Credit WPTZ with holding a gubernatorial debate. Credit them with trying to find a unique location.
But let's just say the Echo center may be a really cool place to go see turtles and frogs, but it is not such a cool place to watch a debate. Unless you're a frog or a turtle - they had the best seats.
The candidates and the anchors were on one floor. The "audience" was on the next floor, with no way of actually seeing the candidates or the anchors except on the TV screen in front of them, with no sound. About 20 chairs were assembled there, but when somebody at WPTZ told me I might not be able to hear the questions or the answers very well from there, I bailed and went back to the office to watch on TV.
There was also a room to watch it downstairs at Echo, via TV, though I'm told the sound wasn't very good there.
I'm not sure they ever intended to have much of an audience, other than the numerous Channel 5 brass, UVM prof Garrison Nelson and campaign staff. Gov. Jim Douglas' staff might not have realized that - as they dispatched supporters to the corner of Battery and College streets to greet the non-existent people flooding into the venue. As I was high-tailing it back to the office I had to dart around the governor's car, which had stopped to let him out so he could thank his people for standing there.
I'm told you will be able to watch the debate from the comfort of your computer at www.wptz.com
as of later this afternoon.
I'll let you go and watch it and tell us what you think the candidates should have said about each other that they didn't.
- Terri Hallenbeck