Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Democrats, liberal groups angle for spotlight at Republican presidential debate


    By Lars Gesing
    BOULDER — When you host a Republican presidential debate in what is often semi-jokingly called “The People’s Republic of Boulder,” you are going to get just that: a debate, and a passionate one at that.

    In the days leading up to Wednesday’s primetime event, progressive groups across the state and on the University of Colorado campus were eager to defend their turf. The liberal grassroots army came out in full force, whether it was at press gatherings and roundtable discussions on climate change and gun violence; conference calls with the state’s Democratic U.S. House members; or a guerilla protest featuring giant representations of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, ridiculing the two GOP candidates as puppets in the hands of influential conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch.

    “For the candidates who are coming here to Boulder, to — let’s hope — talk about the issue [of gun violence] we want to hope that they are hearing us loud and clear that, if ever there is a time to tackle the issue of gun safety, now is the time,” ProgressNow Colorado Executive Director Amy Runyon-Harms said Tuesday during a rally to raise awareness about gun violence.

    Under an enormous Jeb Bush puppet that wore a “Stuff Happens” sign around its neck, family members of Colorado shooting victims and groups including Safe Campus Colorado and Colorado Ceasefire went through a laundry list of reasons for gun violence that GOP candidates compiled after the most recent mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon – a list that did not include guns.

    On Monday, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. House delegation, Reps. Diana DeGette, Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter held a conference call with reporters.

    After Polis, who represents Boulder, was done bragging about working for the “most beautiful congressional district in the country,” the conversation quickly turned much more serious — and confrontational.

    “This week, the GOP's traveling carnival rolls into Boulder,” Polis said. “And they've got a whole host of bad policy ideas in tow on immigration reform, combating global climate change and other issues.”

    Perlmutter discussed his views on the fossil fuel-centric energy debate within the GOP presidential candidate cadre.

    “In Colorado we are very proud that we have an all-of-the-above menu of energy choices, but particularly we have a lot of solar, we have a lot of wind, and the Republicans would completely avoid that subject if they had the chance,” he said.

    The menu of issues dished up by Polis, Perlmutter and DeGette resembled the concerns a delegation of CU College Democrats addressed at a gathering on the front steps of the stately old Norlin Library. Under engraved words of wisdom (“Who knows only his own generation always remains a child”), CU College Democrats President Javier Mabry criticized the GOP field for being “out of step with our generation.”

    Pressed after the event whether he sees common ground with some of the GOP contenders, Mabry struck a more collaborative note.

    “There’s several candidates that have acceptable positions on certain issues — Marco Rubio in the past has supported a pathway to citizenship on immigration reform, Rand Paul is a great voice on criminal justice reform,” he said. “It’s a little bit more difficult when you have candidates out there who are explicitly saying racist things.”

    The real impact of the student ticket debate

    These are just a few examples of a flurry of debate-related events Democrats and liberal groups have mounted so far, an effort that will culminate on Wednesday with a “One Country, One Vote” immigration-reform rally and a campus visit by Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

    But the most reverberating cry among progressives in Boulder has been the campaign to pressure broadcaster CNBC and the Republican National Committee to provide the campus community with more than what has this week grown to a total of 150 tickets to the event. The RNC is trying to shut out students, critics, including ProgressNow Colorado, have claimed repeatedly in recent weeks.

    The topic resonated and sparked outrage among the student population. But some students, and not just the more conservative ones, have tried to cut through the noise and recast the narrative.

    “It’s a little bit unfortunate because the debate around student representation has eclipsed the real issues at hand — the fact that the economy is going to be the real topic of the night,” said Jordyn Siemens, editor-in-chief of the CU Independent, a campus news organization. “Our coverage is two-pronged. We talk about what students are talking about. But we also need to have coverage that is policy-based and based on each candidate. Over the past few days, we have put out stories that break down the economic plans up to this point of each candidate.”

    But she wouldn’t discount the merits of the protests surrounding tickets to the event, either.

    “People our age are a little bit self-centered in a way that we want candidates to come to us, and we want the information to just come to us,” she said. “The lack of student tickets woke people on this campus up, and their initial retaliation actually ended up in political participation. It went from a bad thing to a good thing, and we will see a lot of different perspectives represented on campus on Wednesday.”

    The student publication will have a horde of 22 reporters spread out all across campus to capture the day’s action, said news editor Andrew Haubner. They will get support from about another dozen reporters for the campus TV station, NewsTeam Boulder.

    The journalism students at CU’s newly formed College of Media, Communication and Information are among the prime beneficiaries of an international news event happening right at their doorstep — much to the delight of Paul Voakes, the founding chair of the journalism department within the new college.

    “I hope that students will develop genuine interest not only in who these candidates are, but what are the policies they are actually discussing?” he said. “A generation-plus ago, when I was coming through journalism school in the ’70s and getting my first jobs at newspapers, political reporting was a valued beat. The beat structure over the last 30 years has pretty much dissipated.”

    Today, Voakes said, it’s mostly become hyper-specialized, with less visible outlets, such as Politico, which in return, he argues, has led to a decline in general attention to politics among journalism students. The professor hopes covering the presidential debate in Boulder first-hand might help spark one or two careers in political and government reporting.

    “Democratic countries need good public-policy journalism, it is just that simple.”

    Lars Gesing is assistant director of CU News Corps, an explanatory journalism project at the University of Colorado Boulder. Gesing, a former intern at The Colorado Statesman, is traveling the country, visiting every presidential battleground state for his project “States in Play.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, parents of Aurora theater shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, address a rally on Oct. 27 on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. Organizers said the event was intended to hold Republican presidential candidates — including Jeb Bush, depicted as a giant puppet — accountable for “being in the pocket of the NRA.”
    Photo by Lars Gesing/The Colorado Statesman

Similar Threads

  1. CU gears up for Republican presidential debate
    By Jean in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-27-2015, 04:39 PM
  2. Who Won the First Republican Presidential Debate?
    By JohnDoe2 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 08-10-2015, 03:31 AM
  3. Republican Presidential Debate Parts 1 - 7
    By AirborneSapper7 in forum Other Topics News and Issues
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 05-11-2011, 10:44 AM
  4. Fla. Republican Presidential Debate is on MSNBC now
    By Skippy in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-24-2008, 10:06 PM
    By GeorgiaPeach in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-10-2007, 12:07 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts