Yesterday the meeting finally happened, the staff’s of the GOP candidates met at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday to come up with a list of debate demands they would present directly to the networks hosting future debates.
Not wanting to rely on the spin coming out of the meeting, and wanting to get a real account of the proceedings, I did what I normally do in cases like this. I sent my Cousin Ben the Spy (his mother wanted him to go to law school, but that is a story for a different day), to sit in on last night’s discussions. Ben was the perfect man for the job. A master of disguise, Ben always finds a way to listen in on meetings without being noticed. When he was in college, Ben spent his summers on a rig in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea drilling for extra virgin olive oil (which he tells me you get from UGLY trees). I asked Ben to sneak into the restaurant and get the real list of demands. To get unrestricted access Ben described himself as a plant near the table where the discussion was being held. As payment Ben made me promise to get him tickets to the next time the NY Jets make the Super Bowl (sadly a promise that will never have to be fulfilled, at least in my lifetime).
Early this morning Cousin Ben the spy just called, he came home with all the information we asked for (he also came back with a uneaten dinner rolls from the table wrapped in a napkin). Below is the official list of GOP candidate demands.
- Format: The debates will be limited to two hours; each candidate will get 30 seconds for an opening and closing statement. Approximately 60 minutes into the debate there will be a break for milk and cookies (except for Gov. Christie who gets honey-glazed donuts). There was also discussion about nap-time, but that was rejected because the candidates couldn’t agree on the color of the “blankie.”
- Equal Time: The candidates are very concerned that because the moderators haven’t been able to control the candidates, some of the debaters get much more time than others. From now on when a candidate’s time is up they get a five second warning, if they are still talking moderators will shoot the speaker with a paint gun.
- Bathrooms: Bathrooms will be moved much closer to the stage, in fact they will be moved right in front of the podiums. That way Republican Party voters will be able to determine which candidates actually give a crap.
- No Interrupting! Candidates have agreed they will not interrupt each other in the middle of an answer, moderators must agree they will not interrupt a candidate during an answer unless they are going over in time. Networks agree to install a sensor system that will be able to detect when someone viewing the debate is speaking during a candidate’s answer. When that happens the TV will display a message like, “Hey Tommy Smith, Shut the heck up!” If the noise continues, they will be shot with a paint gun (unless viewer is playing a debate drinking game).
- Spanish Language: Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz recommended that Telemundo be reinstated after being dropped along with NBC. But Corey Lewandowski Donald Trump’s representative, threatened to boycott a debate if the Spanish-language network was granted one, as that is one of the networks he is suing after the dropping of his beauty pageant. To appease both sides, Senators Rubio and Cruz open the telecasts by singing a song in Spanish (which won’t be taken out of their time).
- No Gotcha Questions: The campaigns were firm on this, no “gotcha questions.” In fact now when one counts the opening and closings, the bathroom, and milk and cookie breaks, each candidate will only get one question. That one question cannot be a “raise your hands” type of question nor can it cause one candidate to address the other. This is especially important in the early debate as the other three candidates cannot look at for NY Gov. Pataki without laughing at his lousy-combover, or at Lindsey Graham every time if announces another place he will bomb.
The candidates could not get agreement on picking the moderators. Cruz’s staff wanted the moderators to be right wing talk radio hosts, Huckabee’s folks wanted them to be Evangelicals, Trump suggested his children Ivanka and Donald Jr., and Chris Christie suggested Joe Piscopo “doing” his Frank Sinatra character.
After coming up with what they could all agree on, the candidates’ staffs agreed they would meet again after the next debate (not to come up with more demands but to finally figure which campaign would pick up the check.