As we explained yesterday, the Obama and Romney campaigns have set some interesting ground rules for tonight's town hall debate. Most notably, neither camp wants the moderator to do a whole lot of moderating, specifically requesting that Candy Crowley doesn't ask any follow-up questions to a candidate who may choose to talk his way around a difficult question.
So then where will the follow-ups come from? By the looks of the memo signed by both campaigns, they won't come at all. The document not only bars Crowley from asking them, but also the audience members and even the other candidate on stage.
- 7 (c), IV: "The moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debate or otherwise intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invited the candidate comments during the 2 minute response period."
- 7 (d): "The audience members shall not ask follow-up questions or otherwise participate in the extended discussion, and the audience member's microphone shall be turned off after he or she completes asking the questions."
- 5 (e): "The candidates may not ask each other direct questions during any of the four debates."
Here's the document, which covers all four presidential and VP debates, and was first obtained by Time magazine. Tonight's town-hall specific rules start on Page 6.
TODAY IN SLATE
Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.
Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.
Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution
Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show
Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada
Now, journalists can't even say her name.
Lena Dunham, the Book
More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.