June 29, 2007
While they didn’t discuss the digital divide during the presidential debate as I had hoped, I managed to put some questions to four of the candidates in the spin room. Most of them didn’t give me much more than a sound bite, but it was still interesting. Bill Richardson probably had the broadest perspective on the subject, while Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich focused on ubiquitous broadband and laptops for kids. Mike Gravel offered some terse comments on keeping the Internet free and putting computers in our classrooms.
I’ve posted an article about what they said on my PBS blog. I’ll also put together a video of their comments soon. Hopefully, I’ll be able to ask the Republican candidates about the digital divide at the next PBS debate, which will take place at the end of September. -andy
June 28, 2007
Even though he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting nominated, former senator Mike Gravel sure is entertaining. He spent much of the debate talking about the need to legalize drugs, and he kept at it in the spin room. Most of the reporters were talking with other candidates or their representatives, allowing for a more intimate conversation with Gravel and perhaps one or two other people at a time. Gravel lambasted the war on drugs, saying it’s insane that a person can’t get a prescription to buy cocaine. When asked if drugs should be taxed heavily, he disagreed, saying that he doesn’t have to pay taxes for the painkillers he uses for his leg pain, so why should someone have to pay tax if they want to buy some drugs?
It sure is fascinating watching someone who has absolutely nothing to lose. -andy
The post-debate spin room is in full swing right now. Four of the candidates who participated tonight – Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson and Gravel – are mingling with reporters, taking questions and posing for photograph. Biden has apparently left the campus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case with Clinton, Obama and Edwards – we’ll see. In their stead they have proxies taking questions for them – folks like Cornell West, Vernon Jordan and Reverend Al Sharpton.
I’ve managed to talk with all four candidates about Internet policy, mostly the digital divide. Senator Gravel spontaneously erupted in support of net neutrality, while Richardson focused more on creating math and science academies. I shot video of all of their responses, so I’ll have to put together something with it later. -andy
Still no sign of Maureen Dowd, but there’s a glass of water by her chair that keeps getting lower and lower. How Elijah the Prophet. -andy
The candidates are now talking about education; Richardon’s response seems to have resonated well in the media center and the chatrooms. It’s gotten a lot quieter here; fewer media folks are chatting or making snarky remarks. Might also be because Obama is talking and everyone wants to hear what he has to say. -andy
We’re under way. The first question was about race and whether it’s still a paramount issue. It took a few candidates before John Edwards decided to thank Howard University for hosting the event. Mike Gravel drew some confused looks in the media center when he talked about legalizing drugs. And Kucinich’s response wasn’t heard by anyone because everyone was asking who the redhead was? When they realized it was his wife, they were still confused. Next think you knew his time was up. -andy