06/13/2011 06:30 pm ET | Updated Aug 13, 2011

Late Returns: CNN's 'Video Game' Debate Will Launch An All-Out Attack On Your Senses

As CNN is well known for being the most trusted name in holograms of Jessica Yellin and, for reasons never explained, Will.I.Am, you might be expecting tonight's GOP primary debate to be swaddled in so much high-tech, pyromaniac nonsense that viewers will risk spontaneous retinal detachment if they fail to watch the debate through a pinhole camera. Well, according to the Atlantic's Joshua Green, who toured the debate set, "CNN's format has so many tech and social-media bells and whistles that it seems more like a video game than a staid political debate."

Let's see, there's a poll-based algorithm in play to determine who gets to stand where on the stage, a "Red Zone" from which undecided Republican voters shall hurl questions, three other groups of Republican voters standing by, ready to beam their questions in as well, and then you get to the real overkill:

Oh, but they're not all that's going to be looming over the state on giant 27-foot screens. You know why? Because there are TWO giant 27-foot screens, and the other one will be devoted to a Twitter and Facebook stream curated by CNN's own Bryan Monroe. (The hashtag will be #CNNDebate, by the way.) So you, too--or anybody!--can ask questions of the candidates. Or just embarrass them for ducking, if that's what they do. Monroe made clear that he'll be including all sorts of comments--so you if you want to shame Romney for some weak dodge on health care, you can do so IN GIANT LETTERS ON A BIG SCREEN RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. And your comments and questions won't be limited to the audience in attendance. Because CNN will also be broadcasting them on that scrolling thingy at the bottom of your TV screen when you watch CNN. So the candidates will not be able to escape your judgment.

Also, there will apparently be no rules! Candidates can blather on and on for as long as they like, and, if the spirit moves him, John King might ask for more blather! Plus, there will probably be Dance Dance Revolution, and laser tag and a segment in which each candidate have to "AutoTune Their Medicare Plan."

I will, of course, be rooting for CNN's machines to rise up and destroy humanity.


Encouraging the Republicans to nominate General David Petraeus, former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole said, "We need another Eisenhower." Presumably, this new David Eisenhower would differ from the old David Eisenhower, in that the old David Eisenhower would probably note that most of the foreign excursions David Petraeus has been on were extraordinarily foolhardy. [Taegan Goddard's Political Wire]

Jack Welch is reconsidering his support for Tim Pawlenty, very slightly. [Politico]

People watch the candidate's campaign videos on YouTube, some more than others, go ahead and make a thing out of it if you like. [Ben Smith]

Herman Cain promises to only send the United States armed forces into places that are safe, because that's what a lifetime of running (and apparently micromanaging) a pizza delivery chain has taught him about foreign policy. [Salon]

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