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Moderator is Ready for Rocky-Hannity Debate Tonight

Moderator is Ready for Rocky-Hannity Debate Tonight



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You can watch the debate live on KSL.com. KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM will also broadcast the full debate beginning at 8:30 p.m.Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio

After weeks of wrangling, the debate is on for tonight between Rocky Anderson and Sean Hannity. They'll debate the Iraq war and the possible impeachment of President Bush. So, how do you moderate what's bound to be one of the most emotional debates in Utah's history?

It's called anything from "Showdown Salt Lake City" to simply "The Smackdown." Whatever you name it, some people are calling this the debate of the most important issue in the country right now.

Sean Hannity and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson have never liked each other.
Sean Hannity: "It's time to put up or shut up, Rocky."
Rocky Anderson: "You know, he truly is one of the most hateful human beings. When you hear him, he is utterly obnoxious."

With a pair of debaters as polarizing as these two men have become, you know the crowd is going to be emotional. There's a big buzz about it at the University of Utah. "Oh, it's definitely something students talk about on campus," says University of Utah student Randy Wood. He is a fan of Sean Hannity, and he will be there tonight. "Everyone keeps saying it's going to be a bloodbath, but I disagree, I think it's going to be pretty professional. I think they're both very intelligent men." When asked if it's the bloodbath people are going for, Wood replies, "Oh, definitely."

When asked if he's planning on heckling, Wood says, "I might heckle a little, but I'm sitting next to some pretty pro-Rocky fans, so, I don't know if I'll be able to do that." When asked if they'll heckle a bit, he says, "I know they're going to heckle because they're Democrats, and that's what Democrats do."

Now, that was a cheap shot, and even he'll admit he was just kidding. But, for anyone who's planning to be unruly tonight, moderator Ken Verdoia says don't even think about it. "We're coming together to see these two titans state their best case. Not to hear the guy in the 27th row shout out his opinion." Verdoia says.

Verdoia says there's a time and place for heckling, but he doesn't feel tonight's debate qualifies as that time or place. He says he understands emotions will be running high for some people. "It's probably the most emotional… it's probably the most promoted debate I've ever been involved with," he says.

As for who wins tonight, Verdoia says he doesn't care, as long as someone who is undecided on the war in Iraq finally learns what they need. "If they can come away afterwards saying, ‘I understand this a little bit better and I side with this point of view,' that person has won," he explains.

Kingsbury Hall officials have said they are ready to turn off a microphone if one person breaks the format, but Verdoia says he does not think it will come to that. He says both Hannity and Anderson are supremely confident in their ability to take their opponent down.

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