Candidates Share the Stage

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

Democratic candidate Virg Bernero was on a mission

"It's not rocket science. You get 2 podiums, a journalist in the middle, and you have a debate," Bernero says.

The mayor showed up unannounced to his opponent Rick Snyder's town hall meeting in Westland on Monday evening.

"I'm hoping for a handshake agreement for 3 televised debates," Bernero says. "That's what we were discussing before he pulled out of negotiations."

He came with a letter hoping to sit down with the businessman, but Bernero got more than he bargained for.

Snyder invited Bernero to join him in an impromptu town hall.

"I appreciate the Mayor being a part of this. And I thank you for your patience," Snyder says, addressing the crowd.

The candidates took questions from the audience, ranging in topics from education to medicaid. But some weren't so thrilled by the mayor's presence.

But most people we spoke to say they walked away with a better understanding of both men.

"I came here to see one candidate and I ended up seeing both," says Westland resident Margaret Harlow. "They were very gracious to one another. I was impressed."

"It was very informative. I haven't made up my mind yet," says Westland resident Leonard Poger. "There were good questions from the audience, and they were both very informed."

As for future debates, that's still up in the air.

"One of the problems with the history of debates, at least in the primary cycle, it was soundbites and bickering. And that adds no value," Snyder says.

"The problem is so many people are excluded," Bernero says. "In a democracy, you need people to be able to shop and compare."

All in all, the mayor accomplished his goal.

"The mayor wrote me a letter," Snyder says. "I'll read his letter."

"Hopefully he sees that I don't bite and a debate won't be a bad thing," says Bernero.

The mayor is hoping for three televised debates in large media markets. Snyder called-off negotiations last Friday. Both candidates told us they're open to sharing the stage at more town hall meetings.

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 at 08:24 PM
    What a coicidence that WILX was at their first town hall meeting the same night Benero showed up! They could have gone to the dozen previous ones. This shows you who WILX favors.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Sep 14, 2010 at 12:42 PM
    Did Mr. Bernero have to 'crash' the town hall meeting being held by Mr. Snyder because no one attends his? With classless antics like that, Mr. Bernero has shown himself to be far too immature to lead this State.
  • by Jake Location: Lansing on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM
    A cheap stunt. Typical of the"angry mayor". When you get past anger and calling people names what is there?
  • by Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM
    The choice is between a successful businessman and a self centered politician. Snyder did a wonderful job in doing an impromptue debate. To bad Virg had all of his answers prepared.
  • by Tom Location: Holt on Sep 14, 2010 at 10:02 AM
    On a schoolyard Vergil would be known as the BULLY! He is used to getting his way and gets angry when it doesn't happen. Grow up Vergil, go hang out with your union cronies at the bar. Plan a new career. Maybe a bouncer at a bar would work for you.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 at 06:32 AM
    Virg is a hot head, always has been.
  • by Ted Location: Holt on Sep 14, 2010 at 05:59 AM
    If I had any doubt, the stunt Virg pulled last night removed it. Classless act.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 at 05:09 AM
    Once again Virg proves hat he is only for Virg. He wants what he wants and will go to any extreme to get it. Do we even want to consider this person for Govenor?
  • by darb Location: lansing on Sep 14, 2010 at 04:28 AM
    That Virg! What a class act! Party crasher! Just think if he gets elected - he could be the next White House Party Crasher! Priceless!
  • by William Location: Okemos on Sep 13, 2010 at 09:02 PM
    To me the debate is over. Snyder is focused on making government work again, Bernero wants to go back to the 1970s, where international trade wasn't an issue, and manufacturing dominated the economy. But we all know that's not going to work. We need to make our state more competitive for jobs, especially by reducing the Michigan Business Tax and eliminating the personal property tax. See how we can do this @
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