Katherine Fenton had no idea she was going to be called on in the second presidential debate to ask a question. She also never predicted her question would prompt such a firestorm from conservatives.
Within minutes, her Facebook page and Twitter feed were raided by conservative bloggers and commentators looking to dig up anything they could on this 24-year-old pre-kindergarten teacher from Long Island, New York.
Why? Katherine Fenton’s question was about equal pay for women in the workplace. She asked President Obama and Governor Romney what they planned to do to rectify the situation. Obama talked about his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Mr Romney’s response included the now overplayed “binders full of women” comment. Maybe that’s what got conservatives so heated?
What would drive them to start writing about comments she’d made on Twitter about getting “wet” at happy hour and drinking “purple joose” until she blacked out? What does that have to do with politics? Or was it about trying to harm her reputation because she asked a question about the gender pay gap which conservatives often play down?
This is a young woman with a master’s degree, who teaches in Queens, New York. She actually comes from a family of conservatives, and is a registered Independent who voted for John McCain in 2008. She didn’t have any sort of agenda, she says, as some conservatives have suggested. Is this what politics has come to? Does it have to be this dirty? This ugly?
Katherine told me her comments on Twitter had been taken out of context and they were “inside jokes” between friends. She actually disabled her account just so her critics wouldn’t have any more ammunition.
The thing about this is that Katherine is still uncommitted and unsure who she will vote for on November 6. She said the attacks from the right actually made her not want to align herself with them and pushed her closer to picking President Obama.
She won’t let those voices determine who she votes for but she was definitely turned off. And after watching the third debate, she admits she isn’t any closer to choosing her candidate.
You can hear more of Katherine’s response to her critics tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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