Schaffer demands notes at debate: ‘It’s not a talent contest’

The most spirited dispute at the Colorado Senate debate Thursday afternoon occurred before the candidates squared off, but after cameras started rolling, when Republican Bob Schaffer held up the taping to insist he be allowed to use notes.

Schaffer argued that it was “the first time I’ve seen an indication of notes, no notes,” while Jeff Harris, a Channel 7 producer, reminded Schaffer his campaign had agreed to show up at the debate without notes or other props.

Democrat Mark Udall said it was fine with him if Schaffer used his notes, “I think this is a test of your wits; it’s a test of what you have in your head,” Udall said. “If Bob needs to have a few notes with him, fine.”

Portions of the debate preparation were streamed live over the Internet, including at The Colorado Independent, and included the exchange over Schaffer’s notes, which showed up on YouTube mid-afternoon. The original YouTube video was taken down, but another one soon replaced it:

Here’s a transcript:

Schaffer: You can tell, this is the first time I’ve seen an indication of notes, no notes, any thing along those lines. You know this is a campaign for the United States Senate, it’s not a talent contest. And these are a variety of serious issues that regard that uh — and you’re giving us an opportunity to relate to constituents, potential voters who are making important decisions and they deserve to have arguments that are reinforced with facts. They deserve to have well reasoned arguments. They deserve to have something that is actually thoughtful.

7News: And you would say you would have to admit that if you have notes that you’re referring to during the debate and he’s come without those notes that he would want that that would put you in a bit of an advantage.

Schaffer: And you must have thought of that. I imagine.

7News: Well, that’s why we put it in that we didn’t want notes.

Schaffer: We had no —

7News: Well Dick said he got the letter. So yeah, that’s where we are.

Udall: Bob as I said to you earlier, I got the letter, I signed it.
It said no notes, no props. I figured we’d be here using–

Schaffer: Well here’s what we’ll do–

Udall: Look, let me say this, I think this is fast paced; I think this is a test of your wits; it’s a test of what you have in your head. If Bob needs to have a few notes with him, fine. But I’m here with an empty pad and let’s go. Let’s debate.

The 30-minute debate, sponsored by KMGH-TV and the League of Women Voters, airs at 4:30 p.m. and again at 10:35 p.m. Thursday on Denver’s Channel 7. It’s also viewable on the television station’s Web site.

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Ernest Luning

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