Sunday, October 24, 2004


A Tale Of Two Candidates

What happened when Maria Parra, the Dem congressional candidate in northeast Indiana panicked and could not take the stage to face her Republican opponent, Mark Souder?

One cracked under pressure. The other showed grace.

A case of stage fright sent Democrat Maria Parra off a TV stage Thursday, abruptly ending what would have been her only debate with Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd.

“I’m not used to being in front of the camera. … I couldn’t get my words out. I was just overwhelmed,” she said after the aborted debate, which was being taped at WPTA and which would have been aired this weekend. The matchup has not been rescheduled and is not likely to be.
Now consider the way each of them responded afterward:

In the first attempt to tape the debate, Parra did not make it through her opening statement before leaving the set. Observers were asked to leave the room, and the taping began again. Souder and Parra made their opening statements, and Souder responded to a question about health care from the moderator. When Parra was given a minute to respond, instead she left her seat, saying, “I can’t do this. I just can’t do this. I’m sorry.”Souder said it’s common for inexperienced candidates to be nervous in front of cameras and during a debate.

He said that’s why candidates usually only spar over issues during debates rather than making personal comments.

But Parra, before taking off her microphone and leaving the TV set, called Souder “an embarrassment” and said his performance in Congress was “do little, do nothing, do damage.”In a separate interview, Souder said ending the debate prematurely isn’t “a commentary on her knowledge of issues, in particular. I believe she was just very nervous.”

I sympathize with Parra's stage fright & all, but as for her response afterward ... well, which candidate would you trust to represent you under pressure? The one who calls names, or the one who graciously excuses their opponent?