The most contentious issue was an Oct. 8 debate that is to be held in a town-hall format, with audience members asking questions. Bush’s chief negotiator, James A. Baker III, had proposed dropping that meeting because the president’s advisers were concerned that partisans could pass themselves off as “undecided voters,” as the commission’s proposal described the audience.
The agreement Baker worked out with Kerry’s lead negotiator, lawyer Vernon E. Jordan Jr., specifies that the audience consist of 100 to 150 “likely voters who are ‘soft’ Bush supporters or ‘soft’ Kerry supporters,” split evenly between the two. The Gallup Organization will pick the audience, submitting its methodology to the campaigns for approval 14 days before the debate.
Now, if you want to get your frilly skirts in a bunch and hold off declaring a winner of our bet until the 14 days, I’m okay with that. After all, I need to make allowances for pretty little girls.