Last night, Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum between Barack Obama and John McCain was the most refreshing change in Presidential politics that I have seen since the adoption of the town hall format (See Full Story). I have gotten so tired of the debate-less debate format of the past that I generally don't pay attention to them anymore. Warren's format forced each candidate to simply answer a series of questions with the other candidate unable to hear the answers. The viewer was then able to determine whether or not each candidate, independently, had a grasp of the issues and whether or not they were able to effectively express their viewpoints. How simple is that!
A lot will be written about whether or not John McCain or Barack Obama won the night; so, I am not going to get into that. However, I would hope that last night's format was the beginning of new standard for political fact finding in the future. I think that the average viewer walked away from that format with a better understanding of the two candidates than if they had watched ten of the more traditional debates between the two. This format, more than anything else, put style on the back burner with substance up front. For me, it "cut through the fog" of the normal debate format. A great job!
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