Monday, May 24, 2010

Fiegen vs. Conlin vs. Krause

We wondered whether we would see any drama today. We had Roxanne Conlin sitting at a table with Tom Fiegen on her left and Bob Krause on her right. They picked for their seating assignments before we began the hour-long live show, "Conversations with the Candidates", a joint project between WHO-HD (yeah, that's our station's new cool name. Did you know we are the only commercial tv station in Iowa broadcasting in high-definition. Yeah, that's right!) and the Des Moines Register. Obviously, Conlin is the favorite in this race: she has more money in her personal and campaign bank accounts, is a former candidate for governor and has way more name i.d. than either of the former Iowa lawmakers, Fiegen and Krause. So would one of them need to go after her aggressively in our hour-long show? We didn't even need to wait until the show started to find out.

It all started with Fiegen and an employee with the Register. The employee had reminded the candidates the rules they had all agreed to follow before the event. That included no water bottles on the table (no biggie since my boss made sure each candidate had a glass of water) and then notes. Fiegen apparently wanted notes. He walked in carrying one of those accordian-like file folders, presumably full of some type of notes or papers. He and the Register employee went back and forth, four or five times on whether he should be able to leave his notes on the table. Fiegen's voice gradually rose until he turned to Conlin standing next to him. And then he let loose. Fiegen started yelling at Conlin and said her campaign had dictated the rules of this event and he hadn't agreed to them. Conlin, in a much quieter voice than Fiegen's shouts, denied the allegation, as did the Register employee. Again. When faced with the option of either not using his notes or not taking part in the event, Fiegen, red-faced and sweaty, chose to sit down and follow the rules. Drama over.

I always watch for moments (besides that one, I mean!). Two stick out to me from this morning's show. Fiegen came after Conlin, criticizing her for taking $20 million worth of tax credits for her family's business that builds low and moderate-income housing in the Des Moines area. Conlin countered by saying they provide affordable housing for people who struggling to find it and that Fiegen apparently really didn't understand how tax credits work. I'm curious what viewers thought of the exchange. Did Fiegen score on that one or did Conlin too easily deflect the attempt? Here's video of the event. You can always watch in on tv Sunday morning at 9 on Channel 13.

All three candidates during the show said they would support raising the income levels at which people get taxed for social security. But then afterwards, Conlin's campaign sent out a statement that said this, "In the debate, I meant only to note some of the things that the Deficit Commission is considering. The last thing we need are additional Social Security taxes."

Will the other candidates pounce on this? What do you think?

What is your moment from the show?

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