"I think she would be the best president, and I think it's obvious by a country mile, and that's all that matters to me. Yes, I think there are some different standards. Some of them are subconscious."-- Former President Bill Clinton, husband to Democratic presidential contender former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, posted April 8, 2016, asked by MSNBC reporter Alex Seitz-Wald whether he thought a male candidate would face the same question about being qualified for office as Hillary Clinton had.
Comment: Bill Clinton is accusing people of being hypocritical on the basis of his wife's gender, apparently, which amounts to bigotry.
"I just wanted to make it clear to the Clinton people … if we're hit, we can hit back."-- Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), April 8, 2016.
Comment: This is "get tough, hit back" rhetoric.
"Right now, when we’re hearing so much disturbing and hateful rhetoric, it is so important to remember that our diversity has been -– and will always be -– our greatest source of strength and pride here in the United States."-- First Lady Michelle Obama, April 6, 2016.
Comment: Obama doesn't mention who is uttering this inappropriate rhetoric. Why not? Is she criticizing both Democrats and Republicans, or does she believe it's only Republicans who resort to invective?
When asked point-blank by "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough whether Sanders was ready for the Oval Office, Clinton raised the senator's recent interview with the New York Daily News.-- Democratic presidential contender former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, April 6, 2016, as related in a story that day by Hanna Trudo and Nick Gass of Politico. The discussion concerned Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
"Well, I think the interview raised a lot of serious questions," Clinton said. "I think of it this way: The core of his campaign has been 'break up the banks,' and it it didn't seem in reading his answers that he understood exactly how that would work under Dodd-Frank."
Asked again whether Sanders is qualified, Clinton dodged. "Well, I think he hadn't done his homework, and he'd been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood, and that raises a lot of questions," she said.
Asked a third time, Clinton said she would "leave it to voters to decide who of us can do the job the country needs."
Comment: Clinton is evading the question about whether Sanders is qualified to be president. One of the evasions she is using is the "not my decision, it's up to the voters" evasion. Should no one ever take a position on whether someone is qualified to be president? Should they just say, well, that's up to the voters? That's not the position President Barack Obama has taken on Clinton.
CHARLIE SYKES: When you start asking your guy these questions about policy, there's no "there" there. I know you want to talk about policy. Donald Trump hasn't spent thirty seconds thinking about abortion before he was asked by Chris Matthews.-- Pundit Ann Coulter, posted April 5, 2016, during interview with talk radio host Charlie Sykes. The two were referring to a question faced by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, in which he was asked whether women who had abortions should be punished if abortion were ever made illegal.
ANN COULTER: No, I think that's crazy. I thought the full exchange was fabulous. It was a stupid hypothetical question that has absolutely no bearing on what a president does. It is like asking a president: If you were a tree, what tree would you be?
Comment: First, "crazy" is "stupid" rhetoric. Second, Coulter is objecting to the hypothetical question that Trump was asked, though there's nothing out of bounds about the question, even if it is unlikely that abortion will be made illegal.
"As you may know by now, when you attack him, he will punch back 10 times harder."-- Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, posted April 4, 2016.
Comment: This is "get tough, hit back" rhetoric.
DICKERSON: There's been a lot of commentary this week that this has been the worst week in your campaign. A lot of people want to stop you. Are they succeeding?-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, April 3, 2016, during interview with John Dickerson of CBS News. The two were discussing a question faced by Trump, in which he was asked whether women who had abortions should be punished if abortion were ever made illegal.
TRUMP: I don't know that it's been the worst week in my campaign. I think I have had many bad weeks, and I have had many good weeks. I don't see this as worst week in my campaign. But, certainly, I've had some weeks, and you've been reporting on them, where "that was the end," and then the next week you see poll numbers where they went up and everybody's shocked. So, yeah, people want to stop me because I'm leading by a lot. The new polls that came out had me leading by just about more than ever. NBC had a very good national poll that just came out. I guess I'm leading very big in New York and Pennsylvania.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about abortion. What would you do to further restrict women's access to abortions as president?
TRUMP: Well, look, look, I just -- I mean, I know where you're going, and I just want to say -- a question was asked to me, and it was asked in a very hypothetical -- and it was said, "Illegal, illegal." I've been told by some people that was a older line answer, and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago, very-- on a very conservative basis. But --
DICKERSON: Your original answer, you mean.
TRUMP: My original --
DICKERSON: Punishing the woman.
TRUMP: But I was asked as a hypothetical, hypothetically, hypothetically. The laws are set now on abortion, and that's the way they're going to remain until they're changed.
DICKERSON: Because you had said you wanted -- you told Bloomberg in January that you believed abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy. Where would you --
TRUMP: Well l first of all, I would have liked to have seen, you know, this be a states' rights, I would have preferred states' rights. I think it would have been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set, and that's the way the laws are.
DICKERSON: But do you have a feeling how they should change? There are a lot of laws you want to change, you've talked about them from libel to torture, anything you'd want to change on abortion?
TRUMP: At this moment, the laws are set and I think he we have to leave it that way.
DICKERSON: Do you think it's murder, abortion?
TRUMP: I have my opinions on it, but I would rather not comment on it.
DICKERSON: You said you were very pro-life, pro-life views that abortion is murder.
TRUMP: Yeah, but I do have my opinions on it, but I'd rather -- I just don't think it's an appropriate forum.
DICKERSON: But you don't disagree that proposition, that it's murder?
TRUMP: What proposition?
DICKERSON: That abortion is murder.
TRUMP: No, I don't disagree with it.
Comment: Trump is evading questions on the basis of their being hypothetical or that the interview is "not an appropriate forum" (how is a political news program not an appropriate forum to discuss political positions?). Plus, by saying that the laws on abortion are "set", Trump seems to be saying that debating abortion is rehashing old issues.
"We still have our house in Chicago … But there's also these big stacks of newspapers from right before the election. And every time I go back, I have occasion to look back and read what I said at the time. And Lord knows I've made mistakes in this job, and there are areas where I've fallen short, but something I'm really proud of is the fact that, if you go back and see what I said in 2007 and you see what I did, they match up."-- President Barack Obama, March 28, 2016.
Comment: This is demonstrably false, as there are any number of things Obama pledged he would do as president that he has not done (for instance, he said he would not require people to purchase health insurance, and pledged to recognize the Armenian genocide).
"I think the electorate would be better served if we spent less time focused on the he said/she said back-and-forth of our politics. Because while fairness is the hallmark of good journalism, false equivalency all too often these days can be a fatal flaw. If I say that the world is round and someone else says it's flat, that's worth reporting, but you might also want to report on a bunch of scientific evidence that seems to support the notion that the world is round."-- President Barack Obama, March 28, 2016.
Comment: Put in these terms, it is a platitude to say that two sides of a dispute shouldn't necessarily be covered equally: anyone who says the Earth is flat is simple wrong. However, political disputes (which are frequently moral disputes) are seldom that easily resolved by scientific evidence. Is Obama making a "comparing" or "only my opponent" mistake in complaining about "false equivalence"?