Somehow the NBC affiliate managed to locate seven Republicans in the state of New Jersey and gathered them into captivity for a one-hour debate.
It highlighted the difficulties of primary debates. They had no commercials, indicative of the level of interest generated by Republicans in our state. Each person got precious little time to impress potential voters. (Then again, who would want to see any more?) I wasn't taken by any of the questions, either.
Gabe Pressman asked whether the candidates supported "outlawing gay marriage with a constitutional amendment." None of the seven asked him how one was supposed to outlaw something that has never been permitted before. That's important ground in the debate - there has never before been a legal recognition of gay unions, and somebody should have called Gabe on it. Nope: surrendered, uncontested. Only Doug Forrester said no; "The state Constitution is not the proper mechanism for something like that." But he favored legislation against.
Reporter Pat Battle took the prize for silliness by asking the candidates, "Everyone has done things they are not proud of. What is your biggest regret in life and what lesson did you learn?"
See, now this is the big reason why I could never hold an office. My answer is, What on earth has that to do with holding the office of Governor of New Jersey? How is it at all relevant? Ms. Battle basically wanted all the Republican candidates to tell an embarassing story on television. Jon Corzine himself couldn't have come up with better. (Todd Caliguire turned it around nicely, saying his big regret was not asking his wife to marry him sooner. Good job, immediately lessened by Pressman noting that he must be working the women's vote.)
My general impression was that this isn't the most impressive array of talent - because of the short format nobody stood out particularly. The front-runners, Forrester and Bret Schundler, were all over each other. Robert Schroeder goofed during his closing statement by addressing Pressman, not the audience. Caliguire undid his good answer with a poor closer. Paul DiGaetano was the only one who actually remembered to ask for my vote.
They've been doing this all around the state, according to reports. (Note that the story errs by identifying Forrester as the former mayor of Jersey City; Schundler was.) Primary is June 7th. Oh boy.
Meanwhile - Yanks at Mets on TV, Pedro on the hill. Time to go.