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.
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