On agreeing

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Politico's Jonathan Martin:

A YouTube you will see before the clock strikes Midnight

Barack Obama repeatedly saying: "I agree with Sen. McCain" or "I agree with John."

Along with Martin and Fox, some right-wingers seem to think this is a big deal. It isn't.

First, it's a little odd to see a journalist chiding a candidate for finding areas of agreement with an opponent; usually the media complains of excessive partisanship.

Second, this just isn't that unusual. It's how candidates talk: they acknowledge areas of agreement.

Look, for example, at how often Gore and Bush agreed during the second debate in 2000:

GORE: I agree with that. I agree with that.

[...]

MODERATOR: You agree with that, Governor?

BUSH: I do.

[...]

GORE: I don't disagree with that.

[...]

MODERATOR: And you would agree?

GORE: I would agree.

[...]

GORE: I agree with that

[...]

GORE: first of all, let me say that the governor and I agree on some things where this subject is concerned.

[...]

GORE: I also believe in the Golden Rule. And I agree with a lot of the other things that the governor has said.

[...]

BUSH: Yeah, I agree.

[...]

GORE: I agree with Governor Bush that we should have new accountability, testing of students.

Or the first Bush-Kerry debate in 2000:

BUSH: I agree with him.

[...]

KERRY: The president and I have always agreed on that.

[...]

KERRY: I couldn't agree more that the Iraqis want to be free and that they could be free.

[...]

BUSH: In terms of Darfur, I agree it's genocide.

[...]

BUSH: I agree with my opponent that we shouldn't be committing troops.

[...]

BUSH: Well, I think -- listen, I fully agree that one should shift tactics, and we will, in Iraq.

[...]

BUSH: I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network.

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