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Two Biden town hall questioners linked to prominent Democrats, ABC News failed to disclose ties

One questioner is a former speechwriter for the Obama White House.

Updated: October 16, 2020 - 6:15pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden sat down on Thursday night for a town hall televised by ABC and moderated by George Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos, as everyone knows, used to be the communications director for President Bill Clinton. 

But what viewers didn't know — and the network didn't divulge — is that two of the attendees who asked questions at the town hall have ties to prominent Democrats.

"One of the questioners at the ABC-hosted event was Nathan Osburn, a former speechwriter for the Obama White House," Fox News reported. "Osburn specifically worked for the Office of Public Affairs at the Commerce Department under the Obama-Biden administration and at the Small Business Administration."

When Osburn asked a question to Biden, his occupation was listed as "communications" in a graphic and his home was listed as Philadelphia. But in an article last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer identified Osburn as "a former Obama administration speech writer."

"Amy Coney Barrett's being pushed through at the last minute, even though millions have already voted," Osburn said to Biden. "So what do you think about ideas from people like Pete Buttigieg and others to put in place safeguards that will help ensure more long-term balance and stability? And what do you say to LGBTQ Americans and others who are very worried right now about erosions of their rights and our democracy as a whole?"

Another questioner at the town hall was Mieke Haeck, whom ABC identified as a physical therapist from State College, Pa.

"My youngest daughter is transgender," she said to Biden. "The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscrimination protections and even removing the word 'transgender' from some government websites. How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?"

But she, too, has ties to a prominent Democrat. Haeck is "the wife of Ezra Nanes, a high-profile Democrat in Pennsylvania who in 2018 ran a campaign challenging Republican state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman," Fox reported. "Nanes is currently an at-large member of the Centre County Democratic Committee. Centre County is the county in which State College resides."

The same thing happened in a town hall televised earlier this month by NBC.

"Lawyer Peter Gonzalez and marketing executive Ismael Llano posed questions to Biden during a town hall on Monday, when he appeared before what the network described as an 'audience of undecided Florida voters,'" the Free Beacon reported

According to The Beacon: "Both Gonzalez and Llano, however, were featured in an MSNBC segment in August to explain why they support Biden. 'If we get four more years of Trump, good luck, and good luck with the future attracting younger voters,' Gonzalez said as an MSNBC chyron noted he was 'voting for Biden.' Llano was also identified as 'voting for Biden' and offered praise for the former vice president."

During that town hall, each were identified as "undecided" voters.