When Barack Obama and Mitt Romney lock horns this Wednesday, they’ll just be getting warmed up when they eclipse my old debate time-frame. From 9-10:30 PM (ET), they’ll be sitting on little high-chairs, sans pacifiers, trying to one-up each other. The debate will be on domestic issues and divided into a half-dozen, 15-minute segments. The first 3 will be devoted to the economy, followed by the equivalent of 2 more segments on health care and a final 15 minutes of arguing (‘er debating) about government and how things should be run.
The moderator’s moderator will be at the helm. Taking the reins as inquisitor will be veteran (and I do mean veteran) newsman, Jim Lehrer. The 78-year-old Lehrer, who retired as anchor or co-anchor of the PBS NewsHour last year after 36 years, has trod the print and electronic news path for some 53 years. In his spare time Lehrer has written a dozen novels under his name and moderated almost as many presidential debates (11). He has a reputation for being consummately fair and objective.
As for the first debate, President Obama returns to Denver, arguably the scene of his greatest triumph. Who will ever forget the extraordinary scene of Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Denver’s Invesco Field, August 28, 2008. The Mile High Stadium had an official seating capacity of just over 76,000, but most estimates put the crowd at 84,000. The special memories of that event have to give Obama a sizable momentum edge going into the first debate.
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