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CNN/YouTube Debate Features Hillary Plant

CNN would have you believe that out of all the people THEY selected to ask video taped questions of the Republican presidential candidates the this evening at the CNN/YouTube debate they had no idea that Keith Kerr, retired Colonel., U.S. Army; retired Brigadier General, California National Reserve, was a member of a Hillary Clinton LGBT Steering Committee. Nor did they know was on the National Veterans for Kerry Steering Committee in 2004.

CNN was, however, able to find this 13-year-old Mitt Romney quote about gays in the military to make Kerr's question into a booby-trap for Romney (From NewsBusters transcript):

COOPER: Governor Romney, you said in 1994 that you looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve, and I quote, 'openly and honestly' in our nation's military. Do you stand by that?

All over the blogosphere and at Free Republic conservatives instantly smelled something very fishy and entirely too convenient about this question and the questioner. It reeked of a setup and it took them mere minutes to discover Kerr's past. I did notice that he on at least one occasion (in 2004) Kerr appeared as a speaker at a Log Cabin Republican event, but there's nothing that indicates a membership there, just pushing the same position on an issue.

CNN apparently couldn't find (or didn't want to know) any of this. Here's Cooper's feeble "we didn't know" defense.

COOPER: "Bill Bennett earlier mentioned he was getting some reports from friends of his on the Internet that Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who asked a question about gays in the military during this debate, was on a steering committee for Senator Hillary Clinton. That was something certainly unknown to us, and had we known that, would have been disclosed by us. It turns out we have just looked at it. Apparently, there was a press release from some six months ago. Hillary Clinton's office saying that he had been named to some steering committee. We don't know if he's still on it. We're trying to find out that information. But certainly, had we had that information, we would have acknowledged that in using his question, if we had used it at all.

Anderson Cooper would have you believe that a network that could select this question, find that 13-year-old Romney quote, create the trap for Romney (which he fell face first into), and (presumably) fly Kerr to the debate, could not type "Keith Kerr, retired Colonel" into Google and find the link to the Hillary Clinton press release, which prior to the debate appeared in the first 10 results for that search?

Yeah, right...

Update: The man behind the debate was making promises beforehand:

The debate format is the same as it was for Democrats in July. CNN's political team will review the submissions and choose about 40 videos. David Bohrman, the network's Washington bureau chief and the mastermind behind the format, said he heard from two campaigns -- he would not name which -- expressing concerns about the selection process and the perceived liberal bias of CNN, dubbed by many conservatives the "Clinton News Network."

"Some of the Republican candidates don't trust us. They're not completely convinced that we're going to wean out the Democratic 'gotcha' questions," Bohrman said. "But I've been very clear from the beginning: This will be a Republican debate, and the goal is to let Republican voters see their candidates."

He must have forgot to add, "as questioned by non-Republicans."

Right after the debate Bohrman seemed particularly pleased with himself:

"Interesting questions, weren't they?" he asked, minutes after the debate. "This kind of participatory format is here to stay. Can you imagine going back?"

Rob Bluey notes that the questions very much look like what liberals would think that a Republican debate should look like, as opposed to what actual Republicans want to know, which thanks to Bohrman and his team is exactly what we got...


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Comments (23)

Wow, did Mitt stumble at th... (Below threshold)

Wow, did Mitt stumble at the debate or what? Analyst Michael Eisenstadt wrote a great piece tonight about the lessons of Annapolis and puts the debate between Rudy vs. Mitt in that context. Pretty provocative stuff that points to Rudy as the obvious candidate for the GOP: http://michaeleisenstadt.com/2007/11/28/a-lesson-learned/

Heh. Planted CNN q... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:


Planted CNN questions for Dem debate : "Do you like diamonds or pearls? Tee-hee!" from Dem politcal activists.

Planted CNN question for Repub debate: Hard-hitting politically charged question from Dem political activists.

Nope. No bias at CNN.

Cooper seemed genuinely sho... (Below threshold)

Cooper seemed genuinely shocked when Bennett made the comment in post-debate analysis (Bill had been flooded with emails about it).

Cooper may not have known the guy's background, but you can bet someone who screened the questions did.

Still, if this is the worst "ringer" or "gotcha" question that was asked, CNN did pretty well at trying to be objective - given their history.

I dunno Jim.From c... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

I dunno Jim.

From commenter Christoph at Captain's Quarters blog:

"You realize the questioner who asked an abortion question is a John Edwards supporter, right? The link is her in a John Edwards T-shirt discussing the question she asked tonight."


"ANOTHER ONE -- this time an Obama supporter. Remember the "Log Cabin Republican" questioner? He's got a blog at Obama '08."

Wonder what else will turn up.

Les Nessman ~ I was not awa... (Below threshold)

Les Nessman ~ I was not aware of those, and stand corrected.

If, indeed, known supporters of the three leading Democratic candidates were able to pass CNN's "screening" to ask questions at a Republican debate, it is impossible to imagine CNN was an innocent "victim" in the process.

Of course, CNN will be more... (Below threshold)

Of course, CNN will be more than happy to allow GOP activists time to question Dems at their next debate.

They are not called the Cli... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

They are not called the Clinton News Network for nothing. Exemplary CNN.

I suppose the problem is th... (Below threshold)
Southern Quaker:

I suppose the problem is that Republicans have gotten so used to the pre-screened, members only audiences that the President allows at his "public" appearances that it comes as a complete shock when someone with a different point of view is actually allowed to ask a question at a forum such as this.

SQ,This from someone... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

This from someone whose candidates were too scared to appear on FOX. Dumbass.

Wow, SQ... Didn't know we g... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Wow, SQ... Didn't know we get a "Bush's fault!" in an article about a Dem-stacked debate, but you did it. Congratulations!...


SQ,Can you show us... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


Can you show us the Republican activists who asked questions at ANY of the Dem debates?

CNN has once again screwed ... (Below threshold)

CNN has once again screwed the viewers of the Republican debate. See who was which YouTube videos When clowns like CNN's senior vice president David Bohrman and the rest of the CNN political team are the ones selecting the videos, it is no surprise. Here is why, see this video to see what they have been doing to us.

CNN: The Most Trusted Name... (Below threshold)

CNN: The Most Trusted Name In News...if you're a Liberal or a Dictator. The Repubs are a bunch of Charlie Browns if they actually thought Lucy was going to let them kick the ball. The show was all about humiliating the Repubs and making Dems look good by comparison; fooled them once, twice, thrice.... What a bunch of maroons on both sides. Where's a good 3rd Party candidate when we need one?

The Thunder Run has linked ... (Below threshold)

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/29/2007 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

"Can you show us the Republ... (Below threshold)

"Can you show us the Republican activists who asked questions at ANY of the Dem debates?"

Can you show me any Right wing media who reviewed the *answers* and the substance about those questions instead of their usual M.O. of attacking the messenger?

I also think that audience debates should be *limited* to plants, or openly hostile questions. Then you can't obfuscate the answers with so much crap about the questioner.

Angry follower,The... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Angry follower,

The capacity you people have for rationalizing, when caught with your hand in the cookie jar, never ceases to amaze. The Republican debates are for Republicans to discuss Republican issues so as to narrow the field of Republican candidates - get it? The Republican debates are not for self-aggrandizing, sanctimonious Democrats to deceptively interject their own talking points and grievances. Your comment only serves to reveal your complete lack of integrity.

"The Republican debates are... (Below threshold)

"The Republican debates are for Republicans to discuss Republican issues so as to narrow the field of Republican candidates - get it?"

OK comrade.

What is the job they're trying to get? And who does that affect?

I think another commenter elsewhere said it best - if you can't handle questions from Democrats, how can you fight terrorists?

"Your comment only serves to reveal your complete lack of integrity."

My comment is about removing the pretenses and veneer of softball questions and putting hard questions at possible presidents. That means I have no integrity?

The answers they gave were horrible, by the way.

Well, at least it gives the... (Below threshold)

Well, at least it gives the wing nuts something to be outraged about!


"My comment is about rem... (Below threshold)

"My comment is about removing the pretenses and veneer of softball questions and putting hard questions at possible presidents."

That's not what your comment said. It said:

"I also think that audience debates should be *limited* to plants, or openly hostile questions. Then you can't obfuscate the answers with so much crap about the questioner."

First, no one is obfuscationg the answers. But there has been a concerted attempt to obfuscate by ommission who the questioners are and then feigning ignorance.

Second, it was a comment that said take away the softball questions and turn it into a sniping session for everyone out there with a grievance or a special interest. I can understand that Democrats want their debates to be productive, giving candidates a chance to elaborate on their platforms or philosophies by asking questions conducive to that end. But at least extend the same courtesy to Republicans.

Hard questions are welcome, not hostility.

Good news, it appears that ... (Below threshold)

Good news, it appears that the kid who asked about believing every word of the Bible is a big time Twoofer: http://www.myspace.com/calciumboy

I say "BRING IT ON" and qui... (Below threshold)

I say "BRING IT ON" and quit whining. However calling this a debate and not a designer press conference is fairly outrageous.

I have some questions I wou... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I have some questions I would like to ask Hillary:

What did you remove from Vincent Foster's office on the night of his murder (oops, I mean "suicide")?

If you are elected President, after your term, do you intend to abscond with White House furnishings and other public artifacts again?

If you become president, can we expect more murders of innocent Americans in their homes as at Waco and Ruby Ridge?

Who hired Craig Livingstone?

Do you really expect us to believe that the Rose Law firm billing records just magically appeared on a White House table?

Why are the Communist Chinese always so interested in giving you financial support?

Do you believe illegal aliens should have the ability to vote in U.S. elections? How about convicted felons?

I wonder if I could get these in at the next debate?

Angry follower:"What... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Angry follower:
"What is the job they're trying to get?"

The Republican Party nomination.

" And who does that affect?"

Republican Party voters.

"I think another commenter elsewhere said it best - if you can't handle questions from Democrats, how can you fight terrorists?"

The Republicans did handle the questions from Democrat plants. Why won't the Dems handle questions from Republicans, or at least not softball questions from Democrat operatives?






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