INT – DODDS AUDITORIUM, PRINCETON NIGHT
PAN on audience. There is palpable tension in the room. Katie Couric is sitting at the moderator’s desk.
Good evening and welcome to the
final Presidential Debate live
from Princeton University. Tonight,
the candidates have requested to
dispense with time limits and have
a conversational style. Tonight’s
questions have also been derived
from a mixed group of sources.
Welcome, candidates. I’d like to
remind you that you have requested
a friendly dialogue so therefore
please try to respect each other
and not talk too long.
Blik and Gerri nod assent.
The first question tonight is from
INSERT – VIDEO SCREEN: ENRIQUE ROLADO, A SEMI-ELDERLY THIN MAN DRESSED IN A SUIT AND TIE.
ROLADO IN VIDEO
(in Spanish; no titles; filtered)
This question is for Senator Blik.
My name is Enrique Rolado and I am
From Ecuador. My brother Amador has
lymphoma. He went to a hospital in
the United States for the
treatment. The doctor said that he
needs a transplant. But the U.S.
government will not allow it since
we are not citizens. If I can
donate my cells, I can save his
life. What will you do you as
President to save my brother’s
I’m sorry, I don’t know how that
got in there. Let’s move on to
another question. I’m very sorry.
I’m sorry to interrupt, but do you
mean to tell me there isn’t a
single speaker of Spanish present
here who can translate?
She is interrupted by AN AIDE who leans in her ear.
I have Governor Parker on the line.
He says he can translate. I can
patch him through.
(face really flushed)
We have Governor Parker on the
phone who offers to translate.
Isn’t that off protocol?
Don’t worry, I’m just going to
translate. The questioner has a
brother who went to a hospital here
in the U.S. because he has
lymphoma. His brother can save his
life as a stem cell donor but the
USCIS won’t allow him to come here
because he’s not a U.S. citizen.
He specifically asks you, Senator
Blik, what you will do as President
to save his brother’s life.
First of all, with all due respect
to the questioner, I find it
curious that, with the time for
this debate so limited, shouldn’t
we be restricting the questions to
John, if you want to say you would
let a man die because he’s not an
American citizen, just say so.
I think it needs to be made clear
who would be paying for this man’s
operation. It would be the
American people who would shoulder
the bill. Don’t forget, these are
people who don’t pay taxes and who
already live here at the expense
of the you, the taxpayer.
Oh, but you have no problem saving
lives overseas in a war at the huge
expense of the taxpayer.
That war is saving American lives
back here at home.
Oh, I’m sorry, of course. This
was never about saving Iraqi lives.
Which, I suppose, makes more sense,
seeing how many of them have been
Maybe put in part between the two +++’s
I’m sorry, let’s move on.
Excuse me, Katie, if I may just
have a second to respond.
This is another example of that
pathetic bending over backwards
and apologizing that the Democrats
love to do. We’re saving American
lives from terrorists who want us
dead. We don’t have to defend that
policy. Thank you.
Okay, moving on. Next is a question
from our live audience, from Peggy
Sharp of Valhalla, New York.
PEGGY, a young woman in the front row stands up.
Thank you. This question is for
Senator Harrison. You have said
several times in your campaign that
if you are elected things will not
get magically better, in fact that
they’ll even get worse. Would you
All right. Think back to how
things were when this Republican
government came into power seven or
eight years ago. We enjoyed the
greatest economic boom in our
history. And that didn’t just
disappear with a change of office.
Now look at the present. When I
take office, these problems are not
going to magically disappear. It
will take a lot of hard work and
time. And it will require each of
us to be part of the solution.
This nation has progressed the most
when Americans were optimistic.
When we pioneered the frontiers and
settled new land. When we built new
technologies and brought in an
economic boom. When we were happy
to be working and contributing to
our nation’s prosperity. When it
wasn’t just about me but about us,
the two letters that spell U-S. It
was when it was about working
together and for each other. Those
men did not freeze in the winter
snow at Valley Forge for their own
personal gain but because they had
a larger vision in mind, the
freedom and prosperity of their
Thank you. Let’s give Senator
Blik a chance to respond.
Thank you, Katie. I’ll try to keep
it simple. I’m not going to go into
a big explanation. Again, my
opponent wants to make you feel bad
for wanting to take care of
yourself or your family, as though
your obligation to someone you’ve
never met is more important than to
your own children and loved ones. I
think you ought to be proud to be
out for yourself and not feel the
least bit of guilt. That’s what
America was built for. We don’t
lean on anyone. That’s the
responsibility that truly comes
Thank you, Senator. This next
question was submitted by email.
It’s from Fred Grogan of Pierre,
South Dakota. He writes, quote,
“I’ve been listening to the two of
you go back and forth and you’ve
both stated your positions clearly.
But what worries me is how decisive
either of you will be when the real
crisis hits. What can you both tell
me to assure me that you really are
ready for this unbelievably tough
challenge you want to take on?
Silence, at first, then they both try to speak at once, Blik winning out.
You can’t tell how ready a person
will be for anything until it’s
upon him. But you can get an idea
about a person’s ability to take
swift action by observing his or
her resoluteness about his or her
ideas, about the consistency of
his or her statements, the
straightforwardness and simplicity
with which he or she answers a
question. These are all cues.
You’re right. Decisive action in a
single moment is an absolute
requisite for this job, before
politics or ideology.
The right action. It’s not just
about taking action that looks like
you’ve got it together when in
fact, you have no idea what you’re
Which you would be an expert in.
The ensuing dialogue gets more and more heated and sounding like an angry couple having an argument or a fight as they continue. They often talk over each other.
John, I’ve been through a bitter
fight during the primaries that
almost cost me a trusted
friendship, a key level staff
shakeup, the discovery less than
two months before the election that
my husband cheated on me with a
teenager, then to have my campaign
manager and close friend hit by a
drunk driver and lie comatose in
Didn’t you say that stuff was
unimportant to you because the
issues concerning the American
people are what matter?
There you go again totally twisting
the real issue out of context to
make me look like I’m contradicting
myself when in fact the point is
that I’ve been assaulted by all
these very real blows to my person,
and yet I have pressed on with my
Well, of course you will. Who
doesn’t want the big prize?
Oh! The Presidency is no more than
a big prize to you!
You’re the one trying to look like
a hero. You’re trying to use this
to get the people to vote for you
because they feel sorry for you.
You mean all of a sudden I have to
act like a martyr simply because
I’m running for President?
Well, that caller did say he
wanted the assurance that the
person he sends to the White House
would be a person of great
character and ability.
You mean emailer.
Fine. The point is, you won’t have
time for personal tragedy once
you’re elected. The President of
Iran isn’t going to not send a
long-range missile to wipe out one
or more of our cities because he
feels sorry that the President of
the United States’ husband cheated
on her. And the fact that you did
not have the sense to keep your
campaign manager from being behind
the wheel when he was in no
condition to drive doesn’t give
anyone the confidence that you’ll
handle our military affairs
The fact that I know how to talk
to and believe in talking to
people effectively is what will
make the leader of Iran not send
a long-range missile here.
Somebody pinch me, I must be
And the fact that I put protecting
and saving life before all other
concerns is what will make me a
much more effective commander-in
chief than someone who is trigger
happy and is ready to start a war
just to appear tough, even though
that might plunge this nation and
world into one of the greatest
tragedies that ever happened.
If you’re so good at protecting
life, then why did you let Mr.
Greenbaum get in his car that
night in his condition?
That’s…you know, that’s not even
worth a response. How dumb do you
think the American people are to
not be able to separate a
commitment to protecting life and
an accident that could have
happened to anyone?
Oh, excuse me. President Harrison
has a commitment to protect life,
so don’t worry. That long range
missile that just took out Detroit
was just an accident.