Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Memories of Debate '08: Playboy's Correspondent Bares All

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 9:35 AM

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Scene/Bites contributor Melissa Wozniak had press credentials for last week's historic (zzzz) Debate '08 at Belmont University. On the eve of tomorrow's last presidential debate, she shares some of her memories of last week's Big Carnival: In the media tent at last week’s debate, conversations always started with the same question. For me, the routine went like this: “Who are you with?” “Playboy.” [semi-smarmy half-pause] "Really?” Yes, really. And I’m up here.
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Thanks to some friendships from an editorial stint a few summers ago, I wrangled a press pass to cover the event for the magazine’s online edition. Read the post-debate blog here—it’s free and work-safe. Belmont’s moment in the sun might have been dampened by downpours, but my Playboy credentials and apple-red OK! magazine umbrella were a shining beacon of journalistic prurience. Loved your article on macroeconomics, Howard Kurtz. Did you hear that Hef and Holly broke up? The media, for their part, seemed to enjoy their time in Nashville. Belmont did us proud. Never has its columned façade looked so distinguished or its soccer field so…technological. So what if the entire thing needs to be re-sod; on Tuesday, it housed a well-oiled machine of black phones, wireless hookups and makeshift news studios, where a flurry of candidate sound bytes (that one? that one??) produced the sustenance for another week of political spin. As a local, the most unexpectedly challenging question I received came from a pair of Brooklynites: What makes a honky-tonk different than a regular country music bar? Go see, my friends, and report back when you wake up with an unplanned hangover and a sequined blonde in your bed the next morning. In the Village, road closure threats kept afternoon crowds away. Sam’s was a veritable ghost town. Then, a shot in the arm of political pride as a mass crusade of Obama supporters snaked its way to Belmont, armed with homemade signs and chants shouted with a zeal usually reserved for Sunday Titans games. Woodstock-like cheeriness (and mud) surrounded a live taping of Hardball. There’s already speculation about Nashville’s chances of hosting a party convention. Easy, now. Let’s just watch the CNN Election Express from its new location at Hofstra and be glad it’s their turn this week.
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