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Smaller Debates?

After private-made-public conversation with Hillary Clinton about paring down the field for debates, John Edwards says that he’s now for the idea of splitting off in groups of four and of including even the second- and third- tier candidates.

“However we can break up into to smaller groups,” said Edwards, according to ABC News, “random is perfectly fine with me, and have a more substantive, more serious discussion, and get away from the sound-bite mentality. America deserves something more serious than that.”

Presumably that includes Mike Gravel. Edwards praised the former Alaska senator, saying that he was the fellow candidates he’d take with him on a deserted island. “He’s fascinating and he thinks in a very different way in these debates.”

On Thursday, it appeared the Edwards and Clinton were plotting to try to rid the debates of less viable candidates. Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd cried foul over the remarks, captured on a live mike at the end of an NAACP forum.

Last week I talked about an idea, floated by former presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, to split off in twos. His argument was that otherwise, it’s hard to really get a sense of where candidates stand on issues, other than sound bites.

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