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Clinton/Dole

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Rocketman95, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53630-2003Mar6.html

    <B><font size=4>Clinton, Dole Ready for 120 Seconds</font>
    Ex-Rivals Tape First '60 Minutes' Debate </B>

    <I>By Howard Kurtz
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, March 7, 2003; Page C01

    Sounding more like a stand-up comedy duo than former presidential rivals, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole yesterday described their forthcoming face-offs on "60 Minutes" as dignified debating, not partisan brawling.

    "I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't do anything that a former president shouldn't," Clinton said from New York. "I respect this program. It's a serious program." And if it doesn't work out, "we can always get fired."

    "I'm around to keep an eye on him," Dole said.

    "Bob Dole sucker-punched me into this," Clinton said. "I'm dumb enough to do it and now they're stuck with me."

    The 1996 combatants for the White House, who will be conducting two-minute debates starting Sunday night, each did several takes at their first taping yesterday morning in Manhattan. There was plenty of kibitzing from executive producer Don Hewitt, who made numerous suggestions about simplifying sentences and improving delivery as they hashed over whether taxes should be cut before a war. "They are so malleable, pliable and ready to understand they're in a new medium," Hewitt said.

    The deal for the former opponents to revive the old "Point/Counterpoint" debate on the CBS newsmagazine reflects their late-blooming friendship, television's hunger for celebrity and the collapsed wall that once separated the political and media worlds.

    "It's not going to be a screaming match," Dole said. "We're not going to get a hatchet out and beat each other up. It'll be provocative."

    The arrangement, negotiated by Washington superlawyer Robert Barnett, who represents both men, will last 10 weeks but could easily be renewed next season if the format works and Clinton and Dole have the time to keep taping the segments.

    "This is about all the television I want to do," said Clinton, who had toyed with offers of a daily talk show on NBC or CBS. "I'm trying to do something that would help my fellow citizens without being over the top. I don't care so much about making converts to my ideas as helping people to understand the issues."

    Asked if it was unseemly for a former president to have such a high television profile -- and to criticize President Bush -- Clinton said that "it's a matter of public record" that he has "expressed my differences with the current administration" on such issues as the Kyoto global-warming treaty.

    "If I get up and tie my shoes in the morning, someone criticizes me. This will enable Rush Limbaugh to help raise another $45 million for groups I don't agree with."

    Limbaugh, who says he almost never engages in fundraising, was quick to slam Clinton on his radio show. "The stuff people really want to hear Bill Clinton address will not even be brought up -- Juanita Broaddrick (who accused him of a 1978 sexual assault), North Korea, contempt-of-court citations. . . . This is just more of the Bill Clinton rehabilitation legacy tour," Limbaugh said.

    Former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart said that Limbaugh should "keep his mouth shut" and that the debates are "just one way to continue being part of the public service system," in addition to Clinton's global work on AIDS and other issues.

    The Democratic ex-president and the Republican ex-lawmaker share one unusual bond: Their wives won Senate seats as they were leaving public life. Both men said they hoped not to cause trouble for the officeholders in the family.

    "I'm going to be anxiously awaiting Sunday nights," Hillary Rodham Clinton said from Capitol Hill yesterday. "Elizabeth Dole and I will be holding our breath. . . . If people don't agree with what he says, they should call his office, not mine."

    The New York senator said her husband was drawn by the prospect of a "civilized" discourse that would not be "ranting and raving."

    As for the North Carolina senator, she said: "Bob assures me that it's all part of his strategy to win the presidency -- of the Senate Spouses Club."

    Hewitt first approached Barnett last fall with the idea of sharing a weekly commentary segment. He said he pitched the segment as an alternative to "that raucous, overheated, Sunday-talk-show, John-McLaughlin-screaming" format. "Someone can express what he wants to say and the other guy can counter it thoughtfully and politely."

    Barnett said he already had a four-inch folder with offers for broadcast, cable, radio and Internet programs from around the world. But Clinton was intrigued by Hewitt's proposal, even though years earlier he had been angry with "60 Minutes" over its handling of his appearance during the 1992 campaign to deny Gennifer Flowers's allegations of an affair.

    "Hewitt and I talked a thousand times," Barnett said, hashing over how long the segment would be, who would pick the subjects and, inevitably, who had enough stature to be Clinton's opponent. Barnett has played the Republican opponent in mock presidential debates for several Democrats, including Clinton.

    "During the discussions it became obvious to everyone that it should be Senator Dole," Barnett said. "He is a war hero and was a presidential candidate, Senate majority leader and party chairman, and he and the president have a great relationship." Hewitt said he got the idea from Clinton's former White House counsel, Lloyd Cutler, and former Nixon Cabinet member Pete Peterson.

    Hewitt sat down with Clinton in his Harlem office. "This gives you a chance to make a mini-State of the Union once a week," he told the former president.

    Soon afterward, Hewitt huddled with Dole in his downtown Washington office, where they watched tapes of the old "60 Minutes" debates between James Kilpatrick and Shana Alexander -- which were memorably mocked by Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin on "Saturday Night Live" with the zinger: "Jane, you ignorant slut!"

    Hewitt and the others were struck by how long the three-minute segments seemed by today's standards, and he decided to limit the debates to two 45-second statements followed by 15-second rebuttals. They will take turns going first and e-mailing each other their scripts.

    After further negotiations over such matters as salaries, which were described as substantial but not disclosed, Clinton and Dole held a practice taping early last month, in full makeup, at Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel. Everyone was pleased with the outcome. Clinton likened the civil exchange to those between his old boss, antiwar senator J. William Fulbright, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk during the Vietnam conflict. Clinton and Dole left separately to preserve the project's secrecy.

    The pair have not always been boffo at the box office. Their second debate in 1996 drew 36 million viewers, the lowest number in the history of such televised encounters. Dole complained in that campaign that various Clinton scandals weren't receiving enough attention, asking: "Where is the outrage in America?"

    But Lockhart said the two men grew close when Dole left the Senate and backed Clinton on military intervention in Bosnia, and when they teamed up to raise scholarship money for families affected by the Sept. 11 tragedy.

    Dole is no stranger to punditry, having been a Comedy Central commentator as well as a Pepsi and Viagra pitchman, while Clinton recently did a round of interviews with Katie Couric, Judy Woodruff and Larry King.

    Asked yesterday how a man who once gave hour-long speeches could distill his wisdom to 45 seconds, Clinton said: "I have no idea. I hope I'm an old dog that can still learn new tricks."

    Dole said 45 seconds was perfect because "I don't have any ideas."

    Will their feelings be bruised if their debates turn into a new "Saturday Night Live" skit? "I'd be hurt if it doesn't," Clinton said.</I>
     
  2. drapg

    drapg Member

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    I wonder if they'll do "Heads on Sticks"... imagine Dole holding up a Kim Jong mask and doing an accent.

    :D
     
  3. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    Man I listen to the Tony Kornheisor show on the internet, and he is always commenting on how people copy off the show's format, and you know what, he's right, I wouldn't doubt if they do some kind of PTI ripoff. I don't know about you guys, but I got hooked on PTI the first time I saw it. ESPN really hit the jackpot with that show.
     
  4. drapg

    drapg Member

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    You're right. He doesn't seem to happy with the Today show ripping off PTI's format. Erik Rydhom is a genius.

    I thought I was the only one around here who listened to him. I hate that he's not on in Houston.
     
  5. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    After further negotiations over such matters as salaries, which were described as substantial but not disclosed, Clinton and Dole held a practice taping early last month, in full makeup, at Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel.

    I can see it now -- Clinton is the Starchild, Paul Stanley, and Dole comes out as Gene Simmons' demon. Clinton opens the segment with a "Hello America, good to see ya, WOOOOOHOOOOO!" Dole then spits blood at Clinton.
     
  6. Rocketman95

    Rocketman95 Hangout Boy

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    :D That would be sweet!!!

    I don't know why I'm enjoying this possibility so much. I love it when people from different parties can show that there's more to life than politics.

    They're learning from MadMax and I. :)
     

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