McClatchy Worries Obama Will Lose Height Advantage in Sit-down Debates

June 26th, 2008 4:48 PM

McClatchy Newspapers won the MRC’s 2008 Dan Rather Award for the Stupidest Analysis for its article spinning the success of the troop surge in Iraq as bad news for Iraqi gravediggers. Apparently the editors are aiming for a repeat performance at next year’s program.

In his June 26 article, writer Stephen Thomma, on the recently released debate proposal by the Commission on Presidential Debates, found a stature problem for the Illinois senator should he agree to sit-down townhall debates.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from "Under Debate Plan, Obama Loses Height Advantage":

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama would sit at a table at two of three presidential debates this fall, according to a formal proposal unveiled Thursday, which, perhaps unintentionally, would neutralize Obama’s height advantage.


Obama is about 6 feet 1 inch tall; McCain is 5 feet 9. Candidates often try to use their heights to gain some sort of advantage in face-to-face debates, but it doesn’t always work.

Al Gore wandered close to the shorter George W. Bush in 2000, who dismissed him with a shrug as if to say, "What are you doing over here?"

But there’s still hope:

The leaders of the bipartisan commission, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk and former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf, said the candidates' seating arrangements at the debates still could be open to negotiation between the campaigns.