NBA star Charles Barkely is beefing with the present debate format.
“I think the format sucks to be honest with you,” he told SiriusXM’s Mark Halperin-loving Michael Smerconish Wednesday.
Barkley takes issue with the current debate style, which he claims doesn’t allow a viewer to really get to know a candidate. The basketball legend wants a town hall style format that features each candidate. With 20 candidates, he says the whole thing was a big mess. With 10 it’s no better. Barkely mentioned irritations like “interrupting” and “trying to get your point in and half the people don’t get to talk.”
Smerconish agreed, saying, “Yap, too fast.”
Barkley’s 2020 presidential campaign favorites are former President Obama‘s Housing Secretary Julian Castro and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He pronounces Buttigieg “Butti-Jig,” which I think is a far better pronunciation than the correct one. Hey, Barkely can hardly be blamed. “Buttigieg” has taken most of the media awhile to get right. He can and should say “Butti-Jig” anytime he wants.
“I like both of those guys, but they never get to talk,” Barkley said. “I would love to see them get a town hall where they could really talk about policy and you get to know their personality.”
Still, he’s not exactly a President Trump hater. (RELATED: Barkley Says He Was ‘Snuck’ Into White House And It Was ‘Great’)
The sportscaster is not totally S.O.L. On October 10, nine presidential candidates are scheduled to take part in a presidential town hall on LGBTQ issues. Each candidate will get 40 minutes to talk. Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon will conduct the interviews.
On October 15, 10 hopefuls are scheduled to participate in a more traditional-style debate co-hosted by CNN and the New York Times in Westerville, Ohio. More candidates may qualify, and a second night may be added.
Barkley says Americans have nothing better to do than sit around, pick our noses (my words) and watch these candidates on TV.
“We got nuttin’ to do every night,” he said. “Do like a sit down with every candidate. Give them a couple hours to answer every question. You’re not getting to know anybody in a debate. You’re trying to get zingers in. You’re trying to get your policy out there. When you had 20 and still have 10, it still doesn’t work.”
A couple hours to answer every question?
For reporters covering this horserace, this would be sheer torture.