November 15th, 2007
10:38 PM ET
9 months ago

Let the spin begin

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - The debate is over but the real action is getting under way.

I'm talking about the spin room, of course.

If you haven't attended one of these presidential debates, here's what happens when the debate ends:

All the actions shifts to the spin room, a location close to the debate hall. This is where surrogates for the presidential candidates tell journalists and bloggers what "really" happened during the debate. And that's called "spin."

It's like a scrum, with big-name surrogates surrounded by members of the media, all listening in for nuggets of knowledge.

The surrogates, of course, say their candidate won the debate, and they tell you why.

You won't see the top tier candidates in the spin room, but the second tier White House hopefuls often appear.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is in the spin room right now, giving an interview to a local TV station. He says the media is trying to make it a grudge match between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but he feels he got his points in.

A few yards away, the wife of Rep. Dennis Kucinich is getting ready to do an interview. My guess is she'll rave about her husband's performance.

And so it goes in the spin room.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Max, Boston, MA

    I watched about two minutes of analysis post-debate, and it was pretty pathetic. They were trying to convince me that Hillary Clinton ousted both Obama and Edwards in their attacks. Hillary's performance was tepid at best. These so-called "top tier candidates" were getting outshined by their single-digit polling opponents.

    All this debate managed to do, at least among the crowd I was sitting with, was allow people to notice that some of the less-recognized candidates seem to make a bit more sense than the ones granted the odds of winning the candidacy. Sad.

    November 16, 2007 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  2. Rev. Christine Dickerson, Seattle, Washington

    It would be an improvement if in reporting the debate the other candidate's views/responses were considered. While it is true that Senator Clinton was impressive during this debate, Senator Obama sadly lacking, and Senator Edwards intellectually absent, another Senator – Biden – was very impressive in his own right and deserved some press time – as did the other candidates present. How can America consider these debates as honest and equal forums when the thirty minutes following focuses soley on three candidates?

    November 16, 2007 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  3. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Well, Clinton seems more refreshed today. She clarified some of her positions today ... well, who knows how long she'll stay w/ it. Her answers are still vague. Except for those who know her for 35 years who know what she is talking about, I still don't get a sense of her principles.

    But for the questions that she did answer, she is not the candidate that I am looking for.

    I do get a sense of Obama, Edwards, Biden, Kucinich. I think Biden shines today. He seems to be the most knowledgeable, capable, has good demeanor. Too bad he is not up there. Perhaps because he doesn't speak that much.

    As usually, I learned the most from Obama. He makes the most sense. He stood his ground although he has some trouble answer questions about driver license for illegals. I am glad he didn't flip flop like Hillary Clinton. I like the direction he is leading this country.

    November 16, 2007 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  4. Michael James -- Illinois

    CNN and Wolf Blitzer did a terrible job presenting the debate.

    As if the unruly audience wasn't enough, did I actually hear Wolf, representative of the so-called best political team on TV actually say that he didn't know what triangulation means? I hate to break it to you, Wolf, but if you really don't know what triangulation means, perhaps you should not be moderating a Presidential debate. Nice softball from Campbell Brown about the gender issue too. I was also surprised to see only Carville and Gergen doing the post-debate analysis along with Watts. They must not have had enough microphones for some additional Clinton supporters. Either that or Paul Begala's car broke down or something.

    As for the candidates, Biden and Dodd did better than I expected. Edwards was okay and Richardson didn't really distinguish himself, except with the cliche about giving peace a chance.

    Hillary was not terrible like she was last time, so that's probably all it will take for her supporters to gush about how great she was, even though she really didn't do anything special.

    As usual, Barack Obama gave clear and thoughtful answers and was the best overall.

    November 16, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  5. Matt, Milwaukee, Wi

    Spin is right. And CNN does it all on it's own–Watching Andreson Cooper afterward it was all 'Oh we love Hillary', 'Oh Hillary is so great', 'Oh Hillary gives such perfect answers', 'Oh Hillary is going to gain ground.'

    CNN=Clinton Nomination Network

    **Holds breath, makes elephant noise**

    November 16, 2007 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  6. Karita Hummer

    It seemed like Hillary Clinton had a lot of plants in the audience. Is that possible?

    Also, I wonder why Blitzer did not give Edwards an opportunity to rebut what was said, and why compared to the other top tier candidates, he was given such a comparatively brief time, compared to Obama and Clinton. What is fair about that? Not!!

    Karita Hummer

    Karita Hummer
    San Jose, CA

    November 16, 2007 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  7. Gary Minden Nevada

    It seems that everyone has an agenda, including CNN " The most trusted name in News". What a bunch of crap! How can you possibly think that you're doing the country a favor by moderating these obviously biased debates. What a travesty. I need the best candidate to represent the party, not the candidate that you think will garner the best ratings. I and everyone I watched the debate with (which was a substantial number of people) now must question where we must go to get a fair representation of the issues. Wolf and your network have lost all credibility. This nonsense has to stop.....NOW!!!!!!!!!

    November 16, 2007 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  8. Lester F. Jipp

    If all these reporters are as bright as we are supposed to believe they are, why do they avail themselves of the spin? Are they incapable of writing an accurate piece of news without this "help?"

    November 16, 2007 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  9. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    After CNN's blatant attempt to rig a debate in favor of Clinton, I shut it off after 15 minutes. CNN, you disgust me. And in your cowardice, you never respond to allegations that you favor a candidate.

    November 16, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  10. Nick, Eden Praire MN

    First off, Kucinich absolutely deserved more time. And now you're during the same in the comments section – I've had this same thing up for moderation since just after the debate last night. Secondly, the only area in the debate the Hillary really stumbled was the social security issue. Guess which of the topics mention during the debate isn't up for debate in the ticker.

    November 16, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  11. Ben

    We need a spin room for CNN so they can explain how they could have possibly thought it was OK to have James Carville give commentary after the debate.

    Anderson Cooper is better than this. He should find a new home while he still has his reputation.

    November 16, 2007 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Sarah

    Gergen, Carville, and a republican that would love for his party to run against Clinton, the most unelectable of the top candidates.

    CNN needs a spin room to help us understand how we are supposed to think that they didn't cross the line on this one.

    I will boycott CNN and it's sponsors.

    November 16, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Eunice Goetz

    Yeah, and what about the spin by the media? Today a CNN commentator talked about the bottom rung candidates doing so well in the thursday debate...and instead of leaving it there she went on to opine that it wouldn't help them move up in the polls. For crying out loud you don't have to plant the idea that none of them can win. I thought Biden was impressive...and even Dodd. But who do the network spinners talk about after the debates? The top three. Fulfilling a prophecy!!! Stop it! We can think for ourselves!

    November 17, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Chris, St. Louis, MO

    I know CNN likes Clinton, but did you really have to do the multiple camera angles and heroic "slow zoom" during some of her answers?

    Biden's the best candidate up there. Its fun to see the other candidates argue over which of them agrees with him more.

    November 17, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I love it when the Fox fans come here and make comments. Fox has never been nor will ever be as fair and balanced as CNN. Yet they decry that CNN has treated Clinton with "love". I think that is bull. Fact is CNN is more critical of Democrats than they are Republicans. The difference between CNN and Fox is the fact that CNN reports the news and Fox makes the news. Do you know who owns CNN? I don't, beside the parent company. I know who owns Fox though and he has made his agenda known to everyone.

    Posted By Rick Sloan, Louisville Ky : November 16, 2007 12:06 am

    Enjoying the Kool-aid Rick, are you like David Letterman who has never watched Fox but bashes it because you "heard" it from friends that it is bad?

    Three things Rick, watch Fox and notice that on everyone of their shows there is a Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative DISCUSSING the given topic unlike CNN, MSNBC etc, etc.

    I challenge any of you Fox haters that there are MORE Liberals on Fox News programs than there are Conservatives on any single one of the other "news" networks.

    Lastly Rick, just because someone is posting here hammering CNN or Sillary they automatically only watch Fox? Are you kidding, did you watch that debate (I did)?

    Fox is number ONE for a reason, it gives both viewpoints and remember it CAME into happening BECAUSE the liberal nmedia and CNN were not telling both sides of the story.

    November 19, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Brandon, Tampa, FL

    It would be totally awesome if the spin room mentioned in his article actually spun around.

    November 19, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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