The tweets have it: Muller interviews 11th District Candidate Bothwell via Twitter

On Sunday morning, April 15, Twitter raconteur and political inside/outsider Michael Muller, who is running several current Republican campaigns, engaged 11th Congressional District candidate Cecil Bothwell, Democrat, in a dialogue. Here’s our best effort to organize and compile an exchange that’s fraught with the time-delay challenges inherent to the nature of Twitter conversations but flavored with Muller’s take on serious journalism (hint: not so much). We sense a little play on Mike Wallace here, in Muller’s mix of straight questions and playful entendres, but he adds his own sense of … invention (when there’s no answer, he talks to himself). Bothwell gamely plays along and says he stands by what he tweeted but that he didn’t know he was being interviewed.

Muller: We’re speaking this morning with Congressional candidate @cecilbothwell. Join us after this commercial break! http://youtu.be/gCMzjJjuxQI.

Muller: Manolo! Bring me another Bloody Mary!

Muller: Thank you for joining us in the studio, this morning @cecilbothwell. Tell us again why you decided to run for Congress, @cecilbothwell?

Bothwell: [no reply]

Muller: I think we may have lost @cecilbothwell. Can someone check the connection? This just in from @weavervilleman. The Buncombe County 911 system is apparently down. Please do not have any emergencies for the time being. Oh wait, we’re back with @cecilbothwell. Can you hear us, @cecilbothwell?

Bothwell: I can read you, over.

Muller: Apparently there is a delay in the transmission due to the 30-year time difference between Robbinsville [in the western part of District 11] and Asheville. Please bear with us as we work out the technical difficulties. Oh, wait, we’re back. How would you characterize @HR4Congress [Hayden Rogers], your opponent in this race, @cecilbothwell?

Bothwell: Yesterday in Swain, [Rogers] listed a lot of things people like, and told the crowd, “If you favor those things, I’m your pick.” HR does say he’s a Blue Dog, like Shuler. I’m an FDR Dem in many respects. Yellow Dog. But also oppose USAPATRIOT Act, NDAA, war on drugs. Ron Paul, you listening? [And] HR has, to date, not made his positions on issues other than gay marriage clear. He’s agin it.

Muller: [Amendment One proposes amending the North Carolina Constitution to declare that the only legally recognizable marriage is between a man and a woman.]. Are you thinking that all The Gays coming out to oppose Amendment One will help your chances?

Bothwell: [no reply]

Muller: [after more technical difficulties] Apparently our guest @cecilbothwell is no longer here in the studio.

Muller: As you travel the highways & biways & bicuriousways of the District, @cecilbothwell, do you find most voters support or oppose Amendment 1?

Bothwell: yes, I’m the only candidate in either party who has taken a strong public stand against [it].(both Dems favor it.) [10:20] HR has, to date, not made his positions on issues other than gay marriage clear. He’s agin it. My perspective is slant[ed], because mostly Dem audiences. But Dems are getting with the vote no in a big way. Maybe wishful.

Muller: And if you should lose the primary to @HR4Congress, @cecilbothwell, will you run in the general election as an independent?

Bothwell: Forbidden by state law. [If you] Run in a party primary, not permitted to jump in as indy. Expect we’ll get Rogers’ endorsement May9.

Muller: Thanks for that clarification, @cecilbothwell. I didn’t realize that. You could mount a write-in campaign however, no?

Bothwell: Hmm. I’m not clear on write in rules. But getting 45,000 people to write in would be a daunting task, in any event.

Muller: Current internal polling (which means that I made it up) suggests that the 11th Congressional District leans +10 Republican, @cecilbothwell.Would you say that this will make it difficult for any Democrat to win in November, @cecilbothwell?

Bothwell: My internal polling is calling for another cup of coffee.

Muller: Politics makes strange bedfellows, @cecilbothwell. How do your progressive supporters feel about you getting in bed with Tea Baggers? Tea Bagging, as you might imagine, is something us gays take very seriously, @cecilbothwell. Well not all that seriously, but still.

Bothwell: Ah, in bed. Knew you’d get around to that. Patriot Act, NDAA, drug war, all cut across left-right lines.

Muller: Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist, against the FED, against Fed welfare, against foreign military intervention – are you too, @cecilbothwell?

Bothwell: No. My platform appeals to Ron Paulists and TeaPeeps. Populism is broad and deep in the district.

Muller: In fact, you take many of the same positions as failed Republican congressional candidate Carl Mumpower, @cecilbothwell.

Bothwell: Perhaps that’s why I beat him in [the] 2009 [Asheville City Council elections].

Muller: Oh snap! Good one. So you seem most closely aligned philosophically with Ron Paul, @cecilbothwell. Would you say that’s accurate?

Bothwell: Have very different view of Constitution than Paul. It’s dynamic, not static. Can no more be “strictly” read than tea leaves. Am aligned on a few issues. But believe in counter-cyclical Fed spending, Keynesian, Humphrey-Hawkins, etc. To further answer: am in favor of earned benefit programs, and help for the impoverished, free public education for all.

Muller: So you’re not a strict constructionist, @cecilbothwell. Does this mean that you believe that the judiciary should have the final say?

Bothwell: Must balance three branches. Another dynamic, not static thing. Now, really, must go find coffee. Been good twitting. Later.

Muller: We spend more money on federal education programs than ever before, @cecilbothwell, yet the US consistently ranks low in graduation rates. Are these acheivement gaps are best addressed by increasing spending on federal education programs, @cecilbothwell. If so, which ones?

Bothwell: [no reply]

Muller: It looks like @cecilbothwell has left the studio, which is a shame because I was about to administer a Rorschach test on him.

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About Margaret Williams
Managing Editor Margaret Williams has been at Xpress since 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987.

30 thoughts on “The tweets have it: Muller interviews 11th District Candidate Bothwell via Twitter

  1. Barry Summers

    I suppose if all the real reporters in the world had died in a freak ‘zeppelin-crashes-into-journalist-convention’, and you had no other way to misrepresent a candidate in an important upcoming election, this is the way you could go, sure.

  2. Viking

    I think Cecil offers an alternative and that alternative deserves some focus by media. It also helps when we understand history

  3. Margaret Williams

    As I have told Bothwell, it was a public exchange in a public venue (Twitter) by a candidate running for public office. I followed time-stamps on the individual tweets and tried to pair questions that had answers.

    But what caught my attention this morning was that Bothwell seemed to handle the dialogue with some measure of aplomb, and gave some interesting, thoughtful answers.

    As for Muller, he has engaged in interviews via Twitter quite often and will talk with anyone who answers.

    • tatuaje

      Interesting…

      What do you feel about Muller’s Twitter account being a private/protected account, Margaret?

    • Barry Summers

      tatuaje makes a good point – this was not as ‘public’ a venue as you say. Cecil’s twitter feed is public, as he has nothing to hide, but Muller’s has recently been made private, only available to his friends. Maybe his constant prattling about heavy drinking and drug use (whether joking or not), impinged on his “journalist” image…

  4. Barry Summers

    As I have told Bothwell, it was a public exchange in a public venue (Twitter) by a candidate running for public office.

    At least you’ve changed the opening ‘graph to acknowledge that Cecil “didn’t know he was being interviewed.” That wasn’t the case when this was first posted, and in the headline, it is still presented as an “interview”.

    As for Muller, he has engaged in interviews via Twitter quite often and will talk with anyone who answers.

    …and then say horrible s*** about them until he gets caught, and then he plays the victim. I’m surprised that XPress put his name and the words “serious journalism” in the same sentence, even as a joke. Michael Muller is not a journalist, he is a paid Republican operative. And in this case, it comes across pretty clearly as Michael trying to trick a Democratic candidate into saying something scandalous that he could use to embarrass him. Luckily, there’s nothing scandalous about Cecil, and as you said, he carried it off with aplomb, much to Muller’s chagrin…

  5. Dionysis

    “As for Muller, he has engaged in interviews via Twitter quite often and will talk with anyone who answers.”

    After this “interview” is read, chances are the number willing to answer any of his questions will be pretty sparse.

  6. zulu

    Muller is in no way, shape, or form a journalist, nor is he qualified to “interview” anyone for serious publication. He is just an arrogant hack, sometimes a paid one, sometimes not.

    And while we’re discussing journalistic standards, Xpress: When your representatives appear on WWNC radio once a week to pimp the latest issue, it would be nice if they didn’t giggle and joke through most of the session and express their personal opinions about the personalities of local candidates.

    You are rapidly losing your credibility as a serious news source.

  7. 1. Allowing the co-equal branch of the judiciary to have the “final say” IS strictly constitutional.

    2. The principle of limited government and individual rights is not and should never be “dynamic.”
    ………………….

    • Dionysis

      Pssst. Anyone who knowingly alters the wording of the Constitution (“life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness…”) has no standing to define what is constitutional or to constantly try to tell others what it’s supposed to mean and what it’s not. That’s one of the tasks of the Supreme Court, Inc.

  8. Dionysis

    I don’t have, nor plan to get a Facebook account in order to address Mark Cates’s comment below with a question or two:

    “The elitist attitude of the hard-core progressives is showing. It’s okay for Bothwell to be in full campaign mode, but those with a different opinion need to be quiet.”

    Mr. Cates, whose “different opinion” are you referring to, and who exactly is trying to “quiet” that opinion? The only thing passing itself off as an opinion in this ‘interview’ is a made-up assertion:

    “Current internal polling (which means that I made it up) suggests that the 11th Congressional District leans +10 Republican”

    And suspending reality long enough to assume Mr. Muller was a journalist conducting an interview, why should he have an opinion anyway?

    Please straighten me out on this, as I must be missing something.

    • Barry Summers

      Yes, Mr. Cates. Who are you referring to? Who is being told they “need to be quiet”?

      Don’t worry – I’ve learned not to expect a reply, Mr. Cates. Your modus is to throw out the victimization card, and then move on without providing clarity or evidence. The whiff of persecution is all you’re after, to justify “striking the blow from the heart of enemy territory”.

      http://www.mountainx.com/article/35563/Asheville-City-Council-Candidate-interview-Mark-Cates

      Yes, I know I will be accused of trying to silence you with these comments, being an elite progressive with the evil repressive power of quoting your own words back to you…

    • mat catastrophe

      As Barry points out, Cates is playing the victim card quite heavily these days. And, we’re probably all enabling him by piling onto his asinine display.

      I just hope he remembers all this nonsense he’s been spewing the last few weeks when his new blog opens and he starts having to ban all the “hard core progressives” who are going to show up to troll him like he’s been trolling Scrutiny Hooligans and Xpress recently.

  9. Thunder Pig

    Good grief. Don’t you people realize that Michael Muller is running a classic comedy routine called a double act where the person he interviews is the straight man?

    It’s all in good (if R-rated) fun.

    • bill smith

      I dont think anyone here has a beef with Mullers interview.

      The issue is the idiotic decision to post t here.

  10. Barry Summers

    Yes, it’s all in good fun, if the “straight man” is in on it. Otherwise, you’re trying to make a laughing-stock out of him. And if you’re just sort of a jerk, like Michael is in his spare time, that’s one thing. But Michael is a paid Republican operative trying to do damage to a Democratic candidate for Congress, in the middle of an election.

    For god’s sake, XPress, don’t give MM any more chances to drag your reputation into the mud any further.

    • mat catastrophe

      I don’t think it was a problem until the Xpress legitimized it by calling it an interview.

      I mean, most people understand that Muller’s twitter persona (however close it is to life) often engages in this sort of craziness with all sorts of people. It’s almost endearing.

      But to publish it in this way just smells to the high heavens.

    • bill smith

      This has nothing to do with Muller. It has to do with Xpress printing a twitter conversation and calling it an interview and news.

  11. sharpleycladd

    Thunder Pig’s my kind of Republican. Near as I can tell, he’s not claiming to be a victim of anybody, and is honest about his differences with the left.

    I can’t say the same for Mr. Cates.

  12. D. Dial

    Cates is the kid in the sand box who throws sand on the other kids, then runs whining to the teacher, when the kids throw sand back. He never learned any better.

  13. D. Dial

    Cates is the kid in the sand box who throws sand on the other kids, then runs whining to the teacher, when the kids throw sand back. He never learned any better.

  14. D. Dial

    Cates is the kid in the sand box who throws sand on the other kids, then runs whining to the teacher, when the kids throw sand back. He never learned any better.

    • mcates

      D. Dail,

      Clearly you don’t know much about me, but as it turns out your comment is very ironic.

      The Mountain Xpress will allow you to make disparaging comments about me, while they censor my comments that are grounded in fact.

      I have no desire to be a victim, I just call it like I see it. It appears others do not have a desire to recognize the facts on the ground and don’t appreciate me pointing them out.

    • bsummers

      Wow, Mr. Cates. Delayed reaction much? I’m sure we can find even older comments for you to respond to. And what’s this about XPress censoring you?

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