Presidential Debate

RADIO: Moderator says, "Good evening from NBC Studios in New York City. I'm Vicki Hale, and I welcome you to the final presidential debate between the Democratic candidate for president, Senator Allen Rickham of New Hampshire, the Republican candidate, Senator Andrew Mitchell of California, and Independent candidate Nathan Petrelli of New York. The debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and they will be conducted within formats and rules agreed to by the commission."

RADIO: Moderator says, "The questions and the subjects were chosen by me alone. I have told no one from the campaigns or the commission or anyone else involved what they are. There's a small audience in the hall tonight — they are not here to participate, only to listen. I have asked and they have agreed to remain silent for the next 90 minutes, except for right now, when they will applaud as we welcome our candidates…"

RADIO: Moderator says, "And now, the first question. As determined by the flip of a coin, it goes to Senator Mitchell. Senator Mitchell, visiting NBC Studios for the debate tonight, you've seen, firsthand, how much New York City continues to suffer almost two years after the explosion of 2006. Do you have a plan to continue relief aid in an effort to restore the areas destroyed by the bomb?"

RADIO: Mitchell says, "First of all, let me say just how appreciative I am to be here in the great city of New York. Everyone here, those who have lived through so many crisis this nation has weathered in the last decade, are all such resilient people. I am fortunate — blessed — to have the opportunity to be among such strong and proud individuals. This city has seen remarkable suffering at the hands of irresponsible wielding of power. We, as a nation, were unprepared for the devastation such unknowns could cause. In order to supply the relief, the hope, that the people of New York — and the world at large — require, will be the first and foremost concern of my presidency. Both of my opponents, Senator Rickham and Senator Petrelli, are resistant to the idea of raising federal and state taxes in order for our nation, as a whole, to shoulder the burden of this great wound inflicted on us. They would rather out-source our debt to other nations — nations that do not recognize the importance of the Linderman Act — to help bail us out of this financial and social crisis. I propose, as I have firmly held up to over the course of my campaign, that a raising of taxes across the board will go directly towards the reconstitution of New York City, and preventative measures to ensure a disaster like this doesn't happen again."

RADIO: Petrelli says, "If I would respond to this question also, it's one very dear to my heart. I'd first like to thank the Commission for funding this debate, and NBC Studios for hosting it, as it's an honour to be here tonight to talk about these important issues that plague all of us. Now, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we as a government, we as a people, work together to fix the devastated New York City. Not only is it my home, but it's home to millions of American who, to this day, suffer the loss of their homes and the loss of people dear to them. Senator Mitchell would suggest that I am against taxes because perhaps my party does not care enough about this issue, but in turn, I would suggest that it's because we care that we are looking towards international aid to restore New York City. This is beyond who and who does not agree with the Linderman Act, it's about a rescue that does not burden our people more than this tragedy already has. Two years it's been since the bomb - it's time to do something different."

RADIO: Mitchell says, "I would like to remind the listening audience that Senator Pet —"

RADIO: Rickham says, "You know, I have to wonder exactly where this idea comes across that I support Senator Petrelli's foreign aid policy. I keep getting balled up in his camp, and it's simply — No offense Senator Petrelli — ridiculous. Not only am I in support of Fair Tax, in order to change the way the nation's taxation system work, which according to financial estimates will not only strengthen our economy but also double the available funds towards the reconstruction efforts of New York and New Jersey. People seem so eager to forget that the Garden State has also suffered a tragic loss of both life and property from the nuclear fallout. In addition, neither Senator Mitchell nor Senator Petrelli have bothered to elaborate on their plans to involve privatized corporations exclusive rights to the reconstruction efforts instead of utilizing local and regional businesses in order to help bolster our failing economy. Instead, the rich get richer and the —"

RADIO: Mitchell says, "I do not support privatized resources in the reconstruction effort, Senator Rickham I —"

RADIO: Rickham says, "Then exactly where did your Haliburton lobbyists plan on —"

RADIO: Moderator says, "Gentlemen, I want to remind you that you all agreed to the terms of the debate before stepping out onto the floor. Rebuttals are acceptable, but I'm sure our audience would appreciate them more if you gave one another an opportunity to speak. Senator Petrelli? Do you have anything you'd like to say in response to Senator Rickham's allegations?"

RADIO: Petrelli says, "Absolutely. Senator Rickham's concern is a valid concern, one that might be better directed if pointed towards Senator Mitchell rather than myself. I have no interest in using the economic strain the disaster has caused us to somehow benefit wealthy business owners, if that is in fact what he's implying. My focus is on doing what we have to to bring New York back to its former self, no more and no less."

RADIO: Moderator says, "That's a very poignant statement, Senator. Senator Mitchell and Senator Rickham, is there anything else that either of you would like to add before we move onto the next question?"

RADIO: Mitchell says, "I think the most important point that is needed to get across on this topic is that we as Americans have to give up something in order to get something in return. We've all suffered, and I think the American people are aware that belts are going to need to be tightened in order to make it through what is coming. The people of New York all know this already, they've been dealing with worse conditions than anywhere else in the country at the moment. I'm assured that in time, given the proper tax increases and with the assistance of an oversight committee put in place to observe the reconstruction efforts, we'll be able to rebuild New York — no, rebuild all of America — as a stronger, greater force in light of what has come to pass."

RADIO: Rickham says, "And how much of the rebuilt America would be owned by foreign interests? Exactly how much is our sovereignty worth on the open market to interested parties willing to take advantage of a wounded nation struggling to get back up on its feet? Between the subway collapse in London caused by a terrakinetic and the entire Madagascar Incident the world is struggling just as much as we are as a nation. We should be supporting ourselves, not leaning on the rich and powerful nations for our own support. We should be our own support, we're strong enough for that, without having to carve off a pound of flesh in order to do it."

RADIO: Moderator says, "The next question is for Senator Petrelli. Senator Petrelli, speaking of foreign nations, what immigration policies will you undertake with countries who do not currently enforce registration of the Evolved?"

RADIO: Petrelli actually chuckles a little before he responds. "We could go back and forth all night about this issue, Moderator, especially with the two Senators standing beside me tonight, but let me say that first off, we as a nation have to recognize that the world changed the day the world discovered the existence of Evolved, and so we have to remember this when we look at issues we've been wrestling with for years. It is our right as a country to at least know who steps foot on our shores, and I would readily suggest a policy that allows for the screening of these individuals to see whether or not they are Evolved and if so, the nature of their abilities— "

RADIO: Rickham says, "Screening? The very existence of the Linderman Act's proposal to create a screening process to discern Evolved from Non-Evolved on a biological level is the single largest abuse of human rights in our lifetime! It brings horrible possibilities for the future of Evolved and Non-Evolved integration into our culture, it creates a divide, a blatant and flat line that can be drawn between one or another. Do you really want that? Do you actually think that somehow letting —"

RADIO: Mitchell says, "Senator Rickham and Senator Petrelli are both wrong on this matter. I've made it known time and again in my campaign that the very foundation of our border protection over the last two years has been abysmal. Not only are foreign Evolved allowed into the country, they're not required to register. Let's say a man approaches customs and declares that he can bend metal with his mind — just imagine that — Customs is under no obligation to force that man to register under the Linderman Act, and is not legally allowed to do any more than forward his information to Homeland Security. Sure, he might not be able to get on a plane leaving the United States, but the potential damage is already done and on our shores. I have promised, time and again, that if I am elected president there will be means put in place to not only know the identity of registered evolved, but be aware of their position within our country or any other at a moment's notice. The EvoTac chip could revolutionize our —"

RADIO: Rickham says, "EvoTac? Since when has the Mitchell campaign been using Brave New World and 1984 as its playbook? The very idea of subdermal microchip tracking is an abhorrent and terrifying concept, and to force that very thing onto visitors of our own country wouldn't welcome others to come visit America, it wouldn't open doors, it would be an iron gate slammed in the face of any innocent person. It treats human beings like wild animals to be tagged and tracked!"

RADIO: Petrelli raises his voice a little as he interrupts with, "While Senator Mitchell and I are both in strong favour of the Linderman Act, I would just like to emphasise, before I'm once again put back in his camp, that under no circumstance do I support this suggestion of this computer chip project he likes to sell to us. It only adds legitimacy to Senator Rickham's fear that the Linderman Act is there to somehow segregate the Evolved from the rest of the population. However, a simple screening test, the act of registration, will ensure that we know about any possible threats before they can occur. It is not an invasion of human rights, and it will not allow the potential for another New York City 2006 to occur. The Linderman Act was created as a response to public fear and cannot be used to incite that fear, nor can it be taken away."

RADIO: Moderator says, "Senator Mitchell, would you mind elaborating on how you plan to implement the EvoTac chip if you were to be elected? Not all of our viewers and listeners are familiar with the technology— or rather, the theory behind the technology…"

RADIO: Mitchell says, "Gladly. One of my campaign's many supporters — As Senator Rickham's camp likes to point out, as if it were a secret — is currently in the developmental stages of micro-technology designed to serve as a tracking and registration device. The chip would be about the size of a pinhead, a one-point-five millimeter chip placed in every registered Evolved citizen over the age of thirteen. This chip is designed to be able to be scanned and registered by law-enforcement agencies and federal bureaus in order to keep a vital and pin-point accuracy on the locations of any Evolved wearing the chip. However, we understand the resilience to this plan, so we're willing to not only give tax benefits, but also monetary incentive to early-adopters of the EvoTac chip. It will be completely harmless and the procedure fast enough to be done on a lunch break. Once implanted, the chip can be detected much like an RFID, used as a form of biometric license. It would synchronize with government databases, and be remarkably difficult to counterfeit. In fact, if EvoTac is enough of a success, it could be instituted in every day Americans as well, in order to add convenience and speed to daily lives. Imagine never forgetting your credit cards, license, or any other vital document at home? All stored on one tiny chip. It's security and convenience."

RADIO: Moderator says, "Senator Rickham, if segregating the Evolved, whether it be in the form of specific identification or some other method, is not the answer to how our government and society must deal with the Evolved, what do you feel is the best method for policing circumstances in which the Evolved have an effect, yet without violating their civil rights?"

RADIO: Rickham says, "The Evolved should be treated like any other member of society, policied in any other way possible. They are an advancement not unlike a technological one. We used to have jail cells you could pick the locks of, and as technology advanced so did the technology used to handle criminals. I'm not going to say there aren't Evolved who would use their powers for ill intent — no one needs to say that for us to know it. But take a look around, look at the resources that we're not utilizing. Anyone can build a bomb, and someone with enough motivation can bypass security, no matter how good it is. We don't live in an age where walls and doors can keep people out. — Do you know why they stopped building castles? Because the defenses weren't with the times. We have to stop thinking like the age hasn't changed on us, we have to take steps to work with the future that we're living in, not try and strangle it and keep it held down. I have, and always will, propose that the Evolved are treated as anyone would be. People of proven and tested precognitive nature on police forces, Evolved able to suppress abilities on planes, the possibilities are limitless. Registration is perhaps a necessary evil, but a voluntary one. Someone using a firearm without a license to — without training to — gets a fine. They don't get locked up in a dark prison of your choosing. This is what we need, cooperation. Training. Education! Teach the evolved how to use their powers, support them into joining the workforce to help the country. How much do you want to bet, that out there somewhere, there is an Evolved who could remove the radiation from the Red Zone in New York? Someone who could restore the deforestation of the Amazon? But they're all too afraid to come forward because the fear we all have. Fear that —"

RADIO: Petrelli says, "If I may interrupt you there, Senator Rickham, because the ideals you're communicating are ones that the Linderman Act, that you so strongly oppose, holds in high regard. If we think for one second that the man responsible for the wreckage of New York City would have readily signed himself up under a voluntarily policy in regards to the Act, then we're setting ourselves up for another disaster. Senator Rickham's analogy of a firearm is incorrect - we assume that someone who picks up a gun does so willing, with responsibility and with control. Evolved did not pick up their powers and they do not necessarily know how to responsibly wield them as a result. Registration is not a necessary evil, is it just a necessity to prevent further acts of evil from occurring. Absolutely, we should make an effort to ensure that Evolved remain unafraid to come forward with their abilities, which is why I do not side with everything Senator Mitchell has to say on the topic, but Senator Rickham's suggestions will only lead to danger. It's our responsibility, as a government, to protect, and we must do so with authority."

RADIO: Moderator says, "Let's take this one step further, Senators. What about stem cell research? What if this research could help determine who is Evolved before birth? What then?"

RADIO: Petrelli says, "It is a parent's right to know if their child is a boy or girl, has any health issues to be concerned about in the future, just as it's their right to know if their child is Evolved or not. It would certainly enable registration to integrate easier into daily life. Should this technology be developed, I would not keep it from the public. It's a matter of choice and responsibility and I think we can trust the American people with this responsibility."

RADIO: Rickham says, "If I can just jump in here — The moral implications of a test such as this, based on stem-cell research, to indicate the possibility of Evolved status in unborn children worries me. Not only is there worry on the very validity of these tests in and of themselves, but the kind of fear and paranoia that gets raised because of them. However, this may be one of the few places Senator Petrelli and I see eye-to-eye, it is a mother's right to be able to know the health and status of her unborn children, to control her body and what she does with it. I have always supported these things, and I will continue to. However, the registration of unborn children stands against many of the issues I have a firm holding on, and I do not think we should ever consider the shouldering of that sort of burden to both a mother and family."

RADIO: Mitchell says, "This is a point of contention between Senator Petrelli and I. There is a certain sanctity of unborn life that I feel needs to be retained. As my constituents have known for years, I have a strong anti-abortion stance that will continue into my prospective tenure in the White House. The implications of discovering the Evolved status of an unborn child is not only unreliable, but also unrealistic and amoral. The potential for this to give rise to so-called back-alley abortions is just too high of a risk. I have been against the development of stem-cell research for some time, and I would patently veto any bill that crosses my desk if I am elected President that follows this line of research and development."

RADIO: Moderator says, "I'd like to touch on the issue of registration one last time before we move on to the next set of questions. Senator Rickham, how will you respond if the United Nations declares the Linderman Act an unacceptable invasion of civil rights and threatens to revoke membership? Assuming it isn't repealed before the beginning of 2009?"

RADIO: Rickham says, "My stance on that, I feel, is fairly simple. Cooperation with the united Nations to repeal the Linderman Act and the placement of less intrusive measures into the global culture. We can't expect every nation in the world to bend down to our own requests simply because we say so. America shouldn't become a Father-Knows-Best state, and it's leaning towards that way right now. I feel that with a fast-track to repeal the Linderman Act, we can cooperate with the United Nations to develop the kind of safe and secure alternatives that will not make us an antagonistic force in the eyes of the global community. We need to reach out to other nations with a velvet glove, not with an iron fist."

RADIO: Mitchell says, "That's exactly the kind of closed-mindedness that my opponent's campaign continues to spew out. You see, this is exactly the problem I've been talking about this entire campaign season. If the United Nations seeks to repeal our membership because of support for the Linderman Act, yes, we're going to need to reach out with a velvet glove to handle the matter. But not simply rescind our safety and security because of misunderstanding. I would work with the United Nations to make amendments and changes to the Linderman Act, and negotiate with the nations in an attempt to find common ground in the security and safety that can be afforded to this. Failing that, there is always the option of economic sanctions that could be applied to nations that continue to side with the UN over this matter. I do not want to use the iron fist if necessary, but when it comes to the safety of the American people, I will drop that hand like a hammer if it is necessary to protect the people of this great country."

RADIO: Petrelli says, "Senator Rickham and Senator Mitchell are both attacking this issue from very extreme points of view, which is why I was moved to run as an Independent in the first place. This issue is outside the political landscape as we know it, and we have to make some drastic changes. There has to be a middle-ground when we handle this issue, and the Linderman Act is that middle-ground, which is why I would champion it when appealing to the United Nations. We do not have to be an iron fist to defend what our government believes is right for our people, but nor do we—"

RADIO: Sounds of gunfire suddenly break out over the radio broadcast, mixing with screams from both the crowd gathered in the studio, and that of the moderator, "Oh my god! Oh god!" More gunfire, and the sounds of screaming and a struggle, as the broadcast continues. "Jesus christ where is security!?" Senator Rickham's voice bellows out, "Oh my god! Oh my god! Someone call security!" More popping of gunfire fills the broadcast, screaming and chaos fills the air, and then the sounds cut away in an instant as the broadcast is terminated.

This transcript is also part of String Theory MUX's log archive. For navigation, please consult the table below.

October 30th: New Shoes
October 30th: An Uncertain Future
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