CNN’s King Asks Conservative Issue Questions at Democratic Debate
During Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, Senators Clinton and Obama actually face two question that reflected a conservative agenda. CNN’s John King asked the candidates about the border fence and the surge in Iraq, topics that are not usually highlighted by the mainstream media.
King, during a portion of the debate concerning illegal immigration about a half hour into the 8 pm Eastern hour, asked Hillary Clinton about her vote in 2006 to support the construction of a border fence.
JOHN KING: To many Americans, it [the border fence] is a simple question of sovereignty and security. America should be able to keep people out that it doesn't want in.... Senator, back in 2006, you voted for the construction of that fence. As you know, progress has been slow. As President of the United States, would you commit tonight, that you would finish the fence and speed up the construction, or do you think it's time for a President of the United States to raise his or her hand and say, ‘You know what? Wait a minute. Let's think about this again. Do we really want to do this?’"
About forty-five minutes later, King asked about the success of the surge in Iraq, and, in directing the question to Senator Clinton, included her past criticism of the surge and specifically, General Petraeus.
JOHN KING: You both had to make a judgment, a short time ago, in your job in the United States Senate, about whether to support the surge. And as that was going on, Senator Clinton, you had the commanding general in Iraq before you. And you said, 'I think that the reports you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief' -- your words to General Petraeus. I want you to look at Iraq now and listen to those who say the security situation is better. Ideal, no, but better -- some say significantly, in recent days, even some steps toward the political reconciliation. Is Iraq today better off than it was six months or a year ago because of the surge?
Clinton immediately took issue with the way King asked his question. "Well, John, I think you forget a very important premise of the surge. The rationale of the surge was to create the space and time for the Iraqi government to make the decisions that only it can make. Now, there is no doubt, given the skill and the commitment of our young men and women in uniform that putting more of them in will give us a tactical advantage and will provide security in some places, and that has occurred. But the fact is that the purpose of it has not been fulfilled."
After Clinton finished her answer, Campbell Brown, who moderated the debate, then put the question to Senator Obama in the following manner. "Senator Obama, in the same vein, you were also opposed to the surge from the beginning. Were you wrong?"
It will be interesting to see if such substantive questions from the conservative side will be asked at the upcoming NBC News debate on February 26, moderated by Tim Russert and Brian Williams.