The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal talks with Brit Hume…
On Tuesday, at the University of South Carolina, it’s Fox News Channel’s turn at sponsoring a debate and, “with some trepidation,” moderator Brit Hume is looking forward to the Republicans’ joint speaking engagement.
“We’re trying to figure out, with as many players as we have, how to make it interesting and it’s hard. Ten candidates is a lot,” Hume said.
The jockeying among the politicians is matched by the jockeying by the networks, each looking to attach its brand to these exercises, even though Hume believes there’s “probably not all that much difference” in one outfit’s debate from another.
The State’s Aaron Gould Sheinin interviews Chris Wallace…
How much of a challenge is it to try to handle such a large group over 90 minutes, while giving less-well-known candidates the opportunity to teach viewers more about themselves?
It’s tough obviously. You just do the math. We’re giving each candidate a minute to answer each question. Ten candidates, a minute each. It doesn’t allow that much time to explore in depth anyone’s feelings. That’s the nature of the race at this point. I think the flip side of that is people will get a sense of the entire field. I don’t think we should be in the position at this point of saying the three front-runners are the only ones that count.
How do you make something like this not necessarily fun, but at least somewhat entertaining?
It’s a good question. We’re doing a lot of research. The hope is that we’ll ask better, more pointed questions than have been asked in previous debates and get people off their talking points.
What would have to happen for this debate to be a success?
The answer is it’s a public service. If at the end of the evening people feel they know more about all the candidates and where they stand and the 50-50 chance one of these will be the next president, if we help them in making a decision, we’ll have been successful.