Thursday, May 03, 2007
Do early debates make an impact?
Tonight, I'll be hosting a special two-hour edition of "Larry King Live" with Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol." We'll look back at 50 years of pop culture as seen through the eyes of Larry King. The special is part of a weeklong celebration of Larry's 50 years in broadcasting. It starts at 9 p.m. ET and is followed by "360" at 11 p.m. ET.

On tonight's "360," we'll have reaction to the first Republican presidential debate of the campaign season. The 10 candidates will square-off at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library north of Los Angeles. The debate is scheduled to be 90 minutes long, which is plenty of time for missteps. Presidential hopeful and ex-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney told Jay Leno last night his goal is to "Get on, get off, keep your hair from getting messed up."

What would you like to hear from the candidates? Do you think a debate this early in the election season even makes an impact?

-- By Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 3:33 PM ET
  44 Comments
I can not wait to see the Larry King special tonight. The clips they have been showing have been fantastic.

It should be interesting to hear about the replician candidates. It seems like we have heard alot from the democratic side with their debates being first. It should also be interesting to hear
why the secret service has put Obama under protection.

Have a great show tonight Anderson, I will be watching :)
Posted By Anonymous Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 4:02 PM ET
I'd like them to tell us how they are going to protect us from Islamo-fascism, and how the INS can change illegal immigrants into tax-paying citizens asap. Also the new President must make abortion less accessible. Those are my issues for 2008.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 4:04 PM ET
Concerning the presidential candidates, all God knows how many, and the debates, it seems to me they might believe voters are so afraid having a woman or an African American in office that Clinton and Obama will be easily defeated. Therefore, any one can (and will) be running.

This will be very entertaining once the field is narrowed, if only for the "Huh?" value.

Mags
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 4:06 PM ET
We have 30 days from start to finish of an election period. Each group (liberal, conservative, green and fringe) choose a person to run and they run. The government calls it, signs go up and 30 days later we vote. Done.

American's spend waaaaay too much time yaking about issues that change during the time frame of the election. You vote for who you're going to vote for which is completely wasteful and confusing. Then when you decide on who you're going to vote for then you vote for which party you want in office, Elephant or Donkey. The whole electoral college thing is a mystery to me.

The money wasted on your elections could be better spent on education, health care (free for us! ha) and taking care of the elderly. The time and energy wasted could be better spent rebuilding NOLA or charity work.

I'm just sayin'.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 4:06 PM ET
Anderson,
I was surprised to find out debates were going on this early. It will be informative if the candidates answer the questions about their positions. It can certainly set the platforms for the candidates. Did we ever have campaigns start this early before? I could not remember if we did after Clinton's second term, although Gore ran after him. I wonder if the reason things are starting so early is because there is no one coming out of the current administration ( at this point) who is running.
Looking forward to the program(s) tonight. Hope you have caught up on your rest from your red-eye- those can be a bear!
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, New York : 4:11 PM ET
Anderson,

history has shown over and over again, that much can happen between an early debate and an actual election, especially if that election is still more than 18 months away.
Debates that early on in the process do not make a dependable impact or are of big value yet, but are rather more targeted to set the stage for the candidates to get their agenda out and be noticed.
Posted By Anonymous Elke, SW Florida : 4:14 PM ET
Anderson,

I think all of this election coverage is starting WAY too soon. By the time the elections get here we are going to be tired of hearing it! And what was said now will have been forgotten.

I was wondering if Rick would ever get an interview with Eric. I know he had the paper work and the prison turned him away. I'm glad we will finally get to hear from Eric himself. Looking forward to that.

I am also looking forward to the LK special. With you and Ryan hosting it should be great!

No Jeff in Alaska tonight? What's up with that? I was hoping to see more on that. You should have went...I would have jumped at the chance!!
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 4:16 PM ET
Hollywood debates. LOL Yup, pardner, it is off to THE MAN's library directed by Cecil B. DeMille as the troops pledge undieing alligence to the 'Gipper'. Will there be a Red Carpet?

Will the Duke (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, the Sands of Iwo Jima, the Ballad of the Green Beret) come over the hill to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky in a laser light show?

Oh, and don't forget the Reagan Diaries Book promo that is scheduled for publication just before the magic 08 Nov. date.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista : 4:31 PM ET
These presidential debates are like American Idol. The more preformances the better.

With each preformance, it helps us determine who is truly worthy of the grand title.
Posted By Anonymous Geeta, Allentown, PA : 4:33 PM ET
I can't believe this, but I actually agree with Em from Canada. Maybe it's going to snow in South Louisiana! But she's right. Entirely too much money is spent on campaigns and elections. I think you usually learn enough information about the candidates very early on-and that amounts to the fact that they're all pretty much full of it- Democrat or Republican. And I am also confused about the electoral college just as Em is. Maybe 200 years ago it served a purpose, but after Gore lost the electoral vote but won the popular vote-I have no faith in it. Let's face it-all politicians are about money and power. I usually go by the rule of choosing the lesser of two evils.
There needs to be a new political party: The Realists.

And I have to thank Em for recognizing that New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still need help and some of that campaign money could do a great deal for those areas that still suffer.

Thanks for the insight, Em.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Denham Springs,LA : 4:33 PM ET
What would you like to hear from the candidates?

I will enjoy (in a bitter and cynical 'serves them right' kind of way) watching them dance around trying to distance themselves from both the President and the debacle in Iraq without looking like 'traitors, appeasers and/or surrender-monkeys'.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:36 PM ET
Anderson:

Let me warn all bloggers I am a little cranky today on other issues so read with caution.

I would love for Chris Matthews to ask about education reform in America and how we can get our literacy rate up to a better level.

As far as I am concerned, the more debates the better so I can make my short list.

Let's see I have deleted the candidate with the $400 haircut because you confirmed for me the other night that is just too much money to pay for a haircut even in NYC. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't that out of touch with the rest of America down here in Florida.

Let's see I have deleted the candidate who smokes because the number one killer in America is heart disease. Having served on the Board of the AHA, I have seen a grey pair of lungs and a heart full of disease. Both were from dead people. It is not pretty! I don't smoke and don't want my President to smoke either.

I have deleted the candidate whose husband has served previously because I don't like re-runs on television and can't take the little blue dress in the years 2008 to 2012.

I have deleted the former POW because I can't agree with his leadership style and he had some discourse with one of my favorite foreign correspondents Michael Ware.

Who gangs up on Ware for God sake? He puts himself out there in harms way for the truth and this guy flew over for a day and then tries to discredit Ware.

I have deleted ANY candidate that says, "I have dedicated my life to public service."

Really that statement drives me nuts. All I want to say is that you get paid to be a Senator, Representative or President to represent the people of America. You get benefits like lifetime health care and lifetime pensions.

I haven't figured out the correlation between servitude and ego. Am I missing something on that one or am I just cranky today?
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 4:46 PM ET
Hey AC: Won't be home for the Larry King special but I've taped it...Too much work so I'll watch it this weekend, if work let's me off the hook...Whatever happened to those trailers that were supposed to be forwarded to NOLA, are they still roting? And americans will be paying them for a long long time (for no use...)Just curious...About the red-eye, you're lucky to get some sleep, I know when I travel, my eyes are wide-open for 6-7 hours as if I'd be missing something...After arriving, I do crash after a few hours though...All worth it...Question: Is Michael Ware blogging sometimes? I hope he will one day. Thanks and don't worry, you'll have other animals or species to cudlde or play soon with Jeff Corwin...Take care! Josee
Posted By Anonymous Josee (Montreal, Canada) : 4:47 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
What would I like to hear from the republican candidates? I want to know what they think about environmental issues such as global warming and what can be done about it. I also would like to know where they stand on gay marriage and abortion issues. I want to know if they think the economy is good. And, finally, I want to know how they plan to get us out of this war AND promote peace.
I fear they might get thier hair mussed answering these questions. Oh, NO! :-O
Thanks Anderson, I am looking forward to going back in time with the two hour special you are hosting of Larry King Live.
Very Cool!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 4:55 PM ET
To blogger EM who is confused about the electoral college:

If we did just a popular vote, candidates and their supporters with "regional" loyalties would have too much bargaining power to their "region". Look at New York City; if nine million people there voted (and they all voted for the same guy) then it would give just raw votes to the candidate, but it wouldn't really represent what ALL the states want. But if you give each state an overridding vote, it evens out. The electoral vote also forces candidates to pay attention to and give time and resources to uncompetitive states that dont' have millions in population. My take on it is that it kind of spreads the influence to the states that don't have lots of voters. The guys who wrote the Constitution also wanted to keep the two-party system going strong in each state and the electoral college does that.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 5:00 PM ET
At least we're not seeing campaign ads every 5 minutes. Although the election is over a year away I think that it is good for the public to see who the potential candidates are. This way we can see where they stand on certain issues before they get nominated then we can see how their philosophy changes and if they just become another political talking head , spinning their parties dogma or if they keep a bit of their own personality in the campaign philosophy. Then again a lot can happen between now and November 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Warren Mi : 5:01 PM ET
Anderson,
I think they are getting into this election stuff WAY too soon. By the time the elections get here we will be sick of hearing about it! And all of the things that were said will have been forgotten. So to me it's a waste of time and money!
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Covington, Ga. : 5:05 PM ET
How about "Get on, get off, keep your mouth from speaking promises you can't keep."
For once I'd like politicians running for office to honestly recognize what is NOT feasible for them or far-fetched. Wishful thinking. But if there's one thing I'd like to hear tonight are their plans/thoughts on tackling the illegal immigration issue. See you tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Mariela, New York, NY : 5:08 PM ET
I'd like to hear their answer's to how we are going to deal with the inflated price of gas in this country. With prices bordering on $4.00 a gallon (in CA at least) I'd like to hear how they plan to solve this and get prices back to where they belong.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Breuer, San Francisco, CA : 5:10 PM ET
This is for EM, in Canada.

Being that you are not American and do not vote here, what would you know about the impact it may give to us "Americans".

I feel that the early debate will help everyone see the views of what the candidates have, especially on issues that affect our country today, for example; Immigration Law, the war in Iraq and so on.

Every election time, we have a new batch of voters, our younger generation. This will give them insight too.

By the way, Em, you make it like voting is a chore, like doing laundry > Get errr done?!?! I think NOT.
Posted By Anonymous Bren671 Jacksonville, FL : 5:12 PM ET
These debates are a good opportunity for someone to make a name for themselves, but only if they have something worthwhile the say. The Republicans don’t.
For example, if John McCain had any sense of self-worth, rehearsing such painful rhetoric on The Daily Show should have effectively stopped it out of him. However, the problem with the debates is that were isn’t any human incentive. On the stage, all the politicians aim to do is perform well. They have no interest in solving any problems or making any changes.
And while I’ll admit to having what amounted to Democratic Debates Viewing Party 07: Obama or Clinton?, I’m only interested in the Republican debates because I'm curious to see how many times these guys can use "support our troops" as an answer. What about greenhouse emissions? Support our troops! Kittens? Troops!
Mitt Romney's goal seems pretty weak. Why not, "make an impact"? He can’t slide by with such low expectations.
Truthfully, I'm excited for the next round of Democratic debates. Will Gravel get the coveted Colbert Bump? Oh, the suspense!
Posted By Anonymous Kayli, Tulsa, OK : 5:15 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

I don't think debates this early will make much of an impact, except that it brings attention to the lesser known candidates and allows them to use their "nothing to lose" attitude to challenge the front runners; I happen to believe that is a good thing. These front runners also run the risk of revealing their vulnerabilities early in the election season to their opposite party opponents.

I'd like to hear responses to the following questions:

1. How would you go about capturing Osama bin Laden?
2. How would you address the problem of global warming?
3. How would you repair the shattered reputation of the United States?
4. What must happen before you would consider the war in Iraq to be over?
5. How would you fix FEMA so that another Katrina does not happen?
6. What would you do to address government corruption?
7. How would you protect our borders?

It will be interesting to see how much their platforms change as the election gets closer. Unfortunately, voters have short memories, I hope we can count on the media to help remind us.

I look forward to watching your special on Larry KIng tonight and "360" at 11:00 p.m.!

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 5:25 PM ET
Yes, early debates make an impact!
I have learned so many great things about the candidates. It seems the more they talk the more I like them, and have faith that any one of them will succeed as President.

Hopefully what everyone prays for, to hear them say they do have the willingness, energy, endurance, and perseverance to make an impact on healthcare/social services, schools, jobs, fiscal responsibility, taxes, oil prices, the economy, energy, rebuiling infrastructure, equality, abortion, homeland security/safety, international affairs, political and economical.

All in Good Time.

Thanx for everything, and have fun tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, Boston, MA : 5:29 PM ET
I'd just appreciate them thinking for themselves and being honest. I'm tired of candidates feeding me canned gibberish that they think will win my vote. And since this debate is being held at the Reagan Library, my hopes for a stronger, newer Republican party are already going down the tubes. Obama looks better every day.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 6:07 PM ET
As a Canadian, I've been hesitating about commenting about American political issues, but as Megan, Em, and Josee have waded in, I guess I will too. I know that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be topics for the debate, as they should be. However, I think they should be pressed about what they would do to assist the recovery in New Orleans -- to clear bureaucratic roadblocks for promised money-- and what they actually have done so far, not just what they say they would do.
Posted By Anonymous Vicky, Ottawa, ON : 6:57 PM ET
Hi Anderson, I can't believe Larry King has been broadcasting for 50 years. It must have been an honor for you to be part of the celebration.

Regarding the debates, I'd like to hear from the candidates a clear plan for Iraq. And yes, debates this early can still make an impact if their message is consistent and if they can show that they can follow through and be accountable for their decisions. I'm sure most people will agree that too many promises have been made, too many mistakes have been made, but there hasn't been any accountability.

Looking forward to the show tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 7:02 PM ET
The more we see of a candidate, the better it is for voters in deciding which candidate they wish to support.

But I would like to see more give and take between the opposing candidates. In modern debates, all we seem to get is the regurgitated talking points of each candidate.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 7:12 PM ET
I think that it will be interesting to hear what the Republican Party has to say. I am a Democrat and have heared what they have said. I'd like to see if people really think electing a republican as president is a good idea.
Posted By Anonymous Amanda- Waterville, Ohio : 7:19 PM ET
Well, we have free health care....ha!

I still don't get the electoral college thing and I probably never will, why would you need to even out the vote, isn't everyone's vote supposed to count equally?

Really why do you need to spend 2 freakin' years discussing the issues? The issues are the issues all the time. We just do things faster, simpler, smarter and with less waste. I also believe there is a cap on spending and our politician only personally attack each other when playing hockey (jk).

We are the peacekeeper in the world, you Americans could learn a lot from us.

BTW, how many of YOU actually voted in the last election or in every election? I vote, do you? Maybe someone could check it out but we probably have higher turnout to vote unless hockey is on.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 7:25 PM ET
Anderson,

I don't care much for this early start to the debate season. I don't care much for this early start to the presidential election.

I think all of these politicos should be back in their Washington offices doing the jobs they were elected to do. Instead of pontificating what they would do if...., why don't they show us what they can do in the Senate, House, etc. If tonight's debate was 9 months from now I would be more interested. And if more of the participants gave one word answers like Biden, that would be cool too. Not that he will be able to do that again!
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 9:52 PM ET
Mr. Anderson Cooper yes it's helps in a way because we will know who's running for president and we will see what is there plan.

regarding to the "Larry King Live" we also hope that you'll be in television more than 50yrs. goodluck!

regards lo all staff and crew of AC360.
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL : 10:03 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I'm listening to Nirvana so I'm in a pensive mood.

I think having debates this early is the beginning of a long (potentially boring) courtship. I guess it's a good opportunity to get to know everybody, but what happens in the six months before "the wedding" is what counts.

Maybe I need to switch to happy polka music! Have a good evening.
Posted By Anonymous Kay - Temple, TX : 10:13 PM ET
Anderson.
Just finished watching the Larry King 50 years of pop culture.
thanks for wonderuful look back at the worlds worst moments
strangest events and the funniest.
thanks Larry...
elections.. to early...
Hey Anderson.nice to see the smile...
Posted By Anonymous carie citrus heights,ca : 12:23 AM ET
Hi AC. Yes I do think it is too early for debates. I also think there are too many on stage at one time. I really want to see a couple of candidates in person this year. I missed the LK special tonight but I Tivoed it. I never watched him before Katrina. Yikes, I guess I've missed 48 years!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago,Il : 12:26 AM ET
Anderson: The only thing that the early debates do, IMO, is give us a peek at the candidates. I say "peek" because there are so many of them that you really don't get to know any of them in detail but you do get a sense of where they stand on the key issues so in a small way that makes an impact to me. I did enjoy watching the debate tonight especially the interactive segments which generated some great questions. It is obvious to me that the American people want to gain our trust back with the government. What I would have liked to hear from the candidates is how they plan to go about doing this. Are they going to walk their talk or is it just going to be a bunch of lip service again.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 1:10 AM ET
Hi Anderson,
Do early debates make an impact? Well, I watch all the debates from both parties and listen to all the candidates, then make up my mind. So I guess the debates are "Must see TV." However, by the time next year rolls along I'll probably be reaching for the mute button or ear plugs, begging for the candidates to exit stage right and keep on going...Sometimes you can overdo a good thing. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif : 1:59 AM ET
Sadly enough, I'm one of those people that wait for the candidates to congregate during the debates so that I might weigh my options. This option gives me a chance to see how they handle themselves when up against the same conditions as their competitors. It creates a whole new dimension as opposed making a speech with noone of that caliber to comment. I intend to watch from here on out!
Posted By Anonymous Jemaul, Savannah Ga : 2:24 AM ET
It really is terribly early to be debating and campaigning. How they will manage to keep up the momentum needed for a campaign and keep the publics interest throughout the entire campaign will be difficult.

However, I do want to hear how each of them will deal with 3 main issues:

1. The environment and how to save it
2. The war in Iraq and how to clean up the mess we made without making any more enemies than we already have
3. The economy - how to help everyone make a decent living and have health insurance coverage.

The environment IMHO is the priority. If we don't clean it up and learn how to live in harmony with the earth and other wildlife in a clean way, the rest just won't really matter very much longer, will it?
Posted By Anonymous Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 7:20 AM ET
My comment is not on the debate. As a Canadian I don't feel I would have anything to offer on that topic.

However, I would like to comment on the visit by Condoleezza Rice to Iran.

If her picture on the CNN Site was any indication of her demeanour while in Iran, I doubt the scantily clad violinist had anything to do with the Iranian Diplomat leaving the dinner.

I certainly wouldn't want to sit across from a lady with such an angry scowl on her face! She looked like she was ready to pounce claws out on whoever happened to be near.

Personally, I don't feel Bush or his administration are capable of successful diplomatic relations. They are much too arrogant, self-serving, and power hungry.

However, Rice may be a real asset to the current threat on Global Warming. Her Big Chill may serve to keep Arctic Waters Icy for much longer than scientists have predicted! Hisssss
Posted By Anonymous Tricia Charlottetown, PEI : 8:54 AM ET
Early debates? Absolute garbage. I'm gonna' say whatever I believe you want to hear. I'm a politician. It's my job to make you feel good about me.
Posted By Anonymous B. Clark, Decatur, IL : 9:06 AM ET
I make it a point to avoid ALL political debates, speeches and advertising. The only information you generally get from these forums has been created by some high $$$ speech writer and processed through focus groups before hand. They will only tell us what they think we want to hear.

Look at a candidate's record if you want to know what they will most likely do in the future, but tune out when they start talking. Those talking points are worthless.
Posted By Anonymous liz, Montgomery, AL : 10:19 AM ET
I think I've heard too much from the 'candidates' already. Why have we been hearing from these people over and over again, 3 years before the election????

And I have to ask - don't the 'candidates' get weaker and weaker every election cycle? Is this really the best America can do - Clinton, McCain, and Juliani.
Frankly, I'm disgusted.
Posted By Anonymous Bill W, Coatesville PA : 11:53 AM ET
Yet another dog and pony show that means nothing. Politicians will say ANYTHING to get elected and once in office, selective memory takes a firm grip. What would I like to hear from the candidates? Just shut up and DO something!
Posted By Anonymous A. Roy Olson, Tucson AZ : 11:58 AM ET
Thanks for reminding me why I usually vote for Democrats! Three Republican candidates do not even believe in evolution? Oi vey!
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, Los Angeles, CA : 4:52 PM ET
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