Producer of 2008 Presidential Election Cable TV Special
Booked Surrogates for the Contenders for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
Airing live from 9 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, January 24th, from the studios of Pasadena Community Access Channel 56 was a special edition of the local hit TV show NewsRap, hosted by its creator, Barry Gordon, the longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild and a former candidate for Congress.
For this Election Special — airing in a key, majority-Democrat district less than two weeks before California’s first-ever participation in “Super Tuesday” — I had managed to book, with the help of the various campaigns, surrogates for each of the then-three remaining contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination:
- Rep. Linda Sánchez (my own district’s congresswoman) represented Sen. Barack Obama.
- Dr. Judy Chu, then–Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization (and soon-to-be-congresswoman), represented Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
- Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, of the 44th Assembly District (including Pasadena), represented former Sen. John Edwards.
Barry served as moderator, posing questions on the economy, the war in Iraq, and other pressing issues; and as was the habit on NewsRap, the phone lines were opened, allowing audience members at home to also ask questions.
The Election Special proved to be so popular that it was re-run, both on Pasadena 56 and on a sister station, in the neighboring Monrovia area, several times before the Super Tuesday election, in which more Democratic delegates were up for grabs in California than had been pledged or won by all the candidates together up until that date. And Obama and Clinton were in a statistical “dead heat” in some national polls. After years of “sitting on the sidelines” — seeing presidential candidates winning enough delegates to secure nomination long before we Californians ever voted — excitement was palpable in the Golden State; the time was ripe for a televised debate like this.
In addition, I posted clips from the show on YouTube, with a link back to the show page (in NewsRapArchives.com, the Web site I designed); and throughout the campaign season, the clips were viewed hundreds of times by viewers/voters nationwide.