November 15th, 2007
10:38 PM ET
7 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. Dan, Roulette, PA

    Well, unless you watched a different debate than I did, she has every right to debate.

    Also, why is SO MUCH of the post debate coverage favoring Hillary/Obama/Edwards.

    It just *SMACKS* of your big money preferences trying to predefine our options.

    If you care about Democracy and America, then please, get ALL the messages out. Don't let your pundits focus on their favorites.

    November 15, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. Dan, Roulette, PA

    Gush and rave, not debate, Kucinich's wife has every right to rave....

    November 15, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. QUINT, GRAND PRAIRIE TX

    CNN rigged the audience with Clinton supporters to deflect any criticism of their G I R L.

    November 15, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    This group of candidates is actually getting worse as the campaign moves along. While, early on, the Democrats appeared united in their quest to get us out of Iraq, they have once again succumbed to pandering to every special interest group known to man. They always lose because they don't stand for anything. While their Republican counterparts are taking strong positions and taking the time to get their messages out, the Democratic candidates are just trying not to say anything that could possibly get them in trouble. Tonight was bad for every single one of them and if this continues the party will be over very soon.

    November 15, 2007 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. James Findley

    Here comes the spin for the Clinton News Network!! Geez even Fox News isn't this bad. 97k isn't middle class is the line of the night! by yes Senator Barack Obama

    November 15, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. Debbie, Weymouth, MA

    Regarding "spin", I'm watching the wrap-up on CNN now. I was very disappointed with this debate. Specifically, how Wolf B. appeared to have no control over the audience (boos and heckles). More importantly, he never even ATTEMPTED to address this behavior.

    Now they are all talking about how Edwards and Obama didn't bring "intensity" to the debate. Could they? According to your own poll on the front page, 70% of CNN viewers do not watch the debates. They like the vast majority watch the soundbytes on the news. Should Edwards or Obama continued to confront Clinton, with a chorus of boos and heckles in the background? That would be the ONLY thing that many voters would have seen, in the form of a soundbyte.

    November 15, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. Marian M. Fairfield, PA

    I wish CNN and all the other media would get out of the way of the canidates! This focus on the so called top 3( based on how much money they've raised) leaves the other canidates in shadows they don't deserve. While Wolf Blitzer's 'yes or no' questions tonight were embarrassing(serious questions are not yes or no questons... as the canidates kept reminding him!!!) the debate was saved by Sen. Dodd jumping in early on and saying let's debate issues and all the other canadates rose to that standard. Thank Goodness!

    November 15, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  8. Eli, Marietta Ohio

    First and foremost, I want to say I was very disappointed in the Moderators and the Debate Format. I think it was very unfair to the candidates to allow people to disrupt the Debate and to allow people to show approval and disapproval of the candidates. I don't think that this format allowed the candidates to answer the questions fully and without interruption. I felt that the Moderators did not stop protesters from interupting Sen. Obama, and did not allow several of the candidates to fully answer the question after being interupted by the protesters. In addition, it was disrespectful to the candidates to allow people to boo candidates, and to not allow candidates to answer the questions asked of them because of people booing or for that matter clapping and yelling.

    I think CNN should have had strict rules about interupting the candidates. It is not only not fair to the Candidates, it is not fair to the voters who are watching the debate looking for answers without interuption and without "editorial comment" by the audience through their booing, clapping or protesting. It was a poor choice of format, and I am very disappointed.

    In additon to the way the Debate was conducted, I felt that CNN was not fair in some of the questions it asked of some of the candidates. The moderators made several statements about the candidates positions which were not accurate. These questions often misrepresented the candidates positions, and I felt that it was not an accurate discription and could bias the viewers and audience in favor of or against a candidate based solely on the way the question was asked. I don't feel that serves the process well when the questions start out with inaccuracies.

    I hope that the next debate will not allow these interuptions and will also ensure that there are accurate questions asked of the candidates.

    November 15, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Fred Seattle

    Mrs. Clinton mopped up Obama and Edwards tonight. Time to realize what time it is!

    November 15, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  10. dan, bronx, ny

    How in the world was Hillary able to stack the audience with her partisan supporters? Everytime edwards or obama tried to point out any difference with her they started to shout them down and booed. If she gets the nomination im staying home.

    November 15, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  11. theresa lv

    CNN has no business running a debate. Clinton News Network was very obvious tonight. CNN allowed the Clinton machine to run this so-called debate. Hopefully the thinking public can see through this farce. Clinton was allowed to show her new side to issues now that her other side messed up previously.

    November 15, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  12. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    The only spin that is happening is by CNN and whether they gave just the right amount of love to Clinton or whether they could have given more.

    Don't worry, CNN, I don't think it is humanly possible to give Clinton any more love than you have her tonight. Congratulations!

    November 15, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. Arshad, Newburgh, NY

    This was the worst debate ever. Wolf Blitzer and CNN arranged this as a mission to stop Clinton's slide. The audience was filled with Clinton supporters. Everytime opponents tried to create a difference with Clinton, they have recieved resistance. After 3 weeks of flip flop on illegal immigrant DL issue, Clinton changed her final position to "I don't support it". Blitzer asked a yes/no question, she said no. NO one called her was this her final position and how long it will last. She can't even choose between pearl and diamond. No answer still on social security. Bad show CNN. Your bias and post debate spin with Clinton supporter (Carville) and Republicans (who wants her to be nominee to beat her easily) to coronate her with inevitability again. You have become worse than FOX news.

    November 15, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. Arshad, Newburgh, NY

    CNN, you don't qualify to moderate my comments. It's an urgent need to do the moderation of yours. Extremely urgent. We don't pay cable companies to subscribe to watch your garbage.

    November 15, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. rj nashville,tn

    I wanted to be a good american and see both sides,but i could only handle 20 & just shook my head,what is so sad.my 9th grader held a more professional and controled debate ,in his school, with straight answers, more so than this pathetic group for the democrates for president for 2008,lord help us all if any of them get in,

    November 15, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  16. Jame Rasmussen, Portland, OR

    I am appalled by the "spin" immediately following the debate. Someone said "Hilary can smile, look you in the eye while punching you in the nose" and they seemed proud...this is NOT a quality I'm looking for in a leader. Genuine, serious concern, and respect for the gravity of the situation we and our world is in wins me over...and Senator Obama stepping up to acknowledge the middle class was heroic in my eyes.

    November 16, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. Nick, Eden Praire MN

    First off, Kucinich absolutely deserved more time. 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 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. MM, Denver, CO

    Er...spin by the campaigns or spin by CNN on behalf of Hillary Clinton? Most unprofessional debate to date. See last MSNBC debate for how things should be run.

    November 16, 2007 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. Rick Sloan, Louisville Ky

    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.

    November 16, 2007 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  20. Debbie Wisconsin

    Clinton lost all credibility the minute her supporters started booing the other candidates.

    Their supporters did not boo her.

    It was rude!!!!!

    It's a good thing that the Obama supporters weren't instructed to boo her at the JJ dinner last week.

    November 16, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  21. janel, St Paul, MN

    It seemed to me that Hillary got special attention. . .it is frustrating that CNN appeared to give her easier questions and opportunities to shine. What was that pearl or diamonds all about.

    Shame on you, CNN.

    All the analysts seem to appear very pro-Hillary. . .are they being honest, or is there a conspiracy?

    Please. . .give Americans a break! If it is Hillary against Guliani, it will be a tough choice – – no change at all from what we are living with now.

    November 16, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  22. Lance in Monrovia

    Obama won the debate hands down. 6 percent does not a president make.

    November 16, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  23. stan pitts pa

    The debate was rigged and set to enable clinton try to regain her lead, the people in the stage who booed were planted by hillary and cnn knowingly or unknowingly allowed that to happen its hard to tell, if she cant take the heat of being questioned on serious issues she cant be commander-in-chief, when she faces rogue regimes there will not be supporters planted to boo the enemy or will they? Its simple if hillary wins the nomination the democrats once again will lose the general election!!!

    November 16, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  24. Mike Dallas, TX

    Sure CNN let the spin begin.

    And 2 of your 3 post debate "analysts" are previous Clinton employees Carville and Gergen. That is shameful!

    November 16, 2007 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  25. Julie Medford,Oregon

    I thought Biden once again proved he is ahead of the curve on all issues and with a sense of humor to boot. I hope the media starts letting us American hear more from the other candidates then the same three candidates each time, I know they have the money and the name recognition which gives them better poll numbers but that dosen't make them the best choice for President.

    November 16, 2007 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
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