• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Obama Town Hall Questioners Were Campaign Backers

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
0
So Obama holds a town hall meeting meet with the people and get questions asked by the public.
Only problem is that all the people asking questions are Obama supporters.
Guess the idea of answering a tough question is too scary for Obama. After all he can't read the answers off his teleprompter.

Might be a minor story. But it shows once again that Obama is not some all powerful politician, but instead just another run of the mill politician no better or worse than anyone else in Washington.
WaPo
President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall Thursday with supporters whose soft -- though far from planted -- questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.

Obama has said, "I think it's important to engage your critics ... because not only will you occasionally change their mind but, more importantly, sometimes they will change your mind," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recounted to The Post's Lois Romano in an interview Wednesday.

But while the online question portion of the White House town hall was open to any member of the public with an Internet connection, the five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's campaign in 2008.

Here are their stories:

1. Sergio Salmeron: Self-description at the White House: "My name is Sergio Salmeron. I want to find out about health care."

Salmeron became engaged with the Obama campaign early in 2008, writing on his blog at my.barackobama.com, "We need to mobilize towards changing the trend of '2 to 1 Latinos favoring Hillary over Barack.' Let's make a resolute commitment... Let's put the facts on the table, ask the questions, until we understand how this all applies to us. Then strategize [sic] to get the word out to Latinos in America, who want change as much as everyone else."

He was a volunteer canvasser for the campaign, he told The Post, and did voter registration work and translated materials for the campaign, as well. A partner at Global Paradigm Strategies, Salmeron is volunteer "member of the Democratic National Committee" and continues to be active with the Obama campaign's successor, Organizing for America, which is how he got the White House invite, he said.

"I got a call from this woman who has been working with me for the pledge drive," he said, referring to the Organizing for America drive on behalf of the president's budget proposal. "You know, we're trying to get support out for the president's agenda."

2. Tom Sawner: Self-description: "Sir, I'm Tom Sawner. I'm a service-disabled veteran, small-business owner in Arlington, Virginia. My company, Educational Options, works with public schools."

According to Federal Election Commission records, Sawner made a $250 donation to Obama's campaign on Oct. 27, 2008. He also, as he noted Thursday, served as an adviser on Obama's educational platform committee. He said he was invited to the White House town hall through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Executive Council.

Sawner's no stranger to the White House, either; he attended President Bush's Feb. 2008 signing ceremony for that year's economic stimulus package -- another Chamber of Commerce invite. And in April 2008, he even became an anecdote in one of Bush's speeches.

"And I met a guy named Tom Sawner," the 43rd president said at a small business summit. "Now, he's an old fighter pilot, which means there's no wall he can [sic] run through. He's a doer, an achiever, and he's got him a small business called Educational Options."

But the event with Obama, Sawner said, "was a whole different look and feel" than the one with Bush. "This is a president who is into openness." And he didn't know he was going to be able to ask a question until he got to the forum, he said.

3. Carlos Del Toro: Self-description: "My name is Carlos Del Toro. I served in the Navy for 26 years, retired four years ago, and started a small business."

In 2007, Del Toro stood as a Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, but did not win. A supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries, he backed Obama against McCain in the general, endorsing him in an Oct. 24, 2008 op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

"As a Virginia small-business owner, veteran, and Latino, I'm voting for Sen. Barack Obama for the same reasons as millions of other Americans: because I believe this country desperately needs change. Obama will change our economic policies to help middle-class families, promote the growth of small businesses, and increase funding for veterans' affairs, so no member of our armed services goes without the medical treatment he or she needs and deserves," he wrote.

In 2008, he donated $2,750 to Virginia Democratic candidates for office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics; in 2006, he gave $1000 to the campaign of now Sen. Jim Webb (Va.), FEC records show.

He also has ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Council.

4. Linda Bock: "My name is Linda Bock and I'm a registered nurse just in Prince George's County, Maryland -- been there 34 years at a free senior health center. And I'm here with my fellow nurses from SEIU."

Bock, along with her chapter of the SEIU and her son and daughter, helped campaign and canvass for Obama, she said. After Obama was elected, she wrote in the Landover, Md., 1199 SEIU nurses' newsletter: "Now we have our work cut out for us -to hold our elected officials accountable. And I hope they hold us accountable too. We all have work to do to make the changes needed to restore our reputation, to heal the wounds of war, to repair our earth and regulate its resources; and, to secure our economic future. It will take sacrifice and service. It will take prayer and the grace of God. Now we have hope. We have President-elect Barack Obama. God bless America."

Her invite to the White House came through the Nurse Alliance Leadership Council, she said. And like Sawner, she didn't know until she got to the forum that it was open to the in real life participants. "I did not think we would be able to ask any questions," she said. "I wasn't personally anticipating being chosen to ask anything. We knew that the Web portion was people already lined up."

5. Bonnee L. Breese: "Hi, Mr. President. Thank you so very much for having me, a public school teacher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, here to be with you.
THE PRESIDENT: What's your name?
Q Bonnee Breese.
THE PRESIDENT: Good to see you, Bonnee.
Q Thank you. I'm from Overbrook High School. I have to say that, because I know all the children are watching. (Laughter.)"

Breese has not donated a reportable amount to Obama, according to the FEC. She is a member of the 11,626-person Pennsylvania for Obama page on Facebook.

A supporter of the president's -- "Of course!" she said -- Breese was invited to the meeting through the American Federation of Teachers union. She sits on the executive board of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Local 3, she said, and is known in her area for being politically engaged.

The sixth in-person presidential questioner, "Ellie" from Maryland, did not give her surname. The White House did not respond to a request for it, but noted there were roughly 100 people in the audience.

"The audience was composed of approximately 100 people, including teachers, nurses, small business owners, and community leaders -- and the virtual audience of thousands across the country who have submitted questions online," said White House spokesman Nicholas S. Shapiro. "The White House reached out to a number of community groups and the chamber of commerce and those groups invited their folks to come and participate."
 

smashp

Platinum Member
Aug 30, 2003
2,443
0
0
I think the smoking gun is the supporter that joined the Support Obama facebook group. that says it all
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
73,721
25,821
136
While I certainly wish that Obama had engaged audience members that were not his supporters, the internet questioning part was open to anyone and everyone. So while it's by no means perfect it's still a LARGE improvement over Bush.

Nice try again Pro-Jo.
 

winnar111

Banned
Mar 10, 2008
2,847
0
0
Well, 53% of the country voted for the messiah, so some people in these town halls are bound to be radicals. Whether its disproportionate or not, I'm not sure.
 

brandonbull

Diamond Member
May 3, 2005
6,014
864
126
Originally posted by: eskimospy
While I certainly wish that Obama had engaged audience members that were not his supporters, the internet questioning part was open to anyone and everyone. So while it's by no means perfect it's still a LARGE improvement over Bush.

Nice try again Pro-Jo.
I'm still waiting for the improvement.
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
48,900
14
81
I care more about what Obama does than how me markets it to the public. But that's just me being crazy.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,789
3,193
126
Originally posted by: brandonbull
Originally posted by: eskimospy
While I certainly wish that Obama had engaged audience members that were not his supporters, the internet questioning part was open to anyone and everyone. So while it's by no means perfect it's still a LARGE improvement over Bush.

Nice try again Pro-Jo.
I'm still waiting for the improvement.
aren`t you one of those idiots who after Obama was in office 24hrs said we should impeach Onama because no change had taken place...yet...lol
 

WHAMPOM

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2006
7,628
181
106
All the non-Obama supporters that wanted to ask questions are escorted to the fenced in Free Speech Zone. Oh wait, they're not.
 

Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
14,681
1,894
126
So while it's by no means perfect it's still a LARGE improvement over Bush.
True, Obama has greatly improved upon Bush's tactics to the extent that his supporters perceive it as change.
 

Robor

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
16,979
0
0
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
So Obama holds a town hall meeting meet with the people and get questions asked by the public. Only problem is that all the people asking questions are Obama supporters.
You're right - this has NEVER happened before. Oh wait...

Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Guess the idea of answering a tough question is too scary for Obama. After all he can't read the answers off his teleprompter.
At least he CAN read.

Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Might be a minor story. But it shows once again that Obama is not some all powerful politician, but instead just another run of the mill politician no better or worse than anyone else in Washington.
It MIGHT be a minor story? Ya think?

 

SP33Demon

Lifer
Jun 22, 2001
27,929
141
106
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Breese has not donated a reportable amount to Obama, according to the FEC. She is a member of the 11,626-person Pennsylvania for Obama page on Facebook.
This snippet underlies the stupidity of this op-ed and how it reaches farther than Mr. Fantastic (although lacking his intelligence). Alert the presses, this guy has discovered that 5% of the questioners in the audience had direct ties to Obama! One was even part of a Facebook page for him even though she never donated money to his campaign, holy sht!
 

NeoV

Diamond Member
Apr 18, 2000
9,531
2
81
let me get this straight PJ - one of the people in the 'town hall' audience is a member of a pro-Obama facebook group, and that is your smoking gun? Another guy was also invited to events by the Bush white house -

desperate - even for your feeble mind
 

Fear No Evil

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2008
5,922
0
0
Originally posted by: CitizenKain
Poor righties, you can't find anything real to complain about, so you have to run with this.
We're complaining about the nearly 4 trillion dollar budget, but you assholes say the same thing when we bring that up.. 4 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But thats not an issue to you guys either.. Either is the nearly doubling of the national debt.. No real issues? This issue is just one of a BUNCH of them..
 

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,136
1
0
Originally posted by: Fear No Evil
Originally posted by: CitizenKain
Poor righties, you can't find anything real to complain about, so you have to run with this.
We're complaining about the nearly 4 trillion dollar budget, but you assholes say the same thing when we bring that up.. 4 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But thats not an issue to you guys either.. Either is the nearly doubling of the national debt.. No real issues? This issue is just one of a BUNCH of them..
Except that it's not $4 Trillion. Obama's proposal was $3.6T. After the Congressional D's are done with it, we're looking at more like $3.2T based on the sort of cuts they're talking about making. And for comparison purposes, Bush's final budget proposal for FY2009 was $3.1T and didn't bother counting the war costs or the inevitable fix to the AMT, etc., etc.
 

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,136
1
0
Originally posted by: microbial
I remember reading when Obama spoke in Orange County Ca. just recently. Apparently there was a wait line that started 2 nights before to get tix. Maybe only Obama supporters are willing to camp out to get in to see him..

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=obama+vis...range+county+wait+line
I remember that too. And what McCain voter/GOP voter is going to camp out to go see him? Probably none. Hell, I voted for Obama and I have zero interest in camping out to go listen to him. It's no wonder the audience ends up being his most ardent supporters...
 

Fear No Evil

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2008
5,922
0
0
Originally posted by: DealMonkey
Originally posted by: Fear No Evil
Originally posted by: CitizenKain
Poor righties, you can't find anything real to complain about, so you have to run with this.
We're complaining about the nearly 4 trillion dollar budget, but you assholes say the same thing when we bring that up.. 4 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But thats not an issue to you guys either.. Either is the nearly doubling of the national debt.. No real issues? This issue is just one of a BUNCH of them..
Except that it's not $4 Trillion. Obama's proposal was $3.6T. After the Congressional D's are done with it, we're looking at more like $3.2T based on the sort of cuts they're talking about making. And for comparison purposes, Bush's final budget proposal for FY2009 was $3.1T and didn't bother counting the war costs or the inevitable fix to the AMT, etc., etc.
A trillion here, a trillion there.. whats a trillion dollars among friends?
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY