Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, the 13th

Last night was a night for the Democratic candidates in the 13th Worcester House District to shine, as a standing-room only crowd filled The Willows in Worcester to hear the six contenders face off in a spirited debate. We start the coverage with an original report from
If Margot Barnet and Joff Smith weren't already the frontrunners in the 13th Worcester House race, they were certainly treated as such Thursday night at the Willows in Worcester. In a debate where all six Democratic candidates were allowed to ask questions of each other, Barnet and Smtih were the two with targets painted on their backs.

Smith was repeatedly called upon to defend his record on the Worcester City Council, while several candidates made veiled -- and outright -- critiques of Barnet's endorsements by teachers and nurses unions.
Jeremy Shulkin of Worcester Magazine was also there and noted that more often than not, when candidates went on the attack, they were the ones to lose the battle:
Any kind of attack on a candidate’s record or position rarely worked last night (and on two specific occasions it backfired on the attacker).

It’s no secret that Barnet has been endorsed by some heavy-hitting unions, including nurses and teachers. As Perotto pried into those endorsements, calling them “special interests,” Barnet asked if he sought endorsements as well. He answered that he did, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re “trying to control you.” (After the debate, a source from another campaign said the correct response would have been “Yes, we met, but I wouldn’t agree with their demands.”)

The other gaffe was a Mahoney attack on Smith for using his political power to get a road paved that raised the value of his family’s company, Goldstein Scrap Metal. Mahoney’s mistake? His source was a publication that, as Smith pointed out, recently smeared a Worcester firefighter. He then got the audience on his side by mentioning that certain writer’s feud with Dianne Williamson. When Mahoney clarified to mean Harding Street, Smith pointed out that his family’s business isn’t located there.
The writer and publication cited by Mahoney was Roaslie Tirella of the In City Times who, in her own inimitable way, ripped Smith for his defense in a post this morning:
Wow! We had wanted to mention Joff Smith in our blog about moron’s (see below) because he embodies everything that is creepy about America: Joff Smith thinks he is a TV/movie star! Smith, who is in his late 20s, actually has an agent! Someone who tries to get him into the movies! Someone who actually makes calls on the behalf of Smith’s acting career.
(One could argue that calling someone a moron in print loses its effectiveness when the writer incorrectly uses the possessive tense "moron's" instead of the plural "morons.")

The Telegram also covered the debate, and their coverage has drawn criticism from candidate Gina DiBaro. On her facebook page, she notes:
Please see [the] article that was posted last evening after the debate. Where my name was mentioned. For some reason it was not published this am in the telegram & gazette !!!!!
Specifically, she is noting that while the original online version of the story included three paragraphs on DiBaro, the version that hit newsstands and doorsteps left her comments on the cutting room floor. The missing links:
After the back and forth between Mr. Perotto and Mr. Smith, Ms. DiBaro, a former assistant district attorney and one of the quieter voices at the debate, chimed in.

“Can we weigh in on why we wouldn't vote for either of them?” she said.

Asked about Worcester County Sheriff candidate Thomas J. Foley, who retired from the state police with full medical disability, Ms. DiBaro said that since Mr. Foley has said he will not collect his full salary if he becomes sheriff, he would, in a sense, save the state money.
Those paragraphs have been tacked onto the end of the latest online version.

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