The 2008 presidential campaign is like a reality show, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says.
“There are a lot of smart people who are running very hard,” said Mr. Gingrich, who is considering getting into the race. “But they have allowed themselves to be talked into a consultant-driven model, which is the equivalent — it’s a mixture of ‘ American Idol,’ ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Survivor.’ ”
Mr. Gingrich, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said recent candidate debates “were ludicrous.”
“In the debate the other night, the Republicans averaged seven minutes and 20 seconds apiece, split up into 25-to-30-second answers,” he said. “The television celebrities dominate these things. They cut people off. They treat them with disrespect.
“The potential president of the United States, the most powerful governing office in the world, shrinks with each appearance in these shows, and we don’t have a national discussion.”
Mr. Gingrich has been arguing for a different style of debating than the rules, time limits and moderator that come with traditional presidential debates, the Associated Press reports.
“Whoever the two nominees are, they should agree in advance to 90minute dialogue — timekeeper, but no moderator — 90 minutes a week, for nine weeks, from Labor Day to the election. Let the American people have in their living room a chance to see two adults.” organ transplants into a discussion of illegal immigration, reports Eric Pfeiffer of The Washington Times.
“Well, I didn’t get a chance, frankly, to break through on almost anything. In the first 45 minutes of a 90-minute debate, I had one question, and it had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration,” the Colorado Republican said when asked by ABC’s “This Week” why his signature issue didn’t “break through” during the debate two weeks ago.
“I know everybody tries their best to avoid the questions they’re asked, and answer the question that they want to be asked. But, you know, I find that difficult. If somebody asks me a question about — in this case, it was, I don’t know, organ transplants or something,” he said.
Mr. Tancredo wasn’t the only one unhappy with the debate format.
“The big picture was that Chris Matthews was a terrible moderator,” Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said during the “Fox News Sunday” round table. “MSNBC did a terrible job.”
The conservative pundit appeared at first to be joking with his colleagues about an upcoming debate hosted by Fox News, but then added, “The candidates kept their dignity and gave reasonable answers, and the media questions were ridiculous and sort of rude.”
Republican presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo said he found it impossible to turn a debate question on organ transplants into an answer on illegal immigration.