Perry included in NH debate even though he does not qualify

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, the first Republican to declare his run for the White House this year, has been shut out of all of the debates but has been a good watchdog on the other Republican candidates. He found that Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not qualify to be in Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate.

Over the weekend Karger sent a complaint to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg who also owns Bloomberg News. That organization is the sponsor of a debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire along with Washington Post and WBIN TV.

According to Karger’s research, candidates had to meet all four of the following criteria to participate:

A. Received measurable popular support in a range of national polls.

B. Campaign reported at least half a million dollars raised in its FEC filing through the 2011 second quarter reporting period.

C. Is a legally qualified candidate for the Republican nomination for President.

D. Participated in at least three nationally televised Republican Presidential debates during the 2012 election cycle.

Karger, who is gay, has been kept out of the debates because of the first criteria. The original standard was a candidate had to poll 1 percent in five national polls. Once Karger met that baseline, sponsoring news organizations raised the percent and have continued keeping him out.

His campaign checked the eight candidates who were invited to the Dartmouth debate and found that Rick Perry does not qualify, even though he will be included.

“Rick Perry was not a candidate by the end of 2nd quarter and has not filed any FEC fundraising reports,” Karger wrote in an email to Dallas Voice and other news organizations so he does not qualify under criteria B.

Perry entered the race on Aug. 12 and will not have to file a report with the Federal Election Commission until the end of this quarter.

—  David Taffet

Rick Perry and gay soldiers (with audio)

Al Baldasaro

Texas Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t commented on the incident involving a gay soldier who was booed during the last Republican presidential debate. But one of Perry’s prominent supporters in New Hampshire certainly has.

Perry backer and New Hampshire State Rep. Alfred Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, told ThinkProgress on Friday that he was “disgusted” by the gay soldier, Stephen Hill, who submitted a question to the debate via YouTube about “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Baldasaro went on to say that “it was great” when members of the audience booed Hill. Here’s a full transcript from Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress:

KEYES: What did you make of that moment in the debate when they had the gay marine asking a question and there were a few in the audience who were booing him?

BALDASARO: I was so disgusted over that gay marine coming out, because when he came out of the closet. Bob won’t say it because they’re scared to get in trouble, but their brothers and sisters – brothers especially- that are there, they’ll start getting away from him. They’ll start ignoring him. He doesn’t realize it, but when the shit hits the fan, you want your brothers covering your back, not looking at your back.

KEYES: Did you have an issue with the audience reaction?

BALDASARO: Oh no, I thought the audience, when they booed the marine, I thought it was great.

On Tuesday, Baldasaro told the Union Leader that he stands behind his comments. But Baldasaro now claims he didn’t mean he was disgusted by the fact that Hill is gay, but rather by the fact that he appeared during a political event in an Army T-shirt. Baldasaro also stressed that he wasn’t speaking for Perry, adding that he was “speaking for myself as an American with a First Amendment right to free speech.”

Baldasaro also criticized reporters who’ve been covering his comments. “I wish they’d spend more time on jobs and the economy than what Al Baldasaro said,” he said. “They’re all looking for a story to make money for their papers.”

The Union Leader notes that four of the GOP presidential candidates — Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Herman Cain – have condemned the booing of the gay soldier.

Although Perry’s campaign hasn’t commented on the incident, the governor has previously addressed the subject of gay soldiers.

The day Perry signed Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005, the governor was asked what he would tell gay veterans returning from Iraq.

“Texans have made a decision about marriage, and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas, then maybe that’s a better place for them to live,” Perry responded.

Listen to audio of Baldasaro’s comments below.

—  John Wright