OK, here is the news on the Coleman/Mondale debate, from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The debate will be Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.; it will be televised as well as broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio. The debate will be between Coleman and Mondale only; the two minor party candidates, thankfully, will not participate. The terms of the debate reflect a compromise between the two campaigns. Mondale has tried to push the debate as far toward election day as possible to minimize its impact; he succeeded in that. Mondale wanted to be on radio but not television; he failed on that point, since the debate will be televised. Of course, few people will be able to watch it at 10:00 in the morning, but the station broadcasting it has announced that it will allow any other television station to rebroadcast the debate later in the day. Mondale had wanted all four parties to be present to dilute the event and, frankly, to make it less serious, as last night’s event was. He lost on this point. So: we are left with a two-man debate which will be re-broadcast on television the night before the election. This result reflects a parity of bargaining power between the two campaigns; Mondale would have refused to debate altogether if he had thought he could get away with it. It seems likely that the debate will be the decisive event in the campaign. Unless we are greatly mistaken, the polls that come out over the next forty-eight hours will show a dead heat. It is reasonable to think that the debate–more specifically, the public’s perception of Mondale after eighteen years out of the spotlight–will sway enough votes to determine the outcome.
Everyone in Minnesota knows what Norm Coleman looks like, but for the benefit of our readers around the country (and the world, Oxblog for one has linked to us and shown a great deal of interest in this campaign), here is a photo of Norm. His wife Laurie is visible in the background.
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