CNN Democratic Debate

16 November 2007

One thing in particular bothered me about last night's CNN debate (which also bothered me about the last MSNBC debate). I think that Digby really nails it here:

Blitzer: Driver's licenses! Yes or No!

Obama: It's not so simple. We need comprehensive immigration reform and I think ...

Blitzer: Yes or no! What about the driver's licenses?!

Richardson: The congress has failed to act. It's a matter of public safety...

Blitzer: Yes or no! Yes or no! Yes or no!

Edwards: It's a complicated problem...

Blitzer: Huh? Driver's licenses! Yes or No!

Kucinich: There is no such thing as an illegal human being. I would repeal Nafta.


Biden: No

* Not a real transcript. More of an impressionistic collage.

Blitzer refused to let any of them explain their positions on immigration but rather insisted on this ridiculous, parochial question about driver's licenses as if the fate of the world depended on getting a yes or no answer. He particularly dogged Obama who has a nuanced and reasonable position that requires explication, just as Russert did to Hillary Clinton last week on the same stupid topic. (She just caved, which is being touted by the gasbags as a very savvy move.)

Obama's real response is at 17:54 of the debate (full video and [real] transcript here).

Also, that last question was simply horrible. "Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?" Are you kidding me? That question was neither substantive nor funny. It's just demeaning to everyone involved. As a member of the audience, I felt as if CNN was basically saying, "Everyone who's watching this is an idiot."

UPDATE: It looks like the student who asked that horrible diamonds/pearls question would have preferred to ask something more substantive, but was only allowed by CNN to ask that awful puff question. Of course she wasn't forced to ask the question (she wrote it herself) or anything like that, but this really just underscores how poorly CNN runs these debates.

UPDATE II: I don't mean to put on my tin-foil hat or anything, but does anybody else think it's funny how this coal-sponsored debate's only mention of energy policy centered on the problems related to nuclear power? Anybody at all?

Also, why was there no mention or debate of Clinton's recently released climate and energy plan? That seems like the kind of question that's ripe for debate (at least more so than "Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?").

UPDATE III: TPM has a short video of the night's highlights here:

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