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Presidential Debates Set 207

The debates are set, there will be four of them: Sept. 30, Oct. 8, and Oct. 13, and Oct. 5 for the VPs. All are at 9 p.m. Eastern. Get more details and read the memorandum of understanding (it is unreadable in Preview for me, I had to use Acrobat). There's not much different in here than in previous years. Says CNN: "A senior Kerry source said the Bush campaign was 'hung up' over whether a light or something audible like a buzzer would be used to tell the candidates when their time is up. A Bush official acknowledged that last-minute questions, mostly over the time cue issue, held up the agreement." In related news, it appears the first debate proposed by the truly nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission, scheduled for this Wednesday in Columbus, isn't going to happen.
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Presidential Debates Set

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  • Typical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Typical of politicians to get stuck on the least important decisison...
    • by elwinc ( 663074 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#10309464)
      ABC News' TheNote [go.com] has a lovely nugget about what the Bush campaign got changed from the original debate proposal:
      Although Anne Kornblut's Boston Globe framing of the conclusion of the debate about debates is typical
      LINK [boston.com] ("Despite tussles over the timing and format, the 90-minute debates will take place more or less as initially proposed; only the subjects of the first and third debates have changed."), in fact, James Baker, by accepting all four debates (3 presidential and 1 veep), seems to have gotten some other key, little-Noticed changes in return.

      What the Bush campaign got changed:

      1. The first widely watched and covered debate will be on foreign policy and national security, rather than domestic policy.

      2. No direct engagement between the candidates is allowed -- the Commission's proposed plan had actually encouraged such dynamic-changing contact.

      3. As "Miss (Nicolle) Devenish" told the Washington Times : "the agreement reached yesterday also will make 'very clear whenever the candidates attempt to filibuster or grandstand. There is a light that will flash for TV audiences when that happens -- a historic first,' she said. 'Moderators have to sign on and say they agree with the rules, or we'll find new moderators.'"

      4. The voters at the town-hall debate won't be undecideds, but, rather "soft" supporters of each side -- and we have yet to figure out what that means or why Team Bush prefered that -- but Baker got it.

      5. The candidates can't address each other with "proposed pledges" (although rhetorical questions are allowed!!).

      6. The town-hallers can't ask follow ups or participate after they ask their one question -- avoiding any prospect of a "Richmond" moment.

      The Commission itself and the moderators have not been heard from, but our guts tell us two things:

      A. This deal will stick.

      B. If George Walker Bush already owed James Addison Baker big time after Florida, he owes him bigger time now.

      So how do these changes benefit Team Bush? Your comments are welcome. I think (1) will benefit Kerry, because the truth is Iraq is a mess, and Kerry can highlight that sixty ways from sunday. I think (2) is toothless; the candidates can always take time out of a current answer to lambaste the opponent's previous comment. I can see the benefit of (6) in that the candidate doesn't have to answer the question and won't get called on it.

      • I think most of these will benefit Bush, which makes sense since for the most part they are points he won as concessions for conceding to a third debate.

        #1 will NOT benefit Kerry. Everyone knows that Iraq is a mess. It's well illustrated every night on the evening news. The issue is already "priced in" to the equation - already knowing that Bush supporters are bush supporters and undecideds remain undecided. Kerry can maybe gain a bit marginally by restating the critique. His problem is that Bush's suppor
        • Everyone knows that Iraq is a mess. It's well illustrated every night on the evening news. The issue is already "priced in" to the equation - already knowing that Bush supporters are bush supporters and undecideds remain undecided.

          You may be right; on the other hand, I didn't explain myself very well. Bush & Co. have managed, quite well, to conflate the indigenous resistance in Iraq with al Qaeda, to conflate the war on terror with the war on Iraq, and to mislead large segments of the public abou

      • I also think that Kerry goes into these debates at a little bit of an "expectations" disadvantage. The meme is still strong out there that Bush is a blithering idiot. In 2000 there was plenty of truth to the idea that Bush lacked "intellectual curiosity" and was sometimes woefully ignorant of issues that had previously been of little interest to him (like foreign policy). But since then he has been living with these issues every day, and shaping many of them. He doesn't seem very knowledgeable about issues
  • by dario_moreno ( 263767 ) * on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @03:58AM (#10306043) Journal

    According to "the Economist", however, Kerry is already "kebabized" over Vietnam and his changing mind over the Iraq war, while Bush is very hard to kebabize about his military record the silver spoon he had in his mouth when he was born, and "probably up his nose", and also because he is constantly underestimated.

    People have already started voting thanks to loose absentee rules in several states, electronic voting machines are everywhere, districts are gerrymandered, the vote is amplified by the electoral colleges, and everyone has already accepted the result thanks to biased polls.

    • Don't you mean Bush is misunderestimated [mintruth.com]?



    • by N3WBI3 ( 595976 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @06:38AM (#10306547) Homepage
      According to "the Economist", however, Kerry is already "kebabized" over Vietnam and his changing mind over the Iraq war, while Bush is very hard to kebabize about his military record the silver spoon he had in his mouth when he was born

      That might be because Kerry decided to run on his Vietnam service and his 15 positions on Iraq..

      districts are gerrymandered

      In a presidential district the only state that districts matter are ME an NB (total 10 EV).

      the vote is amplified by the electoral colleges

      As it is intended to be, we are a federal Republic not a direct democracy

      and everyone has already accepted the result thanks to biased polls

      The same polls had Kerry Winning [electoral-vote.com] two months ago? If kerry loses this its because he refused to define himself as anything other than a vietnam vet who would do "everything" "different" in Iraq (note the specifics he has given)..

    • When we evaluate politicians, we should not use the words that they utter during a campaign. Politicians alter/spin their positions to attract the most voters.

      Debates are simply a forum for politicians to read their scripted lines: all show and no substance. The handlers have told the politicians what to emphasize and what to avoid at the debates. For the same reason, interviews with politicians during the campaign season are pointless.

      If you want to know how the politicians will act once they are e

  • All this about bush being stupid, but Kerry was on the faily show and he said 'bush has never lost a debate he has been in'

    It should be an interesting battle. I doubt kerry will win
    • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @06:37AM (#10306545)
      Bush can't lose because everybody thinks he's stupid. That's why he wins, he wanders around stuttering and mispronouncing everything for 6 months, until the expectation is that he'll debate like a rotting fish. Then Bush just does enough coke pre-debate to create the illusion of competence, and victory is his.
      • Perhaps but it has more to do with someone assuming because he mispronounces something he is stupid (never mind the Harvard MBA). The guy is not the brightest president we have but I very much doubt he is actually below average, let alone stupid. He debates well because he is focused and knows what he believes, Kerry will have to stop trying to cover his ass on every issue (take both sides) if he hopes to do well.
        • He got the Harvard MBA and everything else thanks to his dad from what I can tell. I would much, much rather see someone like Powell or McCain in his place. Those are men I can respect.

          If Bush is not below average, who the hell are the presidents who pulled the average that low?! You've got to be pulling my leg...

          Sure there are people who are smart but poor speakers, but for someone whose job description includes speaking with the world at large and its leaders on a regular basis, I sure wouldn't hire
          • He got the Harvard MBA and everything else thanks to his dad from what I can tell

            Really how can you tell this? Im sure MoveOn would love to see the evidance you put together..

            I sure wouldn't hire someone with as tenuous a grasp on the language as Bush.

            Well the states differed with you in the last election. If I had to pick someone to run my busainess I sure would not pick someone who would screw his intern in the office but the states differ with me on that..


            • "If I had to pick someone to run my business I sure would not pick someone who would screw his intern in the office..."

              Engaging in inappropriate sex is one of the characteristics of ACOAs, Adult Children of Alcoholics. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton was not an alcoholic, but his parents were violent alcoholics [craigr.com]. The book, The Dysfunctional President: Inside the Mind of Bill Clinton [amazon.com], discusses the fact that Bill Clinton's misuse of sexuality is typical of the children of alcoholism-influenced families
              • You'll have to pardon me if I cant take a site that says F9/11 was anything other than a hack piece seriously..

                • What part of Fahrenheit 9/11 didn't you like? Didn't you like the network footage that shows George W. Bush holding hands with Saudi Prince Bandar? No one denies that the clip is real, or that the Bush family calls him "Bandar Bush".

                  Didn't you like the part of the movie that shows network footage of Bush failing to react for 7 1/2 minutes after he had been told the nation was attacked? No one claims that didn't happen.

                  Do you think that the Congress actually did read the "Patriot" Act before passing
                  • by N3WBI3 ( 595976 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @10:45AM (#10308309) Homepage
                    I did not like the part where moore edited out the part where a Minnesota senator told him that his son was too young to enlist but his nephew was.

                    That stupid stunt (will you enlist your kid) is typical of moore who in bowling for columbine snipped part of different heston speaches together to make it look like he told the famlies to take their grief and shove it.

                    Do you think that the Congress actually did read the "Patriot" Act before passing it?

                    I dont think congress reads allot of stuff before passing it, thats not bushes fault.

                    and a brother of Osama bin Laden

                    Maybe Fahrenheit 9/11 is not expressed in a way you would like, but most of the problems it discussed are real, without question

                    It was as accurate as any political commercial, take a few facts see them through very biased eyes and edit them to make your point.

                    • will you enlist your kid

                      That, with "Would you willingly send your child off to war" is what Moore used when on the O'Reilly show. I'm not much a fan of Michael or Bill, but I do have problems with Moore's question.

                      The last time I checked, it was the decision of the enlisting individual, and not one of the parents. O'Reilly wouldn't be "sending his child" any more than Moore would be sending someone. It would be O'Reilly's child sending him/herself. If they're old enough to be in the military, they a


                • I should add that I agree that Michael Moore is very imperfect as a filmmaker. However Fahrenheit 9/11 has already grossed $203,561,908 [boxofficemojo.com] on a $6 million investment. It is by far the most popular documentary of all time, in the entire world.

                  Even the 35 books reviewed in Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government [futurepower.org] don't discuss all the corruption. Michael Moore did a far from perfect job, but it is very difficult to present all that he did in just 2 hours.

                  --
                  Bush'
              • I'll second this- I'm the grandchild of an alcoholic, and the misuse of sexuality DOES continue into the 2nd generation down. Among my cousins, we had incest, several single mothers, and a couple of lesbians who had been molested as children.
        • "The guy is not the brightest president we have but I very much doubt he is actually below average, let alone stupid."

          That all comes down to you grouping.

          If you are looking at past US leaders, Bush most certainly is below average.

          If you are looking at the population of the US as a whole, then he seems to be about average.
          • I see the average person (in your opinion) is smart enought to get an MBA from harvard and fly a fighter interceptor
            • Flying a jet does not require high intelligence.

              And if you'll look at Bush's scores, you'll see that he was BELOW the median (by 180 points) for his test scores when he was originally admitted to Yale.

              So, yes, the average person is quite capable of doing exactly what Bush did PROVIDED that that person has all the political and financial advantages that Bush did.
              • The average in 1966 was about 1050, GWB got a 1200. His scores were below the median for *YALE* students, hardly a dumb crowd.

                I was kind ticked when I was only in the 92% when I took my GRE exams. When I looked at it differently I realized that mean of kids trying to get into grad school I had a better score than 92% and that was pretty good.

                • "His scores were below the median for *YALE* students, hardly a dumb crowd."

                  I didn't say the Yale students were dumb. I said Bush was average.
                  566 verbal
                  640 math

                  The average for seniors was:
                  463 verbal
                  510 math
                  488,793 students tested.

                  So, to AGAIN answer your question, YES, an average person CAN get an MBA from Harvard (with the appropriate political and financial backing) AND that person CAN learn to fly jets.
    • It does look like Bush is going to win the election, but debates can only help Kerry. Almost everyone agrees Kerry will win and gain some support, though I don't know of anybody who thinks it will be enough gain to win the election (anybody I know who believes this also thinks Kerry could win the election now, which is really pretty unlikely).

      The fact that the Bush camp agreed to the debates without a lot of bullshit indicates that they are pretty confident that they are going to win and can handle the los
  • by bskin ( 35954 ) <bentomb@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @04:38AM (#10306161)
    I'm personally a Kerry supporter, but I don't think his campaign has been handled terribly well. One of the most frequent complaints I've seen levied against Kerry has been that he hasn't presented a clear plan for what he would do if he were president. People seem to feel that, whether or not they agree with what Bush says, he seems very forward in his message and they feel like they have a good idea what to expect if he served another term. Kerry, on the other hand, has given vague suggestions about what he'd do, but hasn't presented much in the way of a solid plan. Now, his attacks this week about Iraq were quite a bit more specific than what he's done in the past, but Iraq is such a volatile issue that I doubt it's going to rally undecided voters much.

    Edwards will likely do well in the vice presidential debate, regardless of how Kerry does, just by virtue as coming across as generally more likeable than Cheney. This probably won't mean much, of course. But if Kerry comes out and answers questions directly, without trying to skirt the issues, he could see quite a gain from his debate performance. He's a much better speaker than Bush, and if he comes out directly with solid goals for when he becomes president, he could raise undecided voters' passion quite a bit.

    Of course, who knows what Kerry will actually do. I don't have that much confidence that he'll be able to pull it off. But I think if he makes a solid effort to present himself as decisive in the debates, it could very well change the momentum in the election. Or he may just fuck it up like he's been doing the rest of the campaign. We'll have to wait and see.
    • To be sure! "Not being Bush" will carry him so far. And I think the whole Vietnam thing is a waste of time.

      I've never heard him speak (I live in the EU) can he speak proper English? This is always a point of contention with my British friends, after they are done lambasting Blair for being a dishonest Bush lapdog, they point out that at least he has a grasp of the English language.

      One of them recently sent me a MP3 of Bush struggling with the concept of Native American sovereignty and it was just too pai

      • Bush is not good in situations where an unexpected topic is being covered, my personal belief is he is not a good public speaker (not a sign of stupidity). The man has a harvard MBA not exactly small school bus material..
        • If you had heard this Q&A session you'd be convinced he bought his MBA at the same place the libertarian candidate bought his PhD.

          Still it begs the for questions can't he think for himself and maybe we should vote for his speech writers instead.

          • No it begs the question that he does not speak well in public, many people do not. Is it a good thing for a president to always be clear in public *yes* is it a sign of stupidity *no*. It is certainly most not the case that he can not think for himself, you do have some proof of that right? oh I guess your againg just going on what you *wink wink* heard right?
            • I expect that sometimes smart people can sound stupid, everyone has bad days and many people including myself have real problems with public speaking. But my job includes *zero* public speaking. A large part of a Politician's job is public speaking so I would expect him to at least sound like he knew what he was talking about. I also expect some knowledge of law and an advanced degree in hedging or not looking stupid (or whatever public speakers call what to do when some asks you a question you haven't s
              • A large part of a Politician's job is public speaking so I would expect him to at least sound like he knew what he was talking about.

                And Bush does this all the time, its the gaffs you hear.

                I also expect some knowledge of law

                And what evidance do you have Bush has no knowledge of the law?

                but hey I could be "misunderestimating" him.

                Wow something he said once, and has been recycled over and over agin...

                My question is why did you even bother to ask "is he dumb"> YOu obvioulsy are pretty sure he i

                • Man, you are getting touchy!

                  GWB speaks all the time, yes but he makes gaffes all the time! Sure I used the "misunderestimating" thing, it's funny! People who don't speak English as a first language even get it.

                  There is a whole website devoted to his abuse of the English language. There isn't a "Vaclav Havel can't speak Cestina" website or a "Putin can't master Russian" or even a "Kim Jong-il butchers the Korean language" website.

                  I do expect politians to have a passable undertanding of the law and in the

      • after they are done lambasting Blair for being a dishonest Bush lapdog, they point out that at least he has a grasp of the English language.

        Check out this quote from Blair (regarding terrorists, halfway down on this story [yahoo.com]): "But our response has not got to be to weaken.... Our response has got to be to stand firm." Has (not) got to be? The man talks like a yokel.


      • Your sig: "America: fast becoming a militant fascist theocracy"

        Maybe this is a better understanding:

        The U.S. government's militant behavior has not been fast. The U.S. government has engaged in 24 wars [hevanet.com] since World War II.

        The violent behavior has nothing to do with religion. Bush only discusses religion so that he can get votes. The U.S. government has been an equal opportunity killer: 3,000,000 people killed since World War II, most of them in Vietnam. The people killed were from many religions.
        • So Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam were seperate wars? a depleted uranium shell is a dirty bomb?

          BTW your list of 24 wars is infact 24 nations that have been bombed many of whom were part of the same war and even more of whom had international operations against them. Libya / Sudan were not wars, they were realiation for terrorist attacks.

          What an aweful site, its fine to point out what we have done wrong but dont twist the facts and outright lie about it. Are you sure youre not a recovering alcholic?

        • Amazing, I have had the same sig for over a year and by my reckoning until a few weeks ago, the only the thing it did was earn me a few 'freaks'. Suddenly it's provoking responses with most of my posts and interestingly they are intelligent responses (not necessarily agreeing with me). I wonder what will happen after the election and everyone has calmed down.

          I wonder is GWB really a "recovering alcoholic"? I thought they went to meetings. I know he has claimed to be, when he was claiming jesus saved him

          • "profitist" is accurate in a way, it's like the American spin on fascism, well put.

            Or a good way to describe the UN Oil for Food scam..

          • I wonder is GWB really a "recovering alcoholic"? I thought they went to meetings. I know he has claimed to be, when he was claiming jesus saved him.

            Good point- I wonder if this is like my major argument with Evangelical Christianity- the saved-at-a-single-prayer thing. To me, as a Catholic, conversion is a lifetime experience (even when you are born into a religion), it take time. As the grandchild of an alcoholic, I also realize that "recovery" and "relapse" are two sides of the same coin, it doesn't t
            • My roommate at university was a one of those long term type Americans, you know with a family tree in the US. We routinely used to freak each other out with culture shock...anyway one of his favorite movies was "Elmer Gantry" which, along with others, he would frequently quote:I come to these here revivals and get saved, and then I go out and get powerfully drunk. It's done me a world of good getting powerfully drunk and then powerfully saved"

              In my experience everyone lies, some more so that others. But

              • And my grandfather (once he was 35 and his hereditary tolerance level disappeared) was always on his second drink: he could see the empty bottle in front of him and the one in his hand. One-two- must be on my second drink.

                But no one lies more than a sober man with an agenda.

                Ain't it the truth. I'd be WAY more satisfied with Bush if they had to prop him up to give a speech. It'd at least be entertaining that way. This way (incompetent sober man with an agenda) is just plain sad.
    • You've got some good points.

      But what I think will be interesting is the way the Bush campaign is going to shift ahead of the debates. Both Edwards and Kerry are quick with the tounge and smart men, it will be fun to watch the strategy shift in the GOP.

      Seriously, and I'm not 'baiting here. Bush and Cheney have twisted a lot of what these two have said. Take the $87bln for Iraq. Their big line at the convention was that Kerry said he voted for it before he voted against it. Now, think about it. Isn't that h
    • > Edwards will likely do well in the vice
      > presidential debate, regardless of how
      > Kerry does, just by virtue as coming
      > across as generally more likeable than Cheney.

      I expect Cheney to eviscerate Edwards, a
      former litigator, on tort reform. Not that
      anyone really cares about the VP debates.
    • I tend to almost entirely disagree with you. First, I think the debates have the potential to be horrible for both sides. The real question is how hard will the questions be. For Kerry, hard policy questions that focus on what he said in the past compared to what he is saying now are going to hurt him badly. Kerry has some very stupid things and latter done 180's on them. His waffling support of the Iraq war is probably the most notable of these issues. Even if the questions are not hard, you can pret
    • He's a much better speaker than Bush, and if he comes out directly with solid goals for when he becomes president, he could raise undecided voters' passion quite a bit.

      I don't quite agree with you here. Sure, Bush is well-known for mis-speaking and mis-pronouncing things on a regular basis. However, the masses, for whatever reason seem to have given him a pass on this [non]issue.

      Kerry on the other hand is a seasoned Senate orator... one would think that he should trounce the word-fumbling president m

      • > I don't quite agree with you here. Sure, Bush is well-known for mis-speaking and mis-pronouncing things on a regular basis. However, the masses, for whatever reason seem to have given him a pass on this [non]issue.

        Actually, Bush often references and makes fun of his previous verbal gaffes.
      • James Fallows recently wrote an article for The Atlantic Monthly about the debate styles of Kerry and Bush.

        Some interesting highlights of the article were that:

        • Neither candidate has really been "defeated" in a debate thus far.
        • Bush's speaking style has changed over the past 15 years or so. In the past he spoke in a much more coherent, less-broken fashion.
        • Despite the appearance of ignorance, Bush is sharper than he comes across.
        • Bush relies on coming into the debate as a favored underdog. As with his d
    • One of the most frequent complaints I've seen levied against Kerry has been that he hasn't presented a clear plan for what he would do if he were president....

      I'd appreciate an individual who runs for president who says "I'll do the work of putting the decisions of congress into action," as the answer to "What will you do as president?"

      This country (US) has departed a bit too far from the original Constitution, in that people expect the president to be half legislative, and three quarters executive. Do

  • Debates bring chaos (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 )
    Not surprisingly, chaos follows the presidential race wherever it goes. For example, for the VP debates at CWRU on October 5, classes are cancelled for the entire day, and faculty, staff, and students are discouraged from going to any of the buildings on the same quad as the building where the debate is to be held. The field in front of that building already has a bunch of prefab platforms laid out on it, presumably to provide extra parking for the event (despite the presence of a six-story parking garage
  • by quintessent ( 197518 ) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @06:53AM (#10306592) Journal
    A very good idea, no matter which side of the fence you're on. Debates have gotten so stale, even the most stalwart arm chair politicians have a hard time swallowing them. The 2000 Bush-Gore debates were just awful because of their predictability and the absense of real political discourse.

    Citizen's Debate Commission is made of people all over the spectrum who want to bring back real debates, where the candidates answer actual unscreened questions from actual human beings. Count me in.
    • Unfortunately it looks like they aren't going to be attending a Citizens Debate Commision event. Assuming I've read everything right.

      They say this:
      "The debates will provide an opportunity for President Bush and Senator John Kerry to have a serious discussion about the important issues to be decided in this election," a joint statement from the campaigns said. "Both President Bush and Senator Kerry are pleased with today's announcement and look forward to the debates."

      and then we find out the format is
      • You're exactly right--I should have clarified that the candidates as yet are not paying attention to Citizens' Debate Commission.

        One reason they don't like the CDB is the CDB wants to sometimes give third party candidates a shot. If a candidate is polling at 5% or higher, or if 50% of people think the candidate should be included in debates, then the CDB would include them.

        I read the Rules of Agreement between the Pubs and Dems, and very early on is an agreement to exclusivity--that neither candidate will
    • The 2000 Bush-Gore debates were just awful because of their predictability and the absense of real political discourse.

      They were awful, but they had an impact on the election. Gore acted like a snotty punk in the first debate and everyone saw it. His demeanor and poor judgement said a lot; anyone playing politics at his level that is still underestimating GWB is a fool. He showed up with a bad attitude and hurt himself.

      Kerry won't make that mistake; he's too far down in the polls to have any misunders
  • by Malfourmed ( 633699 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @06:54AM (#10306601) Homepage
    The MOU outlining the debate procedures strike me as incredibly anal, cf:
    Notwithstanding subparagraph 5(c), the candidates may take notes during the debate on the size, color, and type of paper each prefers and using the type of pen or pencil that each prefers. Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff of the Commission will place such paper, pens, and pencils on the podium, table, or other structure to be used by the candidate in that debate.
    or:
    The stools shall be identical and have backs and a footrest and shall be approved by the candidates' representatives.

    Mindboggling, but I suppose given the stakes that's not surprising.

    I guess the following is to protect Bush or Kerry's ass if either stuffs up majorly:
    Neither film footage nor video footage nor any audio excerpts from the debates may be used publicly by either candidate's campaign through any means, including but not limited to, radio, television, internet, or videotapes, whether broadcast or distributed in any other manner.

    As if a major faux pas (or pratfall!) wouldn't get media coverage anyway, but I guess it's not as bad as if it was used in an opposition campaign ad...

    Can someone explain this to me? I'm not sure what is meant by it:
    The candidates shall not address each other with proposed pledges.


    But what irks me most is that the format does not allow sufficient time for comprehensive, you know - debate. Come on: 120 seconds for a statement, 90 seconds for a rebuttal and a maximum of a further 60 seconds split between both candidates for extended discussion (and then only at the moderator's discretion)?

    Coupled with the following:
    The candidates may not ask each other direct questions, but may ask rhetorical questions.


    I know there are a lot of topics and only so much time, but this isn't going to lead to debate (as I understand the term) but a series of extended and pre-rehearsed soundbites. And the inability to actually ask your opponent questions strikes me as stupid and cowardly (what are these guys afraid of?), but I guess I'm used to a parliamentary model where candidates are at each other's throats much more directly.

    Incidentally, I wonder how often the domestic/economic questions will be turned into homeland "security" questions, viz economic security, healthcare security, unborn child security, national park preservation ... security.
    • The candidates shall not address each other with proposed pledges.

      Interesting. I can't figure it out either. My best guess is that one candidate can't turn to the other and say something like "If elected, I pledge to cut taxes.". Although, that is probably not correct.

      Anyway, you are right to question the whole term 'debate'. These are not debates, nor have they ever been debates. They are purely opportunities to provide sound bites and for the candidates to look good. Even going back to the Kennedy

      • The candidates shall not address each other with proposed pledges.

        I believe this refers to the strategy of trying to trap the other candidate into making on-the-spot promises. "Will you go on record as guaranteeing the American people that if elected you would {withdraw from Iraq within a week | never raise taxes | end illiteracy | whatever}?" The idea being that such questions shift the debate from a discussion of the issues to a bunch of attempts to get the other guy to commit to spur-of-the-moment p

    • The candidates may not ask each other direct questions, but may ask rhetorical questions.

      Basically, this is where one politician tries to be dramatic by saying "I pledge today that I will never X; will my opponent be willing to agree to this pledge also?"

      A famous example was in the Hillary Clinton/Rick Lazio debate [issues2000.org] for Senate from New York in 2000. Rick Lazio came with a written pledge to not taken any soft money. He literally demanded that Hillary Clinton sign it right then, during the debate. She of
      • The danger is that the person insisting on the pledge will look like an aggressive, petty jerk.

        Which is probably the main reason the junior Senator from New York has a last name of Clinton and not Lazio.

        Thanks for clarifying that statement. It confused me, as well.

    • "The candidates may not ask each other direct questions, but may ask rhetorical questions."

      Fuck that!

      They shouldn't be wasting ANY time on that crap. They should be focusing on what THEIR agenda and what THEIR plans are.

      NO rhetorical questions.

      But I do believe that each side should be able to submit 2 or 3 questions to be asked of both of them. That way they can highlight their strong points and illustrate their opponent's weak points. But the questions must be submitted prior to the debate.
  • Too late to decide (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99bottles ( 257169 ) on Tuesday September 21, 2004 @09:26AM (#10307565)
    Am I the only one that finds it frightening that someone could wait until a month before an election, and hope to make up their minds based on a debate? When you have a four year presidential record and a 19 year senate record to consider, how can a couple hours of talk convince you of anything?
    In my mind, the "undecided" voter is just about the most foolish creature on earth. A political campain will tell you what you want to hear. A record speaks volumes about what you can expect.
    The old cliche holds, talk is cheap.
    • by l4m3z0r ( 799504 )
      In my mind, the "undecided" voter is just about the most foolish creature on earth.

      The person who can tell the difference between the two is the most foolish creature on earth in my book. Knowing who you want means that you believe the lies of one above the other. A true grasp of this situation means you have no clue who you want to vote for because not a single candidate would make a good president.

  • ... condition 1.(d) where the top two effectively lock-out anyone else from being heard in the debate forum. Too bad we don't have a more open and less commercial political system.
  • Moderator: Targeted specific question about exact concrete details that you would do the next four years in your administration.

    Candidate: Mom and apple pie generalities that everyone recognizes as good, that I'm for and, by implication, my opponent is against.

    This recipe will be followed by both Bush and Kerry. People will watch for visual and audio cues that help them emotionally identify with what they already believe and cheer and boo as if they're at a sporting event.

  • it is unreadable in Preview for me, I had to use Acrobat

    Confirmed. And for those of you who haven't yet had the joy of Mac OS X, Preview is the built-in file viewer which handles PDFs admirably, or at least did up until this document.

    On Topic: the memorandum says that only "soft" supporters for either candidate will be allowed to pose questions, literally using the word "soft" in quotation marks. I'm curious how they'll measure softness in the audience, which apparently will be up to the Gallup orga
  • Badnarik is on 49 ballots.
    Cobb is in 28 ballots.
    Nader is on 44 ballots
    Peroutka is on 39 ballots.

    All four candidates have the potential to win the Electoral College due to the states on which they have ballot access.

    Why does the "nonpartisan" debate commission insist on excluding every candidate that can win?

    With the Democratic Primary debates we saw that you can have a debate with 10 candidates, so why not have one with 6?

    It is a shame that Republicans talk about economic freedom and Democrats talk abou

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.

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