Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Debriefing Obama

You can measure the toughness of Tom Brokaw's Meet the Press interview with the Democratic nominee today by the multiple times Obama said "Right, right," "but, but" and "look, look."

They were numerous as Brokaw pressed him on not being willing to admit the Surge has worked, on oversimplifying the politics of Pakistan and answering the charge that his Berlin speech was a Disney version of "optimism without reality."

Taped in London last night, the interview was a test for the bone-weary candidate after a week of media adulation, and a testament to Brokaw's unimpaired skills as he questioned Obama, not with Tim Russert's cordial aggressiveness, but a cool insistence on getting to the core of issues.

At 68, Brokaw is of John McCain's generation and a suitable surrogate for 20th century journalists who kept their distance from politicians rather than basking in the spotlight as fellow media stars.

On Obama's part, the experience will surely be useful in honing presidential skills that go beyond cheering crowds and fawning interviewers.

Tomorrow, he will be back down to earth, meeting with his economic advisers to focus on gas prices, mortgage bailouts and other worries that voters will want straight answers about from now to November.

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