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  • America Votes

    Election news from across the Knight Ridder network and the Web

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    Pre-debate skirmish 

    Hours before the first presidential debate in Coral Gables, Fla., Thursday, aides to Sen. John Kerry tried to change one of the details negotiated earlier by both campaigns.

    They asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to move warning lights placed atop the lecterns so the candidates and the audience would know when a candidate ran over their time.

    The lights were considered more threatening to Kerry, who can be long-winded, than to Bush. Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter called them "demeaning to both candidates" and said it was Bush who was "fixated" on keeping them.

    The commission refused to move the lights.

    Bush spokesman Scott Stanzel noted that Kerry had agreed to the lights when the two campaigns negotiated the rules and said it was another example of Kerry flip-flopping.

    "Both sides agreed to this," Stanzel said. "In past debates, Sen. Kerry has gone beyond the allotted time with his answers. It is one way the debate audience will know whether the candidates are following the rules."

    posted by Steve Thomma at 4:47 PM



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