Romney Rumble

Murph hits Mitt! Plus: The Project White House televised debate!

Raucous caucus: Libby "Doctress Neutopia" Hubbard, Michael Oatman, John McGrath, Charles Skelley, Peter "Simon" Bollander, Leland Montell and Sandy Whitehouse (left to right) at the first Project White House happy hour.
With less than three weeks remaining before Arizona's Feb. 5 presidential primary, Republican presidential candidate Sean "CF" Murphy has blasted fellow GOP candidate Mitt Romney, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of playing fast and loose with the facts regarding his involvement in the 2002 Olympics.

"My staff did some research," Murphy said in a new campaign ad, "and found that, No. 1, he wasn't even a competitor. And No. 2, we, the host nation, didn't win the most medals. How in the deuce is that a success story?"

A Tucson Weekly "True ... Or a Damned Lie!" fact-check done through Wikipedia shows that the ad is accurate. Romney, while having some sort of managerial role, did not actually compete in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In addition, the nation of Germany won 36 medals, while the United States won only 34.

Murphy's hard-hitting ad won him the key endorsement of local blogger Ted Prezelski, who manages the Rum, Romanism and Rebellion Web site.

The attack ad was just one exciting development in the Project White House competition that pits candidates on Arizona's Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot against each other in the hopes of winning the Tucson Weekly's endorsement--if not Arizona delegates to the respective parties' national conventions.

Full details on the competition and profiles of the participating candidates can be found at

The competition heated up last week when the Weekly announced Project White House candidates would be going head-to-head in a televised debate next Wednesday, Feb. 23.

The Tucson Weekly/Access Tucson/Project White House Dark Horse Presidential Candidate Debate will feature two Democrats and two Republicans. The one-hour forum will be moderated by Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel.

Since only four of the 24 Project White House candidates will be participating in the debate, the candidates are now in a heated competition to win one of the vaunted spots on the dais.

The latest challenge: developing an attack ad against one of the so-called "top-tier" candidates in their own party.

The Tucson Weekly/Access Tucson/Project White House Dark Horse Presidential Candidate Debate will feature a live studio audience. For information on how to be a part of this historic event, send an e-mail request.

While officials at YouTube declined to co-sponsor the debate, the Weekly is inviting readers to post questions for the Project White House candidates on the YouTube Web site.

In related news: Project White House last week launched a television channel on YouTube featuring short campaign clips from the candidates. You can find the videos at the absurdly long URL

Several of the short clips were filmed at last week's Project White House Happy Hour at Danny's Baboquivari Lounge. Eight of the candidates--including Democrats Sandy Whitehouse, Libby "Doctress Neutopia" Hubbard, Peter "Simon" Bollander, Michael Oatman, Chuck See and Leland Montell, and Republicans Charles Skelley and John McGrath--met face-to-face at the local tavern, where Neutopia and Bollander got into a rough-and-tumble disagreement about whether the United States should invest in new roads or develop car-free cities.

In another late-breaking Project White House development, the Library of Congress has requested permission to include Project White House in a "historic collection."

The letter from federal officials reads: "The United States Library of Congress has selected your Web site for inclusion in its historic collections of Internet materials related to Election 2008. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites."

Including Project White House records in the prestigious federal collection will permit "researchers from across the world to access them," according to the letter.

Elsewhere in the Project White House competition: Republican Michael Shaw announced last week that if he could not convince Newt Gingrich to join him as his vice presidential pick, he would work with the Hollywood studio Dreamworks to use special-effects technology to create a "virtual" Ronald Reagan.

"We're bringing Reagan back to life," Shaw said. "We have the technology. We can do it."

Shaw, who said he's in the race because no one else was representing "the God of Israel and the 'hood," appeared to have technological struggles of his own. He contacted the Project White House staff to see if they could help him set up a "donate" button on his Web site.

The Tucson Weekly/Access Tucson/Project White House Dark Horse Presidential Candidate Debate

8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23
Live from Access Tucson
124 E. Broadway Blvd.
Replays at 8 P.M. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through Monday, Feb. 4
Channel 99 (Cox) or 74 (Comcast)
E-mail for tickets to the live audience
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