March 14th, 2008
03:15 PM ET

David Gergen: Focus, candidates, focus

David Gergen
David Gergen is a political contributor for Anderson Cooper 360°.

Rarely have I seen in any presidential race stretching back more than 30 years as much of a disconnect between the world of the candidates and the rest of the world that we see right now.  Every day, on television and in the newspapers, the news is about Democrats squabbling – whether about race or gender or about some off-the-wall comment by a supporter.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a different universe, the U.S. dollar is sinking like a stone, the price of gas has cracked $4 a gallon at some pumps, homeowners are going under, and star financial institutions like Bear Stears have their backs to the wall.

Would the candidates please do us – and themselves – a big favor: Would they turn attentions away from the bickering and tell us in more depth and with more attention to the rapid economic deterioration what they would do?

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each proposed plans for the mortgage crisis but the problems now stretch far wider and deeper than their plans cover.  John McCain keeps telling us that lower taxes and less regulation would do the trick – when it is obvious that the problems are much more complicated (just ask Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke).

The Democrats have a pause in the action now before the Pennsylvania primary.  It will be tempting for them to keep on doing what they have been doing – barnstorming from one campaign event to the next.  But they owe us something more now: Some serious talk about what their presidencies would hold and how they would govern.

John McCain, to his credit, wants to see for himself what is happening in Iraq, elsewhere in the Middle East and in Europe.  He is wise to don the role of statesman while the Democrats diminish each other through their in-fighting.

But even as he looks upon the broader international horizon, he, too, owes us a much clearer, more sophisticated picture of what he would do to save the economy back home.  If he were President, after all, he would have to address both at once.  This would be a good time to start.

It may sometimes feel like good fun and games to have all this adolescent squabbling, but the day is coming when we will need a strong, mature adult sworn in as our next President.

– David Gergen, CNN Sr. Political Analyst


Filed under: Barack Obama • David Gergen • Economy • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Jon

    It's amazing to see how much negative sentiment is being spewed by Obama supporters. I couldn't agree more with your call for the candidates to stick to the issues but when the Obama campaign labels everyone who differs with them a racist it will be hard to change the dialogue. I read that both camps are planning to ramp down the negativity so hopefully that's a start.

    March 15, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  2. FrequentFlyer of IL

    David –

    I agree with you point urging the candidates to focus. However, I hope that the rest of the media share in this sentiment, and quit feeding the monster.

    All of the coverage of the "race" factor, the Pastor factor, the Ferraro factor only continues to perpetuate the non-issues that shouldn't be part of this campaign.

    I would encourage the media to focus on the FACTS as well, and share with the American public DETAILS about each candidate's platform as well as the experience they bring to the table.

    I end with this – lets get EVERYONE to focus on what is critical to this Presidential race, and leave the petty squabbling coverage to the tabloids.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  3. Paulette

    Here's an idea. Why don't you guys ask the questions of the candidates and focus them on specific issues for specific responses. Set another standard and move away from the spin and telephone calls from their campaigns. This might help citizens as we make decisions about what the candidates have to offer our nation as potential leaders.

    March 15, 2008 at 6:31 am |
  4. Tiffany

    Well, gee David, since it's your buddies in the media that thrive on all this stuff, maybe you should be asking them to be grown ups. I don't see the candidates focusing on this garbage – it's the media who keeps asking them to respond to this or that and then dissecting their answer trying to find something racist (but never sexist) in it.

    I'd love to see some good old fashioned journalism – you know when the media presents the facts sans opionion and without all the drama, thereby allowing the American people to make up their own minds.

    Maybe y'all should ask yourselfs, what would Walter Cronkite do??

    March 15, 2008 at 12:57 am |
  5. IA

    I completely agree with David; folks lets get back to debating the real issues, and not get distracted by all these side shows.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  6. Dr. Taruna

    Mr . David,

    As always fair and logical.

    Just wish the media stops their dirty games of going on with the stories that are so irrelevant and try posting more positive stuff..i guess they are trying to make big bucks as election years come once in 4 years and that one time they sell with all this crap.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:38 am |
  7. Julie

    David, I have great respect for you and totally agree with what you said. However, exactly how can the candidates get back to the issues when the media plays every little soundbite over and over and over? One of Hillary's surrogates says something and every political pundit on tv is questioning whether it was racist or not. Someone on Barack's campaign calls Hillary a monster and it gets repeated and replayed and talked about over and over. How exactly can the candidates quit bickering when they are having to constantly do damage control because of what gets reported. Is all of this pertinent to the campaigns? I think the media bears some responsibility in this "tit for tat" that is going on.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:34 am |
  8. Lucy

    Mr. Gergen, I really like your opinions most of the time, but
    You most be kidding me. You said that McCain wants to see for himself what is happening in other countries! Well , I got news for you.
    The people of this country can see much better than him, and what we see is not very pretty. Things can not look worst that they are and here in USA things are getting worst and worst. The tragedy of all is that this administration does not know how to fix the mess they created. It's going to take a miracle to go back to what this great Nation was. Our dollar,our credibility,our jobs, our friends in the world, are all almost gone. The press felt in love with Obama and it reminded me of 2000 when they felt in love with Bush (the likeable guy, unifier, the guy they wanted to go drink a beer with) and see where this good guy has taken the country to for the last 7 years..down the drain! I want someone with experience and someone with a purpose in life.. not a dreamer or a warmonger.... I want my country back and prosperity. Thank you.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:32 am |
  9. zanne

    I guess maybe you took the critisism that you were "too easy "on Obama to heart.
    Anderson, I have always thought that CNN was " fair and balanced'...
    tonight's coverage made me wonder. It is not necessary to repeat the history of " dirty politics" and it's coverage. I think that that this is truely the message of Obama, and what the American people want. Enough already.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  10. Aida Gurwicz


    CNN should change your title from Senior Political Analyst to Senior Obama Apologist. I found your attempt to whitewash the Wright fiasco tonight on Anderson Cooper's program startling. I was slack jawed when I heard you say that white America does not understand the black church. What don't we understand? Is it the part about damning America or that our government conspired to infect black men with aids? Or maybe we don't understand that we earned 9/11 in return for state sponsored terrorism against Palestinians, aka our support of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East? Shame on you!


    March 15, 2008 at 12:26 am |
  11. Madeleine-Maryland

    I couldn't agree more. However, the press is charged with informing the public. Perhaps they could start doing a better job of educating and informing the public about more pressing issues.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  12. Joseph Moody American in Singapore

    The Disconnect issue you rase is ' on the money'
    They all need to pound on the issues not on eachother.

    Will some one please tell me why on Sept 12th 2001 Jerry Falwell can say that americas liverals and gays brought on September 11 and several years later Rev Wright is condemed for connecting our history of ill advised support of right wing fascism as responsible.
    which is a more reasoned and base on the public record than Falwell's hate message

    I believe both pastors used a phrase simular to 'we brought thisdamnation on ourselves.'
    The both are potentally guilty of blaming the victim which is offensive.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:14 am |
  13. Seth

    I agree, they need to focus. But do americans any of these canidates have any original thoughts or ideas. They have their political clowns telling them what they should say and what financial focus they should have. All of these canidates have had lived in the lifestyle of the rich and absurd. If they had to live a day as a middle income or low income person they would they would give up hope to. When you get everything done for you everything seems possible. I dare any of these canidates to live a life for a month stripped of their luxuries and join us in the screwed society that they have placed us in. I love my America, but I am sickened by what these wise politicians have done to this once proud country. Our education is horrible, neighbors don't no eachother any longer. And our politicains squeeze as much money out of us as they can. SO ALL YOU POLITICIANS BE PROUD AT HOW QUICKLY YOU HAVE SUCKED THE HOPE OUT OF MOST AMERICANS!!

    March 15, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  14. Shelley

    It is very difficult to think that neither Barack or Michelle Obama have heard the words of their "Reverend" before. After hearing his comments, is little wonder why Michelle Obama is only now proud to be an american? Anyone who thinks that Obama is running a "race free" campaign must be watching a different campaign than the one consuming the American people today. unfortunately, not only Obama but the media have made this campaign about race by forcing Hillary supporters to walk on egg shells with what they say or face the wrath of the "racist" title.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  15. dct

    Mr. Gergen I respect your position as a reporter and with that.. I also respect my point of few. I am a person, black, American Indian, yellow, white, should make no difference. This country is founded on equality for all not for the people with the biggest platform. Why is it? that reporters and pollers divide and continue to make segregated columns of people? Isn't every person in the United States equal? Is not every vote equal? Why are there demographic studies done by race, color and gender? What difference does it make? We are all American citizens, I challenge you to respond to this question, and can you tell me, why this is so important for the public to know the divisional studies? Do you think it is helping or dividing it, if you think it helps, I would like to know why

    March 15, 2008 at 12:04 am |
  16. Peter Haines


    Just watched a segment of Ac360 as was again impressed by your sane, balanced, objective point of view, What really irritated me was AC and his determination to make the side show the main story. FCS, we have real problems to deal with. AC is going to chase me to MSNBC, He really is like an irritating little terrier that won't stop yapping.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  17. Carol

    The media is to blame for fanning the flames of this latest controversy. Why keep airing the minister's comments. Obama has made it clear that this minister does not represent his views. So, move on, please, no more coverage of this minister.

    Don't give the negative messages the light of day in your nightly news coverage. I think at some point, the media has to take responsibility for keeping the negativity going.

    We want change. Obama can ride out this latest storm and get back on target, talking about the issues that matter to America. He still has my confidence and support!

    March 15, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  18. tms


    March 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  19. Jorge

    Mr. Gergen; I admire you’re calm of reason on Mr. Cooper’s CNN show tonight, it was very much needed. Your calm lends credibility to the words spoken by you. One may disagree with your political affiliation but, one concurs with the standards of the man. The particular episode was rancid, the sensationalism offered by Mr. Cooper, As a History major and College graduate, who comes from a multi-culture home, Mr. Cooper’s journalistic passion, brings concerns for many, it comes across as bias and confrontational in the attempt to push the story. One may presume that is the problem; Pushing the story. Many are, and should distance themselves from this rhetoric; as well as many should seek to understand historical utterance by this Reverend. (His spoken words are reflective of past issues; his conviction is one of a past needing to be corrected and reconciled in the context of today’s sterile politics.
    One is pleased how ever, by the historical facts you and Mr. Rollin Martin offered to the viewer about the different historical views of the (a) American experience, as seen through the lenses of African Americans (blacks,) seen through the eyes of Latinos (all encompassing,) or those which differ from the views of White America, we must understand each other and be more tolerant. It is not about patriotism; or anti-religious, anti-America as Mr. Perkins wishes it to be. Mr. Perkins as a surrogate and as a pundit concentrates his efforts to use the words of the Reverend to inculpate Senator Obama as “guilt by association” this leads many to ponder what agenda is purported by the news cycle and many. Your repeated cycles of this episode does not impress the intellect. One does not inculpate Senator McCain for the utterance made by one Minister; he was standing right next to, as the Senator sought his support. Or those of the radio announcer impugning the stereo typical Arab/Muslim; (connotation being Terrorist) when He inference the name “Hussein;” even though many know it is Senator Obama’s middle name.
    Well! If the intent was to give Senator Clinton’s candidacy a life line, well you have, by keeping this alive.
    It is so sad, but all are within a melting society of divided citizen by race, color, religion, and social economics. Does anyone desire a new political delicacy? Or does the discourse in political life give the multitudes life? What happened to: the mortgage crisis of middle class, the rising prices of gas at the pump, an economy in recession no one wants to believe it’s occurring. What about the next looming conflict being goaded with Iran?
    These are the concerns News Journalists…Speak to these issues, force the dialogs not this sensationalism.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  20. kathy

    What are you talking about, you are one of the guilty ones.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  21. Ann

    David, I hope the candidates take heed of you sage advise.

    However, if they don't Anderson you need to invite them on your show and give them a Biloxi slap down the way you did with Mary Landrieu.

    Please just give us the issues and plans to correct the mess we are in.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  22. Karen

    I agree with your point. The candidates need to be allowed to discuss and present the issues and what their plan is. I also say that a big part of the problem is the media. Just as you've said this here you need to pass this along to your colleagues and adhere to it yourself.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  23. cora


    Thank you for your passion for true jouralism. Please tell me
    is it Rev Wright's style of preaching or the content of his sermon that is troublesome? I did not understand Rev. Wright to say “God damn” America; I heard him say “God damned” America, referring to the war, the floods, breakdown in our families, and our children that we have suffered. Some of us may not agree with his style of preaching, but few of us will say that our country is not having a crisis in our Judo-Christian faith. Are thinking people saying that the good old boys network of white men don’t control this country? It is this divisive political network that gives poor white people “racism” instead of jobs and education. With this manipulation poor Whites focus on “hate” instead of becoming a part of the movement for change. First, poor Whites were told that Blacks were taking their jobs through affirmative action, now they are being told that the illegal workers are taking their jobs. Many Whites are recognizing that powerless Black people are in the same boat with them.

    A country that sends all of its jobs out of the country and whose food, drugs and even water supplies have become unfit and unsafe have mega domestic problem. Our foreign policies have become the worse in recent history. Surely, we all know that race matters in this country and many White scholars, politicians, and people of many faiths have stated this fact. It is my understanding that Rev. Wright’s Church has taken its practice of Christianity beyond the walls of the Sunday service and has done a great deal of work in the community. It is very Christ centered. The media is driving this divisive story by repeatedly showing Dr. Wright’s inflammatory sermons and avoiding the real issues of the economy, the war, health care, drugs, the education system and pedophilia. The Spinners and the media will not be able to keep the truth from thinking people forever. Much of electorate has moved past the politics of the 90s.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  24. Anne

    The focus really needs to be on the economy and the war. This big discussion about Rev. Wright's comments is ridiculous.

    Are people really so scared that Sen Obama could be elected president and "stick it" to white people the way black people have had it stuck to them throughout the history of this country? Good thing for those folks our potential black president is actually part WHITE and part Black & was raised by his WHITE mother and her family. Sen. Obama's identifying as a black man is a function of the race issues in this country not a situation that he created.

    Because of the dynamics in this country on race, white people need to understand that many blacks cannot exhibit BLIND patriotism to a country that has so often mistreated them and reminded them daily that they were "less-than" when it comes to their position as citizens in the nation. Most black people love this country, they just aren't blind to the reality that most of the time this country hasn't exactly LOVED them BACK.

    If this country is as great as many of you think, let's stop talking about race, gender, spreading nasty rumors about who is muslim (as if there is something wrong about that) or spreading the fear that if a black man is in charge he's finally going to equal the score for what has been done to black people in this country for centuries ('cause that's really what the arguments about Rev. Wright boil down to!)

    Let's talk about the real issues like the economy and how we're going to compete in a really competitive world market in the future when we're behind in terms of the education and the health of our citizens already. How America is going to create a plan to be competitve going forward and stop looking in the rear view mirror admiring how great our past accomplishments were.

    Let's talk about who has a plan to take us to the future while not forgetting both the accomplishments and shortcomings of our nation's past!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  25. Barbara JP

    Thank you David for your wisdom, you are smarter then any of the WHITE men on CNN, on TV, let's stay focused on the issues.
    My Pastor whom I love dearly, sometimes he gets real radical but because he teaches Gods word so well and his views are his I remain there to hear Gods Word.
    Come on CNN ENOUGH!!!!!!!! Gas is almost $4.00 a gallon I make $12.00 an hour what am I to do????? maybe I should cut the cable and watch movies.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  26. Ed K.

    You are by far the best CNN has to offer. You are fair and balanced. Wish you could work on Roland, Jack, Jemal and a few more.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  27. Bill W Vancouver Wa

    David I agree whole heartedly, there is too much gravy and not enough meat and potatoes.

    Unfortunately the "entertainment ratings" seems to drive the sensationalism engine driving news organizations today.
    Oh for the "equal time" days when candidates would be able to speak for themselves and be judged on their own rather than "sound bites" and news editors and anchor filters.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:43 pm |
  28. Jen

    This is to inform you that there is going to be an online petition to have your show off of CNN because it seems to favor Hillary Clinton and your line of questioning to Obama was disrespectful. Black America is seeing all this negative coverage of Obama either being a Muslim or a radical Christian on the part of CNN particulary AC360 is alarming and we have had it. I THINK CNN OWES OBAMA AN APOLOGY OR AFRICAN AMERICANS AN APOLOGY FOR TARGETING ARICAN AMERICANS BECAUSE THEIR VIEW OF AMERICA IS DIFFERENT. SO SHAMEFUL BUT THERE IS GROWING ANGER IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY OVER CNN'S COVERAGE OF OBAMA VS HILLARY AND MCCAIN!!!! SHAME on you Anderson AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS 2008??????

    March 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  29. C. Dolph

    David, I always respect your opinion, but was disappointed tonight when you loosely quoted Michelle Obama saying "Michelle's quote that she isn't proud of of America." Her quote was: .....for once I am REALLY proud of America. Sometimes I'm hungry and sometimes I'm REALLY hungry...sometimes I'm bored and sometimes I'm REALLY bored. Sometimes I'm angry and sometimes I'm REALLY angry. Please pass this information on to others...the REALLY part of this quote is REALLLLLLY important.
    Thanks for the good work you do.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  30. gordon

    You are correct in that no one seems to want to focus on issues and leadership ability. I watch mainly CNN and MSNBC and, unfortunately, you can go from show to show and hear the commentator or host ask the same question – over and over -"Should Geraldine Ferraro step down from the Clinton campaign" or "Should Reverand Wright remain part of the Obama Campaign" or similar nonsense. Each host asks the question like he or she just thought of it, like it is a critical news item, and like we should care. If you attend a live rally both Obama and Clinton are attempting to provide substance, engage in Q&A, prepare and distribute policy statements. Much of this information is lost in the blather we hear over and over. The media, and in turn the public, will get the level of discourse that it demands. To date, some of the most interesting and objective commentary on the election has come from SNL.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  31. Laurie

    Thank you, Mr. Gergen, for your insightful and highly fair and balanced commentaries. I always enjoy listening to you. I am a regular viewer of Anderson Cooper's program. I'm from Canada. But I have to say I was absolutely sicked by tonight's program ( March 14 ). I have just scanned Anderson's blog, and am simply amazed at the level of intolerance and inability to grasp what is happening here. I could imagine this level of hysteria if Barack Obama had made these comments himself. But watching tonight's program, I don't know if I would have noticed any difference in the nature of the coverage. I can scarcely imagine what the difference would have been, in relation to the reaction I saw, and the vitriol I have read in the blogs adjoining the program. During the course of the first half hour of the program, we saw the same excepts being repeated again and again, almost in a brainwashing fashion. Why was that considered so necessary ? And why is it that many people seem incapable ( or unwilling ) to acknowledge that these statements were made by someone else and had nothing to do with Barack Obama, any more than Hillary Clinton had anything to do with Geraldine Ferraro's comments ? And has anyone had a chance to note the astonishing coincidence of the release of these dated videos at this particular time ? As a Canadian, I often wish we had a leader as great as Barack Obama. It therefore makes me sick to my stomach that there is such a nakedly transparent and concerted effort to destroy this man. America surely is a greater country than this. Thank you for allowing me to share my comment, Mr. Gergen, and keep up the fabulous work.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm |
  32. Curt

    David, you nailed it. You are one of the few people on TV worth listening to. Your media friends are a big part of the problem. They want entertainment; crossfire type sparks to juice ratings. They don't seem to want to do research on the economy, how NAFTA should be changed, what they think of the NAFTA Super Highway, why we should punish Cuba for doing the same things our Chinese friends are doing, what would they actually do about our broken borders so that they can ask intllligent questions. How can we have gone through 20 debates run by the best of the media and the Isreal-Palestine issue never came up? I will suggest a question. What do they think of Jimmy carter's use of the word apartheid in regard to the Palestine situation?

    March 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  33. Brandy

    We have all races and people of different genders dying,and fighting for us the american people. If they can get along why cant our government,and politicians.I dont care white,black,male or female,who becomes president,I just want the one who is going to keep their word,and do right by all americans.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  34. hrg

    Hurray for the mature voice of reason! Thank you, David. You are one of the few people on CNN whom I respect. Not worth watching but for those like you and Roland Martin.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  35. peggy kurz

    I am so disappointed in you. Your bias against Hilary Clinton comes out in every comment you make. I have always respected you as a fair commentator. Your bias this week with the Ferraro and Rev. Wright situations has destroyed your credibility to be a political commentator. My 25 years of CNN are ending. I will be watching other commentators. I am also disappointed that Anderson and Walt do not address the bias issue you are presenting.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  36. Gil

    Let's find out where and when all of the petty squabbling began. If I can recall, it began when the Hillary campaign was accused of not putting up a fight prior to the Ohio and Texas primaries. The "kitchen sink" was picked up by the pundits and now democrats may suffer a malaise and not vote or worse yet place a vote for Bush jr. What a shame. Democrats let's take the election from the pundits.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  37. john

    Sir I think you need to be off the Anderson Cooper show because since the SNL, Ohio and Texas primaries he has shown his true colors. He is a Clinton supporter. He is not fair and balanced. See how is is blowing up the Rev Wright issue and down played the Farah issue. Anderson will loose his credibility soon. He is not fair. I like both candidates but he is balantly siding with the Clintons undercovered.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  38. frankie

    Thank you David..There are differences.

    March 14, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  39. Teddy

    Yesterday Hillary Clinton apologized to blacks AGAIN. When will Barack Obama apologize to Whites for the outrageously racist comments made by his pastor Wright? Why is there ALWAYS a different standard for him and his campaign?

    March 14, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  40. Joe in New York

    Mr. Gergen,

    Thank you for your well-constructed points. While clarity from a candidate should be standard practice, today Citizen A is lucky if h he or she receives a remotely similar message from Candidate X as does Citizen B in the next state. But that's modern politics, and probably historical politics too.

    What IS becoming apparent in the increasingly vitriolic Clinton/Obama is that the Democratic Party comes second, and the Candidate comes first. And at this point, the main culprit in this unseemly, Party-shredding process is Senator Clinton.

    For all the accusations that have been leveled at Mrs. Clinton through the years, and for all of her impressive personal and professional gifts, her determination to win get – but not necessarily win – the nomination at any cost is breathtaking. And not in an admirable way. What one hopes is the Low Point – Geraldine Ferraro's blatantly racist remarks, after highly inappropriate recent outbursts by President Clinton which have stunned those of us who previously would not have believed him capable of harboring) – is lower than not only what one expects of Mrs. Clinton but also what the Democratic Party stands for – at least on paper. The fact that Mrs. Clinton has allowed these remarks to pass with only a mild rejection of them, (or in the case of her husband, no rejection at all), send the very clear message that she in fact supports the tactic if not the sentiment. That, under any circumstance, and especially in the wake of Lee Atwater/Karl Rove-ism, is repellant. It is also destructive to the Party, as John McCain rides out the slugfest while taking copious notes and filling his campaign coffers, and diminishes Democratic hopes of winning the White House in November.

    In the past few elections, it was popular to blame Ralph Nader for sinking the Democrats. This November, no matter who is the candidate, it may well be appropriate to blame Hillary.

    Joe D
    New York City

    March 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  41. Narayan

    There is no solution to the economy, as long as decisions are made by ideological calculations, arrogance and political calculations.
    Hillary Clinton and John McCain have just been doing that.
    Because of such calculations they took us to the war
    and still following the same track.

    When the leadership starts making decisions by reasons, economy will settle down. You do not have to read the economic proposals of the candidates. You have to ask whether the candidate will make decisions based on reasons. If the leadership is committed reasons then his/her proposal will correct itself and economy will be back on tract.

    So, the issue is that of honesty and trust, not that of economic policy or vision.

    March 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  42. Vicki Venza


    I always enjoy listening to your analysis, because it's always very clear and fair. You've correctly stated the urgent need to have all the candidates address in much more detail what they will do to help our economy from spiraling out of control.

    In my humble opinion, whomever decides to tackle this most difficult issue first will gain justified credibility among the voters and strengthen their chances of winning the presidency.

    Let's hope they read your articles.


    Vicki Venza

    March 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  43. Diane Minear

    Recently, when the Clinton camp started hurling negative comments at Mr. Obama, the press claimed Mr. Obama needed to learn how to “throw a punch” and how to “throw a counter punch”. Now that he has done just that, he is being criticized for not focusing on the issues. Make up your mind.

    March 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  44. carmen

    Mr. Gergen:
    The economy, the wars, health care, the environment, the future... One candidate is trying to address these, but the headlines always seem to be about his position and standing both an African-American and in relation to the African-American voters. It is not he who is creating these situations for himself. Until we drop the labels, and stop appealing to the lowest common denominators, reporting is becoming more and more like the Jerry Springer Show. And unfortunately, you in the media know that we like it.

    March 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  45. John Mayes

    It would be nice to get some adult leadership. Like TV, the politicians are trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And, after all, in a country in which a favorite sport is wrestling, maybe this is what we deserve.

    I typically vote Republican because of the hope of mature leadership, but George Bush has fixed that notion. I would vote for McCain but the war in Iraq is such an unmitigated and counterproductive mistake, I do not see continuing that policy. I am truly lost in this election. Whichever way I look, I see ineptitude. This is too great a country to settle for what the Democrats and Republicans are offering.

    March 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  46. DuWayne

    The three contenders, Obama, Clinton, and McCain are all senators who don't know a thing about managing a city or a state thus they avoid substantive issues and stick to their confort zone of name calling and mudslinging. I feel sorry for our country because none of them are qualified to answer the phone at 3 am in the morning.

    March 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
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