyone seems to say Obama is winning these debates, and I can't for the life of me understand why. The man simply will not give a straight answer to any question, and that should scare people. For all his charisma, a man too afraid to answer simple questions in a debate is not the person you want making the decisions involving billions of lives when the balloon goes up.

I won't give you a blow-by-blow, because there are others out there in the political blogosphere that do this for a living, and I'll let them do the job.

This one quote from was dead on: "Hillary Clinton- Her claim that she was running for president based on her own merits was good for a laugh. If her last name was Smith, she wouldn't be the Democratic frontrunner."

CNN itself opined in journalism mode, rather than entertainment mode, on who if anybody won the debate. "Most observers agreed that none of the candidates debating at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, particularly outshined their rivals, doing nothing to challenge Sen. Hillary Clinton's position as the Democratic race's front-runner."

For the record, I couldn't disagree more. Edwards clearly plastered Obama and Clinton just by answering questions asked of him. The other second and third tier players even bested them by doing exactly the same thing. It doesn't matter how brilliant each canned speech coming from the Obama and Clinton camps are, if they won't answer questions, they lose the debate.


And this bit: "An average of 11 national polls taken in June put Clinton in the lead at 40 percent to Sen. Barack Obama's 25 percent and 14 percent for former Sen. John Edwards. The rest of the field was in single digits."

Don't pay any attention to that. National polls don't mean anything at this point. State polls are all that matter right now, and the order they come in. Why anyone continues to run out these useless things day after day is just weird.

The New York Times pointed out a strange incident whose irony was lost on them completely: "One man asked about gun rights while brandishing an assault weapon, calling it his baby."

The same question struck my mother and myself at the same moment: did that guy just brandish a fully automatic assault rife, which he just admitted to buying illegally while the assault weapons ban was in place? On national television? Wow, talk about stupidity. And these brainiacs are the people Republicans want to have assault weapons in the first place?

The Times pointed out the obvious, that a debate between eight people isn't a debate, but eight people taking turns giving speeches. A debate is brutal back-and-forth between two people that goes on and on until the time runs out, or somebody crushes the other person so badly that a mercy killing is in order.

That's what you get in general election debates, but not in these primary reality shows.

And I'll add something to this paragraph.

"The candidates were also asked whether they sympathized enough with the plight of the American worker that they would work in the White House ($400,000 a year) for minimum wage ($5.85 an hour). Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut said no, he would not, given that he had two young daughters to send to school."

Simply that minimum wage is well under $17,000 per year. Compared to $400,000, it's an insane joke. I happen to believe that civil servants in Congress and the White House shouldn't be paid at all. Free room and board, meals, and living services - that's it. They are already living on our dime, pushing us around and ignoring our well. They don't need $400k a year to do it.

I'll update this tomorrow when some of the big dogs at Kos and whatnot do their writeups.


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