Meet the Midwestern dad who asked Trump and Clinton to compliment each other.

It was one of the defining moments of the second 2016 presidential debate, and it almost didn't happen.

At the very end of the second "town hall" debate, after roughly 90 minutes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ripping into each other's policies, scandals, and character in front of a small audience, one man stood up to ask the evening's final question.

His name is Karl Becker. He is a father of two from Washington, Missouri. And he had a simple request:


"Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?"

Trump and Clinton enjoy a rare, friendly moment. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The candidates laughed warmly. The audience let out an audible "Aww!" And people around the world quickly declared that Karl Becker had "won" the debate.

Little did they know Karl was also prepared to ask a second potential question, one they'd never hear.

"My other question had to do with executive powers," he said. "I guess in retrospect that was pretty lame."

Trump and Clinton face off again in the election's third and final debate on Oct. 19, 2016. So I chatted with Karl about the origin of his now-famous question and what he'll be watching for as the election comes to an end:

Q: Who is Karl Becker?

Karl asks his question. Image via MSNBC/YouTube.

Karl: Who am I? Gosh. I'm a 49-year-old dad in Washington, Missouri. That's a suburb of St. Louis. I have two kids, Darcy and Shane, who just turned 16.

Q: How did you come up with "the question"?

Karl: My son and I volunteer at a little league football association where I live, and I ran it by him that morning. He said, "Oh yeah, that's a pretty good question." My daughter didn't like it. She wanted something that was more directed to Mr. Trump in regards to the "Access Hollywood" hot mic, Billy Bush scenario. But I explained to Darcy, the questions ... had to be questions that could be asked of either candidate.

Q: You've gotten a lot of attention from the media, but like your fellow debate-goer Ken Bone, you don't really seem to care for the attention. What's it like being a minor celebrity?

Karl: Most things don't excite me. It's been interesting. I tried to involve my daughter. She is somewhat focused on the journalism side of her schooling, and I want this to be an opportunity for her to meet folks who may be a help to her as she figures out what she wants to do with her life.
***
But I wasn't looking for the spotlight, and I'm not looking to continue the spotlight. Let [Ken Bone] ride the wave. I'm just taking this as it comes.

Q: I have to ask, have you decided who to vote for yet?

Both candidates seemed delighted by Karl's question. NBC/YouTube

Karl: There seems to be more, for lack of a better word, "crap" coming out on both candidates. And unfortunately, I don't know if I'll make a decision prior to November 8th.

Q: OK, so if you haven't decided, what'll be going through your head when you eventually step inside the voting booth?

Karl: I know their platforms. I can go on websites and read their policies. But what is that going to mean for the bigger picture? How is this going to really affect my kids?
***
It's going to come down to who do I think is more morally and ethically solid? ... Who's going to survive the mud being thrown the best?

Q: Will you be watching the final debate? And if so, what will you be looking for?

Karl: I'm going to watch the debate. I have parent-teacher conferences at my son's high school from 6 to 8 p.m., but then a film crew from St. Louis wants to send a crew to wherever I'm going to be watching. I'm up in the air about that.
***
I would like to believe that there will be more discussion between the two candidates of some worthiness. However, I don't think that's going to happen.

Q: If you could ask the candidates another question tonight, what would it be?

Karl: You stumped me. I honestly don't know. Maybe "Do you think we could speed up the debate and end it sooner?"

In the end, I left the conversation thinking that Karl Becker was a genuinely nice dude.

He even said he doesn't get why anyone would care what he thinks about the candidates.

Trump and Clinton go in for the handshake. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"There was a person over my shoulder (at the debate). He's a neurosurgeon ... The gentleman sitting to my left, he was a Ph.D. student in neuroscience."

No one interviewed those people, Karl said.

But there's a reason his debate question elicited such a response two weeks ago.

In the midst of one of the nastiest and most shocking presidential elections in recent history, we all yearn for the days when the candidates actually respected one another and where the choice ultimately came down to substantive policy differences — not which candidate you thought was more or less likely to destroy the country.

We care what Karl thinks because he reminds us that after this massive dumpster fire of an election burns out, we'll all need to find a way to coexist with one another again.

The Shane and Darcy Beckers of the world deserve that much.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular