01 June, 2007


Debates will be held in New Hampshire over the next few days between the numerous presidential candidates from the two major political parties in this country. Try to contain your excitement. These practiced, polished, and packaged events are rarely surprising or truly enlightening. However, I'll be watching simply because the field of candidates is so huge and I am willing to listen to what each is selling at this point.

Maybe you'll be paying attention, but how do you engage others in the process?

One trick that's worked well for me is to make the process fun. Because let's face it, the candidates and their handlers certainly won't.

The idea for debate bingo came to me in college. It's a simple and fun way to get your friends to watch and listen to what the candidates are saying. Make a bingo sheet with as many rows and columns as you want. Instead of letters and numbers, fill in the spaces with catchphrases, topics you are interested in, anything you expect to hear during the debate. During the 1996 campaign each card had a space with "Bob Dole refers to self in 3rd person". In the 2000 race some cards had "Lockbox" in honor Al Gore or "gets squinty and patronizing when challenged" for George W. Bush. Filling your cards means you have to do your homework, too. Print them off, invite your friends over, and off you go. Please people, pay attention this time!


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