How an Undecided Voter Became a Star

 

Forget Candy Crowley or Martha Raddatz. The breakout TV stars of the presidential election have turned out to be the so-called "undecided voters." Consider Kerry Ladka, the 61-year-old Long Island resident who stumbled through a debate question Oct. 16 for President Obama about the terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans. Ladka, a registered independent who told a Gallup screener that he liked the president's health-care initiative but was disappointed in his handling of the economy, admits he was "shocked" and "terrified" when CNN's Crowley called on him. But he says his 15 minutes of post-debate fame -- including a Saturday Night Live spoof in which he was played by Tom Hanks  -- was "so much fun. I wish I could do it all over again." So do the cable news networks. Ladka has since made multiple appearances on CNN and Fox News, serving as a surrogate of sorts for a nation seemingly divided between two candidates. But now that he's decided to vote for Obama, a choice he came to after the final foreign policy debate Oct. 22, TV appearances have pretty much dried up -- leaving him to suspect that his undecided status was the only attraction for TV pundits. "I think everybody was trying to get me to go on so they could turn me," he says. He made two appearances on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News program, most recently on Oct. 23, when Van Susteren asked him which issue would decide his vote. "I said probably the economy," recalls Ladka. "And she said, 'Well, in that case, you're probably leaning toward Gov. Romney.' I said, 'No, Greta, not really.' And, I think at that moment, she totally lost interest in me."

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