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Debate! But Stay Seated and Keep It Civil

By Margaret Lyons in News on Sep 21, 2004 7:44PM

Monday, the Bush and Kerry camps agreed to three 90 minute debates with the first held on Sept. 30 at the University of Miami. The first debate will touch on foreign policy and homeland security. The second debate will be a town hall meeting with questions from "soft" Bush and Kerry supporters in St. Louis on Oct. 8. And the third debate on Oct. 13 in Tempe, Ariz.? It's the economy stupid.

A vice presidential debate will be held on Oct. 5 in Cleveland. The vice presidential and presidential candidates will be seated for all of the debates except for the presidential candidates town hall debate.

Originally organizers intended to have undecided voters at the second question and answer forum, but the Bushies declined and opted for "soft" supporters. What does "soft" mean? Pudgy? They support the candidate or president right now, but they can't be counted on in a high-pressure situation like the election? Anyway...

2004_09_21.bush.jpgAside from a handshake at the beginning of each debate, the candidates will not address each other. This seems to be a guarantee for relatively uninteresting debates. Speaking of uninteresting, another rule for the debates allows each candidate to provide their own makeup artist. Chicagoist believes that an easy way to get people to watch the debates would be each candidate providing the makeup artist for their opponent. Who could resist a Halloween-ish debate with G-dubs in clown makeup and Jay Kay made up as a cheap hooker?

Also, for the first time in debate history, a light will flash to alert television viewers when a candidate is obviously grandstanding or filibustering. Thanks Commission on Presidential Debates! We were never quite sure.

The first debate is next Thursday. For the rest of the week expect Kerry to continue highlighting Bush's mistakes in Iraq and Bush to critique Kerry's choice of summertime footwear.

REGISTER TO VOTE if you haven't already. You've only got two weeks. For more info on the history of the debates go here and for an interesting scorecard on the election that takes into account most polls as they are released, see
(Thanks, Sam!)