Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Snyder Invites Bernero to Town Hall" -- Michigan Governor's Race

This is actually pretty funny as the Democrat Candidate Virg Bernero showed up at a Rick Snyder Town Hall with a letter in hand to meet to discuss the debate schedule. The Bernero publicity stunt turned into Snyder inviting him to join the Town Hall. Been around politics a long time and have to admit have never seen anything like this but kudos to Rick Snyder for thinking on his feet and turning this into a positive for him.

In Case You Missed It. . .

"Snyder Invites Bernero To Town Hall" - From MIRS

Sept. 13, 2010

(WESTLAND) -- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Virg BERNERO showed up at the Hawthorne Country Club this evening to crash Republican Rick SNYDER's 59th town hall meeting to personally urge him to meet one-on-one to renegotiate a debate schedule.

Instead, Snyder invited Bernero into his town hall meeting and the two engaged in a congenial, 30-minute debate on Proposal A, seniors and other questions posed by an excited audience of a couple hundred spectators.

Without handlers and on the fly, Snyder gave his 18-minute stump speech, followed by Bernero who talked for about another 10. During the Q&A, neither hogged the microphone. They each took turns. They each complimented each other.

Neither attacked the other. They worked out a two-minute closing statement in about five seconds. By the time the exchange was over, the audience was thrilled, talking amongst themselves about how well behaved the candidates were.

After the debate, Snyder committed to reading Bernero's debate letter, but that was about it.

"The Mayor gave me a letter and I'll read the letter, but now is not the time to get in all of the debate stuff. There's been enough debate on debates for the day," he said.

Asked specifically if he wanted to debate Bernero, he said, "We made that offer -- to do three televised debates."

Bernero said he thinks today's forum shows that he "doesn't bite."

"I hope he sees that this wasn't that painful. It was kind of fun, so let's hope we can do three televised debates so more people can be a part of it," Bernero said. "It was great for the people who were here, but so many people are excluded from the process."

Bernero showed up at the 5:30 p.m. event with a letter in hand that suggested "neutral Michigan television stations" set up the debates or that the two sit down without negotiators, political consultants and attorneys and figure out a debate schedule over coffee.

Here's how the impromptu happened.

As the Bernero fielded questions from the media in the Hawthorne County Club lobby about how he wanted to debate Snyder, the Republican, running mate Brian CALLEY and some consultants in tow, cut through the crowd. The exchange was as followed:

Bernero: I appreciate you coming out. I didn't want to disrupt your meeting . . .

Snyder: No, no, come on in.

Bernero: I want you to do your thing . . .

Snyder: No, you can come in. We can take some turns doing questions.

Bernero: I appreciate it.

Snyder: (walking toward the town hall room): Come on in . . .

Bernero: I'd love to do that. But I wanted to give you this letter. I'm hoping we can agree to some debates. I basically wanted to ask you if we could sit down for 20 minutes or so over coffee . . .

Snyder: Virg, you said any place, any time and you turned me down. So let's go do this.

Bernero: Let's do it.

Bernero sat in the front row and listened to Snyder give 18 minutes of stump speech.

Snyder stressed the need to "reinvent Michigan" by setting measurable outcomes for state government as opposed to using such prestigious events as the State of State as "cheerleading sessions" filled with "happy talk." He said he has the vision and the 10-point plan to fix the broken culture in Michigan.

"We've been beaten down for so many years, we've got our heads down too much, we've become too negative and we've lost that fire to believe in doing extraordinary thing," Snyder said. "The key to our success is to reignite that fire."

Bernero took the microphone and started with, "Well thank you for coming to Rick and Virg for Michigan."

Bernero reiterated that he wanted to rekindle debate talks and presented Snyder one more time with to sit down to coffee with him, to which Snyder said, "I'm happy to have coffee and we can talk about a lot of things."

Bernero held his own against an initially chilly crowd. At one point in his statement, one heckler burst out with a, "We came to see Rick!" But Snyder stood up and said Bernero could have the floor until it was time for the audience to ask questions.

At times, the response for Bernero's applause lines and attempts at jokes resembled crickets at the beginning, but near the end, the crowd of mostly Republicans cracked a laugh and gave him a courtesy clap.

The two did not engage in any attacks. Bernero never mentioned "Gateway" or outsourcing, instead focusing on his accomplishments as Mayor and the need to focus on bringing back advanced manufacturing and "Main Street" as opposed to letting "Wall Street" make it's money overseas at the expense of working men and women.

He said that Michigan has some of the most productive workers in the country and that's something that should be invested in.

"Manufacturing is not passé. It's not antiquated. It's not a thing of thing of the past," he said, adding that Lansing is in the running for a new $200 million GM plant.

The two each had some notable one-liners. In closing up his opening statement, Bernero gave his web address so members of the audience could check out his web page. Then he quipped, "I know you're all going to rush home and check that out."

In giving the closing statements Snyder asked Bernero if he'd like to go first and then said, "You go so fast, you could probably do three times as much as I can."

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