The Great Debate
Swarthmore professor Mark Kuperberg is a good guest and a good sport. (Correction: It's "curriculum vitae," and his is impressive.)
But his complaints about the debate questions are, I think, less so. Both Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos asked tough ones, not so much policy based, but ones based on the candidates own statements, misstatements gaffes and questionable relationships.
Stephanopoulous asked a very interesting question Barack's relationship with Bill Ayers, the former 60's radical who says he still not sorry for planting bombs back during his days in the Weather Underground.
Obama tried to deflect the question by saying he can't be to blame for something somebody else did 40 years ago, when he was 8 years old. Furthermore, he suggested an equivalence between what Ayers DID and remains proud of and what his "friendly" acquaintance Sen. Tom Coburn SAID about believing that some abortionists should get the death penalty.
Pretty big difference there.
When Hillary jumped on Ayers being brought up and mentioned his statment to the NYT that appeared on Sept. 11, 2001, about not being sorry about his bombing days, Obama suggested she had no room to talk since her husband pardoned two members of the Weather Underground.
Hillary could have said it is one thing to pardon a criminal, it is another thing to go to their home for a political gathering and for them to throw you a coming-out party.
Obama fans are furious about the question and blame Stephanopoulos for even asking it. But some in the press have been trying to get Obama to answer it for some time. And he has refused.
Obama has complained that these sort of "guilt by association" questions are unfair. But his campaign and the Democrats in general, have played that game to the hilt. (How many times have they linked George Bush and Dick Cheney to the evil oil industry?)
I say if you want to know the candidates' policy positions go to their websites. But if you wanted to see how they handled tough questions about their judgement, mistakes and misstatements, Wednesday's debate was both informative and interesting.