The GIBSON Awards

PUBLISHED: May 19, 2008

As Hillary Clinton follows the campaign trail into the sunset, we look back on the longest pre-convention battle in US history and bestow the GIBSON Awards, honoring the "Greatest Irrelevant Blunders Shown on Networks." The award is named after ABC's Charlie Gibson whose irrelevant questioning brought the Clinton-Obama debates to a screeching halt.

1. Best campaign gaffe.
Obama: When folks are bitter they cling to guns and religion.
Clinton: When I was in Bosnia I was threatened by snipers.

The GIBSON goes to Clinton because she made her gaffe on four occasions, with media always present. Obama managed to deliver his gaffe just once, and it was only recorded by a cellphone-toting blogger.

2. Best excuse for a gaffe.
Obama: I mangled my words.
Clinton: I was sleep-deprived.

Again, Clinton is the winner. Sleep deprivation is poor excuse - unless you've campaigned on having a brain that's nuclear-ready at 3 a.m.

3. Best one-liner by a spouse.
Bill Clinton: Obama's campaign is a fairy tale.
Michelle Obama: This is the first time I've been really proud to be an American.

The Obamas get the gold, because while Michelle's remark seemed heartfelt and foolish, Bill's was merely foolish.

4. Best criticism of a spouse.
Michelle: Barack never picks up his socks.
Bill: Hillary forgets things because she's old.

Bill's remark got him the GIBSON, plus a revised assignment to visit no town bigger than Mayberry.

5. Best campaign photo-op.
Obama bowls a 37 over 7 frames.
Clinton drinks shots and beers.

Obama's gutter balls get him the GIBSON. Hillary would have won if she had taken the guys from the bar out back for some kickboxing.

6. Best crack by a supporter.
Geraldine Ferraro: Barack's lucky he's black.
Samantha Power: Hillary's a monster.

Both remarks were wacky enough to win, but Power immediately tried to say her comment was "off the record." Ferraro gets the GIBSON for repeating her remark until there was no one left to listen.

7. Best assault by a backer.
James Carville: Bill Richardson is Judas.
Jeremiah Wright: Hillary's never been called a n—.

Here's a case where you'd really like to put Carville and Wright in a mud-filled wrestling pit and let them slug it out. The award goes to Wright because he wears more colorful shirts.

8. Best TV appearance.
Obama dances will Ellen.
Clinton jokes with Amy Poehler.

Clinton gets it - not simply for appearing on SNL, but for also using the show's pretend content as an actual talking point in a nationally televised presidential debate.

9. Best crooked contributor.
Obama: Tony Rezko.
Clinton: Norman Hsu.

Rezko gets the headlines for raising a few hundred thousand, but Hsu, the one-time fugitive, helped raise nearly $900,000 for Hillary's campaign - enough to buy her the GIBSON, if not the nomination.

10. Best worthless endorsement.
Obama: Ted Kennedy.
Clinton: Eliot Spitzer.

It's hard to imagine anything more worthless than Kennedy's endorsement resulting in a 15 point Obama loss in Massachusetts. But an endorsement by the governor of Clinton's own state, who then gets nabbed in a prostitution sting, is what the GIBSON Awards are all about.

The GIBSON is a life-like bust of Charlie Gibson himself. Hillary Clinton will be happy to know that the gold-plated glasses on the tip of the statuette's nose function as a bottle opener.

© Peter Funt. This column first appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

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