Friday, August 19, 2011

Ron Paul galore!

Concord Monitor
By Felice Belman
Friday August 19th 2011

The woman on the other end of the phone had never called a newspaper editor before, but she was angry. She had traveled to Concord from Connecticut to get a gander at Ron Paul on Wednesday night and was frustrated that Thursday morning’s edition of the Monitor included no story on Paul’s appearance. Yes, there were two large photographs from the event by photographer John Tully, but no accompanying news article. To make matters worse, a full story on Rick Perry appeared on the front page.

What the caller couldn’t have known was that our plan for this morning’s edition was a virtual Paul-a-palooza: two front-page stories, a photograph and an editorial. On, there is a video from Paul’s Thursday interview with the Monitor editorial board. Additionally, Sunday’s Viewpoints section will include more outtakes from the interview – and a terrific new caricature of Paul by longtime Monitor cartoonist Mike Marland.

Our goal between now and the presidential primary election is to give readers as much coverage of the presidential candidates as possible – while also keeping track of local news. We won’t achieve perfect parity among the candidates in column inches or number of photographs – nor are we trying to. But, with luck, by February Monitor readers will have a good sense of what each of the Republican candidates stand for and how that compares to their opponents – and to President Obama.

How do we do that? We send journalists to scads of campaign events: in the Concord area and, when the news merits it, out of the area. (Earlier this week, for instance, reporter Karen Langley filed a story about Mitt Romney from Berlin.) We’ll publish profiles of the candidates – including these on Paul and Bachmann from earlier in the summer. We’ll check the veracity of their statements. We’ll talk to voters. We’ll dissect the big issues of the campaign. We’ll let readers know when and where the candidates are appearing.

Additionally, we’ll invite all the candidates for long sit-downs and use those conversations to help inform our news coverage as well as the newspaper’s eventual endorsement of a candidate. Editorial board interviews with presidential candidates are among the joys of working here –  and yesterday’s interview with Paul was particularly fun. He speaks his mind and – though he’s been saying the same thing for years and years – his performance is remarkably refreshing.

Here’s one more tidbit from yesterday’s interview: Asked whether his age would be a detriment to getting elected (he turns 76 tomorrow), Paul smiled and dismissed the hypothesis:

“That’s an old-fashioned idea. In this day and age, what really counts are your ideas and my ideas are promoting liberty – and that’s a very young idea and young people love it.”

He went on to challenge anyone worried about his senior-citizen status to a physical competition. “Anytime any other running candidate wants to come to Houston at 12 o’clock noon when the temperature is 100 and the humidity is 102, I’ll ride 20 miles with them on a bicycle.”

Any takers?

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