Rich Galen

Whether she unilaterally decided upon the rules (30 second answers, 15 second answers, show-of-hand answers) or whether she was a victim of debate-rules-by-committee, she will go down in political history as the woman Fred Thompson slapped down when he refused to raise his hand in response to a question on global warming, and then refused to answer "yes or no" on that complex issue.

Her make-up made her look like she was one fright-wig shy of appearing on a 1950's Saturday morning children's show and her stern demeanor made her sound like a prison matron in one of those women-in-cages drive-in movies which were so popular during my dating years - also in the 1950's.

The Register reported that I was also overheard in the press room as suggesting that, given the totally unnecessary level of security, "This place makes Guantanamo look like the Borscht Belt."

What the Register did not report was that I also said that the paper had missed a wonderful opportunity by failing to:

"Have the top five candidates sit around a table with David Yepsen leading a grown-up discussion about the issues important to Iowans as surrogates for Republican voters nationwide. It would have been good television, good politics and good democracy."

How do I remember that? Because I liked it so much that I said it (as I am wont to do) about 17 times.

Oh. And the Register allowed Alan Keyes to appear in the debate.

For all of that the Des Moines Register got exactly what it deserved: Scorn and ridicule from just about every one of the many reporters who showed up to cover the debate.

Reporters whose bosses also buy their ink by the barrel

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at