After watching this week’s Democratic debate, there should be no doubt as to why the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not want Fox News Channel to host one of the debates — they wanted soft ball questions from friendly moderators.
From what I have seen in these debates, they made the right call — few if any tough questions and follow-up demands from moderators.
Front runner Elizabeth Warren is a good example.
Although she was called to task by Vice President Biden for her “vague” healthcare plans; by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg alleging she did not trust Americans to decide whether or not they wanted to keep their private health insurance; by Kamala Harris, D-Ca., for not agreeing that Twitter should ban President Trump; and by Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who called her healthcare a “pipe dream,” no one really laid a glove on her.
The New York Times moderator tried, without success, to make her commit on whether or not her proposal would lead to a tax increase for middle class Americans.
The problem with Warren is her credibility and penchant for making false statements about her life with no challenge from debate moderators.
As I wrote in this space, she is getting a pass on her false claim of being a Native American — no moderator raised the issue. Her campaign-trail claim of being fired because she was pregnant during her first teaching job was debunked when it was learned that her teaching contract for a second year was approved.
Finally, her story about being chased around the office of a senior male colleague as a young female law professor was debunked. As Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said of Warren’s story: “One problem with that story, the man she accused of chasing her was a polio victim. He couldn’t chase anybody.”
You can bet your boots that if Warren were a Republican candidate, debate moderators would be all over her false statements saying that they go to her basic character and fitness to be president.
Warren is not the only one to escape such tough questions. The entire Democratic field got away without being asked any.
After the third Democrat debate in Houston hosted by ABC, Sen. Harris was upset that no one asked about abortion and reproductive rights tweeting: "The #DemDebate was three hours long and not one question about abortion or reproductive rights."
During this week’s debate, Harris raised the abortion issue again saying that in all of these debates and discussions on healthcare, “its outrageous” that there has been barely a word on “women’s access to health care.” She added that “women will die — poor women, women of color will die — because these Republican legislatures . . . are telling women what to do with our bodies.”
Harris makes a good point — but for a different reason!
Moderators should have asked each candidate if they supported full-term — 8th or 9th month — abortions? If they supported Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s position of allowing a child surviving a late term abortion to die — infanticide?
Other questions that were not asked this week and should be in the next debate are:
- Do you support reparations for descendants of slaves?
- Do you support abolishing the Electoral College?
- Do you support changing the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court?
- Do you support abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
- Do you support providing free health care to illegal immigrants?
- Do you agree with Senator Warren that our criminal justice system is “racist…front to back.”
- Do you support Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” to address climate change?
At the conclusion of this week’s debate, moderator Anderson Cooper referred to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting beside former President George W. Bush at a football game. He asked the candidates if they had a friendship that would “surprise us” and the impact it had on them and their beliefs.
What a softball!
The way the questions have been going, don’t be surprised if you hear a moderator at a future debate ask the candidates to name their favorite ice cream.
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.
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