During the Dem Â debate at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the MSM â€“ represented the other night by ABC Newsâ€™ Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos â€“ finally began vetting Barack Obama (IL), asking questions that made the candidate squirm and his supporters scream. For her part, Hillary Clinton (NY) took the opportunity to vulch. Hey, a kill is a kill.
Gibson asked Obama about his â€œbitterâ€ blue collar Americans comments at a San Francisco fundraiser attended by wealthy elites and got yet another â€œclarificationâ€:
â€œ[W]hen people feel like Washington’s not listening to them â€¦ then politically they end up focusing on those things that are constant, like religion. â€¦ [t]hey end up being much more concerned about votes around things like guns, where traditions have been passed on from generation to generation.â€
Hillary blasted him:
I don’t believe that my grandfather or my father, or the many people whom I have had the privilege of knowing and meeting across Pennsylvania over many years, cling to religion when Washington is not listening to them. I think that is a fundamental, sort of, misunderstanding of the role of religion and faith in times that are good and times that are bad. And I similarly don’t think that people cling to their traditions, like hunting and guns, either when they are frustrated with the government. I just don’t believe that’s how people live their lives.
Â Gibson also asked Obama point-blank what he knew about comments Rev. Jeremiah Wright made in his sermons before publicly disassociate himself from them a year later â€“ and what took him so long, anyway. Obama started grinding, restating the same unsatisfying explanation heâ€™s been giving for weeks – â€œI hadn’t seen the remarks that ended up playing on youTube repeatedly. â€¦ [T]he church and the body of Reverend Wright’s work, over the course of 30 years, were not represented in those snippets that were shown on television â€¦â€Â Â And when Gibson followed up with a question to Hillary asking whether she thinks all 8,000 members of Obamaâ€™s church should have gotten up and walked out, she wisely decided to camp: Â
I was asked a personal question, Charlie, and I gave a personal answer. Obviously, one’s choice of church and pastor is rooted in what one believes is what you’re seeking in church and what kind of, you know, fellowship you find in church. â€¦ I have no reason to doubt that a lot of good things were happening in that church — you get to choose your pastor. You don’t choose your family, but you get to choose your pastor. And when asked a direct question, I said I would not have stayed in the church,
Obama knew Hillary was racking up hit points like crazy, and made evasive maneuvers:Â Number one, I wasn’t aware of all these statements, and I can understand how people would take offense; but number two, the church is a community that extends beyond the pastor and that church has done outstanding work for many, many years. The third point I guess I would make is once again that unless we can bridge some of these divides we’re not going to solve problems in this country. And what my entire body of work over the last 20 years has been devoted to is getting blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, young, old to work together, starting when I was a community organizer. And my own life embodies that diversity. That’s what America’s about and that’s what this campaign has been about.Â
Then Stephanopoulos reinforced Gibsonâ€™s efforts to pin Obama down by asking whether he thinks Reverend Wright â€œloves America as much as you doâ€ and Obama had no choice but to strafe:Â
Obama: [T]he notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me but by somebody who is associated with me, that I have disowned, I think doesn’t give the American people enough credit.Â
Stephanopoulos: You’ve disowned him? Â
Obama: The comments, comments that I’ve disowned. Then that is not something that I think â€“Â
Stephanopoulos: But you do believe he’s as patriotic as you are? Â
Obama: This is somebody who’s a former Marine. And so I have – I believe that he loves this country, but I also believe that he’s somebody who, because of the experiences he’s had over the course of a lifetime, is also angry about the injustices that he’s seen. Â
Again, Hillary doesnâ€™t miss a chance to score a hit:
As leaders, we have a choice who we associate with and who we apparently give some kind of seal of approval to. And I think that it wasn’t only the specific remarks, but some of the relationships with Reverend Farrakhan, with giving the church bulletin over to the leader of Hamas to put a message in. You know, these are problems, and they raise questions in people’s minds. And so this is a legitimate area, as everything is when we run for office, for people to be exploring and trying to find answers.Â
Stephanopoulos followed up on â€œthe general theme of patriotism in your relationships,â€ by zeroing in on Obamaâ€™s friendship with Weather Underground alumnus William Ayers who â€œbombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings [and] never apologized for thatâ€ [contextual link added by The Stiletto] and asked him to â€œexplain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problemâ€: Â
This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George. Â
Now Hillary joins in to gank Obama: â€œI also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position. And if I’m not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments.â€ [Contextual link added by The Stiletto.]Â
Mortally wounded, Obama scores a rare hit on Hillary: â€œ[B]y Senator Clinton’s own vetting standards, I don’t think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act than me.â€ Â
But it was TLTL. Dude, you played like a noob and Hillary owned you in this debate.
Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in theÂ Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th AnnualÂ Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker,Â Swampland (Time magazine) andÂ The Caucus (The New York Times).