CNN would have you believe that out of all the people THEY selected to ask video taped questions of the Republican presidential candidates the this evening at the CNN/YouTube debate they had no idea that Keith Kerr, retired Colonel., U.S. Army; retired Brigadier General, California National Reserve, was a member of a Hillary Clinton LGBT Steering Committee. Nor did they know was on the National Veterans for Kerry Steering Committee in 2004.
CNN was, however, able to find this 13-year-old Mitt Romney quote about gays in the military to make Kerr’s question into a booby-trap for Romney (From NewsBusters transcript):
COOPER: Governor Romney, you said in 1994 that you looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve, and I quote, ‘openly and honestly’ in our nation’s military. Do you stand by that?
All over the blogosphere and at Free Republic conservatives instantly smelled something very fishy and entirely too convenient about this question and the questioner. It reeked of a setup and it took them mere minutes to discover Kerr’s past. I did notice that he on at least one occasion (in 2004) Kerr appeared as a speaker at a Log Cabin Republican event, but there’s nothing that indicates a membership there, just pushing the same position on an issue.
CNN apparently couldn’t find (or didn’t want to know) any of this. Here’s Cooper’s feeble “we didn’t know” defense.
COOPER: “Bill Bennett earlier mentioned he was getting some reports from friends of his on the Internet that Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who asked a question about gays in the military during this debate, was on a steering committee for Senator Hillary Clinton. That was something certainly unknown to us, and had we known that, would have been disclosed by us. It turns out we have just looked at it. Apparently, there was a press release from some six months ago. Hillary Clinton’s office saying that he had been named to some steering committee. We don’t know if he’s still on it. We’re trying to find out that information. But certainly, had we had that information, we would have acknowledged that in using his question, if we had used it at all.
Anderson Cooper would have you believe that a network that could select this question, find that 13-year-old Romney quote, create the trap for Romney (which he fell face first into), and (presumably) fly Kerr to the debate, could not type “Keith Kerr, retired Colonel” into Google and find the link to the Hillary Clinton press release, which prior to the debate appeared in the first 10 results for that search?
Update: The man behind the debate was making promises beforehand:
The debate format is the same as it was for Democrats in July. CNN’s political team will review the submissions and choose about 40 videos. David Bohrman, the network’s Washington bureau chief and the mastermind behind the format, said he heard from two campaigns — he would not name which — expressing concerns about the selection process and the perceived liberal bias of CNN, dubbed by many conservatives the “Clinton News Network.”
“Some of the Republican candidates don’t trust us. They’re not completely convinced that we’re going to wean out the Democratic ‘gotcha’ questions,” Bohrman said. “But I’ve been very clear from the beginning: This will be a Republican debate, and the goal is to let Republican voters see their candidates.”
He must have forgot to add, “as questioned by non-Republicans.”
Right after the debate Bohrman seemed particularly pleased with himself:
“Interesting questions, weren’t they?” he asked, minutes after the debate. “This kind of participatory format is here to stay. Can you imagine going back?”
Rob Bluey notes that the questions very much look like what liberals would think that a Republican debate should look like, as opposed to what actual Republicans want to know, which thanks to Bohrman and his team is exactly what we got…