Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet Democratic debate special: Obama does not use opening to plug experience hole in resume. Report 2.


WASHINGTON—The CNN/YouTube debate just started. A bit of a production number about the videos that did not make it—cute but ate up time.


The test in this debate—billed as groundbreaking—will be if the questions really plow new ground. The first question was, essentially asking the candidates “how are you going to be different?’

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) talked about 26-year Senate record….taking a shot a those (nameless!) who just make speeches….and are full of “rhetoric.”

Anderson Cooper, the CNN debate moderator, just did not pin anyone down on being “different.”

Score as a dodge for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) a direct question about his experience, where he is most vunerable.

His answer: about the need to change how business is done in Washington and excoriating special interests and lobbyists. Obama missed an opportunity to plug the biggest hole in his resume.

Here's what Obama said:
Senator Obama, your supporters say you are different.
Your critics say you're inexperienced. You're a first-term senator.

OBAMA: Well, I think the questioner hit the nail on the head.
As I travel around the country, people have an urgent desire for
change in Washington. And we are not going to fix health care, we're
not going to fix energy, we are not going to do anything about our
education system unless we change how business is done in Washington.

Now, part of that is bringing people together, as Chris said.
But part of it is also overcoming special interests and lobbyists who
are writing legislation that's critical to the American people.

And one of the things I bring is a perspective as a community
organizer, as a state legislator, as well as a U.S. senator, that
says: Washington has to change.


I respectfully disagree that he failed to answer the question, he did answer the question when he stated " And one of the things I bring is a perspective as a community organizer, as a state legislator, as well as a U.S. senator, that says: Washington has to change." Maybe Lynn you don't like his answer because he don't talk like those in Washington....but to folks like me he is well qualified.

Senator Obama did not 'dodge' the question he was asked at tonight's debate which challenged his level of experience. He replied by saying that his diverse experience as community organizer, state legislator, and U.S. Senator, gives him the broad perspective that will enable him to bring the right kind of change to Washington. Senator Obama's resume and record of achievement far exceeds that of many of our greatest American presidents. As President Kennedy's speechwriter and aide, Ted Sorensen, wrote in an op-ed this week, Barack Obama's background and impressive list of achievements has many striking parallels to President Kennedy's when he was running for the highest office in the land in l960-- and Obama did all this without having been born to a life of privilege. Ted Sorensen was at President Kennedy's side when JFK averted nuclear holocaust by using courage and steady, sound judgment during the Cuban Missile crisis. Ted Sorensen is confident that, like President Kennedy, Barack Obama is ready for the challenges that he will face in the Oval Office in today's dangerous world-- and so am I.

I agree, Senator Obama did not dodge the question. I thought he was great, won hands down. Hillary looked tired and uncomfortable in the setting. She had all of her usual programmed answers. I loved it when Obama zinged her on she should have asked for a plan to get out of Iraq when she voted for the war instead of waiting until now.

because he did not answer in the standard insider establishment way or the way the msm wants him to does not mean he missed anything.
The problem is that you guys want him to act a certain way. And he doesn't. You of all the media should know that is how he is. And you should know it's not a rookie vs. experience. clinton has less than Obama. But, also, you know Obama is not going to be pigeonholed or act like some establishment insider like clinton would.
Give him credit for thinking and acting outside the box. that is his appeal.
apparently the people agree with me on this as all the people polling show he wiped the floor with Clinton tonight.
Also, please just listen to Clinton's answers. She triangulates, blames and spins but, says little about what she would actually do.
She speaks in a loud voice because you guys thinks it means she is authoritive. She lacks substance and says very little aside from spin.

After watching the debate, it proved Obama is a careful, measured, well crafted polititian. Exactly what we don't need. He just couldn't manage to answer a question without hedging or going off topic. The man is simply incapible of talking honestly and from the gut.. He campaigned for Joe Leiberman. That should be all anyone needs to know about Obama.

barack answered the question with a great level of sophistication. by the way, he won tonights debate

While the Mainstream Media (for whatever reason) continually insists that Democrats are clammering for a Hillary nomination -- and even tonight, they immediately crowned her as the winner of the CNN/You Tube debate, EVERY SINGLE FOCUS GROUP indicated otherwise.

When will the MSM, or in the case of this article, Lynn Sweet and her "scoop from Washington" get it?

Senator Barack Obama won every focus group aside from Nevada; in which Governor Richardson took first place.

Kudos to "First Read" at MSNBC for being the only major media to indicate that the public and the media are completely at odds.

Lynn, Hillary didn't win. Not by a long shot.

i also thought he did a great job with that question, and did very well overall. obama's answers were sophisticated and to the point and showed that he respects his opponents. i thought the way hillary treated him was incredibly rude. she couldn't even find one nice thing to say about him at the end. she must be getting scared! anyway, this debate only underscored the fact that obama's the only one with enough intelligence, good judgement, AND class to be president.

Senator Obama did not Dodge the question he hit it head on. He is experienced. He did well in this debate. However, I am tired of the media trying to spin Hillary. The people and the media are at odds. The people do not see Hillary as the winner of this debate. However, the media is trying to spin otherwise. The general media criticize Fox News. I am beginning to wonder if all of the media is becoming like Fox News. They want to spin a winner to their perference instead of what the people say. There were three focus groups. One from Fox Two from CNN. The Fox focus and one of CNN focus groups stated Obama was the winner.

Don't you guys get it? There is nothing Senator Obama can do or say that will meet the satisfaction of Lynn Sweet or the MSM. Despite having had focused groups say he was the outright winner, the MSM is going out of its way to convince us that they were wrong and our ears were lying to us. Here's an example: The MSM has been criticizing and questioning the logic of the Bush administration's policy of not talking directly to Syria and Iran, but yet they are praising Clinton for effectively taking the same position in last night's debate. Her answer was almost verbatim to the excuse George Bush has been using for years now. I have no doubt that if Clinton had answered the question first, before Obama, she would have asserted that we need to meet with these nations, and the MSM would have loved it!

I prefer well thought out and detailed answers to simplistic rhetoric, and so agree with the hated Mainstream Media that Hillary did best. But then I'm not an impartial judge as I already liked her best before the debate.

But though I'm very unlikely to support Obama I found his performance to be good, and he included some nifty phrases in his responses. He's clearly very intelligent and articulate (in Biden's words) so at least it's good the top two contenders are the smartest of the bunch.

I'm wondering about so many Obama supporters in the comments here. Is it because many of you are from Illinois / Chicago where he has the home state advantage, or is it because blog participants are typically young people who are more likely to prefer Obama's form to Hillary's substance? :-)


08AMA Did very well in this debate. He didn't waiver when asked if he would meet with leaders from countries that the Bush Admin has rebuked. We need leaders that will choose diplomacy. Especially since we lied to the world about WMD's and because we are currently engaged in two wars. WE NEED ALL OF THEM AS ALLIES not as enemies.

Sen. Obama did great on the debate. unlike clinton she spoke like a programmed robot. Obama had real substances, he took clear stances on issue with diplomacy, iraq and alternative energy while hilary "agreed with what Edwards said" Clearly Obama won the debate that night and showed he has the leadership capability and willingness to go the directions where his coutry NEEDS.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 23, 2007 6:41 PM.

Sweet Democratic debate blog special. CNN/YouTube potential to plow new ground. Report 1. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Democratic debate special. Clinton calls herself "modern progressive." Report 3. is the next entry in this blog.

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