The format for the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will feature a town meeting-style forum. Held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Tuesday October 16, the debate begins at 9pm, and will be moderated by CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley — the first woman to moderate a presidential debate since 1992. Both domestic and foreign policy will be covered. Regarding the exact format, Mike Allen of Politico reports,
"Depending on the final studio configuration, 80 to 84 voters will join the town-hall format presidential debate, at 9:30 p.m. at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island. The Commission on Presidential Debates is once again using Dr. Frank Newport and the Gallup Organization to pick the audience: All will be uncommitted, registered voters from Nassau County who say that they plan to vote, and that there is a chance they could vote for either candidate."
That's right: this debate will be driven in large part by a group of citizens, who, incredibly, haven't the faintest idea whom they're going to for.
What kind of ditherers comprise this elusive entity for which the candidates so dearly pine? How could they possibly be undecided at this late juncture? If it is additional information they seek from Obama and Romney, I regret to inform them that the candidates will only become more vague in their policy prescriptions between now and Election Day. That's because the whole point of the general election campaign is to obfuscate as much as possible, and muffle true intentions under empty euphemisms that are far more pleasant to the ear than that which they substitute for. It's one thing to advance a flat-tax plan or a single payer health program during the primaries, but in the general election? Please. From now until the first Tuesday in November, "vague" is the name of the game.
And yet, undecided voters maintain their holdout, like striking workers who haven't yet realized that management isn't going to give them what they're looking for. There are four main choices in this election: Obama, Romney, third party, and none of the above. In my No Nonsense Political Dictionary, I defined "undecided voter' as a person waiting for a date that would never arrive, and I stand by it.
Of course, don't expect undecided voters to understand any of this. As Bill Maher has pointed out,
And Family Guy:
I'll take those words of wisdom from a talking dog over an undecided voter any day.