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Hottest Debate Ever: A Field Report

Unlike the rest of the Mystery Debate Theater team, who on this muggy 90 degree afternoon had the sense to watch Tuesday's debate on television, I scored a ticket from a friend in the musician's union and headed down to Soldier Field to catch the performance in person. From my spot in the stands it wasn't always easy to hear what was being said, and I was a little delirious from the heat, but I've transcribed my notes as best as I could in order to give you, gentle reader, a first-hand account of the action:

OLBERMANN: Welcome to the 23rd Democratic presidential debate in big, hot Soldier Field, sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the number 7. I have a lot of questions I want to ask the candidates tonight, and I'm wearing a suit, so let's get on with it. I'd also appreciate it if the members of the audience would keep their fucking yaps shut so we can get through this thing without killing each other, etcetera.

VENDOR: Hot dogs! Hot dogs here!

OLBERMANN: The order of the questions was chosen completely at random, and to prove it for the first one I'm going to ask a guy who doesn't stand a chance of winning this race.

RICHARDSON: I resent that, Keith.

OLBERMANN: I was talking to Sen. Biden.

Mystery Debate Theater
  • The view from home.
  • BIDEN: Hey!

    RICHARDSON: Did I mention what a great vice president you'd make, K.O.?

    OLBERMANN: Sen. Biden, let me start out with this: is it fucking HOT or what?

    BIDEN: It sure is, Keith. It's like being trapped in an aluminum tube. And speaking of aluminum tubes . . .

    OLBERMANN: Excuse me, Senator, I forgot to mention that this isn't Meet the Press.

    BIDEN: What do you mean?

    OLBERMANN: I mean we don't have all fucking day, Delaware!

    BIDEN: In that case, let me rephrase: Yes.


    OLBERMANN: Sen. Clinton, if you were a popsicle, what flavor would you be?

    CLINTON: Cold, clear icewater, Keith. The flavor of common sense, nurses, and freshly-baked bread.

    DODD: Excuse me, Senator. Since when does freshly-baked bread taste like icewater?

    CLINTON: Since "who the fuck are you, 4%?" That's when.

    [commercial break, followed by argument about how much
    tea there is in China]

    OLBERMANN: The next question is for Sen. Edwards. Senator - hey, is that Jesse Jackson down there?

    ALL: Yes.

    OLBERMANN: No, right down there in front, I swear, that looks just like Jesse Jackson!

    ALL: We know, Keith!

    OLBERMANN: I'm just sayin' . . . Sister Souljah moment up for grabs here, gang - any takers? No? Okay, then. Where were we? Shit almighty, it's hot out here. Edwards, did you answer?

    EDWARDS: You haven't asked me anything yet.

    OLBERMANN: Oh, right. Okay, here's one: Sen. Edwards, it's so hot today . . .

    EDWARDS: Mmm hmm.

    OLBERMANN: No, help me out here. It's so hot today . . .

    EDWARDS: Oh, good grief. "How hot is it, Keith?"

    OLBERMANN: It's so hot, for a split second, I thought I saw John Edwards's hair misbehave!



    BIDEN: Walked right into that one, mill-boy!

    EDWARDS: At least I have hair to misbehave on me, Biden! Christ, it's so fucking hot out here.

    BIDEN: Hey, fuck you! I've been hot a lot longer than you have!

    CLINTON: I think we can all agree that no matter who is hottest, every one of us would benefit from a nice, cool breeze off the lake. Did I mention I was born here?

    OLBERMANN: In Soldier Field?

    CROWD: Woof! Woof! Woof!

    OLBERMANN: Now cut that out.

    OBAMA: Hey, wouldn't it be great if my ears were two enormous fans?

    DODD: Keith, I'd like to get back to your earlier question and say that, indeed, it is extremely goddamned HOT out here, and also - whoa, what's that noise?

    OBAMA: It feels like an earthquake!

    CLINTON: Oh my god! We're moving!

    RICHARDSON: Look! Up there on the stadium monitor!

    MONITOR: That's right, fools! Mike Gravel at the controls! And I'm taking this spaceship-stadium far away from here, where none of you evil sellouts can ever again compromise away our country's hopes and values and . . .

    OBAMA: Holy shit!

    CLINTON: We're doomed!

    BIDEN: Dennis, do something! He'll listen to you!

    RICHARDSON: He's right! You're the only one pure enough!

    KUCINICH: Your attention, please. We are experiencing a delay. The driver is off the train and is working on the problem.

    ALL: Huh?

    BIDEN: What the hell is this?

    CLINTON: I don't believe it. That asshole scribbling in the stands must have mixed up his notes.

    DODD: You mean, this is from the ride home?

    OBAMA: Welcome to Chicago.



    Posted on August 8, 2007

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