BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE DEBACLE

October 08, 2020 Dana Lewis Season 2 Episode 13
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE DEBACLE
Chapters
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE DEBACLE
Oct 08, 2020 Season 2 Episode 13
Dana Lewis

The Trump-Biden debate was a disaster.

How do we change the formats for future debates to work?  And what is the goal?  Timers, buttons and buzzers to silence arguments? And how should it be hosted?

The debates have always been TV shows, but if they are brawls no one will benefit from tuning in. 

On Back Story Dana Lewis talks to John Donvan, a former White House reporter who now hosts debates across the U.S. and has hosted close to 200 debates.

Show Notes Transcript

The Trump-Biden debate was a disaster.

How do we change the formats for future debates to work?  And what is the goal?  Timers, buttons and buzzers to silence arguments? And how should it be hosted?

The debates have always been TV shows, but if they are brawls no one will benefit from tuning in. 

On Back Story Dana Lewis talks to John Donvan, a former White House reporter who now hosts debates across the U.S. and has hosted close to 200 debates.

Speaker 1:

Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the fats . Just go to her website. She tells you how to fight ISIS on a website. You are telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you've been fighting. No wonder you've been fighting ISIS, your entire adult life. By the end of this evening, I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened. Why not just join ? Join the debate by saying more crazy things. Hi everyone. And welcome to another edition of backstory. I'm Dana Lewis. There have been some informative us presidential debates, some of them one on a good one, liner others on a relaxed look in 1960, Richard Nixon lost his first debate with John F. Kennedy because Nixon started sweating and look pale freedom , be maintained.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to , to the attack, attack you to Devin own . I think it can be. And I think in the final analysis, it depends upon what we do here. I think it's time America started moving again. The things that Senator Kennedy has said, many of us can agree with. There is no question, but that we cannot discuss our internal affairs in the United States without recognizing that they have a tremendous bearing on our international position.

Speaker 1:

The defining moment from 1976, Jimmy Carter versus Gerald Ford occurred when then president Gerald Ford insisted there was no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,

Speaker 2:

No Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. And there never will be under a port administration. I'm sorry. Could I just pause ? Did I understand you to say sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence and occupying most of the countries there and, and making sure with their troops that it's a , that it's a communist zone, whereas on our side of the line, the Italians and the French are still flirting with, I don't believe , uh , mr. Franco that , uh , the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet union. I don't believe that the poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet union.

Speaker 1:

Paul showed president Jimmy Carter lost a Ronald Reagan in 1980. Regan's calm, relaxed, demeanor during the debate was seen as key to his victory.

Speaker 2:

What kind of elements of a national health insurance important to the American people? Governor Reagan, again, typically is against such a proposal. You have enough , you go again. When I opposed Medicare, there was another piece of legislation meeting the same problem before the Congress. You already are the oldest president in history and some of your staff. So you were tired after your most recent encounter with mr.

Speaker 3:

Mr. Mondale. Um, I recall yet that president Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuban missile crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances? Not at all mr . Troy and I, and I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience. And then there was this mess between president Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Speaker 4:

Oh , sure. You, in fact, let people know. He doesn't want to Senator, I'm not going to answer the question because the question, the question is justice rational left. Will you shut up missing ? Who is on your list, Joe, this is on your gentleman's . I think this is so with you that , wait a minute,

Speaker 3:

We got the final word in it . It's hard to get any word in with this clown. I sorry ,

Speaker 4:

With a billion dollars, if you , that , you know , when you're not doing it,

Speaker 3:

True, gentlemen is on this backstory. Do we make these debates meaningful, controlled , dignified? Because that wasn't. So we introduce you to somebody who has studied and moderated debates and is an expert on how we should remake and remodel the format. All right . I want to introduce you to John Donovan, a debate moderator in America, and that would be vastly understating, who John is because he's a former network news correspondent, a terrific correspondent. When he was with ABC news, he worked at the white house in John. First of all, welcome how many debates have you hosted now? Uh, I think we're at about 180, 185, something like that since I started doing this in 2006 only. That's why you're terrific on this topic. First of all, could you have imagined an America like today, a few yesterdays ago when you covered the , uh , I could see the seeds of it. Um, I covered the white house during the Clinton administration, and I think that was the beginning of a turning point of a, of a kind of , um, a poisonous relationship between the parties, where things , um, after, you know, 40 years of some, some, some manner of civility and mutual respect , um, things began to get kind of ugly between the sides, you know, between, you know, going back now to, you know, 25 years, the , the, the sort of personal , uh, pettiness between bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich was already , um , also the, the media was beginning to get more into a more adversarial kind of personal relationship with presidents who were seen to be, which people might, people who are think fondly of bill Clinton might forget that bill Clinton lied , um, very, very, very publicly. And , um, that there was the beginning of a , um, of an acceleration of, you know , Richard Nixon. Didn't like the press, of course at all, but there was the beginning of an acceleration of , um, uh , sort of a standoff between the press and the white house. So yeah, I guess I could have kind of imagined it. I don't think it started in 2016 or 2015.

Speaker 1:

All right . We've gone from, to use your words kind of ugly the turbo ugly now, I think. And , uh, you know, do you take Trump seriously when you hear things like, he's not gonna respect the peaceful transition of power and he should get another two terms, not the constitutional one term after the next election?

Speaker 3:

Uh, yeah, I take, I , I think we've learned to take everything he says seriously. Um, he , uh , his, his , his followers have always appreciated the fact that he says what he means and he means what he says, even though what he says may shift around a lot. Um, um, there's, there's kind of a grain of truth into, I think he wants to leave himself , uh , ultimate maneuvering room. I remember in the very first debate , um, back in 2015, when there were something like 11 candidates on the stage and the moderator, I don't know if it was the first question. Maybe it was the last question, but, but asked a sort of obvious question, if you are not the nominee , um, will you support the person who is the nominee, raise your hand if you will. And 10 hands went up and all by himself back in 2015, Donald Trump didn't raise his hand. Um, and it was kind of a kind of moment. And , um, and he, he just said, we'll see what happens. And we know when he says, we'll see what happens. It means he's keeping his positions open and his options open, and that he's really, really willing to considering and willing to , um, break the usual convention . So, you know, peaceful transition of power so far has been the conventional practice. Um, and it's clear that he has been laying the groundwork for a potential refusal of the vote by casting down on, on the integrity of the process. So , uh, yeah, I take him seriously that he would certainly consider it. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

First debate. How would you have changed it if you were hosting it? Could you have controlled it any better than Chris Wallace?

Speaker 3:

No, I couldn't. Um, Criswell has got a lot of, a lot of , uh, um , uh, criticism for, for what happened in that debate. And the problem with that debate , uh, was primarily the president's , um, insistence on, on breaking in and interrupting, even though I know the interruptions went in both directions. And even though I know , um , um, I read, I didn't go back and check this, but I read that the first person to interrupt was actually Joe Biden. I'm not sure whether that's the case or not. I just know that the dynamic and the flow of the thing was that , uh, when Chris Wallace, who is a , certainly not an anti Trump guy called out the president for being the , you know, he basically said most of the problem is you mr. President, that was just absolutely true. And if you have a , somebody who's not gonna abide by the rules, there's not much you can do unless you have some sort of enforcement power I would have , I would have, I would going forward insist on having some enforcement power. I think of the, of a debate moderator , uh, as , uh , you know, some people think of it as being a timekeeper. I think of it as being much more of a referee where your job is to have some power to enforce the rules, to keep, to make sure, you know , uh, as an example, not only keeping on time, but keeping on point , uh, avoiding personal attacks, if that's the rules. So the debates that I moderate, can I talk a bit, a little bit about what those are so I can,

Speaker 1:

You've given us some insight into the debates you do and how you do them, because I think you've told me a long time ago that you did them alone ,

Speaker 3:

Oxford style , uh, you know , debating framework, which you, you know, I'm happy to hear about that. Yeah. The Oxford style comes out of the Oxford union at Oxford university for is time honored tradition in which , um, a statement is, is a sate asserted. And, you know, I'll just make it extreme. Um, hamburgers are good, you know, that would be the statement and, and one, one debater or team of debaters. And it's usually a team, usually a team of two would argue would , would be arguing for the resolution. They would be there to prove that you can't , you have to agree with them after you hear all the arguments that hamburgers are good and against them as a side, arguing against what the statement says, arguments, hamburgers are not good. They don't have to say anything else. That's better. They just have to say that they're not good. And usually , uh , there's, there's a time timed rules and there's time for rebuttal and there's a structure to it. So the structure is number one, it's about this thing. Number two, you have to prove it's true, or you have to prove it's false. And number three, you take terms and

Speaker 1:

Your act with the does one Bay debating team interact with the other, can they,

Speaker 3:

Yeah. There's time for that. Stop that . So I'm okay with interruption. If I think that's a sort of robust thing, but the , normally what happens is, is that there's an opening statement, which is not interrupted by all four debaters. They take turns making the case. Um, we do that for about six minutes per person. So that takes about , uh, with the introductions. Our first half hour are these formal opening statements where each side makes their case. And then for 45 minutes, we interact and I ask questions , uh , of the debaters based on their opening statements. You know, I'll say, you know, Ms. Jones, you said , um, you know , uh, hamburgers are unhealthy. And your evidence that you cited was from , uh , from the federal government. Let me ask your opponent, do you trust that evidence? Should we be questioning it or not? You know, I'll , I'll, I'll, I'll bring them together. But once that process is flowing, we do like to have to encourage a sort of robust back and forth, back and forth , uh, where, you know, there is such a thing as a, as a, as a justifiably motivated interruption by one person to have another it's. Uh , and so we're good with that. As long as it doesn't get out of hand by out of hand, I mean, you, you don't, you're not, you're interrupting just to stop the person from talking. You're not letting them have their say,

Speaker 1:

Well , what if it's just outright name calling? Like it wasn't the presidential debate. I mean,

Speaker 3:

I stopped, but we've had it happen. Um ,

Speaker 1:

Stop that. Sorry. Now I'm interrupting. So you could turn my microphone off, except I have the control today.

Speaker 3:

Yeah , you stop . But the way in which you're interrupting me is I think of you're you're not challenging . You're not trying to stop me from talking. It's not your goal. You're , you're motivated by a question came to your mind based on what I was saying. You were seeking clarification. I think that's perfectly good kind of interruption. So I just want to say that , um, and , uh, the way I stop it is I , um, I can tell you generally what I say is , uh, I did what I saw Susan Page do last night. I say, thank you the first time I say, I say, thank you, your time is up. If the person is running over time and the opening segments. And , um , if they keep going, I start to talk over them so that it becomes pointless for them to continue. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Um , mr. Smith, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Your time is up. I'm sorry. Your time is up. That's it? I'm sorry. I don't sit. I don't say thank you. And then say nothing. Um, and , um, we had one debate though, where we really, really had intelligence squared. That's the name of the organization? Intelligence squared us , uh, try to, one of our goals is to, is to, is to demonstrate civility in argument and then the discourse. And so , uh , we're good with argument, but we're not good with incivility and incivility includes name-calling personal attacks, ad hominem arguments, and , and that comes up a fair amount. A lot of people are trained to prime to do that as an it's a cheap and easy , uh, way to , uh, to try to debate is to , uh , make fun of your opponent or criticize their character, which just drives me crazy because it's not an argument about the idea. It's, it's a , it's a cheap shot it's and so, so we rule them out when they happen. Um, I stopped the debate. Um, I did it , uh , last week at a debate. I stopped the debate and I, I say , um, um, w you know, that what you just made was a personal attack. And , uh , do you care to withdraw that? And we would appreciate it if you would almost always think every time the person has says, yes, I'm sorry, blah, blah, blah. And one reason I do that. Yeah ,

Speaker 1:

No, John, no way in a presidential setting,

Speaker 3:

Do these w would be, you know,

Speaker 1:

Second term president and would be first term president. They're not going to allow you to interrupt very well. They're not going to withdraw. Trump is certainly not that kind of character, and he's not going to allow you to control.

Speaker 3:

I would do it. The referee at that debate needs to be given power. Should you have electronic power to turn them off? You have the power to turn them off. Absolutely. And you shouldn't have the power to dismiss them from the stage. You should have the power to dock them time. So , uh, you know,

Speaker 1:

It's going to be hard, sorry, jumping in again, because you know, it would be hard to

Speaker 3:

Dismiss president Trump

Speaker 1:

The stage, but I get docking time, I suppose this is very fast .

Speaker 3:

Well, if you, if you, yeah, if you cut off the mic, I mean, it would be a very, very delicate thing. It would be very, very difficult to execute in a way that would not , uh , raise questions about whether the moderator is being fair or unfair, but I think it's doable. I do think it's doable. Um, and I do think that there are times when, you know, if, if Joe Biden were to, to make some claim about the president, that the president truly thinks is untrue . It's just bizarre. And, you know , I know that his, his instinct would be, I don't want to let that continue to be set . I want to stop that thing being said about me right now. I don't want it to get another 40 seconds. I understand that, but that's not what was happening with the president. The president was just trying to shut him down at every stage. But what , what I would do with that as a referee with those powers is I would, I would shut off, especially if we gave a two minute timing, I would shut off the other candidates. Mike, during the primary, the speakers two minutes, the other guys, Mike would be cut off. There would be a visible clock, visible to them and visible to the audience showing how much time they had left. It was just tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. And when the time came, there would be a buzzer or a tone. So maybe not something not so obnoxious, but that would be it. And that thing would persist. And then I would say, you've had your two minutes, it's now mr. Bun , mr. Trump, it's now your time. And he would get the same thing. Sure , sure .

Speaker 1:

And he wouldn't be heard on a , he wouldn't be heard on TV because as Mike would be, we'd be, we'd be turned off. So they've just announced, John, you know, and this is changing by the minute . So it may change again that the next, the presidential commission announced the next debate will be virtual.

Speaker 3:

Um, so you can show it off . Biden has said yes. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

And Trump has said, no, that that's not the way you hold a debate over a computer. Andy said, interestingly enough, when he phoned into Fox, he said , um, th they can cut you off whenever they want. So he has real trouble with it .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Well, I think it would help. I mean, the bottom line is I think it would help. I don't think the parties would ever agree to it. Um, but , um, you know, I had a debate where I had two debaters. The way we're set up on stage is there there's two tables where the debaters sit and spend most of their time arguing. They stand for certain parts of it for, for the most part, they sit and I'm at a lectern in between them a little bit higher than them, which by the way, is another adjustment I would make. I would not make the moderator, this little tiny figure sitting down in the debaters or standing up. I would put everybody on the same level. It can not be because it's about the moderator. It's not about the moderator, but the moderator needs the ability to moderate. And so these , uh, I was between these two tables and the two guys on opposite sides, both at the inner seats, the right one on my right. And one of my left started arguing with each other and they got very angry at each other. And then they began doing kind of thing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And I said, gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, and they kept going, they kept going. They couldn't hear me. I don't even think they were ignoring the presidential debate. Yeah. So, and so I left my lectern and I went around to the front of the stage and I turned and faced them and I raised my arms and I said, just stop, just stop. And that stopped them. And then I, and then I returned to my lectern and I said, you know, that's just not the way we're going to do this. It's just not how it's going to be. And, you know, with the , and the audience applauded for the, for the gesture I make, which I think is where ultimately the, you know, the , the, the that's where my authority came from was the audience's support of what I was doing. You know, Chris Wallace doesn't have that, or these debaters don't have that. They , so, so you need to have some kind of moral suasion if you're not going to have actual power, but it stopped that moment. And , um, you know, I do know that there are some people who think that it's great to see people doing that. There are people who watched the Biden, Trump debate and found it very entertaining and , and, and sort of visceral dopamine level kind of exciting. And it was, it is, it is that it's, it's, it's like watching a wrestling match. And to be honest, I don't want to quash all of that too . There's something there's information in that and there's energy and it's it's appealing, but it just wasn't

Speaker 1:

When it gets to the point that there's absolutely no policy being discussed. And it's it's name calling. And , uh, you know, and , and , and in fairness to Biden, I think that he had been criticized by a lot of people before the debate is as you know, sleepy Joe Biden, according to Donald Trump. And he felt he had to stand his ground no matter what, in that debate that he, he couldn't stand back and let Trump embarrass himself, but that he had to go toe to toe on every single exchange. So it, you know, they were kind of set up , uh , for that , uh, you know, brutal kind of machine gunning and forth ,

Speaker 3:

Uh, by, you know, a lot of the pre press on the debate and whether Biden could hold his ground. And , uh, you know, I mean, interestingly enough, you know, Trump has turned around and, and again said that Chris Wallace defended Joe Biden, which I don't, I don't think he did. I think Chris Wallace tried to just control it as best he could, but , and he felt a sense of failure at the end of it . Yeah. You mean a , that Chris Wallace felt a sense, Chris, I think Chris Wallace felt this debate and it wasn't, you know , I would too I've um , I , one time earlier in my career, I had that kind of a debate where I felt there was a sense of failure because one person came to , uh, to argue very substantively and had prepared that way. And the other person came with a series of one liners and zingers. And , um, and , and it, it kind of turned into a circle, you know, it was just cheap. It was cheesy. And , uh, and I, at that point was not experienced enough to , uh, to know how to try to a certain myself. I mean, every time I, I have to do this and I, I have to do it a lot , a fair amount. I never know if I'm ultimately gonna , you know, have a Chris Wallace experience, if the person just going to ignore me. But I think at a certain point I'm prepared to , uh, I'm prepared to dismiss a debater from the stage. I've never done it. I've never had to do it. It's never been discussed that I would do it, but , um, ultimately , um, it's, it's, we , we would need to make the point that the civil discourse has a place and needs to be defended and is useful without it being all, you know, policy is just such a policy is an important thing and a really boring sounding word. And , um , um, to me, the ideal debate is one in which the , the personalities of the debaters, their ideas for what is policy, it's what we would do, what we should do. I would want , I would want to express it in terms of the debaters , through their personalities and their convictions and their commitments share with us what they think we should do and what they would do. And that's how I would put it. I would, I would always want to walk around the word policy because it sounds like you have to do your homework. I , uh , interviewed somebody on the Eve of the 2016 Clinton Trump debate, and they said, cool, we'll get to see them under pressure. We'll get to see some flashes of personality, learning, how they would govern , um , in depth, probably not what their ideas are. What they're thinking really is. I think we probably won't learn much at all. And that guy was named John Donvan. And I think you were spot on, on that debate and even this one. Oh, wow. I had no idea, but , uh , you were going to argue with that guy, right? No , I was going to say, Hmm , I should debate that guy. What did you think of the Kamala Harris and Mike debate, different personalities, but, you know, clearly it was a lot more civilized. And I think people got a lot more,

Speaker 5:

The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country. And here are the facts 210,000 dead people in our country. And just the last several months, over 7 million people who have contracted this disease. But I want the American people to know

Speaker 3:

Very first day, president Donald Trump has put the health of America first,

Speaker 5:

Whatever the vice president is claiming the administration has done. Clearly it hasn't worked. And you know, the vice president is the head of the task force. So I have no , but Susan , this is important. And I want to ask mr. Vice president, I'm speaking, I'm speaking. So I want to ask the American people, how come were you when you were panicked about where are you going to get your next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn't know when they could go back? How confident are you when your children couldn't see your parents because you were afraid they could kill them.

Speaker 3:

There's not a day gone by that. I haven't thought of every American family that's lost a loved one. You just nailed it. It was more civil. Was it as entertaining? Should it be entertaining? Um, uh, I think we got a very good dose of the difference of their personalities. The question is, does that matter? I suppose it matters if one of them becomes president someday, which is, there's a fair chance of , um, given , uh, given the ages of the tune of the incumbent and the challenger. So I think we got , uh , I got a stronger sense of Mike Pence, his personality than I'd had before. And I would say the same thing with Kamala Harris, a stronger sense of, of her personality. Um, uh, I was very frustrated by , uh, by the, by the , um , Mike Pence is again, not keeping time. Uh, you know, she would give him 15 seconds and he would take 45 seconds and I'm okay with, you know, take 15 seconds, by the way, it is hard to make a , to do a comeback in 15 seconds more realistically should , she'd probably say I can give you 30 seconds to respond on that. And I would understand because the debate did get personal, they did begin to challenge , uh, aspects of each other's past. And the problem with doing that is it's usually the accusation is usually way more complicated than the, than it sounds. And that means that the person who's attacked feels this compulsion to want to correct the record. And they ask for that opportunity. I, you know, you know, Susan Page, I'm sorry, I was just attacked and I need to respond to that. The problem with those attacks is then they go down a rabbit hole for the next two and a half minutes about, did this happen to that happened at some incident in the past. And that's why I would discourage , uh, personal attacks and, and why in our debates when it happens. Um, actually when it happens in our debates and somebody , we did a debate the other day in which , uh, one of the debaters, it was about economics and one of their debaters accused another debater of being stolen. Like, and it was , it was totally out of line. It was meant to be kind of cute and kind of edgy, but the person who was accused of being stolen, like took issue and said, excuse me, I need to go back. And, you know, and , and at that point I stepped in because they were going to go back and forth. And then for the few minutes about whether this one debate or at some point in his life had said something that was stolen, like, and , um, and would use valuable time doing that. So what I said is I said to the person who said it , I would appreciate it. If you would withdraw that remark, would you do that? And the person said, I wouldn't to the person who was attacked. I said, I would appreciate it if you will accept that and let's not talk about it anymore. So it took 30 seconds to resolve something that would have taken two, two and a half minutes. So I've done that before. I've the person who's offended, needs to be also needs to move on and , and to accept that there was a withdrawal. So , um, in the, in the Harrison and pants debate, that happened a fair amount. And , um, and so I found that annoying and , uh, what, what was interesting to me as I had a sense that Pence had more time talking because he ran over the, a lot of time limits many, many, many times, but , uh , according to a CNN , um, analysis, they had equal time within three seconds of each other. I think Penn said more, three seconds more than Kamala Harris. So that was, you know, I got to pay attention to that. That appearances can be deceptive.

Speaker 1:

It's going to be revealing too, because he talked over her a lot. And a lot of people think that that reveals his attitude towards women and whether that's true or not true, you know, by interrupting and talking over people in the end, you also create an impression that you leave with the audience, right? So

Speaker 3:

Maybe, but I have a feeling he would have talked over an opponent who was a man and Tim, Tim Cain talked over him four years ago, incessantly talked over Pence. And , um, so I , I just think it was more of a , a personal style. And I , uh, I don't think he was trying to rattle her by doing that. I think he was trying, I think, you know, I think it's this thing that they're saying something that's really not true. I need to stop this from continuing to go on. And then, and then Harris, you know, towards the end began to , um , also run over time. She did so extensively on one question, I think about her prosecutorial record. I think that was the one where , where she said, I, you know, Susan, I was attacked Susan, the moderator, I was attacked. I want this time. And she went over probably by at least a minute, which is a chunk of time in a 90 minute debate trying to cover 10 topics. So it wasn't just Pence , but I felt that Pence is interruptions and frequent. Run-over sort of set the tone, something that was a little less sloppy than it should have been. And also frustrating there is that they were just in both of them are just ignoring the questions. All right .

Speaker 1:

Just to wrap this up. I mean, we talked about a lot of stuff that we kind of without getting specific about it, we covered it because we, you talked about time penalties, you talked about the ability to cut Mike's off. Um , do you think that, does America need another two debates? Um, is America gonna survive another two debates with these presidents? And what do you do when one is, will not agree

Speaker 3:

To a format change, which

Speaker 1:

Obviously a lot of people think is critical to making these debates

Speaker 3:

Formative? Um, I don't have much, I hate to say it cause I really believe in any kind of public forum possible. And I, I know people on the presidential debate commission and , uh, or people who have served on it. And , um, you know, that's a whole another story that commission is controlled by the two parties, essentially it's nominally independent. But when I say it's controlled, it's it's members are nominated by the two parties and then

Speaker 1:

It's a bridge for negotiation between the two.

Speaker 3:

Okay . That's great . That's a really good way to put it. Um, but the members of the commission, I think take the role very, very seriously and do, try to act independently. They do assert their independence, they claim independence and assert it . So I believe in their efforts to try to make it work. Uh, that said , um, I don't see any need to have a second version, a secondary or a rerun of the Trump Biden debate if it's going to be like that. Um, I'm , I don't think we're going to learn anything and it felt , uh, I don't know , to me it kind of left a , a blemish it's one more blemish on the political process in a , in a season of many blemishes on the political process. No argument, no

Speaker 1:

Argument, John, thank you so much for all your time and perspective. If, and I think a lot of people would now, after hearing you talk about all of the debates, you've moderated, they'd like to go and watch some of them. Where do they see

Speaker 3:

John intelligence squared us has a URL and an app. Um, but if you Google IQ to U s.org, that's IQ, the number two U s.org , um, all of our, so that would be through a web browser. All of our near 180, 185 debates are online. Interestingly, almost all of them. Uh, we've been doing them for a now 14 years, hold up still. And , um, and some, some of them are interesting for having happened 10 years ago. How forward-looking they turned out to be? And we also have an app , uh, IQ T U S debates on the app store and Google play store and the Apple store. So , um, join us. We're on YouTube also. That's great, John Donvan thank you so much. Pleasure.

Speaker 1:

And that's our backstory on presidential and not so presidential debates, please subscribe to backstory. And if you don't mind share our link, your network,

Speaker 6:

We're on every major podcasting platform we are growing and appreciate your support. Thanks for listening. I'm Dana Lewis and I'll talk to you again .