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The Media and Presidential Debates

October 22, 1988

OK. So the presidential debates are over. The rhetoric, catch phrases and glittering generalities are behind us now. Sadly, that leaves us, somehow, with the task of choosing between these two men who we want to see run the country for the next four years.

Herein lies the problem. We've had two 90-minute glorified press conferences run by the campaigns themselves to obtain some idea as to where these men stand. Never mind the shallow answers, the inane questions and overly rehearsed speeches about qualifications for the job. Let's talk substance here.

Let's see debate reform. Let's see each major network (ABC, CBS, NBC and, yes, CNN) host its own individual debate. Make them one hour long and space them out. Do this by holding the national conventions one week apart in July. Then hold a debate in August, September, October and one week prior to Election Day. Also, some sort of geographical perspective would do here as well. Throw away the media hotshot panel.

Should this be done, I think the voters just might get a little better idea of where these candidates stand and what the issues in this country really are. As for vice presidential debates? Let's have two and find out just what a candidate would do should a tragedy occur in the White House. Bush had it wrong. The voters aren't tired of debates. How could we? We haven't seen one yet.

TOM HUBBS

San Bernardino

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