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Gingrich Speaks:
Take Debates
Back to the Future

Newt Gingrich has had enough of the presidential debates to last him a lifetime, but he wants to recast them radically for next year.

Enough of the 30-second answers and the consultant-scripted applause lines, he told a National Press Club luncheon Tuesday. He wants to go back to the Lincoln-Douglas days.

The former speaker's proposition: a series of nine, weekly 90-minute televised "conversations" between the major party nominees, with a timekeeper but no interviewers, each focused on single a major topic, with time for expansive answers.

Instead of "shrinking" the contenders, as the current format does, this would -- Gingrich argues -- allow candidates to grow and expand, while the voters would come to appreciate their ideas in ways they cannot possibly do now.
And would anyone watch? "I trust the wisdom of the American people," said Gingrich.

--David S.Broder

By Post Editor  |  August 7, 2007; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , David Broder  
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I think this is a great idea. We would get to the substance that is most important, and we would see how candidates reason, explain, and defend their positions.

Posted by: GracefulConsonance | August 8, 2007 4:33 AM | Report abuse

FANTASTIC idea for the general campaing

but for the primary, the field is too crowded

Posted by: SeanFoots | August 7, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Don't wait until next year, start now. There's plenty of time. The candidates could do a round robin in which everybody has a chance to debate the others. You could simply watch the ones that you're interested in. The only moderator would be a timekeeper, whose only responsibility would be to cut off the speaker's mic when time expired.

Posted by: superyeadon | August 7, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

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