For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.
Issues take back seat at debate
Questions about heady issues such as the war in Iraq, the crumbling economy and skyrocketing gas prices took a backseat during the debate to the petty issues that have defined the five-week battle between Clinton and Obama in Pennsylvania.
ABC anchors Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos spent the first half of the less-than-two-hour debate peppering Clinton and Obama with questions about sermons from Obama’s former pastor, Clinton’s faulty recollections of a 1996 trip to Bosnia and Obama’s ballyhooed “bitter” comment about some of this state’s voters.
The ABC News "Freak Show"
This debate was disgusting.
A Political Rerun
How exhausted is the debate format? ABC's producers were so desperate for new ideas that they resorted to quoting sections of the Constitution after every commercial break.
ABC Host Heckled After Debate
Reflecting what seemed to be the main consensus of the night - that ABC botched this debate, big time - Charlie Gibson tells the crowd there will be one more, superfluous commercial break of the night and is subsequently jeered.
"OH..." he declares, hands raised in defense. "The crowd is turning on me, the crowd is turning on me."
A Shameful Night for the U.S. Media
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.