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Was WFTV Tough, or Over the Line, With Biden?

The blogosphere–particularly the right side of it–is making a lot of noise about the Obama camp canceling an interview between WFTV Orlando and Jill Biden, the v.p. candidate’s wife, after it deemed an interview with Sen. Biden from late last week to be unfair. 

Watch the clip below. Of course it’s a fine line between asking tough, pointed questions and pushing a little too hard on an interview subject. It’s just one media watcher’s opinion, but I felt Barbara West was hardly dispassionate in the way she phrased her questions. Instead of asking Biden for his take on recent voter fraud issues and ACORN, she started the question with "Aren’t you embarrassed by…" Instead of getting his view on Sen. Obama’s fateful answer to Joe the Plumber, she prompted Biden with "Isn’t Sen. Obama’s comment a potentially crushing political blunder?" I felt West could’ve done a better job of staying neutral. Surely others see it differently.


Writes Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel:

West wondered about Sen. Barack Obama’s comment, to Joe the Plumber, about spreading the wealth. She quoted Karl Marx and asked how Obama isn’t being a Marxist with the "spreading the wealth" comment.

"Are you joking?" said Biden, who is Obama’s running mate. "No," West said.

West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early on as president. She wondered if the Delaware senator was saying America’s days as the world’s leading power were over.

"I don’t know who’s writing your questions," Biden shot back.

Biden so disliked West’s line of questioning that the Obama campaign canceled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate’s wife.

"This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election," wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.

WFTV says it was just asking tough questions. News Director Bob Jordan tells Boedeker:

"When you get a shot to ask these candidates, you want to make the most of it. They usually give you five minutes."

Jordan said political campaigns in general pick and choose the stations they like. And stations often pose softball questions during the satellite interviews.

"Mr. Biden didn’t like the questions," Jordan said. "We choose not to ask softball questions."

Boedeker’s post has some 2,000 comments. 

Cox owns the ABC affiliate in Orlando.