Setting the Stage
The Hiller Instinct: Setting the Stage
Tonight's debate, the last big event before the New Hampshire primary, is the candidates' last big chance to reach a big audience of primary voters. So, many of the daily "conversations with the candidates" and "chili feasts" were put on hold, so the democrats could do what's called "debate prep". Based on past debates and the campaign, here's my advice…
John Kerry wants to leave this debate the same way he goes in -- in front.
Kerry, do be presidential and personable; don't be peeved.
Dean, do show humor, say you're sorry; don't get angry. Topping Howard Dean's list of do's and don'ts tonight… Do show a sense of humor and do say you're sorry for the way you've looked and acted sometimes. At all costs -- don't get angry about anything.
General's Wesley Clark's debate marching orders -- do try to prove you're a real democrat, not a convert of convenience and please don't wear a sweater. Suit up!
John Edwards should do exactly what he's been doing, staying positive and setting himself up for the campaign after New Hampshire. So don't argue with anyone about anything.
Joe Lieberman's top do is continuing to stress his independence and moderation. But, Senator, don't think its going to change many votes.
Dennis Kucinich, do enjoy yourself at the debate tonight. But don't pretend to be a viable candidate.
Al Sharpton, do deliver the best line of the debate, as you have so many times before. But don't think it matters:
For the record, the candidates appeared in the same order as they finished in our latest poll. And a final "do" for all the democrats, please do have a productive debate that helps everyone, who watches, decide who should be the party's nominee.