Clinton vs. Obama in the “Bitter” Debates


It’s been a while since we’ve had major coverage of the two Democratic candidates for president, but things are starting to ramp up again with the Pennsylvania primary less than a week away. Last night’s debate illustrated the battle is far from over, and it’s starting to get nasty.

The Post highlights Obama’s “zinger” against Bill Clinton for his pardoning of two members of the Weather Underground. This was in retaliation for criticism Obama himself received for his association with William Ayers, a member of the 1960s radical group who says that he has no regrets about his past. Ayers and Obama both served on a foundation board. When Hillary Clinton brought that up, Obama replied with the zing about Bill Clinton’s pardons. The News frames the rundown of the debate as both candidates “TAK[ING] THE LOW ROAD,” concentrating instead on the dust-up over Obama’s infamous “bitter” remark.

Other tropes in the coverage include “the honeymoon’s over” with Obama and the media, as News columnist Michael Goodwin points out. Post columnist Charles Hurt goes with “they’re both boring,” as the paper begins to morph its coverage into “John McCain should win.” Both papers mention the most important announcement of the day, that Bruce Springsteen is backing Obama. Cue the “Born to Run” jokes.

But the weirdest article of all is in the Post. Correspondent Geoff Earle went to a Philadelphia bowling alley on league night and interviewed members of two leagues—one predominantly white, one predominantly black—to find out who they were supporting. We get a mishmash of identifications (sometimes the bowler’s race is identified, sometimes it isn’t) and a big ol’ heap of sexism with two quotes about how a woman may not be as qualified to run the country. One is couched in the argument that foreign countries may not accept a lady prez, while the other is from a dude who said, “I grew up with three different sisters in my family. I don’t believe a woman can run the country.” Remarks like this are just as scary as the ones we heard from Ohio voters who feared Obama was a radical Muslim.