Questions Stephanopoulos Should Ask Clinton and Obama Wednesday

The Democrat presidential candidates are squaring off against one another Wednesday in Philadelphia, and, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, co-moderator George Stephanopoulos thinks this could decide the nomination:

"There hasn't been a debate in weeks and the stakes couldn't be higher, there's no question about that," he said. "That's especially true for Sen. Clinton. Pennsylvania is a must-win state. It's the first debate since Texas and Ohio and a lot has happened since then."

With this in mind, Stephanopoulos was interviewed Tuesday by WOR radio's Steve Malzberg who had some marvelous questions he'd like asked of the two candidates (seven minute audio available here, picture courtesy ABC):

  • Are you going to ask Hillary, you know, exactly when she learned to shoot and when she started downing shots and beers?
  • [For Obama] William Ayers is a man who was head of the Weather Underground, a radical group in the 60s and 70s, set bombs at the Capitol, set bombs at the Pentagon, and was quoted in the New York Times oddly enough, ironically on September 11 before obviously the events of that day, saying that he didn't go far enough, and he doesn't regret it at all, and he wished he could have done more. Your campaign has described your relationship with William Ayers as "friendly." How could a man running for the presidency of the United States possibly have anything to do with, or have anything but disdain for a man who did what he has done to this country?

Stephanopoulos responsed to the last query: "It's a damn good question."

Let's see if he asks it.

Moving forward, Malzberg had a great question for Hillary: "Looking back, Senator, in a post-9/11 world, would you think, would you say that pardons granted, the clemency granted the FALN terrorists, who never requested such clemency, would you say that your husband made a mistake, and did you play any role in requesting clemency for those FALN terrorists?"

Stephanopoulos replied, "Another good question."

On another subject, Malzberg asked:

Jimmy Carter, you did a great interview with him on "This Week" on Sunday, today he not only hugged a Hamas minister in Ramalah, but he laid a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat, a man who I'm sure you know, according to Douglas Brinkley's book "The Unfinished Presidency," he, Carter, wrote speeches for Yasser Arafat, even before Arafat renounced terrorism quote-unquote, to make him more palatable to the American public and the world. Carter making a terrible mistake here, and if he winds up endorsing Obama, how does Obama handle that?

Stephanopoulos answered:

Well, Obama is in a kind of a tough spot. On the one hand, he said he himself wants to meet with, or would meet, would be prepared to meet with Ahmadinejad in Iran, but he's now said he would not meet with Hamas leaders. But, Jimmy Carter is free to do whatever he wants. So, he's kind of in a no-win situation. On the one hand, how could he say it's not okay to meet with Hamas given the fact that he'd meet with Ahmadinejad. On the other hand, if he doesn't denounce the meeting as you say, he's open up to the charge that again he's being weak on terrorism.

Malzberg's last question:

There's a report out in today's New York Post, that with Katie Couric's reported impending departure from CBS, Barack Obama is now like, "Well, I don't want to do the debate in North Carolina next week, because, you know, Katie's leaving anyway." I don't see how that makes any difference, do you?


I don't think it does, but I think Obama is not going to make any decision on that debate until after he sees what happens in Pennsylvania.

Going to be very interesting to see whether Stephanopoulos takes any of Malzberg's suggestions. Stay tuned.

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Debates ABC Steve Malzberg
Noel Sheppard's picture