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Moderator apologizes for wrongly challenging Scott Brown during debate

November 1, 2014

 Scott-Brown-for-Senate-apWe all remember that infamous debate in the 2012 campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in which Candy Crowley injected herself into the Benghazi narrative by teaming with the President to propagate the lie that he had called the attack terrorism when he did no such thing.

  That debate was a turning point in the campaign; it flustered Mitt Romney on national television and his campaign, which was gaining stream up until that point, was never the same again. Candy Crowley eventually admitted she was wrong but at that point it was too late because the damage was done.

  Something along those lines happened last Thursday in a debate between Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown.

   Now, regular readers of America’s Watchtower know how I feel about Scott Brown; I feel he is a carpetbagger and should not have been the Republican nominee for the Senate. But having said that what happened during the debate is not acceptable. 

  In what was obviously an attempt to paint Scott Brown as a carpetbagger and Jeanne Shaheen (who was was not born in New Hampshire) as somebody with intricate knowledge of the state, and probably coordinated between the Senator and the moderator, the Senate hopeful was asked about a specific county in New Hampshire. 

  Scott Brown began giving a typical political-speak answer and was interrupted by the moderator, James Pindell, who insinuated the candidate was talking about the wrong county. This happened a couple of times before the Mr. Pindell turned to Jeanne Shaheen to ask, “of course you’ve been that county’s governor and senator for 12 years. So what problems remain there, why are they unresolved and what are you going to do about it?”

  Here is how it went down:

Pindell: “When it comes to jobs and the economy, we have a big picture conversation. But I want to drill down to Main Street here in New Hampshire. You both live on the Seacoast, so let’s go to the western part of the state and let’s talk about Sullivan County. Senator Brown, what do you see going right in the economy in Sullivan County, and what’s going wrong, and please be specific.”

Brown: “Well, you’re absolutely right. Geography plays a role. Along the southern border we have more jobs, we have more opportunity; infrastructure and other opportunities up north are difficult. And one of the biggest opportunities is tourism. One of the biggest opportunities are our ski areas and trails for snowmobiles. I support those efforts. I know Senator Shaheen references a tourist bill. The biggest wet blanket right now on the economy in that area is Obamacare. It’s also those notices that people are getting – 50 to 100 percent increases on their electric rates. Rates are not going down. In addition to that, you have a situation where getting from point A to point B and inspiring businesses to stay there is problematic. Because, what are they looking at? Highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world, Obamacare …”

Pindell (interrupting): “We’re talking about Sullivan County, and I think you were talking about the North Country? So what do you see as going well in Sullivan County, or not?”

Brown: “I’m talking about any place past Concord, actually, and the challenges of our state. So I’m referring to the challenges including the high corporate tax rate, Obamacare coming in after the election. We also have the challenges of high electric costs. If you go to any business in any county in our state those are the very real challenges. One of the …”

Pindell (interrupting): “Sullivan County is west of Concord. It’s not North of Concord, Senator Brown. So what do you see as going well or what’s not going well there?”

Brown: “With respect, I’ve answered the question. The challenge is the same in every county in our state.”

 It was at that point that the James Pindell turned to Jeanne Shaheen. It is clear what the intent here was but there are a few problems with what happened when you look at the facts.

  Because Scott Brown mentioned the skiing industry James Pindell assumed he was talking about the north country when in fact Scott Brown had visited Mount Sunapee a few days prior and that ski resort is in the county in question. 

  But then there is the geography issue: The moderator claimed Sullivan County was West of Concord and not North of Concord and that is not entirely true.

But the fact is that the great majority of Sullivan County lies to the northwest of Concord. A small portion of the southern end of the county lies directly west, and some towns even lie a bit to the southwest.

  So while the Democrats were hoping for a Scott Brown gaffe they could use in their closing arguments is turns out that the gaffe was committed by James Pindell and he apologized for his mistake:

Pindell later apologized for the error, saying on WMUR’s 11 p.m newscast, “I said Sullivan County was west of Concord, not north of Concord. The truth is, it’s both, so on this point, Scott Brown was right, I was wrong and I apologize to Scott Brown and to both campaigns.”

He wrote on Friday, “When a reporter – or a debate panelist – becomes the story then they failed…where Sullivan County lies is irrelevant, but the tone I took with the Senator is relevant. I’m sorry for both.”

  The interesting thing here is that it might have backfired on the Democrats because it showed that Scott Brown had more knowledge of the state than does James Pindell and even MSNBC could not help but go after the moderator for this:

You know this is why people hate the press,” veteran political reporter/analyst Cokie Roberts, formerly of ABC News, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program with Joe Scarborough, “is having that guy just sort of ask that same little question over and over again like that.

“And he was just trying to be so smart,” Roberts said. “And of course he turned out not to be. And I think Scott Brown handled it very well….And he didn’t get flustered by it, which was the point. The point was to fluster him and to show him as a carpetbagger. That is the biggest strike against him, but it ended up being a much bigger strike against the member of my trade.”

  The questions are will people just remember what happened on stage or will they remember that James Pindell was actually in the wrong and apologized for it? Is the apology, as it was in the case of Candy Crowley, too little too late? And was mission accomplished regardless of the facts?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2014 7:59 am

    It’s game on as far as the media is concerned. I saw the clip and it sounded a whole lot worse than it read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce permalink
      November 1, 2014 12:07 pm

      You’re right bunker, the tone I heard in his voice when played on the radio was one of contempt, irritation, and condescension. As Hugh Hewitt asked yesterday, why does this happen to conservative candidates, and not liberals? Never mind, a rhetorical question. Hugh also stated that when there is a story about the moderator after the debate, then the moderator messed up. Sadly, you can’t UNring a bell.

      Liked by 2 people

    • November 1, 2014 1:47 pm

      I probably should have included the video as well so people could hear for themselves what it sounded like. You are both right, it is clear when you hear it what the intention was.


  2. Petermc3 permalink
    November 1, 2014 9:18 am

    As a naive amateur political watcher and enthusiast I felt at the time Romney should have intoned that a political debate between two opponents is a debate between two opponents. If a moderator chooses to insert himself or herself into the debate and thereby not to remain impartial than this debate cannot continue but needs to be rescheduled with a truly impartial moderator. Mr. Obama have your people contact my people,. I look forward to hearing from you. Ladies and gentlemen of these great United States, goodnight and God bless America. He then stands up and takes his leave. I can dream can’t I?
    Hopefully this time around the voters resent the obvious on the part of the democrats and the media. I can dream can’t I?

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 1, 2014 1:07 pm

      I would hope those that watched would have a good idea where the county was. I guess I dream. I agree. Romney allowed himself to get thrown off his game.

      Liked by 1 person

    • November 1, 2014 1:48 pm

      Romney was so flustered by tat event he never recovered, and that says something about him as a candidate. He should have been able to rebound but he never did and, yes, you are both dreaming. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. November 1, 2014 2:49 pm

    “Mr Green I am paying for this microphone” that wasn’t a dream. 1980 republican primary Nashua NH after the usual shenanigans about the debates rules Ronald Reagan decided to pay for the event so everyone could participate. When the arguing continued right up to the start of the coverage a Mr Breen a local editor for the Nashua Telegraph ordered the sound man to cut off Reagan’s microphone eliciting the quoted response.
    The fact that Reagan got the guys name wrong just makes the memory more enjoyable.

    Why candidates do not challenge these moderators more is disappointing. Some say this was Reagan’s turning point as he got more attention after the remark. But I guess you really have to believe in something, otherwise your paid consultants will convince you to do it their way. Anyway your probably right after a thirty plus year drought of decent candidates it does begin to feel like it was all just a dream.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 1, 2014 6:33 pm

      Republicans go into these debates knowing that the deck is stacked against them and yet they are unprepared, whereas the Democrats simply refuse to debate in what they consider unfriendly territory. (I remember them refusing to debate on Fox News) Why cannot the Republicans take a stand like this?


      • Bruce permalink
        November 1, 2014 6:50 pm

        Reince Previs (sp?) swears he is going to take control of the debate situation for the RNC run for 2016. Every person that Hugh Hewitt interviews that either has desires for the nomination, or is involved in any way is asked if they will stick together and control the debate format at least among the Republicans. This way, the left won’t be allowed make sport of the Republican process. We will see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • November 1, 2014 6:57 pm

        Let’s hope he sticks to this, but you are right, we will see…


  4. lou222 permalink
    November 1, 2014 3:04 pm

    If they had a moderator that was “impartial”, that would be different, but most I have seen are left leaning, so there is a bias from the get go, Romney didn’t want to offend anyone, I am sure, so he reacted the way he did. It was wrong of the moderator and it was wrong how Romney reacted….not sure if 2 wrongs equal a right, but that is beside the point. Fast forward to Scott Brown and once again having a left leaning moderator, AGAIN, however he is just not as nice of a person as Romney, so I don’t feel like it hurt him as much. He bounces easier to the punches, I guess. Now, there will probably never be another Reagan and I sure liked him (sigh)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 1, 2014 6:35 pm

      Brown definitely handled this better than Romney did, I suppose he understood the situation better than Romney.


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