It's the quiet before the hoo-ha. The two Democratic candidates take the stage, the audience settles perceptibly, 15 minutes left until the debate, and Vice President (Al) Gore bounds off his stool and comes on like the Dwight Yoakam of Massachusetts Avenue.
Arrayed against him is another personality archetype: the studiously languid Bill Bradley, with his slyly rambling style. If Gore seems always to be in a new suit, Bradley sometimes seems to sleep in his.
In the world of presidential campaigns, much blather is lathered on the notion of debates as defining moments. That Gore and Bradley will not prove themselves Cicero resurrected is a cinch. To expect a Lincoln-Douglas moment from these two experienced, intelligent and politically like-minded men is to court disappointment.
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