Saddleback Civil Forum  

Posted by Tony Guerrero

In 1960, the very first televised presidential debate took place. John Kennedy and Richard Nixon appeared on TV to debate the issues of that year's election, but what was truly important about that event was that no one seemed to realize just how pivital a 'televised' appearance could be.

Because they had little experience in this televised format, they hadn't considered fully the effect of how they "looked".

"By the time of the first debate he [Nixon] was still twenty pounds underweight, his pallor still poor. He arrived at the debate in an ill-fitting shirt, and refused make-up to improve his color and lighten his perpetual "5:00 o'clock shadow." Kennedy, by contrast, had spent early September campaigning in California. He was tan and confident and well-rested. "I had never seen him looking so fit," Nixon later wrote. In substance, the candidates were much more evenly matched."

People who heard the debate on radio overwhelmingly pronounced Nixon the winner. Those who watched it on TV pronounced Kennedy the winner.

Elections have never been the same. Now, every debate has a laundry list of guidelines from the candidate's teams to control how they look and sound - suit colors, equal air-time, equal stage space, choosing camera angles, candidate heights, make-up artists, etc. Since 1960, televised debates have become very polished, very planned, very predictable, and as a result, I think, pretty unimportant. When everything is scripted, you have no idea whether or not you're really getting to know the candidates.

Last night's televised "Saddleback Civil Forum" changed all that. I believe it has, like the first televised debate in 1960, changed elections forever, and voters will demand this kind of unplanned, open, honest conversation from now on.

I got to be musical director for the event (we did a 'pre-show' concert). I was so honored to be there and be a part of what I believe was an important, historical event.

Last night I was so proud of my church and my pastor, and very proud to be an American.

(Of course, this photo shows the best moment of all the news broadcasts...:)

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 17, 2008 at Sunday, August 17, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Definitely historical! I agree completely and even wrote a post about this myself.

BTW--at least on CSPAN we "saw" you and the band. :)

8/17/2008 3:05 PM

I read about every article on the internet about the event. I came to the same conclusion.. the format was a much needed departure as debates are concerned. Every article I read was forced to state the question and then both replies. I didn't feel like I was reading through the typical political BS.

Anyway, I wish I could have been there. Not the planning, just the event :) But then again I could not have afforded the ticket! HA!

See you soon!

8/17/2008 6:02 PM

I loved it, and I hate political stuff. I really enjoyed watching it. I blogged about it as well. Emily said she didn't get to meet the candidates. It's probably the craziest security you guys have ever seen. I am proud of Saddleback and Rick Warren. Outstanding example. Tell Rick it got the Gary Durbin approval, with which he would say, "Who?"

8/18/2008 4:25 AM

Yes, you definitely pinpointed the most memorable talking in a mic! Obama, Warren, and McCaine on stage at the same time was a close second though!


8/18/2008 8:25 PM

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