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This Week: Debate
This Week
September 24, 2004


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.

In Depth

Donkey and Elephant

Election 2004: Debate Overview

Presidential Debate History, Before Television

Presidential Debate History, The Televised Years Years


Question Mark
Quiz: Campaign Knowledge

Tell Us What You'd Like to Ask the Candidates

Respond to NOW's Quote of the Week


Flying Dollar Bills
ABC's Michel Martin and the LA WEEKLY's John Powers

Pete Peterson, author of RUNNING ON EMPTY

Election 2004: Taxes and Spending


Discussion



Talk about election issues on the message boards.

Resources

Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video



[NOTE: RealPlayer is required to view NOW segments.]

No Debate (22:46)

David Brancaccio talks with Pete Peterson (11:52)

David Brancaccio talks with John Powers and Michel Marton (15:40)



Credits



No Debate
Producer: Peter Meryash
Editor: Kathi Black




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