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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ben Carson Wants Debate Changes, Citing ‘Gotcha’ Debate

From The Wall Street Journal:

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Ben Carson, angered by the tone of Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate in Boulder, said Thursday he is reaching out to other candidates to seek a change of format in future debates. 

Mr. Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has risen to the top of many GOP polls in recent weeks, objected to what he called “gotcha” questions from moderators, echoing complaints made in the course of the debate by Sen. Ted Cruz and other candidates. 

“Debates are supposed to be established to help the people know the candidates… what their philosophy is,” Mr. Carson told reporters before a morning appearance at Colorado Christian University. “What it’s turned into is a ‘gotcha’ opportunity to cast candidates in a negative light. 

“That’s silly. That’s not really helpful.” 

The debate at the University of Colorado, sponsored by CNBC, at times lapsed into a shouting match among candidates and between the candidates and the moderators. Responding to questions pressing candidates to respond to criticisms of them or inviting them to comment on their competitors, the candidates frequently bridled and sidestepped questions to deliver their stump speeches. 

The GOP audience often reacted in support of candidates’ complaints, booing questions they considered unfairly laden with negative presuppositions.  Mr. Cruz lashed out against the tone by saying, “The questions asked so far in this debate illustrate why Americans don’t trust the media… this is not a cage match.” 

Responding to complaints about the debate, a CNBC spokesman responded Wednesday night, “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.” 

Candidates had already begun bridling at debate format after the second event last month. In advance of the CNBC debate Mr. Carson, Donald Trump and other candidates demanded that they be allowed to make opening statements and that the debate not run three hours, as the second debate in Simi Valley, Calif., had. 

Mr. Carson said, in a press conference before addressing an audience of more than 1,500 on campus here, said he had asked his staff to contact all other candidates, saying he would rather have a format that gave candidates more of an “opportunity to be able to lay our your plan for something, then be questioned about it.” 

He said he hoped the debate would turn into “a very important moment in American politics. It so clearly demonstrates the need for a change in format.” 

He stopped short of threatening to boycott future debates if they are not changed to his liking. 

“We will always have the conversation first,” he said. “I don’t see any reason whatever right now to be posturing.

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