Where Was the Outrage?
MR. PLOUFFE (Obama campaign manager): It’s me, David Plouffe. I’m over here, Senator
SEN. OBAMA: David, I am going to finish this debate, because we agreed to it. But from here on, ABC is not welcome in our campaign. That goes for this primary and—if I am the nominee—for the general election. Do I make myself clear?
MR. PLOUFFE: But, Senator ...
SEN. OBAMA: ABC is to be denied access to all functions of our campaign. They do not fly with us. They do not ride the bus with us. You will deny them credentials to our press conferences and rallies. Any member of my campaign found talking to ABC—on or off the record—will be fired. If ABC wants to report on our campaign, they can pick up material from the AP and use pooled video coverage. I will not stand for the world’s suffering, death, national bankruptcy, the heroism of our valiant men and women in Iraq, and the democratic process to be trivialized any more by these people. Do you understand?
MR. PLOUFFE: Yes, Senator.
SEN. OBAMA: Questions about my relationship with Rev. Wright or my San Francisco speech are certainly fair game. But can you imagine telling George Washington or John Adams or Thomas Jefferson that he is not electable because he is not wearing an American flag pin? Or Franklin Roosevelt or Dwight D. Eisenhower or Ronald Reagan? What a truly stupid question.
SEN. OBAMA: After tonight, as far as my campaign is concerned—and possibly my presidency—ABC will cease to exist. Next question.
The Actual Fallout
At first ABC was exultant at the Nielsen Media Research report that 10.7 million viewers tuned in to the debate. Then the egg hit the fan, as an ashamed media hurled abuse on the heads of Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos:
- National Constitution Center