Give Barack Obama this: he performed a lot better on Fox News Sunday today than he did in the debate on April 16th. He stammered less when challenged, allowed his considerable personal warmth to surface, and kept his annoyance and anger in check. On the other hand, he offered about the same level of commitment to his answers as he did in Philadelphia, and gave at least a couple of whoppers.
One of the more interesting answers came in regards to Jeremiah Wright. He called Wright a “legitimate” campaign issue, which will seem rather shocking to the New York Times, the McCain campaign, and others who have demanded an end to the North Carolina GOP’s television ad. Obama complained that people took Wright out of context, but said Americans were honestly offended by Wright’s remarks, and that his relationship with Wright can inform voters of his values — but that voters should take into consideration the totality of Trinity United and Wright on those issues, and not just sound bites.
Obama sounded a lot less convincing when it came to responding to the William Ayers controversy. He called Ayers “tangential” to his life and suggested that Chris Wallace probably serves on boards with people whose politics he otherwise detests. Unfortunately for Obama, Wallace doesn’t devote a web page on his site defending those people as “mainstream”, as Obama does for Ayers and Dohrn. The pair still talk about overthrowing capitalism and parts of the government they find objectionable, and approvingly quote Mao lieutenant Chou En-lai while railing against the “unimaginable authoritarianism” of the American government. His answer, intending on freeing himself of the charge of equating Coburn and Ayers/Dohrn, instead made it clear that he sees both as political activists, morally equivalent at least in the present.
His final gaffe — and one that may make a few Republican commercials — came when Wallace challenged Obama to come up with real examples of bipartisanship and compromise on tough issues. He claimed he would have supported the partial-birth abortion ban if Congress had included an exception to protect the mother’s health, which would have been used as a dodge around the ban in every instance. Other than a single vote on tort reform, he could come up with no example of a time when he bucked Democratic leadership.
The most hilarious point came when Obama tried to claim credit for bipartisanship on the John Roberts confirmation vote — not because he supported Roberts. He voted against Roberts. However, Obama wanted credit for defending the few Democrats who did support Roberts on Daily Kos, and taking the venom of Kos’ readership for his defense. That’s bipartisanship — standing up to the Kos Kiddies? If that amounts to an act of courage for Obama, it tells you how bipartisan he will be prepared to be as President.
It wasn’t a disaster, but it still reveals Obama to be out of touch and hard to the Left. Don’t expect this to help in Indiana.