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It's anything but politics as usual as ten people from all walks of life compete for a $200,000 purse and some prime TV space to air their grievances.

And you get to decide who.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN
 

FACT FILE:
Host:
Montel Williams
Creator: RJ Cutler
EP: RJ Cutler, Tom Lassally, Jay Roach
Packager: Actual Reality Pictures, Kustom
Airs: Sundays at 9:00pm ET on Showtime


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"The Great Debate" - October 3

Last time, Park, Lisa, and Malia have their choice of running mates. They end up choosing former foes Jim, Chrissy, and Keith, before opening the polls to America. Tonight, the results of the campaign...

After reintroducing the candidates - Lisa, the Everett, Washington PR VP who was the first woman in her family to go to college; Park, the Stanley, North Carolina school teacher who puts everything in the hands of a higher power; and Malia, the Boston youth organizer who had to overcome her MTV image to get out the vote in this series - Montel delivers the verdict.

Park, with 36.3% of the vote, moves on to the debate. So once again, another split-liberal vote. Malia, with 33.6%.... also debates. Which means with 30.9%, is off the ballot. "The campaign never ends." So that makes Chrissy Gephardt a two-time loser.

Here's the skinny. Tonight, there will be two debates followed by two hours of public phone voting. The latter debate will be between Malia and Park. The former will be a vice-presidential debate between Keith and Jim... or not. Because of a personal reason not to move further with the process, Jim Strock has had to bow out of the race, leaving Park with no other alternative than to appoint his CM James Dockery his new running mate. Which means that now he has to debate Keith, who he thought would take the whole deal all along.

But each camp will not go at this alone. They will have a political strategist to hone their image. Dan Schnur works for the Gillespie/Dockery camp. He stresses straight talk as the path for respect. On the Lazu/Boykin camp, we have author Donna Brazile, who wants to have Malia stay on a firm set of beliefs and to avoid having Park go moderate on her.

Park's focuses: security of the nation, economy, and the family. Malia will have to keep her defenses up in the face of Park's warmth. Plan of attack on Malia's side, paint Park as a good role model, but not as a leader. Keith will have to go at it against James AGAIN (their first fight was in a DC bar). Keith's wary that James got Park to this point, so he's going to have to come full force.

First, the Vice Presidential Debate, moderated by Marty Kaplan (radio host), Kim Serafin, and Frank Luntz. James paints Park as a terrific person. Keith offers a choice between the status quo and a new direction for America.

On homosexuality:
James: This is no scientific proof that anybody is born a homosexual.
Keith: Sexual orientation is not a choice. You of all people ought to know better.

On racial profiling:
Keith: It sends the wrong message. The way to protect our country is by protecting our values. My opponent just said that certain people are prone to do certain things.
James: We stand for three issues: economic security, national security, and security of the family. We don't support racial profiling. Park and I stand for a united America.

James' question for Keith: "How do you talk to majority of Americans who don't believe in same-sex marriages?"
Keith: I believe the majority of Americans believe in fairness. I don't think a sacred document should be amended for cheap political gain. It's time for a change.

Keith's question for James: "Where is Osama bin Laden?"
James: It's not about Osama bin Laden. It's about a war on terror. It's about those people (who flew the planes). If we don't deal with these people, it'll be September 11 all over again.

Keith sums up by saying that Malia signifies the fighting spirit needed to govern. James sums up by telling that Park has passion and heart for America.

James said he gave it 110%, giving some points away, and taking some points. Keith thought he came away with it being aggressive. Now, it's Malia and Park's turn to play cleanup.

Malia paints new vision for America, not led by fear but by faith. "Together we can move America forward and make America better." Park stresses his three points.

On personal religious beliefs in politics:
Park: I think it's healthy. It's meant to be celebrated. We should acknowledge our history.
Malia: I think we should respect all Americans in their beliefs. Any good leader would not impose their beliefs.

On differences between politicians and the American Candidates:
Malia: you need to be willing to change yourself, but that doesn't change who you are and what you fought for. If I have to take my tongue ring off to do that, I will.
Park: Stay true to what we believe, but say it that you're able to draw people in. I think it was a very healthy process.

On post-rape abortions and the death penalty:
Park: I'm not going to compound it by having two tragedies. I would say "Darling, I love you. Do not have an abortion. Let's find a home for it."
Malia: I don't believe in murder, and I do not believe that abortion is murder. I don't believe that the government can (tell me what to do with my life that will dramatically alter my life for the rest of my life).

Park's question to Malia: "What do you say to the wife of a fireman who ran into a building and lost his life on 9/11?"
Malia: Your husband's a hero. We're going to deal with Osama the way we deal with criminals. I cannot say that killing Osama is going to bring your husband back. What will avenge his death is taking America in a new direction. To make an America that is worth dying for, that is worth fighting for, and that is is worth living and working for.

On what is it about America that terrorists hate:
Park: They hate us for who we are. We have to fight them and to beat them. If we are going to have national security, we need to fight them on their ground on our terms.
Malia: Diplomacy overcomes. We can't pick and choose what leaders we want to overthrow. People have different views because they have different perception. They hate us because we have a history of oppressing third-world countries.

To sum up, Park learned some major things through this process. Once again with his three precepts, he hopes that the show got people involved in the political process and the passion of it. Malia outlines the race as about all of us coming together because of hope, liberated by the ideas or our founding fathers. There are fundamental differences between her and Park in the way we can move forward. This may be a closer race than we think.

Next week... the big finale. Either Park or Malia will win $200,000 and the title of American Candidate.  

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