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Boos and Politics

CNN Democratic Debate

Sen. Barack Obama, left, and Sen. Hillary Clinton sit for a recent Democratic presidential debate on CNN. Getty Images hide caption

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Lee, here ...

Wondering if you caught any of last night's Democratic presidential debate on CNN last night. Many expected it to be quite the smack-down between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. But the discourse was civil, for the most part.

Of course, then there was that "... change you can Xerox" line that didn't go over so well with the audience.

But, I have to ask, is it no longer reasonable to expect some civility from an audience at a presidential debate? Since when is it OK to express disapproval, or disagreement, with a unified resounding booooo from the audience? There's something just a little fabulous ... and maybe medieval ... about that.

Agree, disagree?

And ...

In today's Barbershop, we discussed a scuffle between Tavis Smiley (former NPR host) and Barack Obama. It's all over a perceived Obama snub at participating in Smiley's State of the Black Union symposium, happening this weekend. Our popular shop guy, Jimi Izrael, blogged on the ordeal the other day. Check out the post. It offers Jimi's thoughts, and more on how this became a "situation" that so many folks now feel compelled to chime in on.

Also, famed writer, director, producer, Alan McElroy made his TMM Barbershop debut this week. Welcome to the fold, Alan!

Enjoy your weekend ... We hope to meet you back here on Monday.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

In a normal debate audience expression is usually unfair and distracting. In a Presidential debate between opposing parties it is more so because the audience is split right down the middle by design, yet the reaction to Senator Benson's famous retort to Dan Quayle, was I think spontaneous and irrepressible.
Politicians are pron to hyperbole, exaggeration and even unkind and unfair remarks when attacking an opponent. During a primary debates the audience, which is often undecided, can at times be an appropriate censor to such unfairness, which I think describes Ms. Clinton's "Xerox" line.

Sent by john dann | 10:58 AM | 2-23-2008

I second the emotion of that boooo from the audience last Thursday night. As I wrote on a blog I keep on politics and pop culture (more on politics these days), that Xerox comment from Clinton was just out of line.

Also, for someone like her questioning Obama's lack of originality in his use of words; I have a hard time believing the Xerox comment was really hers.

Sent by Moji | 11:09 AM | 2-25-2008

It turns out that Hillarys finest moment during the Austin Democratic debate-- you know the one at the very end of the debate, where she really connected with the voters by talking about how the hits she had taken were nothing compared with the ones Americans were taking-- were actually Xerox moments. The idea and the words were lifted from a 1992 Bill Clinton speech. This is not being reported generally, but I saw it on CNN:

This says alot about her character, and voters need to know.

... I also want to tell you how much I appreciate your show. It is what radio journalism should be-- intelligent, lively, interesting, informative, and unbiased.

Sent by Molly P. | 12:40 PM | 2-25-2008