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Fear and Loathing at the Republican Presidential Debate. Ron Paul Supporter, Ex-Journalist & GOP Candidate Part of "Undecided" Focus Group.

Reported by Marie Therese - October 24, 2007 -

After Sunday's Republican debate during the post-debate show with Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity, it became very clear that GOP voters are nearing a state of psychotic obsessiveness about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton Presidency. Various members of an allegedly "undecided" Republican focus group, quizzed by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, could not agree on a winner in the debate. But they could all agree on their hatred, loathing and fear of a middle-aged woman from Chappaqua, New York. The level of venom was so great that it was frightening. It did not help that Hannity and most of the GOP candidates fed that hatred by making fun of, attacking or otherwise demeaning Mrs. Clinton. What a sad, sad display. Ron Paul won the FOX News Instant Poll for the third time. Of course, Hannity dismissed it once again, claiming Paul's "fans" swamped the call center. With video.

One of Frank Luntz's focus group's members turned out to be Republican activist Douglas Maher. Maher posts at Free Republic under the name "My Favorite Headache." Until taking a job in public relations at an advertising company, he worked as a reporter for the All Headline News Corps.

On October 22, 2007 on Free Republic, Maher posted his recollection of what it was like to participate in Luntz's "dial in" group. A partial excerpt follows.

"I am going to post just a small review of my night with 23 Republicans at the Fox News Orlando Republican Presidential Debate.

"Luntz was angry early on before camera's went live when he polled the group to make sure everyone there was undecided. A 21 yr old guy raised his hand and said he was supporting Ron Paul. Luntz absolutely lost it on this kid and said 'Why in the hell did you not put that on your questionaire that was e-mailed to you? Why does it not shock me that a Ron Paul supporter would pull this kind of crap?'

"'If someone else shows up you are being replaced and out of here...this room is for undecided.'

"I was originally placed in the second row towards the end of the row next to a man named Fred Hawkins Jr. who is running for Osceola County Commissioner. Luntz asked us a bunch of questions with a camera crew and producers in tow behind him and I was the first to answer. I was the first person to use the word 'socialism' and it spread like wild fire.

"I said the concept of America voting a socialist like Hillary Clinton as President should be motivation enough for Republicans to get their act together. I reminded Luntz of the Hillary quote saying 'This is the same woman who is quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle saying 'We will have to take things away for the common good.' Luntz had this smirk on his face and he knew I handed him gold.

"After 3 segments it was time to go live. By the time you saw what you did at home we had already gone through 3 rounds of questions and I was lighting up the joint with what I call the biggest crisis this campaign." (Source: Free Republic)

In his Free Republic post Maher verified that pollster Luntz permitted a Ron Paul voter to remain and that there was a current GOP candidate for public office also present. Clearly, Luntz had not screened any of the members of the focus group in order to assure that they were, in fact, the "undecided" voters they claimed to be.

As it turns out Maher himself said on the air that he was a Thompson "fan" as did Fred Hawkins Jr., the Republican candidate for County Commissioner in Osceola, Florida.

Finally, as if on cue, during the after-debate interviews with Hannity and Colmes, the candidates made sure to bash Hillary, as you can see from video #2 below. Ron Paul did not take Hannity's bait. (N.B. Due to a VCR malfunction, I wasn't able to include the Tom Tancredo interview.)

VIDEO #1: LUNTZ FOCUS GROUP, POST-DEBATE DISCUSSION


VIDEO #2: GOP CANDIDATES PANDER TO BASE, BASH HILLARY


VIDEO #3: LUNTZ FOCUS GROUP, PRE-DEBATE DISCUSSION