CBS Primary Debate: Some Quick First Impression

aldebateWe wish the New York Time's Elisabeth Bumiller was running for president, just so that we could vote against her. She just turned in what may be the worst debate performance since Nixon sweated through his makeup. It's the journalism equivalent of the Dean Scream, and if there was any justice in the blogosphere, someone would Photoshop a picture to show her strangling a kitten. Or, at the very least, hounding a kitten to death with idiotic questions and arrogant assumptions.

Sure, the candidates did some stupid things: John Kerry touched Al Sharpton's arm enough to, well, insert your own gay marriage joke here. (A start: Apparently, Kerry has no problem with touching another man anywhere as long as you don't call it marriage.) And, in addition to being the son of the mill worker, John Edwards is kinda clumsy -- he knocked over a water glass. But -- and we didn't actually think this would be possible -- Bumiller made an already superficial and nasty primary season even emptier and uglier. Some quotes to remember:

"Are you a liberal? Are you a liberal?"

"Yes or no? Yes or no?

"Let me ask a question about Iraq. I have an Iraq question."

This isn't being a tenacious reporter, this is just talking to hear the sound of your own voice. (Though it was, admittedly, hard to hear Bumiller over her Khrushchevian table-pounding.)

When Sharpton, quite rightly, called Bumiller for barely acknowledging either him or Dennis Kucinich, she huffed, "I'm not going to be addressed like this." But when Kerry objected to Bumiller's interrupting him, the other side of her mouth chimed in:

KERRY: You don't let us finish answering questions.

BUMILLER: You're in New York.

Hey, lady, you're the one who asked a question about "likeability." Truth be told, no moderator performed very well -- though Rather, as always, gets points for coming through with the obligatory Southern metaphor. (Something about "having enough Elvis," which sounds more like what Bob Dole is the spokesman for than any primary issue, but whatever.) Indeed, the debate's high point was when the panel's badgering of Edwards got so contentious and juvenile, Kucinich felt he had to step in. Department of Peace, indeed.

Dems Clash In Spirited Debate [CBS]


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