Obama and Clinton Seek a Softer Tone
LAS VEGAS — A Democratic presidential debate unfolded with an exchange of pleasantries and acts of contrition among rivals on Tuesday as Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama promised to dispel a rancorous feud over race and gender that had threatened to divide the party and alienate voters.While the candidates tried to put out the recent fires the moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams tried to pour gasoline on them. Ezra Klein explains:
It's almost impossible for me to convey the damage Tim Russert and Brian Williams are doing to the republic this evening. So far, the questioning has gone something like: "Hillary, are you a racist?" "Barack, are you a scary black man who will continually remind us that we are racists?" "Senator Obama, why are you such a dick?" "Senator Clinton, would you like to comment on Senator Obama's past drug use?" "Senator Obama, you say you want to move us forward, but your press people have released documents mentioning Hillary Clinton. Please explain."
It's literally the worst moderation I've yet seen. It's not moderation. It's trivialization. 28 minutes in, there's not been a question about any issue, any cause, any problem. The only possible upside is it gives me an excuse to link to Matthew Yglesias's devastating takedown of Tim Russert.