Analysis: ABC News Democratic Debate From Philly, PA

Some video clips direct from ABC News:

Here’s a report on it from ABC News:

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opened Wednesday’s presidential debate on a point of accord: neither answering head on whether they’d be willing to name the other as vice president.

Sen. Obama, D-Ill., said it was “premature” to discuss the veepstakes, but promised the party would come together by August, ”

Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., agreed, “Regardless of the differences there may be between us, and there are differences,” she said, “they pale in comparison to the differences between us and Sen. McCain.”

On stage at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, in a debate moderated by ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, Clinton said, “I am going to do everything I possibly can to make sure one of us takes the Oath of Office next January.”

Pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether or not Obama would be able to defeat Republican presidential nominee John McCain in the general election, Clinton said, “Yes, yes, yes.”

Obama also expressed confidence in his Democratic rival saying he “absolutely” thought Clinton could win in November.

The following is analysis from Nate and Michael:


Nate’s analysis

Opening statements were about par for the course as both candidate laid out their respective visions, we’ve heard that a million times.

However, things got interesting once Charlie Gibson questioned Obama about the “bitterness” comment. Obama uttered the answer he’s been giving about Clinton pouncing on his misspoken words and how he feels voters are bitter but his statements were improperly worded. Hillary responded saying she knows her grandfather didn’t cling to guns and faith out of bitterness, they were a part of his life, “like most Pennsylvanians.”

Gibson also questioned Obama on the Jeremiah Wright controversy, Obama claimed to have no previous knowledge of the incendiary comments which came on YouTube and other media outlets. Clinton then followed up on a question about her staying in the church, she responded saying that had she heard the remarks of Pastor Wright, she would have left the church. She also said “you can’t choose your family but you can choose your Pastor,” as an extra jab.

Funny line, Hillary wishes the “Republicans would just apologize for the Bush/Cheney years and not run anyone, just admit a Democrat should be in the White House again.” That’s funny for Hillary Clinton, she’d like that wouldn’t she.

Overall I think Obama had some weak answers. Hillary Clinton appeared to do well. I would say that neither of them really lost ground tonight as they batted around the latest news surrounding the election.

Both moderators, Gibson and Stephanopoulos, did a fabulous job in my opinion. They asked tough questions and then used the almighty follow-up question to get a straight answer.


Michael’s analysis:

The first thirty minutes had a lot of political meat. Barack Obama was asked a series of questions on Rev. Wright, and handled them in a mediocre fashion. Instead of stressing his distance and objection to Wright’s comments, he focused on his absence from hearing them. While these two might be true, it is more substantive for him to argue against the words (and stress that) than say he didn’t hear them.

There was also a lot of heat on Obama being elitist, at at some points the context of his being elitist colored some of his typical comments and ideas. Hence, when he argued, “I know what the American people are feeling,” it was easy to interpret this comment as arrogant, rather than empathetic.

In no way could people argue these mediators were going easy on Obama. In fact, there was some slight preference to Clinton, with less heavy questions and a few camera shots to Clinton’s daughter Chelsea, cementing this mother-daughter bond via the camera-lens. Clinton did not hold back either in regards to attacking Obama for his comments on guns and religion. While this hurt him, this did not raise her image.

Hillary Clinton did a poor job of addressing the Bosnia affair, and gave Obama a large window for him to demonstrate he was above these petty political topics. Obama did a nice job of framing the future questions and those directed at Hillary as insubstantial, and distracting to the overall mission for the presidency. This may have been his strongest part in the first thirty minutes.


Update

Here’s the full debate video:

Video: ABC Clinton/Obama Debate from Philadelphia, PA