FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
Pastor Rick Warren says it's, quote, "flat out impossible" that John McCain had an unfair advantage at his presidential forum on faith and values, but according to your comments on our blog, News & Views, some of you aren't so sure. Our web producer Geoffrey Bennett is here to explain. Hey, Geoff.
GEOFFREY BENNETT: Hey there, Farai.
CHIDEYA: So, Barack Obama and John McCain attended Rick Warren's presidential forum on Saturday, and it wasn't without controversy. Give us the lowdown.
BENNETT: Well, Warren spoke with Obama and McCain separately during that event. Obama went first, thanks to a coin toss, and some suggested that McCain was able to hear the questions asked of Obama in advance. So, you talked with Rick Warren yesterday, and here's what he had to say about that.
(Soundbite of NPR's News & Notes, August 19, 2008)
Pastor RICK WARREN (Founder and Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church): I've talked to a number of people about this. They say an anonymous source told me that John McCain was watching a monitor in his green room. It's flat-out impossible. In the first place, there were Secret Service staff, Saddleback staff with McCain the entire time he was there. There was no way he could have listened to anything without being seen. Cameras were on him the entire time, and if he had heard anything, believe me, I would have heard about it.
BENNETT: Impossible, he says, but on our blog a reader named Dan P. wrote, Rick Warren has subsequently admitted that McCain was late showing up and was in his motorcade when the debates started. Very fishy. And Lynn Gage Gagney (ph) wrote, when was the coin tossed? One was in his car, the other in the studio. I know Obama was speaking from the heart. McCain was rehearsed. And we had a few other comments from Obama supporters. And Jon J. offered this, disappointed in the fact that Obama participated in this event at all. I believe in not only freedom of, but from religion. It has no place in politics.
CHIDEYA: Yeah, this made huge ripples on our website and across the net. But sticking with presidential politics, everybody's waiting for Barack Obama to name his VP pick. What's the latest online?
BENNETT: Well, we have a very unscientific poll on our blog. Joe Biden is in the lead right now, followed by Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson, and then Tim Kaine of Virginia, and earlier today someone wrote in Michael Phelps as a VP pick.
CHIDEYA: And John Edwards? All right. Well, anyway, the convention kicks off next week, and we are going to be there. How can folks catch up with us?
BENNETT: They can either message us on Facebook, or drop us a line on our blog, and we will try to find the best soul-food restaurant in Denver for News & Notes' extended family reunion, so people are going to be there. Either in Denver or in St. Paul, they should hit us up.
CHIDEYA: Absolutely, I'm really looking forward to seeing folks there. Now, also last week we posted video of Tony Cox, our own Tony Cox, speaking with the Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas about his advocacy. Douglas is for a national apology for slavery. So, what's the response to that?
BENNETT: Right, we videotaped that interview because Douglas invited us to his home, his home in Beverly Hills, which was quite nice, I have to say. And we posted that online and the responses can be summed up by what a reader named Catherine Whitehead (ph) had to say. She wrote of Kirk Douglas, here is a man with true integrity and responsibility, shooting from a godly, loving heart.
CHIDEYA: Well, always great to talk to you. Thanks so much.
BENNETT: No problem.
CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennett is the web producer for News & Notes, and he joined me from the studios of NPR West.
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