Monday, September 15, 2008

Politics: Pearce Interview Questions

On September 10, I interviewed Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running for the United States Senate. My newspaper column reporting the interview will appear during the next two weeks in papers in Raton, Farmington, Gallup, Espanola, Roswell, Artesia and Hobbs. The timing of running the column is up to the given newspaper.
The plan was to interview Pearce and his opponent for the Senate job, Rep. Tom Udall, ask them exactly the same few general questions, without notice as to topic, transcribe the interviews as best as possible and then run the interview reports without comment in separate columns, one for Pearce and one for Udall. This was exactly the approach taken with an interview of Pearce and Udall that ran in the Winter 2008 issue of our magazine, Capitol Report New Mexico. The issue is still available at the Web site,
There will be no interview with Udall. His staff—and I need to confirm exactly which person—required at least a general briefing about the topic. That was not to be. In the first place, that wasn't the deal; Pearce accepted the deal. And in the second place, it's hard to give general notice of a general topic. The Udall situation will be discussed in detail in my next column which be distributed for publication starting September 29.
Interestingly, the staff of Rep. Heather Wilson blew off the magazine interview request, even after Wilson accepted. That I found really strange.
Considerable effort went into ensuring the questions were posed neutrally. Here they are:
1. Normal people don’t run for the Senate, or for the House for that matter. You are risking everything—reputation, integrity, a fairly safe seat in the House. You are creating huge amounts of hassle for your family. Please dig deep, cut through the rhetoric and tell me what’s in your heart. Why are you running for the United States Senate?
1a. We all know there are challenges in America. What are a few of the most critical?
New Mexicans need to know three specific things you will do to meet these challenges in the US Senate.
2. In general, political approaches lean toward faith in the private sector to solve problems and faith in the public sector – the government - to be the source of solutions. We know there is always a middle ground, but are you more inclined to one view or the other and why?

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