Stephanopoulos Sticks Up for Tone of ABC Debate

Focus on electability mirrored campaign trail chatter, pundit says
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Apr 17, 2008 7:27 PM CDT
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., talk on stage during a break in the ABC News Democratic candidates debate, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007.    (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – George Stephanopolous has drawn fire for posing too many "gotcha" questions at last night's Democratic presidential debate on ABC, but the pundit is sticking to his guns. Stephanopolous says he didn't focus on electability over policy issues by accident. "It's not only, who will be the best president, but who has the best chance of winning," he told Talking Points Memo.

For Stephanopolous, interrogating Barack Obama about his lapel pin or his pastor doesn't qualify as stacking the debate. "How candidates handle controversy" is "what campaigns are about, as well," he said. He was addressing specifics that hadn't come up since the previous debate, and he says he didn't give Hillary Clinton an easy time in the first half, either.