ABC's Gibson hits books ahead of Democrats' debate

Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:54am EDT
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By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC's Charles Gibson acknowledges that the heavy load of presidential debates has taken its toll, but he said Wednesday's faceoff between the Democratic candidates is coming at an opportune time.

"I'm sort of debated out, and I think they are as well," Gibson told The Hollywood Reporter. "But the timing is fortunate in this. I was anxious to do this one because we haven't heard from them (in a debate) in six weeks."

ABC scored a primetime debate between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama less than a week before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. Gibson and chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos will moderate.

"The stakes, at least for Sen. Clinton, couldn't be higher," Stephanopoulos said. "Pennsylvania has become a must-win."

Both Clinton and Republican candidate Sen. John McCain have made hay out of Obama's recent comment that economically downtrodden voters in small Pennsylvania towns "cling to guns or religion" because they are "bitter," words that Obama later admitted were ill-chosen.

Gibson drew rave reviews for the January 5 debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, as well as a 2004 presidential debate. He's been cramming for the past several days on the usual debate topics and also a few esoteric ones, like carbon sequestration -- storing carbon and coal plants underground to reduce greenhouse gases.

"It's a subject I don't know a whole lot about, and it probably won't come up," Gibson said. "But I don't know beans about carbon sequestration, so I read up on it."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Charles Gibson is seen during a debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, October 8, 2004. REUTERS/Jim Bourg</p>