DENVER, COLO. — Rarely is anything fair in politics. But debates are a different story.
Consider: Even though the president is the president, he and Mitt Romney will arrive at the University of Denver and walk down the same tented chute secured by the Secret Service; their limos will park next to each other; the order of their arrival was determined by a coin flip, as was the order they'll do a debate stage walkthrough, as was the location of the workspaces provided to the two campaigns. Note: Each campaign gets the EXACT SAME amount of workspace to the square foot and the same number of bathrooms, electrical connections, and internet access.
(Who gets the first question: coin flip. Obama won.)
(Who gets to stand at which podium: coin flip.)
(Which podium is armored: both of them.)
(How many guests can each campaign bring into the debate hall: exactly the same number.)
To find someone neutral enough to flip the actual coin, the facility manager of the Magness Arena at the University of Denver was tasked.
And there is an actual coin. Unlike virtually everything else at the debate, it does not bear a Budweiser logo. (Bud's sponsorship of the debates has long been a curiosity of mind).
It's roughly 75 percent larger than a quarter, and three times as thick, encircled by a gold-colored band. One side bears the logo of the University of Denver and the other side features the debate's official logo: a mountain scenic scape.
By the way: The CPD estimates that 3,500 members of the media are on hand, about one for every two students at the University of Denver. Several campus dormitories are wedged into the corner of campus where the debate site is fenced off; some students won't be allowed in their dorms, and to encourage the students to keep the area clear, the campus is sponsoring a festival a safe distance away.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How Ronald Reagan turned America into a nation of children
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- The conservative battle against ObamaCare won't end with Halbig
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- This week I learned the moon might be littered with dinosaur fossils, and more
- Girls on Film: Why audiences are responsible for the future of cinema
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- How to make classic pulled pork
- 8 things the world's most extraordinary survivors can teach you about resilience
Subscribe to the Week