Brian Fitzpatrick

Also, nobody knows what the issues will be six months after the election. All we can know about is the character of the person we put in the White House. President Bush’s signature issue during the 2000 campaign was Social Security reform. His proposals were inevitably killed by gridlock on Capitol Hill, but long before Social Security privatization died, the issue was obscured by the rush of international events. Scant weeks after Bush took office, the Chinese government tested his mettle by taking hostage an American aircrew. Eight months after taking office, al Qaeda attacked America on 9/11. With war thrust upon us, even some Democrats reportedly admitted they were relieved that George Bush, and not Al Gore, won the 2000 election.

ABC’S tough questions provided some insight into how the candidates might handle tough situations. We learned more about Obama and Hillary in the first half of the debate than the second half, when they drearily recited their campaign talking points and demonstrated again there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them on the “issues.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel observed today that in recent weeks,

“Yes We Can” has devolved into “Who the Heck Is This Guy?” Mr. Obama’s political brilliance to date has been to use his message of hope to deflect questions about himself or his record….But the San Fran comments proved one scandal too many; man and message have now been delinked.

In November America will fill the Oval Office with a man or a woman, not a message. Americans need to find out as much as they can about the candidates’ character, values and judgment, and the media are responsible for informing them. ABC has set a good example.

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick, a writer, editor, and commentator on political and cultural issues, is the Senior Editor at Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute.

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