The second Liberty Party presidential debate session aired tonight, and it was nothing short of fiery. This was the first time an undercard debate was aired prior to the main debate.
In the undercard debate, the first question was posed to Secretary and former VP Celine Oswald. “Secretary Oswald, following the last debate, your poll numbers have dropped and relegated you to the lower tier of presidential contenders. You previously stated that experience is what the nominee of the Liberty Party should have, and that is why you are best for this nomination. However, the voters seem to disagree. Besides experience, what else do you bring to the table that voters should know about?” Oswald responded, “Well, I still believe that experience is incredibly important for the nominee. However, I can assure everyone that I am a fighter. I know that nowadays, we have officials at every turn that bend and break whenever it is politically necessary. For example, look at Vice President Wilson and his cooperation with the Canth administration. He may have values, but he doesn’t stick to them. That’s what I bring to the table: unimpeachable values and a fighting spirit that will bring Panem back to prosperity.”
The second question went to Governor Rosalie Descoteaux. “Governor, a real issue facing the nation of Panem is the oncoming threat of the terrorist group Oceanian Empire. If elected President of Panem, how would you face OE?” Descoteaux replied, “OE is easily the greatest threat to our national security today, and it is not a threat I take lightly. Considering District 14 is privy to the wars that Panem has fought through personal experience, I would take immediate action against OE on day one. First, we would pinpoint where their headquarters is located, and second, we would take all measures necessary to end this threat once and for all.” Septrix asked, “So, you are stating that you are willing to send in troops or even drop a nuclear weapon on OE, even if they are on another country’s sovereign soil?” Descoteaux shot back, “Any option that is considered viable would be on the table, and if OE were operating in another sovereign nation, I would hope that the nation in question would be willing to assist us in eliminating OE.”
The third question went to Governor Gale Hawthorne. “Governor, you have failed to gain any traction since the last debate and according to polling in Districts 2 and 15, the districts where you governed, and in District 12, your home district, you have fallen to the bottom of the pack. What is your plan to win this nomination from this moment onwards?” Hawthorne said, “First off, I don’t agree with how Governor Descoteaux was afforded a real question regarding OE and yet Secretary Oswald and I received questions about dismal polling. That isn’t appropriate by any means. We are candidates for the presidency, whether or not you prefer that, and we should be afforded respect and questions about actual issues.” Septrix shot back, saying, “To be fair, polling would prevent you from governing at all, so I feel that this is appropriate.” Hawthorne tersely replied, “No, it simply is not. The fact that you think polling is an acceptable debate topic is exactly why the people of Panem are fed up with the media and with this government.” Septrix continued, saying, “So, from what I’m gathering, you will not answer the question?” Hawthorne stated, “I do not see a reason to answer a question that disregards integrity.”
In the primetime debate, frontrunner and Governor Amy Oaksmith faced off against Senator Peeta Mellark and Vice President Dale Wilson.
The first question went to Vice President Dale Wilson. “Mr. Vice President, during the recent undercard debate, Secretary Celine Oswald stated that you ‘may have values, but [you] don’t stick to them.” Secretary Oswald has been a chief critic of you these days, but she was at the top of the ticket that led to your election as Vice President. What is your response?” Wilson responded, “Well, look. I don’t have animosity towards Celine. I really don’t. And frankly, it has surprised me that she has so intently attacked me over other candidates. While I suppose that’s just politics, to say that I do not stick to my morals is absolutely incorrect. For one, I was at the forefront of the electoral fraud investigation of the Canth administration, calling for special prosecutors to be incorporated immediately following the information indicating that there was indeed fraud. I’ve opposed President Canth in every policy that mattered. To say that I’ve basically betrayed my party, the voters, and thus my country is absolutely ludicrous and is deserving of an apology.”
The second question went to Senator Peeta Mellark. “Senator, your meteoric rise is well-documented in the press these days, noting how you went from private citizen, to First Gentleman, to Senator, and now to aspiring presidential candidate. However, this still leaves you with little experience overall. What do you have to say to voters who are unsure about you due to what is perceived as a lack of experience?” “Like you said, my rise has been fast and quick. However, that doesn’t mean I lack experience. After all, I am married to the most influential and powerful woman on the planet. I have been taking notes,” Mellark said to laughter and applause, “And of course, my work in the Senate has not been minimal. I have experience with the legislative branch through my time as Senate Majority Whip and through the bills that I have championed.”
The third question went to Governor Amy Oaksmith. “Governor, since the last debate where I asked you about if you would be able to compete against a stronger and more varied field of contenders than last election, you have proven to be able to fend of these contenders, claiming a frontrunner status. However, now your fellow candidates have seized the opportunity on the trail to attack you over your district’s legislature’s inability to pass a budget this year. How do you respond to these attacks?” Oaksmith stated, “While Districts 2, 4, 12, 13, 14, and 15 may have Liberty Party supermajorities, District 7 does not. I am the only candidate that lives in a swing district. The only other contender who can remotely lay claim to that is Vice President Wilson, and even that is dubious. Unlike with every other contender on stage, including those in the undercard, my government must negotiate with the minority to muster the votes up to meet the two-thirds needed in my district legislature to pass a budget. Sometimes the Conservatives and Labor members decide that something I’ve done isn’t to their liking. That cannot be pinned on me. Negotiations are a two-way street, and if one group isn’t willing to come to the table, the other party isn’t responsible. This, however, is exactly why we need a strong ticket in November. This Liberty ticket will be at the top of every ballot in the nation, and with that could come major victories downballot. It is up to our primary voters to pick someone who actually can govern in order for the party to win all over.”
Upon the ending of the undercard debate, focus groups were convened by The Panem Free Press. We found the following:
- Winner of the debate: Governor Rosalie Descoteaux (D14)
- Loser of the debate: Governor Gale Hawthorne (D2/D15)
- Unexpected breakout(s) of the night: Secretary Celine Oswald (D13)
Upon the ending of the primetime debate, focus groups were convened by The Panem Free Press. We found the following:
- Winner of the debate: Governor Amy Oaksmith (D7)
- Loser of the debate: None.
- Unexpected breakout(s) of the night: Senator Peeta Mellark (D12)
- Stagnant candidate: Vice President Dale Wilson (D4)
Secretary Oswald redeemed herself tonight from what was easily her worst weeks as a candidate ever. However, by attacking Vice President Wilson, she may have begun a war. Governor Hawthorne, on the other hand, did not charm the voters by attacking the media or government, but rather seemed cocky and arrogant by not answering. Governor Descoteaux gave a knock-out answer in regards to OE, amazing focus group members and political analysts alike. Senator Mellark has undoubtedly added to his rising lead tonight as he countered questioning regarding his supposed lack of experience. Vice President Wilson took the high ground in respect to Secretary Oswald, impressing voters but not enough to merit a second look. Governor Oaksmith, as normal, was on her A-game tonight and countered the attacks of the other candidates in regards to failed budget negotiations. All in all, expect to see Oaksmith-Mellark-Descoteaux in the top three in the next poll with Wilson-Oswald-Hawthorne not too far behind.