Campaign Carl Comes Home for Politics & Eggs
GOFFSTOWN – FOX News reporter Carl Cameron made no pretense about being fair and balanced during his talk at Saint Anselm College Tuesday.
“I’ll argue my objectivity on any story except First in the Nation,” Cameron said. The national reporter, who got his start in broadcasting at Manchester’s WZID radio and then WMUR TV, acknowledged a rooting interest in preserving the primary, talking about it terms of “us” and “we’ll” and said he still considers New Hampshire home. “You can walk up and down Elm Street in Manchester and have a better conversation about presidential politics with a homeless guy than you can with an Iowa caucus goer,” Cameron joked.
Speaking at a Politics & Eggs breakfast organized by The New England Council, Cameron recalled being there at the breakfast series’ beginning, in 1993, when Jack Kemp was the inaugural speaker and WMUR was a sponsor. Cameron told an anecdote about later nearly getting beaned by a spiral thrown by Kemp in Manchester on election day 1992. The football was already logoed, “Kemp ’96.”
The next primary will be different, Cameron predicted, because mainstream party members in both parties are getting “uncomfortable” with the types of people the bases of both parties are nominating. Increasing numbers of voters are “tired of party nonsense.” This is driving the rise in strength of independents nationally, Cameron said.
National Democrats, Cameron said, are “a little bit worried” about whether the nation will be tired of liberal governance come 2016. Hillary Clinton “could get in really late and still compete.” Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to figure out what kind of party they need to campaign to: “Will it be the 2010 Tea Party revolution party, or something developed after the 2012 defeat?”
Cameron observed that one way campaigns are changing is through the intersection of technology and the ground game. He noted that microtargeting has gotten so sophisticated that the Romney and Obama campaigns’ large field organizations rarely ran into each other, even in targeted states like Ohio. “They never saw each other,” Cameron said, adding that “You gotta go to the other side of the tracks” to meet more voters.
Responding to a question about the media’s role in the nominating process, Cameron spoke candidly. Cameron said there were too many debates, and faulted the media for not asking enough good questions during them. But he also said the only ones who can change the debates are the candidates, and everyone but a frontrunner has incentives to keep them frequent.
“It’s a business!” he continued, pointing out that media often tells people what they want to hear to keep viewers happy customers. He said he sometimes includes people calling each other names in his pieces because viewers like it. He also said editors and producers often pressure reporters to put certain spins on stories, a practice common at outlets across the political spectrum, according to Cameron.
Fergus@ferguscullen.com, February 5, 2013