This week on NOW:
Presidential debates can change the course of elections, but George
Farah, a remarkable young author and executive director of Open Debates,
has evidence showing that the debates' rules of order have been hijacked
by the two main political parties. The result? Moderators can't ask
follow-up questions, important issues are never raised, and credible
third-party candidates are excluded from the proceedings altogether.
Bill Moyers interviews Farah, who details the secretive process by which
the party handlers ensure there won't be a real discussion of the issues
at what are, for many voters, the most important events of the campaign.
Despite the Congressional Budget Office's projections that the national
deficit will hit an all-time high of $422 billion in 2004, this week
Congress agreed to extend $145 million in tax cuts sought by President
Bush. Chairman and co-founder of the investment firm, The Blackstone
Group, Pete Peterson calls America's current budget deficit, "a fiscal
economic crisis in the making." David Brancaccio talks to Peterson
about why he believes it is clear that "the course we are on is
unsustainable." no matter who wins in November. Peterson's most recent
book is RUNNING ON EMPTY: HOW THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES ARE
BANKRUPTING OUR FUTURE AND WHAT AMERICANS CAN DO ABOUT IT. Peterson
served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and was US
secretary of commerce under President Nixon. Peterson is also a
founding president of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan, grassroots
organization advocating fiscal responsibility in government.
While Iraq emerges this week as a pivotal issue for November's
elections, David Brancaccio gets perspective from NOW's returning
analyst Michele Martin and LA WEEKLY's deputy editor and columnist John
Powers in a conversation on how they think the Presidential campaigns
are going and how Iraq is playing out in all the political talk.
Award-winning journalist Michel Martin spent more than a decade
reporting on politics at THE WASHINGTON POST and THE WALL STREET
JOURNAL, where she was White House Correspondent. Currently, she
contributes to ABC News' NIGHTLINE, where she has been for the past
decade. John Powers is critic-at-large for NPR's FRESH AIR WITH TERRY
GROSS, film critic for VOGUE and author most recently of SORE WINNERS
(AND THE REST OF US) IN GEORGE BUSH'S AMERICA.