USAs norgesambassadør om valget

En sterk misnøye med George W. Bush og et klart forsprang til demokratene på meningsmålingene øker nå spenningen i det amerikanske kongressvalget 7. november.

Irak-krigen, terrorisme, skatt, abort og homofili er blant kampsakene som kan avgjøre.

Som tidligere republikansk kampanjeleder har USAs norgesambassadør Benson K. Whitney både innsideinformasjon fra valgkampen og vet hva som kan avgjøre.

Med de angivelig terrorplanene mot den amerikanske ambassaden i Oslo har han også fått en norsk terrorsak å forholde seg til.
29 Liker

Norway

Innsendt av: Eirik (one of your neighbours)

How do you like it here in Norway? Is it to cold for you? We don't see much of you in the neighbourhood.
Cold? I'm from Minnesota! I genuinely love living in Norway. My only frustration is waiting for enough snow to fall so I can get out in the markas to ski. It is a great place to live!

Sorry I couldn't answer more questions, and I hope VG will have me back again soon. Ha det bra så lenge!

Hilsen Benson Whitney
32 Liker

ANTI USA

Innsendt av: Thomas Stange

more and more people har talking down on the US and the good reputation that USA once had is almost gone. why do you think so many hate USA?
The primary lack of fairness I see is in the tendency to criticize the U.S. for actions it takes in the world, but neglecting to give credit for other matters where the critic might think we're doing the right thing. For example, the U.S. provides the biggest public health program in the world to fight AIDS in Africa, we do more than anyone in the world in fighting trafficking in persons, we push harder on anti-corruption than anyone else. Being fair would require criticizing what you don't like and praising what you do.

Part of this comes from the fact that the U.S. provides leadership on so many issues around the globe. Being a leader inevitably means that someone will be mad about what you're doing. I am sure the U.S. would welcome sharing that leadership with other nations and, in many cases, we do. I think Norway's work on Sudan and Sri Lanka with the United States are good examples.

I also believe that the U.S. must do a better job of explaining why it takes certain actions. You cannot expect people to just automatically accept policies without a thorough explanation.

I do not believe that people, especially Norwegians, genuinely hate the United States. Of course, we have disagreements about policies sometimes but we must remember the deep ties that we share and remember to protect them.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
26 Liker

Dresscode

Innsendt av: Charley

Why does politicians always wear boring suits? Is there some universal dresscode in politics?

Just wondering.

Actually, many politicians do not just wear suits. This is an interesting point about U.S. politics, because there is so much attention to a candidate during an election, it is essential for them to develop an image. So, in the midwest, you'll see a lot of politicians in blue jeans and plaid shirts standing next to tractors or, in the south, wearing camo and carrying a shotgun.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
30 Liker

do

Innsendt av: k

repent!
I do, daily.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
26 Liker

Undemocratic ?

Innsendt av: Martin Zelow

Don't you think it's a little undemocratic that you'll have to pay so much money in order to do a campaign in the USA ? I know I do, since it really excludes a lot of people from running. Is this system is a "scratch in the surface" in the land of the brave ?
This is a legitimate and good question. Personally, I believe in the maximum amount of free speech and our system is designed to provide that. Political advertisements do cost a lot of money, and that places raising money as a central part of American politics. We do have partial public financing of political races in order to lessen the impact of the ability to raise money. But, money does not win elections, and there are plenty of wealthy people sitting at home who thought they would be sitting in Congress....or the White House. Remember, if a candidate can't generate enough interest to raise money, that candidate is not likely to generate enough interest to win an election. I do acknowledge that there are downsides to this system as well, and have experience them having been active in American politics.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
26 Liker

Who

Innsendt av: Chelsea

Whats your opinion on the upcoming election?
I PREDICT..............................................................................................................................................absolutely nothing. Besides the fact that in my position it would be inappropriate to do so, I have learned through personal experience that ANYTHING can happen in an election.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
29 Liker

Unbalanced

Innsendt av: American Friend

Hi!

I have one questions for you. First of all I was wondering if you think that the norwegian press & media is unbalanced? (Leftwing libs). After reading several newspapers and watching news reports from other broadcasters around the world, that's at least the opinion I have made up.

Thanks :)
To be honest, everyone in politics thinks the press is unbalanced against them. With respect to all media, I think it is important for readers and listeners to apply their own judgement, and not let it be formed solely by what they hear from the media. The biggest opportunity for unbalanced stories lies in the selection of what is written about or broadcast. That is why the smart observer will look to multiple sources for their information. I like talking to reporters because they like to debate issues, as do I.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
24 Liker

Football

Innsendt av: Knut

I guess you will receive so many questions related to politics so I thought I would ask you something totally different.
I am a big colleg football fan and in two weeks there is a deciding game on, Wolverines vs the Buckeyes. Who do you think will take the Big Ten Championship game and go on to the National Championship game?

Thanks and have a great day in Oslo.

PS: Sorry about this year's performance of the your Alma Mater, Minnesota.
Ohio State looked pretty good beating up on the University of Minnesota, but I haven't seen the Wolverines play so I can't make an intelligent prediction. My staff is rooting for Wisconsin.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
30 Liker

Saddam Hussein trial

Innsendt av: Anders T

Do you think the verdict in the Saddam Hussein trial was reached so close to the election with intention to give the GOP a final boost?
Your comment about the timing is wrong. I think politicizing the verdict is to demean the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people. Regardless of how people feel about the invasion of Iraq, I hope all people of good will and honest judgement can appreciate the process of transformation from a brutal dictatorship to a secure democracy with a fair judicial system. Saddam Hussein got a lot more due process than his victims.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
26 Liker

Dear Benson K.Whitney

Innsendt av: former student girl at MI:)

Dear Mr. Whitney.
I was just wondering if you remember our tourism class at MI. You visited us last spring and told us a bunch of interesting and funny stories. You were wonderful.

Hope all is well, and good luck with everything. You are doing a great job.
I remember having a good time with the class. I hope you had a good trip to Paris!

Hilsen Benson Whitney
29 Liker

What is this congress thing?

Innsendt av: Magnus!

What is this congress? Is it almost the same as when americans elect their president? does this congress affect the president?
Congress is like your Storting. The U.S. constitution is an incredible document that has survived 200 years of national experience, and remains pretty much the same as it was when drafted. It gives the President authority over foreign policy, appointment of judges, The House has ability to control the budget, and the Senate approves all Presidential appointments and treaties. In the U.S. system, the President is completely separate and independent of the Congress, unlike a parliamentary system as in Norway, where the PM is appointed by the Storting.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
32 Liker

Female house of speaker

Innsendt av: Stian

What consequence will a female house speaker be for the republican in the next presidential election, if the democrats win a majority in the upcoming election.
If the Democrats control the House of Representatives, it is likely that rep. Nancy Pelosi would become Speaker. The fact that she is a woman is meaningless and irrelevant to her job. I am glad we are a society where being a woman is not a bar to high office, and I'm happy that this has not been an issue in the campaign.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
30 Liker

IRAQ

Innsendt av:

How can the election result affect the war in Iraq?

PS: I realy hope you get "Juba the sniper" really soon.
I'm glad you asked this question about U.S. policy in Iraq and the election. It is important to remember that the U.S. constitution gives the President the sole authority to conduct foreign policy. So, an election does not change foreign policy.

I think it's interesting to note that while Iraq is an important issue to voters in this election, there are many other federal issues, like healthcare, education, social security, etc., that will play a part in a voter's decision. There are also many purely state and local issues, not to speak of the personality differences between candidates. As a result, it is dangerous to read an election as being about any single issue.

It is also interesting to observe that there is a tremendous amount of continuity in U.S. foreign policy, regardless of party of administration. Historically, elections have not brought major changes in foreign policy. Even in the case of Iraq, if you take away the loud campaign rhetoric on all sides, I don't think you will see a huge difference in approach.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
30 Liker

Ambassadors

Innsendt av: Roald Andr

Hi!
Thank you for answering questions. Just wondered if the job of ambassadors, comes with the president or congress election? can you loose your job if theres a change in the congress/senate now, or when a new president is elected?
Ambassadors are appointed by the President, and then approved by the Senate. So, this non-Presidential election will result in no changes in the Ambassadors. The new president in 2009 will appoint all new Ambassadors, and I will (sadly) go home.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
26 Liker

Does the two-party system divide Americans?

Innsendt av: Petter Rusten

Dear mr. Ambassador
Do You sometimes feel that the two-party system divides Americans? There's rarely any focus on the bipartisan propositions and bills in Congress in European media. Is the system as polarizing and dividing as "our" media often tend to present it? Or is the gap between moderates on both sides small and the party lines somewhat "blurry"? Finally, how do you explain the change in the politically mood in the Southern States, from very democratic due to the Civil War-era before to todays strong republican leaning?
I am back. On one level elections always divide us. We have to make a choice. But I donot think this is any more true in the US. Remeber we have only two major parties so within those parties you will have very different positions, especially on controversial issues.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
28 Liker

Kristian Tingve

Innsendt av: Kristian Tingve

I want to vote for you! you rule!
Du er kul.
Thank you, because I've always wanted to be cool. I'm afraid my children would disagree with you.

Hilsen Benson Whitney
63 Liker

Black president

Innsendt av: B

When do you think U.S.A. will have the first black or hispanic president, as early as in 2009?
Sorry for the delay, we had a few technical problems. This is a really good question and it is impossible to forecast, but interesting to note that it is a very real possibility. Race relations have a long and difficult history in the United States, and I believe it is a credit to American progress that it is a possibility. There are some excellent American candidates, and I believe they will run soon.

Hilsen Benson Whitney

Tidligere intervjuer

Juva svarer deg om serierunden!

Juva svarer deg om serierunden!

Spør VG-sportens Geir Juva om helgens serierunde.

Hvor skal du reise på ferie i sommer?

Late dager ved stranden, storbyferie eller aktivitetsferie? Det er på høy tid å planlegge årets sommerferie! Spør VGs reisejournalister om råd og tips for fine sommeropplevelser! Send inn dine spørsmål ved å trykke på den røde linken!
Hvordan tilpasse trening til store kropper?

Hvordan tilpasse trening til store kropper?

Hvordan kan du trene når løping gjør vondt, styrketrening er vanskelig eller om treningssenter er utelukket? Forskning viser at selv moderat fysisk aktivitet for overvektige gir store helseeffekter, uavhengig om man går ned i vekt eller ikke. Hvor mye trening skal til, og hvordan komme i gang? Spør treningsekspert i VGs Vektklubb.no, Anne Mette Rustaden. Hun er utdannet fysioterapeut og personlig trener, og foreleser og tar doktorgrad ved Norges Idrettshøgskole.

Faste spaltister