Let me start by saying I enjoy the ‘Georgia Gang.’ Over the years I’ve learned a lot about Georgia politics by being a regular viewer. I don’t share SpaceyG’s dislike of the show though I miss Tom Houck. That being said I need to set the record straight on a few things said during their discussion of the CNN/You Tube debate.
Dick Williams said he thought I was the Chairman of the Gwinnett Republican Party. Actually I’m the former Chairman. I was Chairman from February 2002 – March of 2005. During that time by the way, Mr. Williams moderated a GOP US Senate debate organized by our 1st Vice Chair Julianne Thompson (we had about 700 people at that debate and WSB broadcast the event as well).
At this time I hold no official position within the GOP though I do serve on a Committee for the State Party. I’m a partisan Republican, that’s no secret, but I’m not a part of any Presidential campaign and have not endorsed anyone (and have no plans to….like my endorsement would matter much anyway).
Martha Zoeller said she was asked through Facebook to vote for my video and that’s how these things were selected. I think Martha was confusing my video submission to the CNN/You Tube debate with a video submitted by a guy named Patrick Ruffini to 10Questions.com. 10Questions.com allowed voting on video questions and then took the 10 most popular questions and submitted them to the Presidential candidates, Republican and Democrat alike. As the voting deadline approached Ruffini’s question was close to making it into the top 10 so an effort was made to get him enough votes (he did indeed make the cut). I received such a request through Facebook and I suspect Martha did as well. Martha and I are Facebook buddies by the way.
As an aside, my question which made it into the CNN/You Tube debate had one of the most highly negative scores on 10Questions.com.
As for the You Tube debate itself, I hope the controversy about CNN’s editorial “problems” doesn’t kill the idea. I don’t think hot-shot inside the Beltway reporters are the only ones smart enough to ask good questions of those who seek the Presidency. If you’ll remember, during the Democratic CNN/You Tube debate a guy asked if the candidates would meet with people like the President of Iran. Obama said he would and that answer set the tone for the Democratic side of the campaign for the next few weeks.
The problem I have with how CNN conducted themselves is that people who clearly have no intention of voting in the Republican primary were allowed to ask questions. This is not the general election, it’s a primary where Republicans will be voting on who will carry their banner. I really don’t care what questions Democrats want asked of Republican candidates, and I suspect Democrats don’t really care what I would ask their candidates.
Furthermore, nobody who openly supports a particular candidate should be allowed to ask a question at a debate. The fact that known Clinton, Obama and Edwards supporters were allowed to ask questions makes me wonder when known Romney, McCain or Thompson supporters will be allowed to ask questions of the Democrats?
What 10Questions.com did was “more new” as Chris Farris might say but it does open itself to organized efforts in favor of certain questions. My question was controversial in that it starts from a place very unpopular in the polls right now. I’m not surprised it was highly unpopular at 10Questions.com but I’m really glad it was asked at the CNN/You Tube debate.
I don’t know what the best approach to take is but I very much like the concept of the CNN/You Tube debate.