While the rest of the Democratic field gathered at an NBC debate last Tuesday night, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel staged his own event in Philadelphia with a simultaneous Webcast through UStream.com. Gravel responded to the same issues, but without a moderator, time restraints, or what Gravel called corporate censorship.
Before the debate started, Gravel showed a brief powerpoint explaining why his campaign was the only one blocked from the debate.
Citing General Electric as the main culprit, Gravel said, “They picked on the wrong presidential candidate.” Gravel then explained to the audience how General Electric is “one of the largest profiting, warmongering corporations we have in America” and then urged them to see their profile at corpwatch.org.
Gravel took a seat before a big screen projection of the debate and watched as the first questions were asked.
Every ten minutes or so, Gravel would have the broadcast paused so he could respond to questions, and answers, that he felt strongly about. A running theme throughout the night was his longtime stance against escalated conflict with Iran and his delight in seeing the other candidates take Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. to task for her statements on the issue.
After the debate, Gravel took questions from the audience. Speaking about other candidates, Gravel said that he agrees with many things they talk about, but the biggest difference is in regards to his National Initiative. “They don’t seem to want or care about giving people the power to participate in government, like they do in Switzerland”
Gravel was upset that his absence went unnoticed either by NBC or his fellow Democratic candidates, comparing it with Stalinist Russia. “When someone would just stop showing up for work but no one in the office dared to ask; ‘Hey, what ever happened to Ivan?’” There was some slight approval of candidates criticizing a rush to war in Iran, only not enough to satisfy Gravel who wrote, “Maybe a good way to start diplomacy would be to show the Iranians some respect and stop referring to them as donkeys that must be bribed or beaten into compliance.” Gravel ended his blog by confirming that he is still in the race and has been invited to future debates.