Tonight: Merkley, Neville, Novick debate on KGW

A brief reminder....

Tonight at 7 p.m., KGW-8 will broadcast a live debate between US Senate candidates Jeff Merkley, Candy Neville, and Steve Novick. No word yet on whether it'll be streamed live online.

What questions do you hope are asked? If you're still undecided, what are you hoping to hear?

Updated: Use this space to discuss the debate. What did you see? Who made sense? If you were undecided, did you make up your mind?

KGW has posted video online here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Also, look for rebroadcasts at 10 p.m. and later on NWCN cable news.

Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I hope someone asks Novick to justify how many tax dollars have been squandered in Iraq (thanks, Senator Smith!) and how much of it Bono's entire lifetime earnings could have payed for.

  • (Show?)

    I believe the Novick campaign said it will be streamed live at KGW.com. I'm more interested that it's in HD! I wanna see the custom etchings on Steve's hook, the hairs in Merkley's nose because they can't jack up the camera high enough to get a level shot on him...and whether there's ANY evidence beyond her birth certificate that she's really 58 and not 38. That's some good TV! Thank you KGW and Vizio!

  • (Show?)

    whoops, "she" = Neville.

  • (Show?)

    What's custom-etched on Steve's hook?

  • (Show?)

    As an undecided voter, I'm eager to see which of the candidates can resist the temptation to go after the people sharing the stage and land some impressive blows on Smith/Bush/McCain.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    The question I keep suggesting is this:

    In the lifetime of today's students, China's economy could grow to be 2-3 times the size of the US economy, with a modernized military to match. What does that mean for us. How should we respond now? And do we need to make changes in our educational system?

    Note: Michael Klare, author of "Rising Powwer, Shrinking Planet" just yesterday said on National Public Radio: "By the year 2030, it is expected that China will use half of the world’s coal. And unfortunately China intends to use a kind of primitive, by modern standards, coal burning facilities to generate electricity. And, if this continues to be the case, we are all hostage on the planet to China's coal use, because this will be the leading source of green house gas, carbon dioxide producing emissions. And there will be no hope of averting the worse global climate change disasters. So, we have all got to work with China." (see here)

  • (Show?)

    joke, ben. (although I haven't looked) .

  • (Show?)

    Yeah, I know, I know! I was hoping you'd say something awesome, like a dragon or Captain Hook. Or at least something political like a donkey or a picture of FDR.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    Experience.

    I'd like to hear them all asked "what have you done in your life that prepares you for the task of being a US Senator?"

    Not only a serious question, but it is open-ended and lets us hear from the candidates about their life/professional experiences.

    Notably, it would also separate the men (Merkley) from the boys (and girls, Novick and Neville).

  • Fair and Balanced (unverified)
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    I would like to see a question that highlights the disparity of experience between Merkley and Novick. As I see it, Merkley has policy and legislative experience, while Novick has advocacy and litigation experience. Both have campaign experience. Why does each one feel their unique backgrounds better qualifies him to work effectively in the environment of the US Senate in 2009 and beyond?

  • (Show?)

    I'd like to see my China questions addressed:

    So here's the questions I'd ask our Senate candidates. Is this economic relationship healthy and sustainable? Does it make the US too vulnerable to China? What would you do to change it? How would you strike a balance between engaging China on issues like the environment and trade and registering US outrage over the repression like we've seen in Tibet? How should the US manage its relationship to China as it evolves inevitably as a dominant world power?

    More context in the original post.

  • (Show?)

    ah crap, ben. You mean I passed up a sweet straightman line? Damn.

  • (Show?)

    Ah, come on, TJ. You're no fun!

  • Sid (unverified)
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    F&B,

    You left Neville out of your post... she's polling ahead of Merkley, you know. Don't ever under estimate a woman who has raised three children while running a successful business.

  • Dave Porter (unverified)
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    I'm fine with Jeff's questions on China. I have been disappointed in most of the debates so far because there are few hard, thoughtful questions on big issues (China is big) and too many about campaigning. I think our candidates gain gravitas answering hards questions with good answers and lose gravitas squabbling over campaign tactics or minor issues of phrasing. Good questioners would ask several hard questions on China dealing with both the short term and the long term. We will see.

    Another dimension to the China issue is how much of our defense budget goes towards preparing for war with China. Check out the article "The China Syndrome" by Michale Klare. Are investments in the weapons programs mentioned (F-22 Raptor air-superiority fighter, CVN-78 Advance Aircraft Carrier, DDG-1000 Zumwalt-Class Destroyer, Virginia Class Submarine) justifiable without China as a possible enemy? Should our Democratic Senator support their funding?

  • (Show?)

    Well, they did ask about China--unfortunately, it was with a 30-second response. Made for a dull debate, I thought...

  • (Show?)

    What happened to the Jeff Merkley of a week ago? At the City Club, I thought Jeff's peformance was very strong. Tonight, Novick delivered another solid performance, with a pitch perfect closing that was smart and authentic. Frankly, Merkley's delivery was a little flat and at times hard to watch.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, relating to the China question, the 30 seconds made good answers impossible.

    But, even so, they all failed my vision test. That is do they understand the long term issues in play? Not from their answers tonight. No one acknowledged how important US-China relations are to our future. That China is our most important bilateral relationship for the 21st century. No one showed that they have a strategic sense of the future economic and geopolitical world. That China, going ahead, unlike in the past, could be a key ally on many important issues. No one spoke of the possible opportunities that China presents for our economy, for maintaining global stability, for fighting global terrorism, for confronting new transnational threats of infectious disease, for controlling the proliferation of dangerous weapons, and for developing more of the undeveloped world. Some of that could have been done in 30 seconds.

    And, yes, there is a threatening side to China growth in power. But they did not acknowledge that either.

    What they did acknowledge were negatives, issues we have over trade and human rights (Tibet) with China, just more or less the current public complaints. And, while I agree we need to get our house in order (so we don’t need to borrow, so we can lead on global warming solutions, so we have international credibility again), that does not even begin to create a strategy for dealing with China.

    So emphasizing negatives and failing to recognize either the strategic importance of or potential positives in our China relationship left me feeling none of them is ready for the big time on this issue.

    I think their answers will play well with the public. And maybe there will be future follow up questions with more time to elaborate.

  • (Show?)

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Novick owes Candy a beer for bailing him out on the "temperament" question. It isolated Merkley's repetition of the litany, which opened up the possibility that it would turn some off. It was easily the most negative and awkward part of the evening, because Steve played it exactly as I thought he would (and should), staying totally focused and dare I say Senatorial. He didn't even use Merkley's name when comparing his signature tax policy plans (which he certainly hit multiple times), and that was as discordant as he ever got. Merkley took other veiled shots at Steve that didn't reference him specifically, while pushing his agent-for-togetherness theme; if they went under the radar enough I suppose some folks would make the connection between Steve bad, Jeff good, which is what he wanted to convey certainly.

    It was his best chance, but Jeff ran the risk about making Steve's performance the focal one in the debate. If Steve failed, Merkley would reap the reward. But if Novick passed, Merkley would be marginalized and sound a bit out of step.

    Which do you think happened?

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    (Show?)
    Posted by: Charlie Burr | Apr 15, 2008 8:15:38 PM

    Charlie, I think you're undervaluing the aspect of the audience and format of the debate. The City Club audience was in person and radio only, and the members of the audience were all well-informed, connected citizens with an avid interest in civic life.

    The KGW debate went to everyone, meaning that each candidate had to (or should) convey their core message to a broad swath of viewers and voters. Jeff Merkley did that today by offering a clear vision of an Oregon without Gordon Smith's representation and through articulating, with pithy, the objectives for his Senate run.

    I think the best performance on a TV debate will always be found lacking in specifics to us hacks on blogs. That's the kind of performance Jeff delivered tonight--a broad, hopeful vision of what Oregon can be and why he's the best man for the job.

  • (Show?)

    I agree that the mediums are different, but I thought Jeff's performance last week would have translated much better to TV and tonight's much better to radio. I didn't hear the same fire in the belly tonight that makes for a compelling televised debate. It sounded canned.

    Steve made much better use of the format. In his closing, he looked directly to camera and spoke to people as if he were in their living room. His pitch played to his strengths, but more importantly, the real needs of everyday voters. When he spoke about fighting for the middle class, taking on the tough issues and not being just another play-it-safe politician, his pitch was very credible and authentic.

    I think having two candidates on stage who spoke like everyday Oregonians probably amplified Merkley's weakness tonight. I know he's capable of doing much better, but tonight I just didn't see it. I realize that I'm not exactly an average or unbiased observer, but I did tell co-workers (who also do media training) how much improved I thought Jeff was during this primary. I've also done a lot of debate prep myself so am not completely new to this stuff, but for what it's worth, I think it was Steve's night.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Charlie, perhaps you're on to something there. Apparently he had the stomach flu!

    Jeff Mapes has a review of the debate up already, essentially calling it a draw:

    I don't know what it looked like on television, but from inside the studio at KGW TV, it seems to me that each candidate could have something to crow about in Tuesday night's debate. [. . .] Merkley, who battled off a stomach flu to appear at the debate, appeared most in command on foreign policy issues such as how to handle a nuclear-armed Iran. Novick basically said he liked Barack Obama's approach to Iran and Neville kind of wandered around on the issue for a minute.

    I didn't really notice that when I was watching; he looked pretty healthy to me!

  • (Show?)

    Charlie- I was in the audience and while I know you're entitled to your viewpoint about how it appeared on TV, I can also tell you this: I thought Jeff did an excellent job watching it in-person.

    I felt he was forceful, to-the-point, and talked about the issues that we need to talk about. I would completely disagree that he gave a weak performance. I'm a supporter of Jeff's, for sure, but I honestly feel he stood out.

    In fact, I feel everyone on stage did a great job. Steve was conciliatory and passionate. Candy was in the deep end but doing her best to swim strongly, giving frank answers with an obvious fire.

  • Aubrey Russell (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I was interested to see Candy Neville. Her comments on a proposed tribal casino in the Columbia Gorge, though, were perplexing. The heart of that issue is how dramatically this decision --to allow an off-reservation casino-- would change Oregon's existing policy. Kulongoski has started us down that road despite polls that show strong opposition among Oregonians. As Novick said correctly, the change is also frowned upon by other tribes nationwide. Neville's comment regarding the "Regan" alternative is a red herring: it is financially and politically infeasible for the tribe to build on trust land that they own next to the Mark O. Hatfield State Park, within the National Scenic Area close to Hood River. So building 600,00 square feet plus 1 million square feet of parking on the banks of the Columbia in Cascade Locks is not "the lesser of two evils." It is simply the wrong choice, unpopular among Oregonians, and even among a sizable group of Warm Springs members who would rather see an on-reservation casino with its promise of MORE JOBS FOR TRIBAL MEMBERS than the Cascade Locks alternative. Oregon's US Senators should stand up for what is good policy for Oregon and for the nation, not for a change in our "one tribe, one casino, on reservation" policy.

  • (Show?)

    I sat and watched the debate in my University Center. I was impressed by all three candidates, they had great composure, clear voices. They each said at different times, "you know, so and so is right, I agree completely" showing that on many issues they are on the same page.

    I must say that while I loved watching each of them, if I had to pick someone for the best one liner of the night, it would go to Candy, when she responded to that question about Gordon Smith saying, "neither one of us has done anything progressive in the last six years..." I just started laughing...but now back to my paper on the 1960 Oregon Presidential Primary.

  • Socrates (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Neville's story about her father and her passion about ending the war in Iraq were effective. She comes across as a good person and committed activist. However, she lacks the experience and knowledge to be considered a viable candidate.

    Novick appeared concerned about his reputation as a jokester....so much so that he come across as too severe. His few attempts at humor fell flat. Interesting that such an experienced political consultant would choose to address Merkley as "Speaker Merkley." This only serves to highlight Jeff's experiential advantage and reminds voters that Merkley is the only candidate on the stage with experience as an elected official.

    Do Oregonians want to vote for someone whose FIRST elected position is US Senator? Novick and Neville might aspire a bit lower for their first runs for office.

    Merkley was statesman-like and polished. Granted, he came across as a bit overrehearsed at times, but it illustrated that he was prepared and did his homework. Merkley also did an excellent job of listing specific bullet points and enumerating them. Apart from the uncertainty on the Casino/Gorge question, Merkley walks away as the clear winner of this debate and far and away the most qualified candidate.

  • (Show?)

    Charlie, I think you're spot on. CC

  • (Show?)

    "Do Oregonians want to vote for someone whose FIRST elected position is US Senator?"

    Yeah, last time we fucked up and got stuck with Wayne Morse.

  • (Show?)

    I probably would have to agree with Jeff Mapes that the debate was a draw, but I think everyone did well (other than the moderator). Neville surpassed my expectations, she was charismatic throughout the debate. She has a lot of potential as a lower level candidate, but there were times that her lack of experience showed. I actually think Merkley was a little stronger in the question and answer segment than the others. Yeah, he was a little stiff at times (though I'll cut him some slack for being sick), but all in all he did a good job of mixing in the big picture and smaller policy details in most of his answers. He gave a very good closing statement too.

    However, Novick's closing statement was EXCELLENT. One of his finer moments.

  • David Dorn (unverified)
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    I have been an admirer of Merkley for years. He will definately have my vote this May. But I have to say I was impressed with Novick tonight. If he wins the nomination I will gladly give him my full support.

  • (Show?)

    One thing I noticed - maybe others did as well - was Steve's change of heart regarding supporting John Frohnmayer vs. the Democratic winner of the primary. I thought he always stands up for what he believes - even if it's unpopular? But he's been beat up about that quite a bit this past week, so did he cave?

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
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    My bottom line? Merkley spent his last 90 seconds arguing that Oregon needs a real change agent. Neville spent much of her time saying that Oregon needs a leader with backbone? But is there any doubt that the most obvious change agent on that stage is Novick? And is there any doubt that the candidate who displays backbone in spades, often reflected by taking unconventional positions, is Novick?

    Personally, I think you Oregonians are very fortunate that you have such a choice. Any one of them would be a welcome addition to the Senate. Merkley came across as someone who is as solid as a rock. And Neville's style was extremely endearing, especially at the very end when she challenged the emcee's statement that the hour flew quickly. But Novick is a guy with the fire in the belly to shake up Washington. He might make more mistakes than Merkley, but he'll have more successes too (IMHO). And more than anything else, he'll help to reform the Democratic Party, which is about as bankrupt as any political party can ever be ... and I say that as a lifelong Democrat.

    If you want a safe candidate, pick Merkley. If you want an inspired candidate, pick Novick. And even if you want to go with neither, and pick Neville, you'll have done yourself proud if she can ultimately win.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Experience.

    I'd like to hear them all asked "what have you done in your life that prepares you for the task of being a US Senator?"

    Not only a serious question, but it is open-ended and lets us hear from the candidates about their life/professional experiences.

    Notably, it would also separate the men (Merkley) from the boys (and girls, Novick and Neville)."

    Would Merkley condone this sort of sexist spew? This, unfortunately, has come to characterize the "Kitchen Sink West" strategy.

    Neville seemed to me like a nice lady, not a "girl." And as for Novick, the poster will never be half the man Steve is.

  • (Show?)

    mom, novick never said he'd support anyone but the Dem in the general,so there was no cave.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - go to the ww endorsement interview. You won't have any trouble finding it - it's all over. He said he'd endorse John Frohnmayer. Period. Later, when pressed, he said he'd vote for Candy, and from there to his comment he'd support the dem. But in the debate last night, he is all about being Mr. Democrat and said John F. should drop out of the race. Sounds like a flip/flop to me. It was smooth, but a flip/flop just the same.

  • (Show?)

    I was surprised when Novick chose to work Frohnmayer into a response. It seems like a two-edged sword at best for him.

    Yes, he was probably trying to do damage control from his WW interview statement. But in so doing he keeps the issue alive. And he has yet to properly explain why he would vote for someone he considers unqualified for the Senate. I mean, isn't that essentially what a lot of Republicans and Greens did by foisting George W. Bush on us in 2000?

  • (Show?)

    I thought the debate really sucked--but not because of the candidates. A forum that allows a maximum of 60 seconds on any topic cannot possibly do anything but elicit rote, stump-speech answers. It meant that the candidates had no chance to delve into the issues, and that viewers would hear nothing but the most superficial bullet points. It's no wonder that for every question, all three candidates essentially parroted each other--with such little time and so little difference in position, there was no way to get into the nuance that distinguished them.

    I would have loved a debate with fifteen minutes devoted to four issues: Iraq, the economy, the environment, and health care. Each reporter could have been given the chance to moderate a single issue and probe the candidates.

    As it was, I can't imagine anyone but true believers watched. If some undecided voter managed to stick with it, I don't know how s/he could have made an informed decision.

  • (Show?)

    you're simply wrong, mom. Not once has novick ever endorsed frohmmayer for the general. Nowhere in the interview does he say it, and in fact says exactly the opposite before, during and after the interview.

    Nor was it ever said that merkley was unqualified, merely less qualified--and its been explained how common and strategically rational it is to cast such a vote. You and kevin are just making it up as you go.

    Novick's comments last night about urging Frohn out suggests there was method to the madness, as I'd predicted. A novick win is more likely to cause that dropout.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - I guess it depends on what the meaning of "endorsed" is. I just replayed the part of the WW interview and Steve CLEARLY says "I would vote for John Frohnmayer". It is very disingenuous for you to call ME wrong on this point.

    There's method to the madness alright - on the part of the Novick campaign, to try to sweep this whole thing under the rug and turn a flip/flop into a "method". To me, Steve caved to pressure, something he insists he would never do and which is the bedrock of his campaign.

  • (Show?)

    "Steve CLEARLY says "I would vote for John Frohnmayer".

    Not in reference to a general election, he doesn't. And since he's got multiple references stating the opposite, you're left without a leg to stand on.

    And EVEN if you wish to pretend that's what he was doing, he didn't flip flop last night, he did it about 10 seconds later in the same video. So your statement makes no sense either way.

  • (Show?)

    Whatever....Who said anything about the general? That wasn't part of the question in the WW interview.

    I'm not the one pretending. But I understand your need to support your guy.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I think Jeff may have been unnerved by the video production. If Al Gore was stiff during the 2000 campaign, Jeff came off like a doug fir 2x4 in the KGW debate. If Jeff wins the primary, he better get some good coaching. In politics, what you say is no more important than how you say it. That's sad, but true.

    Steve was his usual short but articulate self. Candy seems to be a nice person with progressive viewpoints.

  • (Show?)

    mom, YOU brought up the general, claiming he said he would vote for Frohn vs the nominee...there's only a dem nominee in the general election. So are you ready to retract that novick ever said anything but that he would vote for the dem in the general?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    TJ,

    Why would the nominee of the Independent Party not be on the general election ballot?

  • (Show?)

    no, you misunderstand. The only time there is such a thing as a "Dem nominee" is after the primary, so when mom refers to picking someone other than the Dem nominee, what other election could she have been referring to except the general?

  • (Show?)

    I'm retracting nothing. I was not "referring" to anything except the statement by Steve Novick that he would vote for John Frohnmayer if he couldn't vote for himself. There's only one way he could vote for him, and that's in the general because Independents aren't on the primary ballot. So, if your position is that Steve didn't say he'd vote for Frohnmayer in the general, then you are wrong. He said he'd vote for him, and in the general is the only way he can. The only way anyone can, for that matter.

  • (Show?)

    local mom has a valid point. Steve did say that he'd vote for Frohnmayer and there is only one way to do that and that's in the General Election. He backtracked and changed his answer, of course. But that was only after his initial answer was challenged.

    I think Steve owes a huge debt of gratitude to Hank Stern or whomever it was that gave him an opportunity to change his initial answer.

  • (Show?)

    The hypothetical was "who do you like best that's not you?" Kevin and mom persist in claiming the question was "who will you vote for if you lose?" Note that was EXACTLY the question asked last night...but not last week.

    It is not possible, further, to backtrack from a position you had not deviated from, and which you had already expressed earlier.

    At no time are either of you able to claim novick said he'd back Frohn in the general. It didn't happen.

  • backbeat12 (unverified)
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    Neville seemed to me like a nice lady, not a "girl."

    ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    WOMAN SHE IS A WOMAN

    Please don't call us ladies, as it is a completely sexist term.

    Practice using the word woman and it will roll off easily in the future. Thank you.

  • (Show?)

    TJ - we just seem to have different realities on this subject. Because I like to have my facts straight, I replayed the clip AGAIN. The interviewer says "Who would you vote for" if you couldn't vote for yourself. He did not say "who do you like best". See my clarification above regarding the general election being the ONLY place anyone can vote for an independent like Frohnmayer. Or replay the WW interview yourself. If Novick had listened to the instructions from the interviewer, which were to name someone "in this room", things might have turned out differently. But he didn't until much later. What he said last night directly contradicts what he said at WW, which is my point. The spin you're trying to put on it is irrelevant. Can we be done about this now?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Of course, every class of people should be referred to in the way they prefer, as common terms like, lady, girl, Negro, etc., can pick up negative connotations over time. I have noticed the disapproving snarl that often accompanies the word "men" as I hear it in everyday speech. Therefore, I, with a few of my buddies, have decided that my class shall henceforth be called "god-like beings." This may begin the resurrection of our sullied self-esteem and standing in society.

    Thank you for your enlightened acceptance and cooperation.

  • (Show?)

    mom, you can also vote for someone in a hypothetical preference situation, which was the question Novick was attempting to answer.

    Regardless, if novick had said he'd support Frohmayer in the general, you'd have a quote that says that to back up your claim. You do not; in fact all you have are statements on the subject that contradict you.

    Merkley says when he voted to praise Bush, he was supporting the troops. I think that's BS; he did it to protect his political ass. But that's my interpretation of his motive; beyond that I am forced to accept his answer, absent confounding evidence.

    You are in the same situation with Novick, apparently. But you won't extend the same principle to him; you don't accept his contemporaneous explanation of his answer. Which is OK, but don't go pretending what you have is factually supported.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Regardless, if novick had said he'd support Frohmayer in the general, you'd have a quote that says that to back up your claim. You do not; in fact all you have are statements on the subject that contradict you.

    Merkley says when he voted to praise Bush, he was supporting the troops. I think that's BS; he did it to protect his political ass. But that's my interpretation of his motive; beyond that I am forced to accept his answer, absent confounding evidence. "

    TJ, are you really saying that Steve should not be held accountable for not giving a clear answer in less than 20 seconds because, after all, we should never forgive how Merkley voted on a 2003 resolution?

    Vote for Steve, because Merkley's vote in 2003 means Steve never need answer for Steve's actions in 2008 or previously?

    Is that really your best argument why people should vote for Steve? What if that logic drives people to vote for Candy Neville?

  • david Dorn (unverified)
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    Torridjoe- Don't be an appologist for your candidate. He said it. It is on youtube. You only make him look worse by parsing his words and trying to spin it for him. He said it. Just admit he flipped and move on! BTW I have never understood why "flip flopping" is such a deadly sin in politics. I LIKE a politician who is able to reflect and admit when he/she may have been wrong!!

  • (Show?)

    david, if you think he has said he would support anyone other than the nominee in he general, I challenge you to reprint that statement here, verbatim. And he wasn't wrong; Frohmmayer probably is better. His answer never changed, which is probably why he's not felt the need to clarify anything beyond what he said at the time.

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