By Dan Miller
October 8, 2008
Here are five more pictures that clearly illustrate the glamour of covering a presidential debate.
The top photo shows our modest broadcast tent(s) set up in the garden area outside the Belmont Mansion. You'll notice there are actually two tents pushed closely together, which left a slight opening between the two.
When the heavy rain came -- as you can imagine -- that little crevice caused a bit of problem.
But I'm happy to report that our creative technical folks --- with the clever use of plastic, wires, tape, clamps and perhaps a prayer --- were able to create a makeshift gutter and keep everybody and everything reasonably dry.
At seven o'clock, some of us went to the giant media tent for a little celebrity-watching and dinner.
From left to right, that's Hal, Cara, Don, Phil, Kevin and me.
By the way, Hal and Phil are the ones who created the magical gutter that sealed our tents in the first photo.
Poor Don, our field producer -- third from left -- will, unfortunately, probably need to have that cellphone surgically removed from his left ear after holding it there almost nonstop for two full days.
It's astounding.... easily the size of a football field.
Tables and cables and television monitors were set up to accommodate thousands of visiting journalists and media reps.
This is where we watched most of the debate.
This just shows a section of the sprawling metal scaffold erected just outside the Curb Event Center, where the debate took place.
I snapped this photo from the front porch of the Curb.
This platform is where networks and television stations would have reporters stationed for interviews and live reports.
Even though the Belmont campus is a truly beautiful place, at certain spots, and from certain angles, it took on the appearance of a prison, or perhaps Berlin in the 1960s.
Of course, this fence that surrounded, and cut across, much of the campus, was only temporary for the debate -- and has probably already been removed.
It's all so elaborate.
It makes me think back to the very first debate in 1960 between Nixon and Kennedy.
It was done in a small studio at WBBM-TV in Chicago, with only a panel of a few journalists asking questions.
Yet, 75,000,000 Americans watched.... every newspaper and magazine wrote about it.... and it's still talked about today.
I wonder.... do we really need 3,000 journalists converging on a place to cover a debate?