Are You the One? Fact-Checking the Debate

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Democratic candidates traded charges of unsavory business ties in last night's debate.'s Ben Smith looks at the facts and the contexts.


Ben Smith

Comments [22]

b. wu from alabama

#20 is waht i am referring to.

Jan. 22 2008 10:17 PM
b. wu from alabama

'This would be anathema to Obama's claim to be a "uniter".'

i agree. but like janey said, he unloaded this one too soon. AND it's not "Obama said Reagan was charismatic. End of story." Obama's idea about economy has always been more leaning toward the Republican belief than the Democrates'. An interview by NYTimes when he first announced his campaign, he had shown it, he's an economic liberalism supporter and he couldn't distinguish it from social liberalism.

i just wonder why so very few (none, actually) people had noticed this before. The way Barack Obama is playing the game is so much like any traditional politician does, try to be "loved" by as many voters as possible. as far as i'm concerned, SO FAR in this race, he's not been leading any "political" issue.

Jan. 22 2008 10:15 PM
MK from new york

Why didn't you bring up Clinton's record? Why don't you fact check whether she got tons of doe for siting on Wal-mart's board and sucking the living daylights out of millions of helpless employees. Your one sidedness is truely shameful.

Jan. 22 2008 09:23 PM
Paul Gebhardt from Glen Cove, NY

A question for your listeners: Would the election of a black president put the nail in the coffin for affirmative action?

Jan. 22 2008 03:53 PM
rpaaswell from new york

Here is a quote from a NYT review of Obama's book which shows that he is NOT at all in the progressive wing of the Democratic party. I found the quote to be astonishing yet I have not heard any reaction to it:

"He [Obama] is particularly evocative on the issue of ideological inconsistency, blaming liberals for demanding civil liberties but not deregulation and conservatives for wanting deregulation of markets but encouraging wiretapping. “Values,” Obama writes, “are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question.”

"He [Obama]suspects that some of his views — his open-mindedness on social issues, for example, combined with economic traditionalism — will cause him trouble.

From: The Audacity of Hope By Barack Obama - Books - Review - New York Times

Jan. 22 2008 02:04 PM

Comment #9 and #4

Despite Brian's assertion of trying to present all sides of the issue,etc, his Obama opposition and Clinton support is crystal clear (I bet he thinks it isn't but he comes off as extremely cynically biased)

I find it laughable considering his assertions to present all sides and valuing dialogue, etc,etc and all the things his show is alledgedly about...yet he is so obviously in support of a candidate who engages in the same old dirty divisive politics as ridiculously hypocritical.

Clinton is a divider, plain and simple. No way around it. She is divisive on a national level and now she and her increasingly wacky husband are dividing the democratic party with their bitter, cynical, disgusting, lying dirty politics.....guess we'll be suffering at least 4 more years or so of more Republican "values" thanks to her. Greeeeeeat!

Jan. 22 2008 01:04 PM

I'd like to hear the whole Reagan thing but from what i heard (a longer clip) it seemed to me Obama was only saying he was charismatic basically.

But so what? Freaking Bill Clinton has said positive things about Reagan in the past...IU remember that because it stuck out to me at the time (and yes I'm talking about during the Clinton era) It's so disgusting and disengenuous that Hillary attacks him on that comment...what a hypocrite she is. I am quite frankly disgusted by the arrogance of the Clintons and how they are engaging in dirty politics because they think it is their right to rule again. To comment #1...I see Obama defending himself against Clinton's dirty politics. Just because he's talking about a new kind of politics (i.e. not STARTING these kind of dirty tactics) doesn't mean he should sit back and not defend himself like a wimp...that would make him a Kerry and noone wants that!

Jan. 22 2008 12:54 PM
Matt W. from Red Hook

Re: comment#2: "Obama said Reagan was charismatic. End of story." Actually that is very much NOT the end of the story as Iphie (#13) correctly points out. Obama also portrayed Reagan as a neeeded rejoinder to the "excesses of the 60s and 70s" (such as...?)and it is this suggestion that is the most troubling for those of us who think any "progressive politics" worth its salt should be able amd eager to denounce "Reaganomics" with energy and conviction.

And, yes, the "Are you the one?" ditty does begin to grate...

Jan. 22 2008 11:59 AM
MW from brooklyn

While Obama's comments may not have been the average approach to Reagan as a democrat, many historians agree that Reagan was so popular because he responded to what a mass amount of Americans were feeling (not necessarily thinking), and mainly about culture and not necessarily politics. This responsiveness to the pulse American public is clearly what Obama wants to align himself with.
It does not even seem to be an issue in the media these days that both Obama & Clinton take very centrist positions. Edwards is to be the most responsive to liberal politics.

Jan. 22 2008 11:10 AM
janey from NJ

Obama should have waited for the general election if he wanted to invoke Reagan (what a specter, ugh!) At least those independents and swing voters he is trying to win over in the name of Unity would hear the message. I think he unloaded this one too soon. The base certainly does not want to hear the name "Reagan", but the message was not for them.

Jan. 22 2008 10:52 AM

Obama's comments about Reagan are not typical of comments made about him by most other Democrats. Obama talked about "all the excesses of the 60s and 70s", but what exactly are those "excesses"? Those excesses are what most Democrats would call progress -- they were the excesses of the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement, the beginnings of the environmental movement, the anti-war movement, etc. Obama just successfully picked up on Reagan's framing of the gains of the 60's and 70's as failures and excesses, and uncritically used it again against Democrats.

When Reagan used these tactics, they were indeed brilliant political maneuvers -- to the detriment of the country, and the progressive movement, I believe. That Obama would just pick right back up where Reagan left off is either incredibly foolish, or incredibly short-sighted -- either way, it is not the sort of the thing that I believe a Democratic nominee should be saying.

We already have people who praise Reagan and call Clinton a liar -- they're called Republicans.

Jan. 22 2008 10:42 AM
et from here

That's funny cause I keep saying Brian sounds like an OBAMA supporter and Hillary basher!

Jan. 22 2008 10:38 AM
rick from brooklyn

what a mystery as to edwards' fate- I'm sure it has nothing to do with the overwhelming media coverage for Obama and Clinton over the last year, and the derision with which he has been treated by the same media.

as I have written here before- the media decided who the two candidates were that would be viable, and this makes people feel that they have no other choice.

Jan. 22 2008 10:32 AM
Mark F from Englewood, NJ

Robert, I too get the feeling that Brain is a Hillary supporter from his approach, the clips he plays, and a not too concealed sideways look at Obama.

Jan. 22 2008 10:32 AM
John from Brooklyn

CNN is reporting that Clinton and Edwards met privately, post-debate, in Edwards's green room.

Jan. 22 2008 10:31 AM
RCTNYC from New York City

I thought that Obama parried Clinton's attacks quite well, with a minimum of cheap shots in return. Further, that she misrepresents his record in the U.S. Senate and Illinois legislature and he corrects those misrepresentations does not constitute "not taking responsibility for his votes," as Clinton claimed. On the contrary, it constitutes not letting Clinton lie about his record.

Moreover, he was right about Reagan. I am a progressive Democrat. Reagan, however, changed the direction of American politics as no President other than FDR did in the 20th Century. He tapped inchoate feelings in the American electorate -- particularly the white ethnic working class -- and formulated those feelings into ideas and policies.

I happen to disagree with everything that Reagan did and deplore the fact that some of those inchoate feelings were reactions against affirmative action, Roe v. Wade and the Civil Rights movement. Yet entrepeneurship is not a bad thing, while leaders with a vision and the ideas to express that vision wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. If we progressives are afraid of the truth, however, then we are merely speaking ideology-speak. Ideology without knowledge is blind.

Finally, the Clintons' (both of them -- HillBill) campaign is increasingly deplorable. Hillary found her voice in NH, but that voice sounds alot like Karl Rove's

Jan. 22 2008 10:28 AM
MW from brooklyn

I think Obama's Reagan quote is pretty typical of historical analysis of that moment. I appreciate that he will and can make use of intellectual approach of the past and does not always 'dumb things down' to avoid this kind of misunderstanding.

The Clintons are vampirically feeding off of misinterpretations and misquotes and it all seems rather dirty to me.

Jan. 22 2008 10:25 AM
John from Brooklyn

Clearly, Bill Clinton's attacks on Obama are out of line.

Why else would Ted Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel call Clinton and tell him to sit down?

Jan. 22 2008 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

What are you attempting here, Brian, playing this 2 times and seemingly questioning Obama's observations on Reagan and voters response to his policies. Are you attempting to turn people off to him with the spin you put on this? I hope not. If you are, you should just join Clinton's campaign and stop using this show as a vehicle to promote her. I hope I'm wrong. Let's see if Hillary gets the same scrutiny.

Jan. 22 2008 10:24 AM
Russell from manhattan

I think it's OK for Obama to praise Republican viewpoints if he genuinely believes them, as it sounds from the "Meet the Press" clip. i think it would be hypocritical of Obama to criticize Reagan just because he was a republican. This would be anathema to Obama's claim to be a "uniter".

Jan. 22 2008 10:20 AM
Mark F from Englewood, NJ

Hillary is a spinner and a liar. Obama said Reagan was charismatic. End of story. How does she pull out of her butt that he said Reagan had good ideas? It's time for Mr. Obama to start mentioning the windowless corridor, Gennifer Flowers and Hillary's wide and all encompassing....uh......experience.

Jan. 22 2008 10:18 AM
Derek D from Brooklyn

It seemed during last night's debate that Obama was continuing to talk about a "new kind of politics" and then attacking (or defending himself against) Hillary in the next sentance. How long can he keep this up? Shouldn't he try to slide the "new kind of politics" thing under the rug?

Jan. 22 2008 10:14 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.