Consensus is that Obama got body-slammed, but of course the Obamaniacs are griping that the questions were unfair. They apparently think the questions should be solely about "issues" and not about character.Hot Air
The winner of this debate? John McCain. Both Democrats came out of this diminished, but Obama got destroyed in this exchange. If superdelegates had begun to reconsider their support of Obama after Crackerquiddick, they’re speed-dialing Hillary after watching Gibson dismember Obama on national TV tonight.Greg Needs a Cluebat Mitchell
In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia. They, and their network, should hang their collective heads in shame.
Then it was back to Obama to defend his slim association with a former '60s radical -- a question that came out of rightwing talk radio and Sean Hannity on TV, but was delivered by former Bill Clinton aide Stephanopolous. This approach led to a claim that Clinton's husband pardoned two other '60s radicals. And so on. The travesty continued.
Mitchell gripes that they didn't talk more about Iraq, but since their positions are virtually indistinguishable, I don't get the point.
More griping about the horrible questions from Ezra Klein
A woman asks if Obama "believes in the American flag" because he doesn't wear a flag pin.Marc Ambinder
Charlie Gibson says that questions about the flag are "all over the internet" -- along with Pamela Anderson's sex tape, cats with bad grammar, and Rick Astley. Journalism at it's finest.
Obama says he "reveres" flag. Says he shows patriotism by trying to make America better.
"This is the kind of manufactured issue that distracts us from" the issues.
Keeping the score card, there's no way Obama could fared worse. Nearly 45 minutes of relentless political scrutiny from the ABC anchors and from Hillary Clinton, followed by an issues-and-answers session in which his anger carried over and sort of neutered him. But Hillary Clinton has a Reverse-Teflon problem: her negatives are up, and when she's perceived as the attacker, the attacks never seem to settle on Obama and always seem to boomerang back on her. So it would be unwise to declare that Hillary "won" the debate in the dynamic sense just yet. (How much money will Obama raise off this debate? $3m million? $4 million?)Andrew Sullivan
9.51 pm. The big winner is John McCain. Then Clinton who seemed at least awake. Then Obama whose calm was nonetheless trumped by obvious exhaustion. Yes, the Clintons have shredded him. But that's what they know how to do. It's also what the GOP knows how to do. Obama has got to get used to this and find a way to withstand it and fight back without enabling the very cynicism it represents. That's not easy, and we are discovering if he has it in him. Tonight he looked and felt depleted beyond measure. Which is when his supporters have to take the weight.
Sully also gripes about the questions; it's as if the media are supposed to be in the bag for Obama.