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The Obama pile-on

April 18, 2008

I didn’t bother watching yesterday’s ABC News sponsored “debate” between Obama and Hillary because after 21 debates I didn’t think there’d be anything new. However the post-debate uproar seems to indicate it was anything but ordinary. The host, ABC News, is now being heckled by the American public for staging what’s seen as a deliberate hit job on Obama (20,000 mostly negative comments as of this hour and counting). Clever, using the debate as a pretext to shoot questions that benefit Hillary. I did ask myself before the debate, why didn’t anyone see it coming knowing that George Stephanopoulus, one of the two ABC moderators who once worked as Clinton’s communications adviser, might unfairly skew the debate in her favor? The outcome leaves me little doubt about what happened behind the scenes.

So after fast forwarding through the hit job, I concur that the two hour show was for all intents and purposes nothing but a nationally televised campaign for HIllary, courtesy of ABC News. It was a setup. Now ABC would have spent more than a couple of thousand to organize and televise the ambush so they would have blown the donation limits the FEC had set for donors. The FEC might want to look into this.

As to who was the winner? Well with Hill plus the two moderators, its was a 3 against 1 pile-on so need you ask. Of course Hill & Co. ran circles around Obama who was visibly angered. But ironically a day after, it is Obama who seems to be benefitting from the debacle. He picks up two more superdelegates, most of whom were not swayed by the so-called debate. So the Clinton camp may have successfully sprung a trap but not only did she not benefit where it counts most (delegate count), she now carries the unwanted expectation of translating that victory into results by winning Pennsylvania by doublt-digit margins next week. At a time when polls reveal that more than 60% of Americans see her as dishonest. Oops.

I agree with Andrew Sullivan’s take in that nasty as it was, this debate was important. It proved why Obama is good for the presidency. Clinton, McCain, the CEOs that run lobby companies, news networks and large US corporations are all baby boomers of the 50-60’s. They defined how Washington does business in the post Nixon era, including the use of media to distract and playing petty-minded “gotcha” games as exemplified by ABC’s sham debate. Obama wants to change all this by threatening to focus on real issues that affect real people minus the drama. Not surprisingly, Clinton and McCain, both boomers desperately trying to protect how business is done in Washington, find a common enemy in him. There’s no way they’ll give up their sandbox.

I have no idea how this debate will impact Pennsylvania’s poll next week but I am certain it’ll be worse for Hillary than it will be for Obama.

Read Tom Shales of Washington Post’s perspective of the “debate”.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2008 10:49 am

    well, very much like in Malaysia, with all the media control, BN still cannot win big…

  2. Damien permalink*
    April 18, 2008 8:11 pm

    Kew: You’re right I suppose. I don’t follow Malaysian politics because its too complicated. 🙂

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