Race for the White House

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Our show airs from New York City on Friday night — yes, we're back on the road. And next week we are really hitting the road! We are planning so much traveling in such a short period of time next week that it might not even make sense to waste the money on a hotel. We seem to sleep a lot on planes and in rental cars.

On Thursday, I blogged about the DNC's decision not to include FOX News in the DNC sanctioned debates and asked for your e-mails. I received many (and have posted a bunch below.) You should not read anything into my selection of posted e-mails. My decision on which e-mails to post is rather random… it can be based on such simple matters as to whether the e-mailer included his or her name. It is true that many, many, many more agreed with me than disagreed (that does not always happen… sometimes I am standing alone.)

As you might have guessed, my blog did provoke some e-mail debate which is always interesting and fun — and did provoke some "haters" to come out from hiding (sometimes I wish they hid better... or stayed in hiding). Yes, both teams have their share of haters and I sure see it when I go through the e-mails. What is sort of amusing is that the haters only think there are haters on the other team. There is a big difference in my mind between strong opinion and passion... and hate. How do you tell the difference between passion and hate? Sometimes the use of particular adjectives is helpful... sometimes the generalizations about the opposing party are key (like "every Democrat" or "all Republicans"). What do you think? (And yes, alas, there is probably a little bit of hypocrisy and hate in even the best of us.)

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

I am a hard core right winger, but, I want to know how and why the Dem candidates would react to today's issues! Even if the person or party I don't vote for gets the presidential position, I want to in some way have faith that the winner, regardless of political affiliation, has the best interest of "all" Americans at heart! The Reps answered the tough questions by the FOX team... respect is "earned"... the Dems should follow suit! In my opinion, "singing to the choir" (the mainstream media), is a favorite pastime of the Dems… lets see if there is a Dem candidate out there that is man (or woman) enough to answer the tough questions, and, earn the respect of FOX viewers! Our president (regardless of party), must be strong at heart, and in spirit. If a short stint, and a few tough questions on a TV show is enough for them to "turn tail and run", they have proven to all that they don't have the grit to hold the office!
George Robertson
St. Louis, MO

E-mail No. 2

How naive of you Greta. Everyone knows FOX is the most Republican network in the world. Your logo of "WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE" is a long running joke to those of us with brains.
You only report things detrimental to Democrats and try to gloss over anything that might hurt a Republican.
I have watched and enjoyed YOUR show in the past when you were covering the Natalee Holloway story, but the rest of the biased reporters leave me cold.
Bev Hess
Willoughby, OH

E-mail No. 3

Hi, Greta,
Why the Democratic National Committee would shun FOX News Channel is beyond me. Their stance is incredulous.
"The worst publicity a person can get is his or her obituary, and sometimes that isn't too bad!" is as true today as ever. So just what is the DNC afraid of on FOX News?
The questions will be tough, as they should be. That's the way the cookie crumbles. If Democratic candidates can't take such questions, they shouldn't be running for president of the United States in the first place. Let them run for alderman somewhere instead.
I hope that some Democratic presidential candidates ignore the DNC and debate each other on FOX News anyway. Drill them, grill them with tough domestic and international questions. Let's see how they measure up.
George Spink
Los Angeles, CA

E-mail No. 4

I can understand why. If they're on FOX they'll lose MoveOn.org's money. As spineless as these people are do we want any of them to be our next president?
Great show,
Charlie Knotts
Collierville, TN

E-mail No. 5

I just can't believe it! FOX News is to be EXCLUDED from the Democratic debates? What are they thinking? A decision like that says they can't play hardball. Who wants that? BIG MISTAKE!
And, as a Democrat... it's embarrassing.
Nancy Centanni
Independence, OR
P.S. I enjoyed meeting you when my brother Steve came home last summer. It was after your interview with Olaf and Steve, which was riveting by the way. In fact watching you has turned me into a bit of a news junkie and given me new insight into Steve's brain. When my other younger siblings and myself were fighting over whether to watch reruns of Leave it to Beaver or McHale's Navy, Steve always wanted the news. I get it now.

E-mail No. 6

I ready with interest your comments on why Democratics (sic) won't debate on FOX? To me it is really a bad move, because I follow the cable ratings to see how everyone is doing. They went on CNBC and their ratings are lower that CNN. It would make sense to me for them to come on, answer the questions that Americans want to know. The Republican candidates were asked tough questions and those questions should be put to the Democratics if they want to lead this country.
Right now the country is split and if an independent candidate (like
Bloomfield (sic)) enter this race — it hurts the Democratics.
I was a Democratic in the 60s — big, big Kennedy fan, both John and Bobby — but that was the 60s. I now vote more as a conservative — but there is a lot at state here and I believe all parties must come up to the plate and debate. One thing I don't want is "tax" cuts. I do not want us to let our guard down on these "individuals" who want to harm me and my extended family which is made up of Democratics and Republicans. I think I am an educated person and well read and I do think they are some in this world that wants to do us harm and America better wake up and quit listening to people like Rosie O'Donnell and the far left. The Democratics can win in the next election but not appearing on FOX is just stupid.
N.B. By the way keep up the good reporting.
Emily Bennett

E-mail No. 7

Dear Greta,
As a registered Democrat, I feel the candidates seeking my party's nomination are being cowardly by refusing to debate on FOX. Clearly, if I were a Democratic candidate, I would not want the moderator to be Sean Hannity. But most, if not all, of the political reporters on FOX are fair.
They are missing a huge part of the informed viewing audience by snubbing FOX News. I admit, I had my doubts about FOX when I initially started watching after you moved over from CNN. But it is now my first choice for national and international broadcast news.
If I can't find any entertainment shows I like, and that has become very common, I start the evening with Bill O'Reilly and continue through "On the Record."
On economic issues, I would classify myself as extremely left wing, but there are many social issues where I probably would be well on the right, such as abortion, 2nd Amendment rights, etc.
Father Daniel Beegan S.T.D.
Rumford, ME

E-mail No. 8

I won't say that I agree with the Democrats for not using FOX, but I will say that from what I have seen, FOX is not "fair and balanced." It seems overwhelmingly Republican. It seems like (and I am probably exaggerating), the only party is the Republican Party, especially when it comes to interviews. I fail to see what they have done for us, other than getting us in to a needless war and ignoring environmental issues, etc. I think FOX overall is very one-sided.
Seattle, WA

E-mail No. 9

Oh, Greta! Stop it. I know you are a Democrat. FOX News has covered up the lies and incompetencies of the Bush administration and has served as a Republican mouth-piece until it is a widely accepted fact that FOX News isn't a legitimate news source. It would be foolish for Democratic candidates to expect FOX to be "fair" and "balanced" after reports of the DOD (and other agencies) asking Fox to air their bogus reports in order to sway public opinion. All credibility of FOX News is lost with the nightly bloodletting by Sean Hannity. If refusing to appear on a certain news channel means the prospective candidate would fail to represent that segment of the country, then Bush only represents FOX News. I don't see Bush staffers chatting away on "Hardball."
Occasionally they sacrifice Tony Snow for damage control purposes. I'm sure the Democratic candidates could answer FOX News' questions as well as any other "news agency," but the problem is in the biased interpretation of their answers. Perhaps FOX should become more objective if they want to be accepted by both parties. I watch your show nightly. I've noticed FOX seems to be making an effort to be more "balanced" through the hiring of Harold Ford, Jr. That was a giant step in the right direction, but they have damaged their reputation for the past seven years, and it will take a long time to rebuild it. In the meantime, please don't accuse the Dems of "being afraid of FOX's questions". Just allow FOX to "take their medicine". It may get worse before it gets better.
Mary Hartman

E-mail No. 10

Like millions of mainstream Americans, I would like to see the Democratic presidential candidates appear in a similar format to the recent Republican debate that would be hosted by FOX News. But I do see a potential problem. Britt Hume and the other moderators would expect them to actually say something of substance and answer real questions rather than talk around the issues that are important to mainstream America. Never mind, it wouldn't work. We'd either have 90 minutes of red-faced silence… or 90 minutes of "jabber-jawing" why they can't give the American people a straight answer regarding their own ideas and agendas if elected president. On second thought, it might be an interesting 90-minutes of squirming… hmm.
John Terry
Russellville, AR

E-mail No. 11

Greta, this is the dumbest thing any political party has done. They are missing the audience that is more politically involved and who vote more than any other group. It is also the party that I go to the polls in the primary to try and put in the best candidate. Guess I won't know who they are then. Too bad.
Doris Royle

E-mail No. 12

THANK YOU! I was wondering when someone was going to address this. I was thinking the same thing... how do they lead America when republicans or people who don't share their views aren't important? What if I haven't made up my mind yet and was thinking of voting for a Democrat because maybe, just maybe I like what he or she had to say? It's pathetic and scary that someone from that party just might get the opportunity to run our wonderful country some day!
Oxford, CT

E-mail No. 13

Please don't pollute FOX with their presence. FOX is the only place I can go to get away from them.
Let them continue their self-destruction elsewhere.
Possible compromise: Let Obama come on alone. None of the others, especially Edwards and Clinton.
David Welden
Powder Springs, GA

ANSWER: David — your remarks about Senators Edwards and Clinton are part of the problem in this country. You can disagree… but you should welcome the opportunity to at least hear the different ideas. An exchange of ideas is an important part of a democracy. I enjoy hearing viewpoints that are different from my own. Sometimes I change my mind or adjust my opinions after hearing other people talk. We live in a dynamic time and hearing other views can be valuable. You don't have to adopt the other person's views, but you should at least listen. It may even confirm that you were right in the first place.

E-mail No. 14

Great point! If the Dems fear mean old FOX News, how will they deal with North Korea, Iran, Cuba and the demented dictator of the day?!
Maybe FOX could put together a panel with Alan Colmes, Kirsten Powers, and Geraldo Rivera... that's a pretty liberal crew right there! Or Bob Beckel and Geraldine Ferraro?
If the Dems do include the three major networks and PBS, I would call that an admission that those networks are merely extensions of the DNC's public relations division.
Robert Schoener
Galveston County, TX

E-mail No. 15

Dear Mrs. Susteren,
When the John Carr story broke, it was obvious to anyone with half a brain it was BS. So I made a promise to myself who ever did the John Carr interview I would put them on my never watch again list.
Unfortunately it was you who gave him everything he wanted... attention. I figured it would be Larry King. Some people in this country have an attention span longer then that of a mouse. I've followed your career from PBS and was very disappointed to see you helped this sick person achieve his goal. I wish you luck with your endeavors But, I can never take anything you say seriously again. I'm sure my words will fall on deaf ears for there are many idiots in America that no longer know the name of John Carr. This will be your audience. The only other person I tune out is Woppie Goldberg (sic). I hope these words help you in the future determinations of the stories you choose to report. That is all.
Sincerely, a Fan of FOX News...
Alfred Pearcy

ANSWER: I don't get this. First, his name is John Mark Karr. Second, I have never worked at PBS. Third, why do you send this e-mail months and months after the interview? It seems odd to me. I actually could understand if you sent it within a day or so of the interview, but many months later? He was on our air in October.

E-mail No. 16

While I consider you open minded, in general, I do consider FOX to be a staunch conservative Republic camp. Most of the commentators like O'Reilly and Hannity are on an anti-Democratic vendetta. So while you may think that the tough questions promote a true view of a candidate, I consider them self-serving to the commentator.

ANSWER: I am not sure I understand your point, Pat. Yes, those two colleagues of mine are conservative. But here are two points: 1) neither is going to moderate a political debate (Brit Hume would be the moderator) and 2) if a presidential candidate can't "beat back" an anchor on a cable news show on issues, I am not so sure that candidate has chosen the right occupation for himself or herself. I will admit that a candidate should not put himself or herself in a position that lacks decorum but I suspect that my colleagues you name — if they were to moderate and they are not — would be polite in their disagreements. A verbal slugfest should be avoided at all costs but my guess is that a typical presidential debate format does not lend itself to that risk.

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