Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kerry: Bush Wanted Debate 'Life Lines'

AP - Why did it take so long for the Bush and Kerry campaigns to agree on a debate schedule? Sen. John Kerry had the answer for television's Regis Philbin, who has hosted the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

"The big hang-up was George Bush wanted to get life lines, you know, so he could call somebody," the Democratic candidate for president quipped Tuesday while appearing on "Live With Regis and Kelly."

NY TIMES - Negotiators for President Bush and Senator John Kerry agreed on Monday to three 90-minute debates beginning Sept. 30... The two campaigns essentially went along with recommendations by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates - except that the topic for the first debate will be foreign policy and domestic security rather than the economy as the commission had suggested. The final debate, which the commission had said should be about foreign policy, will now be about the economy...

With a guaranteed television audience of tens of millions, the debates could be pivotal given the closeness of the presidential race. National polls are mixed, with some showing a dead heat and others showing a modest lead for Mr. Bush.

In a poll by the Pew Research Center, 29 percent of those surveyed said the debates would matter in deciding how they would vote. Sixty-eight percent said their minds were already made up.

Debate Schedule

Sept. 30 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

Oct. 8 at Washington University in St. Louis

Oct. 13 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

Oct. 5 - VP debate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland

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