POLITICS
07/04/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Debate Plan Shorts Obama's Height Advantage

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama would sit at a table at two of three presidential debates this fall, according to a formal proposal unveiled Thursday, which, perhaps unintentionally, would neutralize Obama's height advantage.

The Commission on Presidential Debates proposed the less formal, more conversational talk-show format for two of three 90-minute debates it's seeking this fall. The third debate would be a town hall-style session in which the candidates would be free to get up from high stools and walk around the stage.

The two presumptive nominees haven't yet responded to the commission's proposal.

Obama is about 6 feet 1 inch tall; McCain is 5 feet 9. Candidates often try to use their heights to gain some sort of advantage in face-to-face debates, but it doesn't always work.

Al Gore wandered close to the shorter George W. Bush in 2000, who dismissed him with a shrug as if to say, "What are you doing over here?"

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