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Tonight's "Frontline" is Truly "Choice" Television
October 14, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
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One day before the final presidential debate of 2008, the PBS Frontline series presents an invaluable primer: Its latest installment of The Choice, this time profiling candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.

Don't miss it...

It's been 20 years since Frontline presented its first joint profile of presidential candidates. Back then, The Choice was between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. Every four years since, PBS has profiled the men who would be President (so far, just men, but for how much longer?). And even though these programs come late to the party, they always seem to dig up not only new video, but new insight.

Tonight's The Choice ( at 9 ET; check local listings), written, produced and directed by frequent Frontline contributor Michael Kirk, is no exception. It stops with the selection of the vice presidential nominees, so misses some of the inanity and insanity of the past month. But by going back and explaining, patiently and clearly, the respective political paths of McCain and Obama, this PBS special edition of Frontline is tonight's Must-See TV event.

Regarding McCain, thanks to candid interviews with former and current campaign associates, The Choice recounts the senator's uneasy dance with the Republican party in general and President George W. Bush in particular -- and shows how, why and when McCain chooses to reach out and mend fences.

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Regarding Obama, there's a lot of incisive and illuminating reporting about his law-school years at Harvard, and also some funny stories about his early days as a freshman senator. Determined to be present gavel-to-gavel at committee meetings, even though he had to speak last, Obama sat for hours in one committee chaired by Joe Biden, his eventual running mate. At one point, he passed a note to an aide, who unfolded it to read the urgent message imparted by the young senator from Illinois.

The note contained three words, punctuated by individual periods:

"Shoot. Me. Now."

When a televised biography can make you laugh as well as think, there's absolutely no reason not to watch it...

 

1 Comment

 

John R. said:

I guess Fringe has to be passed up tonight. I didn't know this was being shown so thanks for the heads up.

Comment posted on October 14, 2008 5:07 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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