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Dick Morris: Media Not Needed at Debates


By    |   Monday, 02 November 2015 03:40 PM

Future presidential debates could easily be staged without the media's participation, veteran political analyst Dick Morris says.

"They're fundamental to the process … and they're absolutely essential for us to learn who these candidates are. But what's not essential is the media's presence," Morris said Monday on Newsmax TV's "The Hard Line" with Ed Berliner.

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"[Abraham] Lincoln and [Stephen] Douglas didn't have the media asking them questions, they just got up and spoke, then after the two of them spoke, they spoke again and then they spoke again."

He was referring to the legendary "Great Debates of 1858" — seven electrifying debates between Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Democratic incumbent Douglas — which resulted in Douglas retaining his position.

Morris — who made his comments in the wake of last week's critically-drubbed GOP debate on CNBC — said that for future debates, each candidate would simply speak for two minutes.

"Then you start back at the beginning again and each one gives a two-minute answer and over two hours you'd have six speeches totaling 12 minutes by each candidate," he said.

"And let the candidate raise what he or she wants, whatever they think are the major issues, whatever they think are the major points of difference, and don't let the media run the debate."

Morris, a Newsmax contributor, said the bare-bones approach works because, "if they don't satisfy what the public wants, they'll lose the election, they'll lose standing in the polls."

"Let the competitive realities of politics bring out from each candidate what the voters need to hear and if the voters don't get it, they'll punish that candidate and you don't need network sponsorship," he said.

"You could run a debate in the middle of the street and CSPAN would cover it and we all wouldn't be tuned to Fox news or one of those stations. We'd go to CSPAN and watch it with no ads and nobody makes money off it.

"Let the competitive realities of the give-and-take of politics assure as high quality a debate as we can and let's take the media and the reporters and the network coverage and the ads out of it."

On Sunday, representatives for most of the GOP presidential candidates met privately to talk about changing the debate format after there was universal outrage over what Dr. Ben Carson called CNBC's "gotcha" debate.

The candidates raised concerns about loaded questions, bias from the moderators and the amount of time each has to speak.

Morris is author of "Power Grab: Obama's Dangerous Plan for a One-Party Nation," written with Eileen McGann and published by Humanix.

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Future presidential debates could easily be staged without the media's participation, veteran political analyst Dick Morris says.
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Monday, 02 November 2015 03:40 PM
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