Michael Dukakis' Utah campaign manager called a press conference Saturday, but not to predict victory for the Democratic presidential candidate.
Pat Shea instead called for reform in the election process. Specifically, he wants time limitations, scheduled debates, and use of the public airways for the debates.Stressing that campaigns drag on too long (18-24 months), Shea is advocating three months for primaries and three months for the general election - and scheduled debates.
"By debates, I don't mean exchanges of rhetorical flourishes that polls show people will listen to or believe in, but real opportunities for the public to get a sense of how the candidates would be as president," Shea said.
The Salt Lake attorney said one idea has been that the Society of Professional Journalists formulate three or four specific problems or hypotheticals that they would present to the candidates, and "more importantly," to the candidate's staff.
"The American public then would get some exposure to their thought process and the kind of people that they would have around them. Then they would be better informed when they go to the polls."
Shea is adamant there must be some use of the public airways for public debates - whether it's by county, state or national candidates.
"The exchanging of Madison Avenue kind of slogans does not in any way have a consistency with what James Madison or the founding fathers thought about," he said.
"Don't be swept along in a wave that is created by television or radio ads. Exercise your own independent judgment and vote Tuesday."
Will Utahns vote for Dukakis? Shea's not predicting.
"In the opera they always talk about when the fat person sings, and we are not saying that the fat person is going to start singing yet," he said. "Since 1948 we have learned a lot about politics and surprises.
"As Utah Democrats, we often have to live on hope, and we might hopefully see a surprise on the national level."