As the equipment from the last century slowly leaves my abode, I'm thinking maybe I should get one of those new fangled large screen t.v.s to watch the presidential debate on Thursday and invite my friends over for a debate party. However, there is a 36 page document that both parties have signed regulating the debate. One of the most fascinating rules is that neither candidate is allowed to pose a question to the other. All questions and answers must be between the candidate and the news guy (Jim Lehrer - no relationship to Tom Lehrer though I would much rather have had Tom Lehrer the songwriter ask the questions).
So, if Kerry turns to the President and asks him a direct question would Kerry then be open for a civil suit? Would John Edwards defend him? Would the moderator stop the debate? Would police appear on stage to cart Kerry off?
Everything, down to the height of the podiums has been negotiated. This was a big issue because John Kerry being taller, wanted a higher podium and George Bush, being shorter, wanted a podium that reached to his chest. They ended up by having adjustable podiums that could telescope up and down. These were not in existence before the debate, and the Adjustable Podium Company (PAC on the NY Stock Exchange) was called upon to build the two podiums.
They only make two podiums per year and each one lists for $100K. At first blush, this may seem expensive, until you find out some of the podium's other features:
In addition to being adjustable, the podiums have a hidden door where a prompter can squat. The V.P. will be cramped up inside G.W.'s podium. Kerry still hasn't made a final decision as to who will be inside his podium. He has asked Michael Moore, but Michael won't fit. He may have Gov. Dean, but they're worried about loud shouts coming from the podium.
At any rate, both podiums are also equiped with a mini-bar, a laptop with Google search, (where is Poland?); and a list of good comeback lines by Jon Stewart.
I know, you think I'm kidding - but if you watch the debate carefully, you'll see that there will never be a camera angle showing the back side of the podium. Watch - you'll see.