Monday, October 30, 2006


Tonight will mark the second and final debate between the two major gubernatorial candidates, Congressman Jim Davis (D) and Attorney General Charlie Crist (R), to be held in the studios of Tampa television station WFLA - 8 and broadcast over Florida's NBC affiliates. The debate tonight will begin at 7:00 (can't afford to preempt Deal or No Deal, which might be a better title for this event), and will be moderated by MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews, who told the St. Petersburg Times that he will ask short, to-the-point questions.

There was some rancor early on which actually threatened this debate from taking place. The issue regarded what format the event would use. It was originally set up to take advantage of the freewheeling style that Matthews uses on Hardball with the candidates and moderator seated around a table, but Crist's team would have no part of that, insisting on a traditional format with the candidates behind podiums as was the case for their first debate at Nova Southeastern University.

This will actually be the first of two televised debates this week. The Florida NBC affiliate group is also sponsoring the U.S. Senatorial debate between incumbant Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Congresswoman Katherine Harris Wednesday evening from the campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, to be moderated by NBC News Senior Vice President/Washington Bureau Chief and Meet The Press host Tim Russert. Both debates will also air nationally on the cable channel MSNBC.

Let's just hope tonight's event will be more interesting that the last snoozefest between Davis and Crist, and let's hope that both men will be able to stay away from the usual talking points and actually answer the questions posed to them with some detail. The people of Florida deserve at least that.


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