Handling Media, Candidates Not An Easy Task

Post a Comment » Written on January 4th, 2008     
Filed under: News
MANCHESTER, NH (January 4, 2008) – Dale Kuehne, pastor of Emmanuel Covenant Church in Nashua, New Hampshire, has been extra busy because he also is the point person for coordinating media and the candidates’ arrangements in Saturday’s Democratic and Republican debates at Saint Anselm College, making certain all are well-organized.

The debates “are as close to the World Series as you can get” in the race to become the party nominees,” says Kuehne, who also is special assistant to the school’s president for government relations. At this point, they are the only scheduled national debates of the primary season.

“What I’ve come to realize is that TV runs the election,” says Kuehne, who also coordinated previous debates at the school, including two contests in last June.

The news corporations dictate every detail of the event, including the seating order of the candidates on stage. The arrangements at the most recent debate have been widely criticized because they featured the frontrunners in the middle, automatically giving them the best exposure and opportunity to converse on the issues.

Those debates were just two of many that have been held at Saint Anselm. Republican and Democratic debates will be conducted back-to-back this Saturday.

The task of telling the powerful that they can’t get tickets to the debate also has fallen to Kuehne. He has had to turn away “A-list” celebrities, moguls, and international leaders because the debate hall had too few seats. He’s not naming names, however.

The job can be exhilarating and intensely frustrating, Kuehne says, but he sees it as an opportunity to speak truth with compassion and hospitality. Still, he adds with a laugh, “When we have our call to confession on Sunday, I’ll have my share of things to say.”

Kuehne says he has been careful never to promote specific political positions while preaching. “I became a pastor because I really think Christ is Lord, not to push a political agenda,” he explains. “My greatest moment of the week is to open the scriptures and preach.”

With regard to politics, “I want people to use the brain God has given them to make their own decisions on how to apply their faith,” Kuehne says. “At Emmanuel, we have many Republicans, and we have many Democrats. They care about their issues, but they care more about God and each other.”

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