I was intrigued. As a very young man, he left New York to go fight in the Gulf War. It's easy to forget now the fear that proceeded that war as it was America's first real, full on shooting war since Vietnam. He came home, earned his degree and went to work on Wall Street. After 9/11, when his hometown was attacked, he gave all of the up to become an officer in Marines and return to the fight. Certainly, things got murky in Iraq but he wasn't convicted so I can only trust the military justice system.
What turned me off as a voter though was his campaign. There was a goon squad of loud mouth imbeciles who followed him to debates and appearances and made a fool of him. It's not unfair to judge a person by the company they keep and I judged him by his association with these people. During the debates, the moderator had to ask these people to keep it down repeatedly. They attempted to shout down people who asked questions that were critical, but fair, of Pantano. During one debate, an elderly former mayor of Wilmington was describing his background as a preface to a question and these rejects began shouting at him. Pantano waited to ask them to control themselves until the moderator and even the crowd itself had clearly had enough. Prior to that, he didn't seem to mind. Pantano himself, when McIntyre originally politely handed him the microphone as questioned were asked of each of them, he began this trend of slamming it down on the table instead of politely handing it back. To me, a small thing like that spoke volumes. If he wanted to show that much disrespect to a guy he's debating who is some sort of monster, I'm right there with him. But to act that way to an otherwise cordial Congressman in what should be a civilized forum, was out of line. I voted against him because of the behavior of himself and his supporters during these events. I hope his next campaign is better controlled and managed. He's clearly smart, brave and driven and I think he has a tremendous amount to offer.
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