The Commission on Presidential Debates is headed up by the really lovely Hot Older Man, Frank Fahrenkopf, and was created by both parties when the League of Women Voters refused in 1988 to sponsor any more debates. They pulled out because "the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public." Therefore, such as it is, the CPD has set the dates for the 2008 matchups:
First presidential debate:
Friday, September 26
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
Vice presidential debate:
Thursday, October 2
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Second presidential debate:
Tuesday, October 7
Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Third presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 15
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
Some changes to the formats include the 1st and 3rd being divided into 8 ten-minute issue segments; "the moderator will introduce each segment with an issue on which each candidate will comment, after which the moderator will facilitate further discussion of the issue, including direct exchange between the candidates, for the balance of that segment. Time will be reserved for closing statements by each of the candidates in each debate."
Any bets on whether the moderators, yet to selected, will include any pompous and self-aggrandizing broadcast "journalists"? Any who'll favor one candidate over the other? Any who'll ask tough questions like "Diamonds or pearls?" Any candidates who'll be allowed to go over their time consistently? Unfortunately, as much as I do indeed adore Frank, I still really long for the days when the League of Women Voters would have shut Russert's sh*t down promptly.
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