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Andrew Adams, KSL NewsradioRocky Anderson versus Sean Hannity. It's a debate of huge proportions that comes to a head on May 4. The stakes are high, and the strategy is key in winning the war of words over the Iraq invasion.
On March 28, the two were on the Doug Wright Show trying to organize a time and place for the debate. The conversation was tense:
Sean Hannity: "Time to put up or shut up, Rocky."
Rocky Anderson: "I'm not going to stand there and have you interrupt like you do all your guests on your radio program."
Sean Hannity: "You can travel around and protest, but I actually have jobs I have to take care of."
Rocky Anderson: "I don't know if I can stand to talk to you that much, but that's fine."
Sean hannity: "Pretty insulting, Mr. Mayor."
It is on! Salt Lake's debate of the century!
Charlie Luke, political strategist for New Media Strategists, says, "It's a non-debate debate." Kinda like a scrum, political strategist Luke would tell you. And both sides will want to come out firing.
"The position that Rocky's going to be in in this debate, he should definitely be on the offense in terms of his message," Luke says.
He says Sean Hannity will want to try to discredit Rocky, to "try to make Rocky look like he's way out there."
When asked if they are likely to have a successful debate, University of Utah debate team director Danielle Endres is skeptical. "Well, that's a good question. For two people to have a successful debate you really have to have commitment from both sides to go into it with a respectful attitude."
According to Luke, "The minute you lose your cool, your credibility goes out the window." Luke says that's going to be the key to who wins and loses this debate - who stays on message versus who loses his cool.
What if they both lose their cool and start throwing chairs? "Well, it's going to be a fun debate either way," Luke says.
So who will win the debate? Danielle Endres says Rocky Anderson will win. Charlie Luke says it will be "four to one, Rocky."
Of course the real winner will be decided by the jury of public opinion. The war of words wages on.
Coming up tomorrow in part two of Showdown Salt Lake City, Andrew Adams will take a look at the potential impact of the big debate and what's driving it - ego or issues?