Yet again, the two Democratic presidential candidates went at it last night in Philadelphia, a week before the Pennsylvania primary. To lay out their visions of leadership…..or to do damage control?

Democratic presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton tried to explain recent controversial remarks during a tense
debate on Wednesday, with Obama accusing Clinton of taking political
advantage of his characterization of small-town residents.

In their first debate in seven weeks,

(has it really been that long?)

Obama said he mangled his description of the mood in
economically struggling small towns and Clinton apologized for the
first time for inaccurately saying she came under sniper fire in Bosnia
in 1996.

Yes, she said that she did describe an event in a way that she knew
was not accurate, which is a bulky way of saying she made it up, which
is a more polite way of saying….she lied.

And Obama’s regret over his description of the mood in small
towns….is that regret over the reaction it got? Or over seeing working
class people that way?

“The problem that we have in our politics, which is
fairly typical, is that you take one person’s statement, if it’s not
properly phrased, and you just beat it to death, and that’s what
Senator Clinton’s been doing,” Obama said in the debate in downtown
Philadelphia.

But that’s exactly what’s been happening in politics and media for some time now. So this is all spin.

With a complicit media. Watching the analysis of this debate on CNN
afterward, I was struck by how the political commentators kept covering
for Obama, repeatedly coming back to the question of why his
controversial remarks are still causing controversy, when they believed
he had addressed them and wanted to move on. Clearly, they believe he
addressed all his controversies and they want to move on.

In the aftermath of this latest round, I’m wondering how Democratic
voters in this country are feeling about their party, and their
candidates. I’m in Washington and talking to a number of people on
Capitol Hill this week. The only thing they’re sure of, is the
uncertainty that will remain over the whole presidential campaign for
the foreseeable future. And that the only thing consistent in this
election year has been surprise.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....