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TalkBack Live

Should New Hampshire Representative Tom Alciere Resign?

Aired January 5, 2001 - 3:00 p.m. ET



TOM ALCIERE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE: Didn't I just say we've got to get beyond all of that?


DARYN KAGAN, HOST: But a lot of folks can't. New Hampshire state representative Tom Alciere justifies killing cops.

This is from his Web site:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing wrong with wasting cops. They go around threatening innocent, random people at gunpoint and they whine about it when one of us humans kills a cop.

RON GIORDANO (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE: He has a right to say what he wants; he has the right of free speech.

JOHN KACAVAS (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE: I'm all for his First Amendment rights, but this is beyond the pale.



KAGAN: Alciere says he did it to ruffle some feathers, but no apologizes.


ALCIERE: I am state representative, and with -- I am here with a purpose, with a mission.


KAGAN: Alciere also thinks nagging wives should be beaten, drugs should be legalized and children should not have to attend school.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're appalled and ashamed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should make a motion to impeach him immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In think that the fellow is sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man is insane.

ALCIERE: I am not a nut.

QUESTION: And what are you?


KAGAN: Welcome to TALKBACK LIVE on this Friday afternoon. I'm Daryn Kagan, I'll be pinch hitting today for Bobbie Battista, who's feeling just a bit under the weather.

Right off the top we want to tell you we're standing by for Senator Trent Lott. He'll be coming out, as we understand, to talk about a power sharing agreement they have come to in the Senate. As you know, 50-50 split in the 107th Congress. So as soon Senator Lott begins to speak we will bring that to you live.

Meanwhile, we begin a different political discussion, and this one is on the state legislature in New Hampshire. As far as anyone knows, that New Hampshire state representative Tom Alciere hasn't done anything illegal; there is nothing short of resignation that can force him out of office.

And in a letter that was posted on his Web site, he says, quote -- and here is the quote: "I have received a number of communications calling on me to resign. My reply is this: A person who is dissatisfied with the actions of the government and its cops would notify his elected officials, seeking a solution. And if they just laugh and throw the letter away, he should run for public office and propose those measures himself."

KAGAN: That said, let's find out more about lawmaker Alciere.

Joining us now is Ken Gidge, radio talk show host at WSMN in New Hampshire.

Ken, thanks for joining us here on TALKBACK today on CNN.


KAGAN: Doing just fine. Now, you know Tom Alciere, right?

GIDGE: Yes, in fact, Tom Alciere called me just before I came up here to the studio. And I said, well, come on, Tom, I'll pick you up and I'll drive you up there; and he said no. And I said, well, Tom, a lot of people want to know a lot more about you; and he said, tell people I will do your show -- the radio show -- Monday and/or Tuesday. And I said, well, they're going to need a little more information; what do you think? Give me something to give them. And he said, look, first of all, I'm trying to get some legislation to legalize drugs completely -- legalize drugs. Then the drug dealers will stop getting killed; also, the cops will stop getting killed. That was that, and he hung up.

He seemed like he was a little paranoid, as if somebody was listening on the phone, and that's all I have to, basically, tell you -- the last thing that Tom Alciere said to me.

KAGAN: Now we do want to say that we extended our own personal invitation to Tom Alciere to appear here on TALKBACK LIVE; and, just as he declined to come with you, he declined to come on the show.

So you're the closest thing we have -- or the closest person we have to being able to understand his point of view.

But this guy is for real.

GIDGE: Tom Alciere is for real. And I've said this before; I said: I would trust Tom Alciere with my wife, but not necessarily my family pet...

KAGAN: Now, what do you mean by that?

GIDGE: Well, that's -- he's very hard to figure out. Tom is, sort of, a paradox. He cannot understand why he's getting all the publicity for what he said as a civilian before he was elected into the state legislature.

KAGAN: Let's go over some of his views, as far as you know. He's getting a lot of publicity for saying it's OK to kill cops. Is that, I mean, is that honestly what he says, and he honestly believes that that's OK?

GIDGE: The way he says it -- this was during a rant on the Internet; but he's brought up a lot of other things: beating women...

KAGAN: Ken, I need you to hold on one second. We'll get back to that thought. First we need to go up to Joie Chen in the CNN newsroom.

Back to this conversation in just a minute -- Joie.


KAGAN: Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE. OK, we are talking politics still. We are talking about a Republican, but we're talking about the state legislature of New Hampshire.

Let's go back and bring back our guests. Ken Gidge, who is a talk-show host in New Hampshire. You were telling us about Tom Alciere, a recently elected representative serving in the state legislature of New Hampshire who has, by many people's standards, some very outrageous views. And once again, we did put out an invitation to Mr. Alciere appear here on TALKBACK LIVE, and he has chosen not to do that. However, he does talk to you as a talk-show host on a regular basis. So you're going to help us understand some of the views that he has.

GIDGE: Yes, he does -- he said he will be doing a show with me next week. I have no idea why Tom has chosen myself and/or WSMN, the station that I work for.

KAGAN: Well, you guys go way back. This isn't recently that he's talking to you, right?

GIDGE: Well, that's true, but not all of it has been absolutely pleasant. In fact, the last time that he was on he was talking about killing police officers, at which time we got into basically a shouting match and I called him an idiot and hung up on him, which he called back, which we kept it going a little bit. And then we both calmed down, and we ended the program that way.

KAGAN: Why do you have someone like that on your show, Ken? Why do you give someone like that airtime when they're saying things like that?

GIDGE: Well, I didn't give him airtime. Basically, he got on and started his ranting and raving, which he has done. I did cut him off, he did call back. But there is -- there's something more to this: Tom Alciere is like a large wake-up call. You call the hotel, please wake me up at 7:00, they wheel in a 5-ton bell, you hit it with a hammer, it scares the hell out of you, yes, but waking you.

But it's fascinating to listen to some of the callers. Every single caller will say on the talk shows that I've been doing we do not wish anyone to be killed, especially the police, but -- and then many people have stories about police that aren't very complimentary. And I have a feeling from the Waco, the Rodney King, it's not, as the police will say, the lowlife any longer. It's becoming the more sophisticated and intellectual who have at least a wary and/or a problem in the past with the police.

So I think there's more of a story than just Tom Alciere.

KAGAN: OK, let's -- let's review some of his other views, though. On women, has he said in the past it's OK to beat women from time to time?

GIDGE: Yes, he has said it is fine to drag women across the floor and to use a baseball bat if necessary. I called him on that yesterday, and he sort of calmed his views down. But I said, well, would you slap a woman? And he said, well, if a confrontation kept going and there was no way to stop it, but he wouldn't come to the point of saying he would slap a woman. And I asked him, "Would you slap your wife?" He said absolutely not.

KAGAN: He's already getting ready to sponsor some bills in the state legislature of New Hampshire, including drinking age. He doesn't think there should be a minimum drinking age. GIDGE: Absolutely not. He thinks there should be absolutely no -- no laws at all. In fact -- and I'm sure CNN will pick this up -- Les Consolving (ph), who does work for WSMN and also has a national talk show, was just at a briefing at the transitional headquarters in Washington and brought up something regarding Tom Alciere and one of his writings on the Internet. And that was, why should we be concerned about drunken driving, considering we have a president who will be elected who is a convicted drunk driver?

KAGAN: Well, let's stay away from George W. Bush today and let's keep it on Tom Alciere. Tom Alciere is just one of 400 representatives in the state legislature of New Hampshire. We have two others with us today, one Republican, one Democrat, including Ron Giordano, who is a Republican.

Mr. Giordano, thanks for joining us here.


KAGAN: This is your Republican state legislature from New Hampshire.

GIORDANO: Yes, it is.

KAGAN: And what do you think about that? Does he represent the views of your party?

GIORDANO: No, he does not. I don't think that is the views of the Republican Party or any party, period. I don't think this is a party issue.

I think he's made some very serious accusations. He has some very serious issues that we need to look at. I've tried to talk with him over the last couple of days via e-mail. I have received responses back from him.

KAGAN: What kinds of things are you saying to him and what's he saying back?

GIORDANO: You've got to realize that in order to be an effective legislature for your community, such as his in Nashua, you have...

KAGAN: This is what you're telling him?

GIORDANO: Yes. You have to be effective in the House, you have to be a team leader. Due to this most recent outburst, especially talking about killing police officers, it has really rattled the House and the members of the House to the point where I guess you could call him a lame-duck legislature. And what will happen now is some of the bills that he has filed, which you can see on the Internet, are extreme and they are laws that are in place, and those laws will not go back to the laws that he has filed trying to close schools, to teach kids on computers, trying to lower the drinking age. These things are not going to happen. Laws are put in place so the things will run in a formality as far as the law is concerned. So therefore, you won't see any corporation, I think, from the House or its members in repealing any of these laws that he has filed.

KAGAN: I think this discussion would be helped if you gave us a quick civics lesson. People wonder how does this guy get elected in the first place. Just the state legislature of New Hampshire is interesting unto itself, 400 representatives to represent a tiny state like New Hampshire.

GIORDANO: I think what has happened here -- and I don't why it didn't happen in the community of Nashua -- is in every community every newspaper usually picks up prior to the primary or the general election every candidates' views, either personal, their experience, their political background, as well as their views. And apparently, this has not happened in Nashua.

It did happen in my town of Salem, New Hampshire. They do, do a profile. And unfortunately, this did not happen. I don't know if it just swept under the rug.

KAGAN: And Tom Alciere has said that he didn't even say his views before he got elected, and when asked why, well, he said, well, nobody asked. That seems incredible.

GIORDANO: That is correct, and that's why I don't know why their newspapers did not pick it up, because other communities throughout New Hampshire, they do, do a profile on you. It's been done in my town and many other towns.

KAGAN: And Mr. Giordano, you said you've e-mailed Mr. Alciere. Has he e-mailed you back and what has he said?

GIORDANO: He did. I e-mailed him a couple of times, and I told him, Tom, in order to be an effective legislature, you have to be able to work with the entire House. Due to the outburst that has taken place, your issues and views over the last week, that's not going to happen. If you want to be effective for the people of Nashua -- I have offered to him that if he resigned his position in the House, that I would take his views, we would look at them, reconstruct them in a positive manner, see what direction he is headed, and see if we could bring those issues to the House in the manner in which he brought them out a week ago just as a no-go.

The governor the other day said the bottom line right now is his bills are we call DOA: dead on arrival. They will not get even out of committee, and that's important. In order to get a bill onto the floor, you have to get it out of committee at the public hearings, and that's not going to happen with this. And he wrote me back saying, "Do they really want me to quit? And if I do, then I have to go back to my old ways," with a little smiley face at the end of his e-mail to me.

I've tried to reach out to him and I know he's watching today, and I want to him help, him I think he can't be effective. He should step down. We'll take a look at his views. I'll try to reconstruct them to a positive manner, and at the same time, allow an election to take place in Nashua for someone else to replace him, because...

KAGAN: So you would like to see him resign?

GIORDANO: ... in order to be effective he has to be able to get laws through the House, and that's not going to happen.

KAGAN: Let's go ahead and bring in some of our e-mail that we've been getting here at TALKBACK. Here's one from Frank in Florida. He writes: "This guy might be entitled to freedom of speech, but as a lawmaker, he is not fit to serve in any elective capacity."

That -- the freedom of speech is very interesting. That kind of brings us into our next -- oh, you want to get this other e-mail on. Let's get this e-mail on, too. This one from Steve: "We should talk about it. I wonder how many of us have thought at times this kind of act was justified. Crooked cops have gotten shot in the past."

And that's from Steve, and Mr. Giordano, that would -- actually, I think it was Tom -- Ken Gidge who was saying, you'd be surprised how man people have views similar to Tom Alciere out there.

Let's go ahead and bring in Michael Lynch with "Reason Magazine," as long as we're talking about freedom of speech. Michael, hello. Thanks for joining us here on TALKBACK.

MICHAEL LYNCH, "REASON MAGAZINE": Well, thanks for having me this afternoon.

KAGAN: Please tell us, what is "Reason Magazine"?

LYNCH: Well, "Reason Magazine" is a monthly magazine of politics, culture and ideas. It was founded back in 1968. Our moniker is "Free minds and free markets." It's based out in Los Angeles, and I cover Washington, D.C. for it.

KAGAN: And so it's a strong advocate of freedom of speech?

LYNCH: We are a very strong advocate of freedom of speech and opponent of the drug war, and basically an advocate of many and most freedoms. We believe the government does too much, it encroaches on people's freedoms and liberties too much.

KAGAN: So in a case like, should an outspoken state legislature have to step down just because he has what many people consider to be outrageous views?

LYNCH: Well, absolutely not. I mean, I think what he said is wrong, and I'm definitely prepared to say that from what I've seen. But he certainly has a right to say it, and he's broken no law. He was duly elected, and he ought to serve out his term.

I think one of the ironies of this, or lesson of it, is that he's going, as Mr. -- Representative Giordano has said, he's going to be much less now due to his sort of his outspoken rantings on issues that might have some legitimacy.

It would be nice to debate sort of the excesses of the drug war, what it's done, put a half million people in jail, cost us about $40 billion a year. It has had some corrupting effects on law enforcement, as a scandal -- Rampart scandal out in Los Angeles shows. So I think that's there's a great lesson. Obviously, he has been exposed. His views are exposed as extreme. And now they're tainting what might otherwise be some legitimate grievances.

KAGAN: So you might say: right message from some, but wrong messenger. Let's get our studio audience involved in here.

LYNCH: Well, I would correct that. I don't ever advocate the killing of law-enforcement officers, who do not write the laws, but enforce them -- and enforce them -- do a tough job, and oftentimes a dangerous job, for not a great amount of pay. I don't think that is ever right. And I would not want to be on the record for saying that.

KAGAN: OK, clarification well taken.

LYNCH: Thanks.

KAGAN: And here is Greg from Texas with a question.

My question is for Mr. Gidge. I'm curious. You mentioned that his rants were on the -- his Web site concerning the beating of women and, you know, the wife, and killing of cops. So my question is: How much do we know right now currently how he -- does he still believe those things? Does he still want to get legislation passed to protect that kind of behavior?

Ken, can you take that one?

GIDGE: Yes. And I think I am going to have to answer that with a question that I asked him and the answer that he gave to me. I said: "Tom, can you see a parallel between you and Lee Harvey Oswald? Your wife is not an American. Lee Harvey Oswald was out on the street, trying to get publicity. You are on radio shows."

He stopped for a moment. I am not sure if he absolutely understood what I was saying. He smiled a little. He went back and he said: "Yes, I am very dissatisfied, but what I have done is I have gone into politics. I was voted into political -- the arena." So I am not sure if I could answer your question other than with what he had said to me.

KAGAN: OK, so a lot more questions ahead. We want to say thank you to Mr. Giordano. Thanks for joining us today. We have to let him go. Still head: Let Tom Alciere say what he wants and make of an idiot of himself, some would say. That's what another state representative says about the matter.

We'll find out what's he's thinking when TALKBACK LIVE comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KAGAN: According to the "Washington Post," Tom Alciere once hosted an online service to introduce American men to "Spanish- speaking ladies." The "Post" also reports that he hosted an Internet- dating site for Nashua High School, which featured the sections "He Wants it Bad" and "She Wants it Bad."

Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE -- continue to talk about the political situation in New Hampshire.

Got a couple of amusing e-mails I want to share. Here is from Bob, and I think it is Jane: "This helps reinforce our belief that uninformed voters brings problems on themselves, and not all goofy stuff happens in Florida."

Nice! A couple of Florida people appreciating that one. And our other one: "Looks like the straight-ticket vote bit them right in the statehouse. Try picking up a newspaper next time." That one's from Tim --- two very good e-mails. Thanks for writing in. And keep those coming.

As we continue our conversation about Tom Alciere, we want to go ahead and welcome John Kacavas. He is a freshman New Hampshire state representative from Manchester.

Mr. Kacavas, welcome to TALKBACK LIVE.


KAGAN: Now, you can't be so quick in blaming this on the Republicans, even though Tom Alciere is Republican, because he has run before, and he has run as a Democrat. So he's been a member of your party as well.

KACAVAS: That is right. I don't believe that this is really an issue of bipartisanship. This is a gentlemen who flew below the radar, if you will, and managed to get elected in a presidential election year when people's interests and focus are on the White House, on congressional and Senate seats, or on the governor's race.

The New Hampshire statehouse, with 400 representatives, is kind of the lowest tier on the ballot. And it's not a real surprise -- although it is a tragedy, in my view -- that he did fly below the radar and was able to get elected.

KAGAN: Had you ever heard of him before?

KACAVAS: I had not. The first I heard of Mr. Alciere was on Monday morning when I woke up and read the paper.

KAGAN: Now, as we mentioned, you are a freshman representative. Given everything you had to go through to get elected, do you find it incredible that someone else could have gotten elected without ever stating what their views were, what their political views are?

KACAVAS: Well, I don't find it incredible, for the reasons I just stated. It can happen when you have a legislative body of this size and in -- it was a presidential election year. Of course, I'm dismayed that he was elected. And I think that what he has done is, he has completely marginalized himself. I think it will be easier for Mr. Alciere to get tickets to the policeman's ball than it will to get him to find any support in the House for any of his legislation.

KAGAN: Point well taken.

We have a question here from Fred from Washington.

FRED: Yes, I am wondering: Isn't there something that the legislature can do to reprimand him as a whole, that they don't approve of what he is doing and what he is saying?

KAGAN: Mr. Kacavas, I know you are a freshman representative. But I am sure you know enough about how the system works. Is there any kind of impeachment system? Can he be forced to resign? How does it work in New Hampshire?

KACAVAS: Well, there is no system for impeaching him or forcing his resignation. And, in fact, I don't advocate -- I don't call upon Mr. Alciere to resign. I think he should resign only if, in a pang of conscience, he is convinced that it's the right thing to do, or if his constituents, who collectively feel deceived, convince him that it is the right thing to do. He has a right to express himself. And his freedom of expression should be defended.

However, the content of that expression is indefensible. You know, I found it tragically ironic that the press conference -- the impromptu press conference that he held the other day -- was within a stone's throw of the Law Enforcement Memorial in Concord. And the Law Enforcement Memorial is dedicated to the memories of those police officers who died preserving our security, protecting our freedoms. And one of those fundamental freedoms is the right to express ourselves, the right to hold asinine views, and the right to express those views.

So I don't call upon him to resign. I think the damage has been done.

KAGAN: Another question, this one from Debbie from Georgia -- Debbie, go ahead.

DEBBIE: If he had no views, then what did the people of New Hampshire vote for him? What did they like about him? What was his platform?

KAGAN: Give us another small civics lesson of how it's split up and how the representatives are elected in New Hampshire.

KACAVAS: Sure. And I think that Mr. Alciere comes from a district which is very similar to my own here in Manchester. There are three representatives from my district in Manchester. And there were six individuals who ran for those three seats. I believe that there were four people who ran for the three seats in Mr. Alciere's district. Typically, it's retail politics, as it here in New Hampshire, even in a presidential primary. You go door-to-door; you shake hands; you meet people, and you talk about your views.

Some people do it 100 percent, and try hard, and work hard. Some people don't. And clearly he was -- he was not required to express these views, although, I must say, that I'm learning more and more that he was -- his views were well known, as least in the Nashua areas, for a number of years.

He'd written letters to the editor and I know that the Nashua police department was aware of him, but appropriately, stayed out of the fray of politics in alerting people that they should or should not vote for him.

KAGAN: I think I read, too, that in his ward he was the -- his name was the first one on the ballot. Is it alphabetical or -- that could have just been luck, right? Right place on the ballot?

KACAVAS: Well, I think the placement on the ballot has something to do with it, and I'm a member of the election law committee and I think I'm going to take a look at that; how we set up our ballots. But in New Hampshire, because the Republicans have the highest number of registrants, they appear first on the ballot, and then it goes in alphabetical order. So, out of the four individuals who were running out of his district, Mr. Alciere was first.

KAGAN: Interesting bit of trivia there. Let's go to the phones. Billy from Texas is with us.

Billy, go ahead.

BILLY: Yes, I just want to throw out a comment on the table. Every day, celebrities, sports figures all the way to our children are held accountable for what they say. I hold my Senate accountable, and Tom Alciere seems to be really reckless with his words in that he runs and hides behind the tree of freedom of speech, and that freedom only goes so far. He needs to be held accountable just like everybody else, because many times what's your in your heart comes right out of your mouth.

LYNCH: If I can jump on this?

KAGAN: Yes, go ahead?

LYNCH: I mean, I think that he is being held accountable right now. Obviously, he's a legislator from New Hampshire. He's one 400th of one half of one-third of the government of not a very large state, and we're dedicating an hour to him on a huge cable network, and I dare say things aren't going favorable for him.

So, I think that this is in fact how you do in a free society hold people accountable for things they say that are beyond the pale. Secondly, if had if I may just add a little journalist insight to perhaps how his views might not have came out in the campaign.

KAGAN: Please.

LYNCH: If you're doing a profile or if a politician shows up at your door; if you're doing a profile as a journalist or a citizen, a politician shows up at your door, the first thing you don't ask is are you in favor of killing cops?

I mean, that is just so outside of the rational, normal discourse that it's easy to see that if he didn't offer it, and if the police force didn't alert anybody either by writing a letter to the editor or leaking that information to a reporter, which is how it would typically be done, that he just flies under the radar screen and perhaps seems like a nice guy.

And again, a lot of his other views aren't that far out of the mainstream. I mean, the view on -- to go back to drug legalization, we have a popular governor in New Mexico who is devoting considerable time to legalizing some drugs, such as marijuana.

We've had initiatives passed in all sorts of states to this effect. So, it -- so, I don't think this is that confusing and I do think he's being held accountable.

KAGAN: Well, Mike, we mentioned governor -- hold on, I just want to be respectful here because we happen to with us on the phone right now the governor of New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen.

Governor, thanks for joining us.

GOV. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, I'm delighted to be joining you. I'm dismayed that it's over this topic.

KAGAN: This is not exactly what you want New Hampshire to be getting national attention for, I imagine, governor?

SHAHEEN: Well, that's right, and the fact is that the comments of Tom Alciere don't represent the views of New Hampshire residents, and they don't represent the views of the New Hampshire legislature, and clearly he was not honest with the people of his district and didn't let them know those views or I don't believe he would have been reelected.

KAGAN: Do you think he should resign and step down his seat?

SHAHEEN: I do. I think he has openly advocated for positions that are totally unacceptable to a civilized society.

KAGAN: But what about this aspect of free speech, governor?

SHAHEEN: He can -- he can enjoy his freedom of speech. I'm -- but, when his speech impinges on the help and welfare of others, then it becomes a problem, and I think he's crossed that line.

KAGAN: But, governor, how do you set the standards for what kind of opinions are acceptable for someone to hold the public office? If this is too severe, then what's not too severe and who is the one to draw that line? SHAHEEN: Well, obviously it's the voters who draw that line.

KAGAN: And they elected him.

SHAHEEN: And they did elect him, but he got elected with only about 800 votes, so -- and he got elected without sharing his views on this issue. Now, we don't have any recall procedure in this state. But I would guess that if voters had been aware of his views, he would have not gotten elected.

KAGAN: Governor, I don't know what your time constraints are, so any time you have to jump off of the line, you just let us know.


KAGAN: OK, but I want to go ahead and bring in Michael Lynch. If you weren't with us earlier, governor, he's with the "Reason" magazine, advocating free speech.

Michael, go ahead.

LYNCH: Well, I mean I would just ass -- one, I would ask a question of the governor, if she has ever withheld any information from the voters in her political career, and then just to follow on while I have the camera to say he's not advocating what he advocated as a private citizen as a legislator. He is being held accountable. He's not going to be able to do anything with it, and in what sense -- I mean, what else ought to be done?

Why should he resign? You mentioned that he won with 800 votes. Are those 800 votes -- those 800 votes don't count? There's only 2,000 and some odd people in the district.

SHAHEEN: Well, certainly I would agree that this is a good lesson in the importance of voters doing homework before they go to the ballot box so that they know what the people they're supporting stand for, and I certainly believe in free speech. But I don't believe that advocating -- that for anybody to advocate that law enforcement officers should be shot is appropriate.

KAGAN: Governor, quick e-mail here from Frank in New York who would appear to agree with you, writing: "This is a painful object lesson for people that Tom Alciere represents -- know the person for whom you vote.

We go back to our audience now. Here's Rita from Georgia either with a question or a comment.

RITA: I'm glad to be here. Can the parties have a method of effectively vetting the candidates and that way we are more proactive with the people we choose?

KAGAN: Let's either politician that's on the phone with us right, either governor or Mr. Kacavas, can you answer that question.

KACAVAS: Governor, I'll yield to you. SHAHEEN: Well, we don't, as you know, and in this country have a system where the party has to approve candidates in New Hampshire. It's what you're registered as and if you're a registered Republican, which Representative Alciere is, then he can run for party office without the party being able to remove him or address what he has to say or do in any way.

GIDGE: I'd like to make a comment, if possible.

KAGAN: Go ahead, Ken. I think that's is you.

GIDGE: First of all, we have elected here in the state of New Hampshire, my opinion, the best governor in the United States of America. But I would like to make the point and people have to understand one of the reasons why Tom Alciere got in. We have 400 representatives. That on Planet Earth, I believe, is the third or the fourth largest governing body in the free world.

KAGAN: And the largest state legislature in the country, I believe.

GIDGE: Exactly. So, if you look at it in those terms, a lot of things get through. There was a gentleman who was out of work living in a hotel about four years ago who was elected, and in fact, he wanted his girlfriend to become a representative so they could ride up on the bus to Concord. She ran. She beat him. Now they're both riding up on the bus, but she's the rep, and he's not. So, it's a large body of people that New Hampshire has. These things do happen. Sorry...

KAGAN: So, Ken, you're saying there's a lot of future TALKBACK shows. All we have to do is come up to New Hampshire. I think we have a question from -- there we go -- Jim Gray writing. I think, governor, this is for you: "Why didn't his opponents tell his voters about him?"

I don't know if the governor would actually know -- be able to answer that. Ken, actually, you would. Why -- were there any -- I guess there were -- it was Mr. Kacavas who was telling us that there were four people running for three seats?

GIDGE: Yes, and I believe he won only by 55 votes. He beat an incumbent. I have no idea why the incumbent did not do more work. Tom did work for it. He did not -- he said that he did not express his views because he wasn't asked.

KAGAN: And so, there you have it. All right, we're going to take a break. We've been asked to take a break and we are going to honor that. So stay with us. Our conversation will continue after this. More of TALKBACK just ahead.


KAGAN: Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE. We have a few minutes here to wrap up our conversation about Tom Alciere, now a state representative in New Hampshire. We have on the phone with us Adam from New Jersey.

Adam, what is your question or comment for our guests?

ADAM: Yes; all I can say is I completely, 100 percent disagree with what the representative has to say, however, it is his First Amendment right. And when we start to infringe upon the First Amendment, we start to infringing upon the foundation of this country, which is something we really should not do.

KACAVAS: Daryn, can I...

KAGAN: Go ahead, jump in.

KACAVAS: ... can I respond to that?

KAGAN: Please.

KACAVAS: You know, I want to address this distinction that some are trying to make between Tom Alciere's privately-held views as a private citizen and his views as a state representative.

You know, I'm a former homicide prosecutor, and I was in the attorney general's homicide unit when a fellow by the name of Carl Drega went on a rampage in the northern part of our state and murdered a number of law enforcement officers. And shortly thereafter a local police officer was murdered by another individual.

And Mr. Alciere has referred to Carl Drega as nothing other, quote, "than an innocent cop killer." And he has referred to the individual who killed the local officer; he described his conduct as acting in self-defense.

What is amazing to me is that, as a state legislator, he has not disavowed those comments, he has not apologized for those comments. And, as someone who attended the autopsies of two of the state troopers who were murdered by Carl Drega, I am deeply offended by what he said because he brings dishonor on the memories of those officers.

And as a prosecutor, I remember, I was constrained from exercising my First Amendment right to criticize such language. I am no longer bound by such constraints, and I want to exercise my First Amendment right and urge others to do so and condemn this individual's speech.

KAGAN: And Mr. Kacavas, you will find some agreement.

Shawn in California e-mailed us this: "As an LAPD officer, I'm deeply offended and will do anything to get this guy out of office."

On the other side of that, however, I'm sorry, Robert, I'm making this hard for you, but -- Robert's our camera operator here -- Brandon in Ohio writes: "The issues he raises are very important to many people who are mistreated by the police and by those opposed to the drug wars." And Ken, that bring us back around to some of the comments you were making at the beginning of this show: that Tom Alciere might have some extreme views, but some of the topics he brings up are important to people out there?

GIDGE: Yes, I think this is, as I said, the major wake-up call. You don't like it, it's too loud, it's too extreme. But let me just say that...

KAGAN: And we have about a minute left, so get it in.

GIDGE: All right. I think that it's not only the lower-level individuals, the trouble make makers; but I think it's the intellectual and the people who are making $250,000 even to $1 million a year, who are getting to the point where they're feeling very uncomfortable with police.

I think something -- I think that's the major story that's out there, that will come up.

KAGAN: Very good. Well, I want to thank you for appearing with us; all of our guests from New Hampshire as well.

Once again, we do want to tell you, once again, that Tom Alciere was extended an invitation to appear on the show and speak for himself and he did deny that invitation.

That's going to do it for today. Thank you to our guests, thank you to all of us here -- all of you here in the audience with us at CNN and, especially, all of you at home. Bobbie's going to suck it up and she's going to feel better over the weekend and she'll be back with you on Monday, talking relationships with Dr. Phil McGraw.

I'm Daryn Kagan, you have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday morning on CNN "MORNING NEWS."



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