Presidential Candidates Square Off in Glorified Forums
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Following column was written prior to last night’s Presidential debate.
Presidential and vice presidential debates are misnomers. There is hardly a debate; often just a forum where the candidates provide canned answers to specific questions from the moderator. But last week, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden took these formulated forums to a new level. While some watchers thought he was not “vice presidential,” others liked the fact that he did not accept non-factual answers from Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
The result was often a back-and-forth between the two candidates that added some spice to what could have been a boring confrontation between the number two guys on the Democratic and GOP tickets.
As a result, the consensus was Biden won the debate. Post-debate polls among various groups had Biden winning from 53 to 63 percent of those surveyed.
Democratic President Barack Obama was, hopefully, paying attention. His lackluster performance in the first presidential debate allowed Republican Mitt Romney to close the gap, not only nationally, but in key swing states.
Obama said the problem was that he was “too nice.” He needs to remember the old adage that nice guys finish last. Which brings us to the presidential debate tonight (Tuesday) at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
It will be a town meeting format, which will include questions about foreign and domestic policy. It airs at 8 p.m. Central Time. The sponsor is the Committee on Presidential debates, and the moderator will be Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent.
I do question political talking heads saying that 50 million people watched the vice presidential debate. Most voters are not very interested in the vice presidential candidates, even though contenders are, in fact, a heartbeat away from the presidency.
On the night of the vice presidential debate, there was an NFL football game on as well as baseball playoff games.
What were you watching?
It is a given that pollsters don’t often get honest answers from those called. Many people will say they are watching the debate to appear concerned voters, but actually, they are not.
A mayoral poll?
I was informed that a poll on the 2014 Shreveport mayor’s race was taken recently among 1,000 random city voters.
We cannot confirm that the poll was scientific or by or for whom the poll was taken. But it nevertheless is an interesting development provided to us by a reliable source.
So with disclaimers in hand, here are the results:
*Willie Bradford (D): 7 percent. He is an African-American executive with Willis-Knighton Health Systems.
*Lydia Jackson (D): 13 percent. She is an African-American former two-term state senator.
*Sam Jenkins (D): 18 percent. He is an African-American attorney, and is the Councilman for District G.
*Liz Swaine (D): 22 percent. She is white and the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, a former mayoral aide, and a former candidate for mayor in 2006.
*Parker Ward (R): 21 percent. He is white and a minister and a former candidate for mayor in 2010.
*Patrick Williams (D): 19 percent. He is an African-American state representative for House District 4.
Interestingly, Brian Crawford, former fire chief and current assistant administrative officer for the city of Shreveport, was not included in the poll although his name has often been mentioned as a potential candidate.
Our source said he was excluded because he has applied for the job of fire chief in Plano, Texas, and is likely to get the position.
Of those included in the poll, Bradford, Ward, and Williams have told the Fax-Net they are definitely running. Jenkins said he is giving serious thought to getting into the race.
There has been no confirmation from Jackson or Swaine that they are contemplating a mayoral run. Crawford has said that he will decide after conferring with family, friends, and prospective supporters.
The Fax-Net will keep you abreast of future developments. Incumbent Mayor Cedric Glover, who’s hospitalized for sugery on both legs, is term-limited and cannot seek a third term.
*New Central Trades Leader – The Central Trades & Labor Council of Shreveport & Vicinity AFL-CIO will hold a press conference on Wednesday, October 27, to introduce its new president.
He is Clifton Starks, who is retired from Kansas City Southern Railroad.
The event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Central Trades & Labor Council Meeting Hall, 1924 Greenwood Road, Shreveport. All member unions and the general public are invited.
*Freedom Rally – The We the People and Red River Tea Party organizations are having a Freedom Rally on Thursday, October 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bossier Civic Center, 620 Benton Road.
Among the speakers will be Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter; Sharon McCullar, a veteran and small business owner who is the mother of two U.S. Marine Scout Snipers; Rev. C.L. Bryant, nationally known conservative speaker and Tea Party activist; and Moon Griffon, conservative radio talk show host.
Music will be provided by Leanne Bridges and Johnny Rowland. There is no charge to attend, and the public is invited.
*Forum for Judges – The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Group will host a forum for the candidates running for district judge of Bossier and Webster Parishes on Tuesday, October 23 at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 102 Lake Street, Shreveport.
The candidates are Bossier attorney Whit Graves, Assistant Bossier-Webster District Attorney Mike Nerren, and Springhill City Court Judge John Slattery.
Breakfast will be Dutch treat, and the public is invited. For more information, contact Lloyd Thompson at 318-936-1700.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.