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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sam Bennett Fails to Show to Her Own Debate Challenge

Just a week ago, congressional candidate Sam Bennett was participating in a mock energy debate on WGPA AM radio, moderated by Dem bossman Joe Long. Claiming that LV Congressman Charlie Dent is too scared to debate our energy policy, Bennett instead debated a fictional "Chicken Charlie the Dented." Talk radio host Stephen Crockett told me, "Chicken Charlie the Dented will likely be back as a character until Dent starts debating Bennett."

“Congressman Dent is so deep in the pocket of Big Oil companies and special interest groups he’s refusing to publicly defend his record and have an open debate about the issue,” said Kathryn Seck, Sam Bennett’s campaign manager. “He should explain why he’s taken $75,000 from Big Oil and given them billions in tax breaks while middle class Pennsylvanians are struggling to afford high gas prices. Voters deserve an open dialogue on the issues and Congressman Dent is ducking the issue.”

Sounds pretty good, eh?

There's only one problem - Dent has ducked no debate. The Dent campaign has just issued this news release about Bennett's failure to appear last night at a candidates' night for Parkland School District alumni.

In another misstep typical of her campaign, Congressional candidate and Executive Director of Properties of Merit, Siobhan Bennett, failed to attend a debate/candidate’s forum during the very same week she issued a debate challenge to Representative Charlie Dent.

“It was amazing,” said Representative Dent.
“She issues a challenge to debate during the week of August 11th, a non-partisan group (the Parkland School District Alumni Association) holds a forum that attracts fifty people from the community and Siobhan Bennett is nowhere to be seen.”

Representative Dent questioned the sincerity of Bennett’s debate challenge.
“This is what she said she wanted; a chance to debate her energy plan with me. I rearranged my schedule so that I could attend, but Bennett was a no-show. Maybe she’s more interested in issuing challenges and sending letters than in actually doing the debates.”

Representative Dent questioned if perhaps Bennett is having second thoughts about focusing a debate solely on energy because of the unrealistic nature of her “Drill Nothing” extremist approach to the energy issue. “I think to a certain degree she must see that even Sen. Obama, her party’s presidential candidate, has had to do a 180 degree turn on allowing for greater American energy production. Sam is stuck way out there in an extreme, irrational position that the majority of the people in this district don’t support. A position, in fact, the majority of the American people don’t agree with. That has to be awkward for her and her campaign to deal with.”

Congressman Dent’s campaign manager, Shawn Millan, commented on how ridiculous the incident makes Bennett look. “Standard operating procedure for the Bennett campaign is to make outrageous statements and then to get called on her facts. She went on a radio program recently and called Charlie a ‘chicken’ for not debating her, then the very week she says she wants to schedule a debate on an important issue – she fails to show up at a debate. It looks like the Bennett campaign laid another egg.”

Millan added that Congressman Dent has already accepted three other invitations from three groups interested in sponsoring debates during the fall.


Anonymous said...

Why her? Of all the pols in this area..and they tap her? Who's pocket is she in? Only in Amerika!

Anonymous said...

What a lightweight chicken herself. Most middle of the road Rs eventually get run over. It looks like Ds gave this one up without trying and Charlie will backstroke again. Her campaign is more of a mess than can be cleaned up with one of those fancy rakes.

Anonymous said...

What a lightweight chicken herself. Most middle of the road Rs eventually get run over. It looks like Ds gave this one up without trying and Charlie will backstroke again. Her campaign is more of a mess than can be cleaned up with one of those fancy rakes.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, my take on the energy issue is that the price of oil/gas at the pump has risen faster than the public consciousness can catch up.

at $1.50/gallon there was no incentive for her or for any democrat to come out for drilling. at $4.00/gallon it is another story entirely.

i sense the public viewpoint is coming around, slowly. yet the democrats have locked themselves into a "no drilling" stance which is going to hurt them come november.

bennett seems to be unnecessarily digging herself in deeper when she doesn't really have to. as a challenger, she could have taken a more moderate stance. i sense kathryn seck is a "political enabler", although it is the responsible of the candidate to set the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Was this "candidates forum" focused on energy policy? It appears Bennett's "challenge" was a debate on energy policy. I can't find any reference to this forum anywhere let alone an invitation to Bennett.

Some context please. Or is this now Shawn Millan's LV Ramblings?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Don't be an idiot. The debates and candidates' nights scheduled include many topics, including energy policy. The group scheduling this night is nonpartisan. As a candidate for public office, Bennett has only herself to blame if she can't make herself available to answer questions. I am sure she will have an excuse just like she had an excusde for Mr. A. Bottom line - it's her campaign's job to be aware of these things. Since there are supposedly only 7 Republicans left in the LV, that should be easy. But she blew it and got called on it.

And no, this is not Shawn Millan's LVR. He's a little busy right now. I also don't think he'd approve me posting about the congrerssional mailer or the subsequent Bennett press release.

Blue Coyote said...

Don't blame BO or Lehigh Valley Ramblings. There is no side show to point to. It appears Parkland extended an invitation and Bennett failed to respect possible voters. Simple as that. She'll take a hit, whether Millan points it out or not. The attendees in the audience, I am sure, will have long memories of waiting for an appearance that never arrived. And that's what counts, not political statements or trickery.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that she should flip flop her views about ANWR now that the political wind is shifting?


Anonymous said...

It appears Parkland extended an invitation

Yes is does APPEAR. That is my point. I can find no reference to this debate either on Parkland's site or any news coverage of the event. What other candidates were there? Were invitations extended? Where is Parkland's comment? Context is all I am asking for. I am certainly not an idiot. I just find it alarming that Shawn Millan's sophomorically worded press releases make it to LVR so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Oh and BOH, you state that the event was to cover many issues but are just assuming this because Millan's press release says so? I'd think it was an education forum without some other reference. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

bernie, if i were running her campaign i would advise her to tell voters that most energy approaches are needed and both parties will have to compromise.

for her part, she would support offshore drilling and bakken formation drilling in montant. and she would support development of a limited number of nuclear plants.

then she would insist that dent accept 1) fleet mileage standards for american autos 2) more mass transit subsidies and 3) substantial tax incentives for alternative energy.

that is what i think is the middle ground . . . and where the public will be come november.

Blue Coyote said...

Hayshaker, I understand your point. Where's the proof in the pudding, so to speak? But the horse left the barn.

How does Bennett explain to the attendees, with a plausible explanation? Screw Millan's statements. That's what he gets paid big bucks for. To misdirect. How does Bennett reach back out to those attendees? Even if that's possible?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hayshaker, You would not know this bc you are apparently a person who doesn't actually attend candidates' nights. Many different groups conduct candidates' nights. It's how people running for office get a chance to mix it up. Parkland had a candidates' night. it included state rep candidates and other offices. Congressional candidates were made aware. Charlie Dent attended; Bennett did not. if she were really interested in an exchange instead of just complaining about an exchange, she would have been there.

A candidate who is challenging, behind in the money game and demanding a debate, makes herself look like an idiot when she does not appear. And you look like an even bigger idiot for not realizing this.

Anonymous said...

BOH still doesn't answer the question, was Sam invited? Was it public knowledge? Was it advertised in the MSM? How does one go about finding these events to attend? BOH continues to be the Riddler when he twists the facts.

Blah Society said...

Anon 10:59,

Before you lose your head, read Bernie's statement above yours. It says, "Congressional candidates were made aware." There's your answer - no fact twisting. Bennett should have been there, but she wasn't. She's all talk and no game.

Anonymous said...

"Congressional candidates were made aware." There's your answer - no fact twisting.

Because Bernie said so?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Look, There are only a few groups that even bother to schedule candidate nights. These are nonpartisan groups who take their roles very seriously. I am sure Bennett will posit some mix-up, just as she did w/ the MC carrier who was mugged outside her home. But a challenger with little money should do everything in its power to make sure he or she is included in these events. If she was unaware of this event, that is her camapign's fault. They claim only two Republicans are left in the LV, so you'd think one of her supporters tipped her off. But the wiord I have is that she was made aware. I will try to nail down more details tomorrow. There are only a few groups that do this, like Pen Argyl CC, Easton NAACP, the Bushkill Grange. Anyone running for office and who expects to get a few votes should make sure they are included. I doubt seriously that anyone overlooked a congreessional candidate. But i will find out for sure tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The problem is so-called facts on this blog vary from candidate to candidate.
What independent source other than Millan confirmed this story.
We have had plenty of Bernies 'independent' facts in this County. One is that Amgle is an honest politican.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Millan did not confirm this story. He issued the press release. I published it just like I published the Sam Bennett press release below.

I don't pretend to be objective. I support Dent. i think I've made that clear. I think one can have a point of view and still tell the truth. I was told that Bennett was made aware of the candidate night and believe what I was told. But will find out independently.

Anonymous said...

Why would you look on the Parkland School District website? It says it was the Alumni Association for the School District -- not the school district.

I was there and so was John Ritter, the Democrat running for state representative against Gary Day.

I guess he got the notification.

Rep. Doug Reichley was there. I guess he got the notification.

There were about fifty people in the audience, a lot of seniors.

Actually, the crowd was very much in favor of drilling. Bennett would not have done well before these people. It's probably best she missed this one.

Anonymous said...

A further thought. Isn't it likely that the Dent campaign would have sent this release to the brick and mortar media as well?

Are people actually saying they doubt there was a debate?

Anonymous said...

Why would you look on the Parkland School District website? It says it was the Alumni Association for the School District -- not the school district.

Probably because he found the other Association events listed on the Parkland website?

I was there

Well, there you go. Conclusive evidence!

Anonymous said...

A further thought. Isn't it likely that the Dent campaign would have sent this release to the brick and mortar media as well?

Are people actually saying they doubt there was a debate?

If it were truly a "debate" you'd think you'd see coverage of it somewhere, no? And if it were a debate, why were other candidates for other offices there?

Don't make it out to be a debate when it was not one. Why won't Dent debate Bennett one on one?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:47,

You'r sounding a tad shrill. I don't know what kind of notice was provided, but it was a small group. That's what happens. There's lots of small groups like that and the press rarely gives notice or attends. That's reality.

As far as the name is concerned, it does not really matter what it is called. During a congressional or any other race, the times when candidates get to see each other face to face are few and far in between. They are always parts of larger gatherings involving several candidates. If Bennett expects some exclusive venue that just features her as the star, she'll be waiting a long time. If Bennett were really interested in contrasting her energy policy w/ Dent, she would have gone to Parkland. It would have been much more informative than a radio show moderated by Joe Long.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 7:45,

Hayshaker, Wait, let me get this straight. You go to a school district website, click on the alumni group, find no listing for a candidates' night, pay no attention to the fact that the only item that seems to be listed is reunions, and then state this is "conclusive evidence" that there was no debate?

Is this group supposed to take out a full page ad in the MC?

What you fail to understand, among many other things, is that the press pays very little attentions to political campaigns. They head for the hills.

If you think that the Grange candidates night will be trumpted thru the four corners of the LV, don't plan on ever getting involved in any political contest. Your candidate will surely lose.

This is what happens wehen a candidate reaches to DC for a political consultant. All politics is local. Bennett blew it.

Anonymous said...

John Ritter, Democrat candidate for state Representative was there. He must have heard about it.

And the fact of the matter is, Bernie has it nailed. This is a Congressional campaign, not a statewide campaign.

People who think that the newspapers show up to each and every debate or candidate's night are way off base.

Bottom line -- Bennett yapped that she wanted a chance to debate Dent and then didn't show up at a chance where she could have.

Even if Dent wouldn't have been there, why not take the opportunity to greet over fifty voters?

Anonymous said...

Maybe another reason Ms. Bennett did not show up was precisely because there was to be no media coverage. Perhaps she and her handlers thought, "Why bother to go out into the community if you aren't going to get credit for it?" That seems to be part of her campaign strategy. After all, isn't she the candidate who sent out a press release about attending Musikfest?

Of course, these smaller venues also pose a risk to candidates of being asked some very direct questions, often out of the blue. Without a chance to prepare answers, that can be very intimidating as well. Perhaps that was a factor, too.

BethlehemDem said...

Candidate Forums are not debates. Most have predetermined formats with time limits, that do not allow deviation and do not allow candidates to speak to each other. Some of these events have been described as cures for insomnia by Bernie.

That said, Bennett should attend all the candidates forums she can. They do provide an opportunity for voters to learn candidates stances on issues.

Before criticising Bennett too much, I would like an explanation from her campaign as to why she missed this event. She may well have a valid excuse.

We are only getting one side of this story. I would like to hear her side, however I am sure the truth will be somewhere in middle.

Anonymous said...

You're sure it's somewhere in between BethDem? How about I shed some light on it: Sam's a shit bag candidate who can't win. A press release for going to Musikfest? How about she attends Palmer Community Days this weekend, or maybe some church strawberry fest? These are places to meet voters. So are voter forums. When you haven't raise a million bucks in nearly two years, you need to be getting free media everywhere. Everyone knows that debates almost never start before September in ANY kind of political race, let alone a congressional. The public doesn't pay attention to them until then anyway.

Fact of the matter here: The DCCC failed to land Boscola, Mann, and Callahan for this race, so this is what they get. Tier two candidate, tier two performance, tier two behavior.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I have confirmed that Bennett was, in fact, invited to participate in this candidates' night. I will update the post as more facts are made available.


A candidate forum can be a debate and a debate can be meaningless. It depends on the format of the group in question. Whatever it was, Bennett allowed a golden opportunity to slip between her fingers.