Senator Sanders, let’s talk about income inequality. Wages and incomes are flat. You’ve argued that the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We’ve had a Democratic president for seven years. What are you going to be able to do that President Obama didn’t?
After Senator Sanders’ response, Cooper puts the question to Hillary,
Secretary Clinton, how would you address this issue? In all candor, you and your husband are part of the 1%. How can you credibly represent the views of the middle class?
Clinton says the economy does better with a Democrat in the White House, then Cooper says, “Governor O’Malley, I want you to be able to….[he trails off]”
Then O’Malley band-wagons on some of Sanders’ comments and adds,
But there’s another piece that Senator Sanders left out tonight, but he’s been excellent about underscoring that. And that is, that we need to separate the casino speculative mega-bank gambling that we have to insure with our money from the commercial banking, namely, reinstating Glass-Steagall. Secretary Clinton mentioned my support eight years ago. And secretary I was proud to support you eight years ago. But something happened in between, and that is, Anderson, a Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs and millions of savings for families and we’re still just as vulnerable Paul Volcker says today. We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that’s a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates.
Cooper then says, “For the viewers at home who might not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall are Depression Era banking laws repealed in 1999….” and proceeds to read a description of Glass-Steagall from a blue note card in his hand. My jaw dropped! As the only on-point tweet I could find put it: “What a scam BS the #DemDebate is. Anybody notice how @andersoncooper had a cue card about Glass-Steagall Act. Guess he had ESP.”
I reviewed the clip several times and looked at the notes Anderson had (see the screenshot above). I’ve had plenty of experience compiling notes in an effort to anticipate callers’ points on the air. I usually have a stack of notes with labeled tabs for quick access to detailed information for when I want to respond to callers with specifics like the Glass-Steagall facts Cooper read. I have a big pile of material and my show is usually only on one topic–not every possible relevant topic as this debate was. Furthermore, I am actually a participant in the debate when I take calls on the air. Cooper is just a moderator who wouldn’t be expected to have at his fingertips detailed information on every possible topic that gets raised. Yet Cooper had that exact tidbit of information either in his hand or within easy reach, on a specific item that wasn’t even in the question he asked! He didn’t seem to be scrambling either. He had a small array of cards on the table and a few cards in his hand, and immediately, rapid-fire, without skipping a beat, he started to read the relevant details about an item that wasn’t even a direct response to his line of inquiry.
So how did Anderson Cooper have that information at his fingertips in response to something of a non-sequitur? After seeing this, I couldn’t help but conclude that this debate was scripted. As I continued to watch, I became increasingly convinced, especially as the debate wrapped up with closing statements from all the participants (beginning at time marker c. 1:58:50) in which the candidates made specific references to what was covered in the debate, the tone that was achieved, and even verbatim quotes from other candidates. Either these candidates, some of whom were facing the largest audience of their lives, squandered their one opportunity during the evening to have a prepared statement (ie, they decided to wing their closing statements), or they somehow perfectly anticipated the way in which the debate would unfold.
Oh, and one more thing…did you get the impression that O’Malley is actually running for Vice President? He’s reminiscent to me of Marco Rubio in that way, and also in the way he alwasy seems like he’s going to burst out crying (it’s his “sincere” voice.)
Here’s the debate…what do you think? (You can just watch the three and a half minutes beginning 1:08:04 for the Glass-Steagall stuff–the video should already be cued up to that spot–or go to the very bottom of this post for the critical minute or so.) And don’t miss my update below for a bonus fact!
UPDATE: Here’s a fun fact…Anderson Cooper’s only job outside of media was the two summers he spent working for the CIA while an undergrad at Yale 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anderson_Cooper#Career
The first video I included to show the debate disappeared. In case the second one disappears too, I just grabbed the critical minute or so from my TV recording…
WHOA! Just in the amount of time it took me to load my little homemade video and post a replacement for my original above which disappeared, the new one on youtube disappeared too! And it didn’t say for copyright infringement, it said, “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content. Sorry about that.” Well, I can’t disagree with them classifying this as deceptive!