The verbal evaluation gushed from an online debate mashup yesterday that
featured all of the Democratic presidential candidates:
Barack Obama, John
Edwards, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and former Alaska senator
Gravel. Slate, Yahoo! and the Huffington Post sponsored the debate.
According to an
Associated Press report the mashers took questions from readers online and
moderator Charlie Rose on a variety of topics from education and health care to
the Iraq War. Comedian Bill Maher served
up "wild card" questions on issues such as whether marijuana should be
It was on one of Maher's questions that Gravel unloaded. Maher told Gravel
that obesity rates are up and reading levels are down and added that the
"definition of a friend is someone who tells you the truth." Gravel replied that
he was willing to be honest with the American people. "I'm prepared to tell you
that Americans are getting fatter and dumber," the former Alaska senator said.
"I have no problem saying that."
No truth to the rumor that Julie Brown's song "I
like em big and stupid" was playing in the background.
It will be interesting to see if the general populace thinks Gravel is that
honest friend giving and honest assessment or merely a dolt.
He certainly is entertaining and has made some stinging points in the past.
from a presidential debate in August: "Well, the first thing that you would
do is to realize that terrorism is not a war. Our war on terrorism makes no
sense. We've had ... terrorism since the beginning of civilization, and we'll
have it to the end of civilization. It must be treated as a criminal act for
what it is. The United States of America should now interface with Interpol and
with other countries to bring these people to justice, but our government has
done just the opposite."
And the dumb and fat notion wasn't the only poke he took at voters: "I've
also said that Americans are going to get the government they deserve," Gravel
said. "And so if things are going bad, just remember who put these people in
Maher, with his offbeat questions, provoked some interesting responses from
the other candidates as well, the AP reported:
* Dodd told Maher he would not legalize marijuana, but would favor
decriminalizing the drug in part to prevent prison overcrowding.
* Biden, asked to rank the relative dangers of high fructose corn syrup, coal
soot or a terrorist strike, chose air with too much coal in it, followed by corn
syrup. "But that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack
is real," he added.