Of course the mainstream media wants to boil everything down to a Clinton vs. Obama contest. But there was much, much more to this debate. Americans were finally ask the questions that they wanted answered in the way that they wanted the questions asked. Of course, the questions were all pre-screened and limited to the videos that CNN wanted to include. But viewers were able to get the idea that Americans care passionately about education, healthcare, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, race relations, taxes, social security, same-sex marriage and yes, the war in Iraq. Overall this debate was fun to watch and informative.
What you probably won't hear a lot about in the mainstream coverage of the debate is:
- John Edwards was nervous but very honestly answered a question about the role is faith will and will not play in his governing decisions;
- Barak Obama gracefully fielded a question about criticisms that "he isn't black enough";
- Chris Dodd was very candid about his feelings on the role that race played in the post hurricane Katrina relief effort;
- Dennis Kucinich emphasized the need for peaceful resolutions to conflict and stated that he supports repaations for slavery;
- Joe Biden did not bite his tongue about a video that featured an individual referring to an assault weapon as "his baby" and did a great job of presenting his past accomplishments;
- Bill Richardson advocated a $40,000/year minumum wage for teachers and clearly indicated the "No Child Left Behind" needs to be scrapped;
- Hillary Clinton addressed the Pentagon's accusations that she is "unpatriotic" for asking if they have a withdrawal plan -- any withdrawal plan. And for one of the first time I think we saw Hillary being Hillary and not trying to be Bill. Yes, Hillary we really do like YOU and,
- And Mike Gravel was, well, Mike Gravel.
John Edwards answers questions during a live webcast immediately following the Democratic Debate in Charleston, S.C. on July 23, 2007.