AFF Debate the Candidates Forum

Last night I participated in a forum sponsored by America’s Future Foundation, representing Governor Romney in a “debate the candidates” style match-up.

The setting was an old (and I mean old) townhouse near Dupont Circle that used to be the residence of the German ambassador decades previous. The debaters, representing their respective candidates, were well prepared and the audience was engaged and respectful (for the most part).

I should note this was mostly a younger crowd of conservatives and libertarians and there were a good number of, you guessed it, Ron Paul supporters. Like many of the actual candidate debates, a good portion of the program was spent rallying for and against Paul.

I will be uploading videos as I can throughout the day. Here are my introductory remarks.

The bios of the participants are below:

For Mitt Romney: Justin Hart is the Vice President of Communications for the Lighted Candle Society. With over a decade of experience in the corporate world helping Fortune 500 companies utilize emerging technologies, Mr. Hart is now taking on the non-profit industry. He is the co-founder of, the top-trafficked blog supporting Mitt Romney for President. Mr. Hart has published numerous articles about technology and his favorite candidate on several websites, including the American Thinker. He is also the founder of the support group, Help Soar In.

For Fred Thompson: Jon Henke is an Online Brand Manager for New Media Strategies in Arlington and a consultant to the Fred Thompson presidential campaign. Previously, he has worked as the New Media Advisor to the Senate Republicans and as the New Media Coordinator for the last few months of the George Allen Senate campaign. He blogs at

For Mike Huckabee: Michael Mayernick is a freelance internet marketing and development consultant and serves on the board of trustees to the American Parliamentary Debate Association. While studying economics and political science, Mr. Mayernick represented Johns Hopkins University as part of the nation’s top-ranked team in national and international debate competitions. He is currently a management consultant at Bearingpoint.

For Ron Paul: Jonathan Bydlak, Fundraising Director for Ron Paul. (I don’t have a full bio for Jonathan since he ws a last minute substitute.)

For Rudy Giuliani: Michael J. Zarrelli is currently the Corporate Counsel / Federal Affairs Manager for a privately held $6.4 billion multi-national company that competes in the global marketplace and sells products in more than 80 countries and territories worldwide. He is also a Washington, DC advisor to the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee. From 1997 thru 2001, he served as a Legislative Representative for New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his Washington Bureau. Mr. Zarrelli received a B.A. in Political Science from Hartwick College and a J.D. from The Catholic University of America - Columbus School of Law. He is a member of the Maryland Bar.

Moderating: Christopher Beam is a political reporter for Slate Magazine and writes its campaign blog, Trailhead.

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