Roger Simon Joins The Tennessee Star Report In-Studio to Discuss Unconventional Debate on July 12th

Live from Music Row, Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and The Epoch Times’ Editor-at-Large Roger Simon to discuss the upcoming unconventional debate at downtown Nashville’s Masonic Lodge on July 12th.

Leahy: In-studio, the original all-star panelist, Roger Simon. You know, Roger, on Monday we’re launching the video version of The Tennessee Star Evening News Update.

Simon: I will definitely check it out.

Leahy: Yours truly will be the anchor. And of course, our chief meteorologist, Daphne DeLoren …

Simon: Will you be Dan Rather?

Leahy: (Affecting vocal imitation) I’ll be Tom Brokaw.

Leahy: Okay, but it’s local stuff and it’s just to give a different view out there. And we’re very excited about it. We’ve got some partnerships that we’ll be announcing shortly with some TV and cable folks, and over-the-top technology.

It’s all very exciting. It’s an exciting new world for us. … Daphne DeLoren, she’s very good at what she does. We’re delighted to have her on the team. And, speaking of teams, Roger, you at The Epoch Times have put together a great team for a debate that will be of the Tennessee 5th Congressional District GOP candidates.

Simon: On July 12. And everybody listening is invited to come down to the big lodge there, downtown, where they actually can see 1,200 people.

Leahy: Which lodge is this?

Simon: That’s the Masonic Lodge.

Leahy: The Masonic Lodge downtown.

Simon: Now here’s the thing: This is a different kind of debate than has ever been staged, really. As some listeners will recall how Chris Wallace practically destroyed Donald Trump in the last debate by not allowing him to question Hunter Biden’s laptop. As it turns out, Trump was 100 percent correct. We are not having reporters who are biased, like Michael and me.

Leahy: Speak for yourself. I just report the facts. (Laughs)

Simon: The questions, for the first time in the history of debate, as far as we know, are going to be asked by domain experts in the field, subject matter experts. Like a Gordon Chang is going to be coming into Nashville to ask, in person, the questions on foreign policy in China.

Leahy: That’s a pretty big deal.

Simon: It’s a pretty big deal. Hans von Spakovsky is going to be asking the questions on electoral integrity. He’s one of the leading lawyers in the country on the subject.

Leahy: He, by the way, is a Vanderbilt Law School graduate. He’s a friend of mine. He’s at the Heritage Foundation, a leader in the Honest Election Project.

Simon: He’s a fantastic guy. So those are the kinds of people that are going to be asking the questions of the candidates, instead of reporters. And we’re going to be streaming at The Epoch Times and streaming it live to the internet.

And the idea is, what we’re trying, it’s very ambitious, but we were trying this for the sake of the country, really, is to change the terms of these political debates from the nonsense that we’ve been having almost all our lives, really, into something that might inform the voter …

Leahy: Might be substantive! (unintelligible crosstalk) … COVID questions. Who’s asking the questions about science and COVID and all that sort of stuff?

Simon: I think it’s going to be an ethics doctor named Aaron Kheriati, who’s quite a famous guy, but not as famous as Gordon Chang [who] is, like Mr. China when it comes to this.

Leahy: So the big question at this debate on July 12th.

Simon: Doors open at 6:00,  and the actual debate starts at 7:00. It should be a lot of fun. July 12,

Leahy: We will be there.

Simon: Yes, we’ll be there. And other groups are going to be there too.

It’s co-sponsored by the Nashville Republican Women and the Middle Tennessee Young Republicans, both of whom are doing great work and supporting this whole idea of real debates rather than reporters showing off.

Leahy: Now, let’s take a look also at the invitations. How many invitations have been sent out to candidates, and how many will have accepted?

You know, it’s hard to say. I’m not part of that. I’m separate from that part of the I’m the one who’s wrangling experts like Gordon.

Leahy: So you get the experts.

Simon: Yes. But we’re going to have about four to five of the key candidates. Unfortunately, you can’t have 15 people answering.

Leahy: Well, there are only nine qualified candidates.

Simon: Right. But you know what I’m saying.

Leahy: Nine would be a little bit too much.

Simon: We couldn’t do it.

Leahy: You’re thinking four or five.

Simon: Yeah, exactly.

Leahy: And so you don’t know specifically who’s been asked and accepted, but I would guess that the three who raised the most money are …

Simon: They’ve all been spoken to. I presume that they’re all going to end up coming because they will look very bad if they don’t.

Leahy: The three that have raised the most money are Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, the former speaker of the Tennessee House of Representative Beth Harwell, and retired Brigadier General Kurt Winstead.

Right now, sort of the fourth on the money-raising is Jeff Beierlein, the former Black Hawk pilot and healthcare executive. You may have heard some of his ads here. So I think those four invitations have probably gone out too.

Simon: They have gone out, yes. I can say that, but as I said, I’m not involved with that.

Leahy: When will we know who the participants are?

Simon: We will probably know in about 10 days from now.

Leahy: Good. Well, when you’re back here in a couple of weeks. You’ll be back.

Simon: Not only will we have more participants, I’m directly involved with getting the experts and there will be more interesting announcements about experts.

Leahy: Oh, more to come?

Simon: Yes. In fact, we’re going to make Michael an expert.

Leahy: Boom. An expert.

Simon: You know, if we’re short an expert, you can come in.

Leahy:  Well, I’m available if needed, but here’s the thing, Roger. I do want to mention the other candidates who are out there campaigning, haven’t raised a lot of money, but just to mention them Natisha Brooks, Geni Batchelor, Trace Wittum, Stewart Parks, and Tim Lee.

Those are the other five candidates who, I don’t think any have really raised much money, but they are qualified and on the ballot.

Simon: Yes, unfortunately, true in our society that we sort of discriminated against the people who raised the most money, which is kind of corrupt, I have to admit. On the other hand, that’s the way it is.

But we’re trying to get a sense of which four or five candidates are the most likely to win. So that’s even more important than who has raised the most money.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Roger Simon” by Roger Simon. Background Photo “Nashville Republican Women Podium” by Nashville Republican Women. 

















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