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Was Warnock-Walker Debate Too Much of the Latter, Not Enough of the Former?

On Friday, October 14, 2022, the much-anticipated debate between U.S. Senate candidate (for Georgia) and political novice Herschel Walker and incumbent Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock generated mixed responses from the hundreds who tuned in via various media and crowded restaurants, pubs, clubs and other public places holding watch parties locally, statewide and even nationwide.

Predictably, heavyweights within the GOP which have poured tons of money and resources for Walker’s efforts characterized his performance from Savannah, Georgia as a “home run.”

Even among non-supporters, many who witnessed the near hour- long back and forth were surprised with what seemed Walker’s improved delivery. “ I will say it, “ says Atlanta radio personality Jeffree Charles,” I think he did better than most expected.” But Charles suggested that the former 1980s UGA football star and 1982 Heisman trophy winner who played professionally in both the USFL and the NFL often seemed to contradict himself during the program which negated the good points he did make. “He pulled out his fake badge in claiming he was a police officer. Dude, you are not and have never been a cop” (while enrolled at UGA, Walker often cited a quest to become an FBI agent upon graduation. He didn’t graduate however, leaving the college in 1982 to accept a lucrative offer from the USFL’s New Jersey Generals).

About midway through the debate, Walker produced what seemed a badge similar to those worn by county sheriffs, deputies and marshals in response to a statement by Warnock that he never “pretended to be a police officer.” The badge display then put Walker at odds with one of the debate’s two moderators, Savannah TV News Anchor Tina Tyus-Shaw. “Mr. Walker, excuse me. Out of respect. You are deeply aware of the rules tonight. You have a prop and that is not allowed sir. Please put it away,” Herschel popped back.” But this is not a prop.” Shaw responded. “Thank you for putting it away.”

The next day, October 15, during an interview on NBC, Walker was asked why he brought the badge on the TV set. He sidestepped the question.

Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, fought off heavy attacks toward Warnock’s personal life, the operation of Ebenezer and accused him of being a lacky for President Joe Biden. “Biden and Warnock are bankrupting this country,” he repeatedly bellowed at the debate and in his TV ads. The accusation is troubling since independent agencies like Pro Publica and the 40-year-old Manhattan Institute suggests that the country was already a fiscal” mess” before the elections of both Biden and Warnock. Yet, Walker answered yes to a debate question about whether he would support Donald Trump for a possible re-election bid for the White House in 2004. “He’s my friend,” Walker said. Warnock avoided a similar question about Biden’s possible re-election plans. “I’ve not spent a minute thinking about what politicians should run for what in 2024,” he said. Walker’s sentiments toward his “friend” didn’t surprise Maynard Eaton, a 40-year retired award-winning TV news anchor and current endowed professor of journalism at Virginia’s Hampton University. “I’ve written and reported about Walker in Wrightsville, Georgia (his hometown), as MVP of the 1981 Sugar Bowl (UGA defeated Clemson that year to the national college football championship) and his first game in 1983 with the New Jersey Generals (Trump bought the team in 1984), Trump was a friend who owned him then and still does…. “Walker was coached well as a UGA All-American football player and by political operatives for Fridays debate……” Warnock’s debate performance was cerebral and commanding while speaking truth to power. I have interviewed Senator Warnock about a range of civil rights and political issues since his 1991 graduation from Morehouse College. The debate confirmed that he is an honest leader who doesn’t need a coach to correct his untruths while Walker definitely does need to be told what to say.”

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Last updated on October 25, 2022

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