Kerry Ladka has no illusions that his time in the spotlight will end after Tuesday.
“It’s been really nice,” the 61-year old employee of Global Telecom Supply in Mineola said. “Going on CNN and Fox News was really cool. But I think my 15 minutes are over right after this interview.”
Ladka, a resident of Hempstead, shot to fame after he posed a question to President Barack Obama and ex-Governor Mitt Romney about the recent attacks on the American consulate in Libya during the second 2012 Presidential debate at Hofstra University on Oct. 16. Since then he has fielded a variety of media requests and made appearances on CNN and on Fox News.
“I’m really astonished by it,” Ladka said, taking a draw on his cigarette, standing on the gravel road in the industrial neighborhood in which Global Telecom is located. “It was a question that I thought was an important question to ask but I never knew that it would have the legs that it ultimately ended up having. And it’s still going on today.”
Former Presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain is calling for special committees to launch an investigation into why the state department denied a request for increased security before the consulate attack was carried out on Sept. 11.
“Obviously it’s a story that’s going to be with us for a while, regardless of who wins,” Ladka said, not even remembering much about his other two questions which he had to submit before moderator Candy Crowly picked the foreign policy one, other than one was directed at Romney about why he was pulling funding for Planned Parenthood and PBS “other programs that I support,” and why running mate Paul Ryan was “vehement” in attacking Medicare and social security.
Another part of Ladka’s Libya question instantly became much talked about, specifically the phrase “brain-trust,” conjuring images of a high-brow think tank that might seem more in keeping with a Washington, D.C. office building than the Mineola industrial zone.
“The brain trust is just a bunch of guys sitting around after work trying to figure out how to do better,” Ladka said of all the Global Telecom Supply employees, himself a “senior” member. “It’s been misunderstood because at work a lot of times... people sit around after work and talk about how they can make their businesses better, how you can make more money, how you can sell more product, how you can do just a better job in general. We often would sit around and talk about business, but in any gathering, at any time, sometimes the discussion can go into sports or politics or anything. So one day we were sitting around and somebody said ‘did you read that story about Libya where the four members of the American consulate were killed?’ and I said ‘yeah, that’s really strange’ and I started looking into the story and found out that they had made a request for additional security, it was denied and that was the genesis of the question.”
While Ladka had stated while a guest of the “Greta Van Susteren Show” on Fox News that he still was undecided, he said Tuesday that he had made his ultimate decision to vote for President Obama after the third debate.
“I didn’t like Romney’s performance at all after the third debate on foreign policy,” he said. “I was impressed with the President’s performance – of course he’s had four years of practice doing it too. I’m not happy with all of the President’s stances, if you will, but it came down to Romney’s stronger on the business side of things; I think he’s got a much more better grasp of economics and business practices.”
It was the President’s attention to domestic social programs that also swayed Ladka.
“Obama’s more inclined to support programs that I think are important, like social security, Medicare, Medicaid,” he said. “I believe in Obamacare, I believe the United States needs a national healthcare program and in the end it came down to my belief that he would support programs that I believe were important as opposed to the Governor’s expertise in business. I was impressed with the Governor, nothing against Governor Romney, I just felt that the President was a stronger performer based on issues I’m concerned about.”