Reporting from The Woodlands, Tex. — Herman Cain, who had a big bowl full of the wrong kind of attention this week, and Newt Gingrich, who needs all the attention he can get, are preparing to meet this evening in Rick Perry country for a two-man debate that promises to be long on civility and short on salacious allegations of sexual harassment.
A fundraiser for the Texas Tea Party Patriots (with tickets that range in price from $200 to $1,000), the debate, at a golf resort north of Houston, is to focus on subjects dear to the heart of tea partyers: entitlement spending and the national debt. “Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security,” said moderator U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa. “I hope we can focus on Obamacare too. That’s an entitlement.”
When asked whether he would mention the sexual harassment scandal that roiled Cain’s campaign all week, King practically snorted: “No! I am not gonna talk about that!”
The format for the 90-minute debate, to be broadcast on C-SPAN at 5 p.m. Pacific time (and streamed live at KSEVRadio.com) will be what organizers call a “modified” Lincoln-Douglas debate style. Those legendary debates took place in 1858 between Illinois U.S. Senate candidates Abraham Lincoln, the Republican challenger, and Stephen Douglas, the Democratic incumbent. The debates were notable for the candidates speaking for 60- and 90-minute stretches, uninterrupted. Not exactly an exciting format for today’s short attention spans.