April 17th, 2008
08:04 PM ET

I should have watched ‘Criminal Minds,’ skipped the debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/17/art.demdebatefinal.jpg%5D

Roland S. Martin
360° Contributor and Radio Host

My radio callers this morning were up in arms at the Democratic presidential debate last night, believing that questioners Charlie Gibson and George Stephanolopous were dead set against Sen. Barack Obama.


Frankly, that didn't concern me.

What I took issue with was so much focus on Rev. Wright, "bitter" comments, Bosnia, affirmative action, and other stuff that really didn't amount to much.

For instance, Obama got asked about not wearing a flag pin. Was Clinton wearing one? Nope. Was Stephanolopous wearing one? Nope. Was Gibson wearing one? NOPE!

So, if NO ONE was on stage wearing one, how big of a deal is it?!

But one of the most pressing issues in the nation – gas prices – was tossed out by Gibson near the end, saying there wasn't much time left to discuss.

"MR. GIBSON: We're running short on time. Let me just give some quick questions here, and let me give you a minute each to answer. What are you going to do about gas prices? It's getting to $4 a gallon. It is killing truckers."

Don't you think that question should have been higher up in the debate?

And why keep asking about them choosing one another as vice president? Both candidates, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and a bunch of other Democrats have weighed in on this, so do we have waste more time on it? They will not be running together, so can we move on?
Also, the only time HIV/AIDS came up was when Obama mentioned it regarding his church. With HIV/AIDS continuing to ravage inner city communities, it would have been nice to hear with Clinton and Obama had to say on the issue.
Even the rising cost of college tuition got short shrift. With Sallie Mae saying they are going to be more restrictive in giving student loans, I want to know what Clinton and Obama will do as president to provide resources for our kids to go to school. There were passing references, but nothing substantive.

But hey, when you have Rev. Wright and Bosnia, why bother with real issues?


Filed under: Raw Politics • Roland S. Martin
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. carmen

    the story that came out of the debate was that Hillary said emphatically that Obama can win the general election. She said "yes, yes, yes." If she means it she should get out of the way now. If she lied we should demand that she do so.

    April 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  2. JOYCE

    the debate stunk, obama tried to stay to subjects and they would not have it

    April 18, 2008 at 7:52 pm |
  3. Rose Bowser

    The 'debate' on ABC should be an embarrassment to all news organizations and is an insult to all Americans. I've come to believe ABC actually did the public a favor by providing us such a crystal clear example of the methods that are used to divide and distract us from our common interests. These methods only serve the status quo that enriches the few at the expense of all of us.

    Rose Bowser
    Hereford, Arizona

    April 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  4. richard

    Can they stop bickering and just take turns to be president. As a gallant gentleman, I'm sure Obama knows the phrase 'Ladies first'

    April 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  5. Jane Hoffman

    What killed Election 2004? They tried to paint a triple purple heart war hero as a bad guy because he had an eccentric wife and money drawn from a ketchup monopoly. What will ruin Election 2008? Media incited conflict that is not generated by candidates, that diffuse issues, that create hyper issues and make the good people look bad. So vote for McFossil, let another 4,000 soldiers die and when you wake up, American may be a goner as well.

    Jane Hoffman
    Masters of Political Science
    Cal State Northridge.

    April 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  6. K, Esq.

    Compliments to Roland for another pragmatic, substantive analysis. He consistantly gives his opinion in a critical but party-neutral manner which leaves out glaring hints of who he actually supports, unlike other journalists.

    Before either candidates' supporters get worked up again over "Reverend Wright" or "Sniper fire," pragmatists like Roland offer a sobbering reminder that substantive issues like education, healthcare, energy prices, etc. are what will unify the Democratic base and pull in independents. Republicans are laughing to the bank now as they watch the divide and conquer strategy being halfway done for them.

    April 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  7. rosie

    What happen to the debate we were suppose to have seen on April16th? All I saw was an Obama third degree night. What has wearing a pin got to do with being the fore closure on the many homes? What has Ayres got to do with Obama's character? If Ayres is qualified to teach in our schools, Why are we baggering Obama about something that took place when he was only eight years old? If Jeremiah Wright is not running for President, why is he the most sought out person among the candidates? But I am sure Jeremiah Wright is enjoying all of the free publicity,it's helping him to become known worldwide, and it's not costing him a penny. What happen to Hilary's experience? What happen to her being ready to become Commander-in Chief on day one? What happen to her 3am phone call? Was all of that talk just another sniper fire story, and what we saw during the debate, is the real Hilary Clinton? I don't think the men and women, who are putting their lives on the line, in Iraq, are going to check Obama's lapel to see if he is wearing a pin. I don't think America would turn down a solution to their problems, should that solution come from Obama, simply because he is obeying the teachings of Jesus, loving and forgiving his fellow man, and overlooking the faults, and seeing the full potentials of all people. What a beautiful heart he must have to generate so much love and kindness to all people, not thinking himself better then even the least of these.

    April 18, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Paris

    The debate was the most balance debate I have seen in a long time.
    Character counts and these questions are essential in knowing ones believe systems.
    If anyone thinks ABC debate was unfair, I like to know what they thought of the CNN debates that
    were clearly very easy on Obama.
    Though questions have to be asked and answered, once put on a spot, your agility
    and the way you handle your emotions, and how tactful you are demonstrates your ability as a leader.

    April 18, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  9. Michael

    When Clinton got roughed up in the early debates, there wasn't the media outrage there was now. The previous debates have been much tougher on Hillary, this is the first time Obama was asked tougher questions so it was refreshing to see.

    Also, Clinton didn't flip Obama off in a speech the next day like many news outlets are now claiming Obama appears to have done.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  10. nerakami

    I think a lot of folks are missing the point. The media is at this level where they all feel they are speaking on behalf of the average American. Most of them earn quadruple (and more) what we make, therefore do not have a clue what the realities of our lives are. They are executing their own intellectual agendas and egos and do not care to connect with what the rest of us are experiencing. They sit in the commentators' chair all trying to appear the most informed, the most intellectual when they do not know what it is, not to be able to take your child to the doctor because you don't have the money to pay for it. Do they know how many nights I cry because I dont know how I am going to pay the next month's bills?

    I don't care how much they beat up on Obama or Clinton, but I can tell you discussion on lapel pins will not pay my next light bill. The media needs to stop this dangerous game they are playing with people's lives and stick to informing the American people with fact-checking and neutrality.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  11. jt

    Obama got some old beating last night.

    Obama is like little boy that just got beat up but telling everybody oh it was nothing!!! Mr Obama Hussein Barak you did not have good answere on semi tough question. Hillary had been answering these kind of question for maoths.

    Hillary is tougher and should be and will be the next President..

    Hillary 08!!!

    April 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  12. Slater

    I feel Obama is losing momentum and this is an indication of it. He gets lots of passes where Clinton gets chewed up and spit out by the media.

    I think you miss the point with the flag pin; the real issue was patriotism, not a stupid pin Obama seems to push the envelope in areas that he should never put himself in the position to raise the question. The Rev. Wright issue has the same theme; why raise the question about your patriotism when you are running for president?

    The president is THE cheerleader for Americans in this country. He has great pink fuzzy speeches, but he lacks leadership in areas that count such as association with unpatriotic community leaders and his own failure to show enthusiasm for the core values of our country.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Bart from Chicago

    Why is Obama still in the race? Howard Dean just yelled YEE HAH!
    and was knocked right out. My how things are different for Obama.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  14. Khajak Boghossian

    When it boils down to choosing a presidential candidate, image takes precedence over election platforms. When listening to a presidential debate, it is the subtle things we take note of. Is the candidate poised, clear, and confident? Are they wearing a flag pin? Do they act "presidential?" Can the candidates conduct themselves when confronted with issues from their past? These, unfortunately, matter most to the people. After all, if you strip the presidential debates from questions that address scandal and controversy, we will be left with a boring debate that people will not remember.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:09 am |
  15. Mary L

    Thank you ABC for finally testing Mr. Obama! Too bad the rest of the press have not been brave enouugh to challenge him. While the debate wasn't pretty, it certainly was telling. Obama's answer to all questions are summed up in "politics as usual". What a cop out and a good way for him and the press to place the blame for these old politics on Clinton. After viewing his speechs today, I know he will not be able to handle the republicans. I am sure the republicans will have all the answers on anti-american sermons he attended in this "93% white congregation" , his relationship with Ayers, and his senate record. Listen carefully dems to what you are hearing from a sliver tongue.

    April 18, 2008 at 2:09 am |
  16. Latino4ClintonDaly City, CA

    Uaaahh, uaaahhh, the moderators were real mean to me. I didn't do anything to deserve it. All I want is to be in the White House and watch reruns of the jeffersons all day long. I don't even plan to work at all.

    Stop crying Roland, you are worse than Obama.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  17. Helen

    What I would like to know is this; Why did the media wait this long to 'out' Obama? They FINALLY asked the pertinent questions...and did you see him hem and haw...He hates America and could not provide a reply that stated otherwise. Most people who do not have time to read rely on the media to provide information like this.....but long before this late in the game. At least people have a chance to see the real Obama.

    April 18, 2008 at 1:24 am |
  18. jeannie N.C.

    Obama is a snake in the grass. If you Obama supporters would get your head out of the ballon of hope that he is PREACHING, maybe you would be able to see beyond the rederic of a inexperienced man who continues to lie to the American people. This Obama groupie mentallity is really gone to far. Take a good look at him people!! His Rev Wright is a nut case, racist, and supports terroist against Isreal. Now he is building a 10 million $ home for himself. (Some charity giver!!!!!!!) Obama really wants us to believe that in 20 yrs rev Wright has never preached on God damn America, white America ?? Give me a break... Obama does not have the experience or know how to be our president. Wake up people before it's to late....

    April 18, 2008 at 12:43 am |
  19. ophelia/FL

    Mr. Martin I am so happy and relieved to see you on CNN, you keep speaking the truth, you are our voice. Thank you!!!!

    April 18, 2008 at 12:42 am |
  20. David

    Besides the character bashing – I think Obama screwed up when he explained his Tax program- first he said he would not raise taxes on anyone making under 200k then he said he would raise the Capital Gains Tax ( which affects all tax bracket) Secondly he said he would raise Social Security Taxes. Does he really know what he is talking about?

    April 18, 2008 at 12:33 am |
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