Chris Cillizza — aka “The (indefatigable) Fix” — has issued his winners and losers for the second night of the Republican National Convention. I have no quarrel with his selections. Condoleezza Rice and Susana Martinez were the highlights of the night for me. As my friend Aaron Polkey tweeted last night, “Hearing #Condi speak is like debating a friend or family member you love, who happens to be a brilliant reasonable Republican.” And Martinez, the New Mexico governor, was a folksy version of Rice — confident and sure, with a sassy (in a good way) personality.
But I draw your attention to one of the losers Cillizza mentions. He wasn’t a fan of the interviews and neither was I.
* “Interviews” with delegates: In a transparent attempt to break the monotony of speech after speech, convention planners interspersed several live interviews with delegates throughout the program. It didn’t work. The interviews felt scripted and wound up sapping some of the momentum and energy from the room rather than building on it.
The interviews felt scripted because they were. Well, we now know that the one with Michelle Voorheis was.
After the speeches were done and the hall cleared out, folks repaired to the CNN Grill for vittles and libations. There, on a table that I and a colleague commandeered were two folded pieces of paper. “Backstage interview: Michelle Voorheis” read the header. With the following instruction: “(Interview loaded into teleprompter as place holder).”
Q1: How has your commercial real estate business fared under President Obama?
A1: We are buckling under the weight of burdensome and impractical regulations. The banks have quit loaning money, and even though we have excellent credit and have never missed a payment, we are struggling to get the funds we need to keep up our properties.
Because of the uncertainty, I can’t hire anybody to help us, so we are trying to manage it all ourselves. I’m working 12-14 hour days. We just send our son off to college and are taking care of our 90-year-old mother — we have cut back in every way possible, but if the banks won’t lend us money, we’ll be financially ruined. I feel like we are drowning in red tape, and I don’t see an end in sight.
Q2: What does the future look like for you?
A2: I used to have a vision for a comfortable retirement with my husband. We are long-time small business owners who believe in the American dream — work hard, play by the rules and get ahead. But under President Obama that dream is slipping away. I used to have hope for the future — but that hope has been replaced by fear and uncertainty.
Hand-written at the bottom was “And that’s what’s happening to real Americans.”
Now, here’s what Voorheis when the camera turned on.
Voorheis says quite a bit more than what is on that placeholder script. But this discovery doesn’t come as a surprise. Conventions are scripted affairs — right down to the waving and pausing for applause. And you certainly don’t want to make someone who may never have done television before speak without some sort of notes or guide. I still get nervous sometimes before doing television, so imagine what Voorheis must have felt like. Still, it was great to get a peek behind the curtain.