Live blog: Danville on TV for the Centre vice-presidential debate

MSNBC Political analyst Chris Matthews, left, political consultant Stephanie Cutter and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear prepare for an interview after a commercial break during a taping of the show “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on Thursday. Debate Festival area outside the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate,Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at Centre College in Danville. © Herald-Leader photo by Jonathan Palmer.

Today is the day for Danville’s major media closeup as all the networks and many other media outlets present live coverage from Centre College, site of the 2012 vice-presidential debate between incumbent Joe Biden and challenger U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). We’ll be keeping an eye on television coverage and noting any funny, meaningful, cool or otherwise noteworthy moments from the coverage.


Big shocker, on Fox News the feeling is Paul Ryan was the adult in the room rising about Joe Bidens smirky rudeness and on MSNBC the general feeling is Biden put the Obama campaign back on track with a feisty performance that helped put the Obama-Biden ticket back on track.

It looks like Chris Matthews is going to be the one to turn out the lights with a final Hardball from in front of the Centre Library. The crowd is dying down – just a few dozen folks hanging on the rail. By 1 a.m., it might just be him and Lincoln, and I don’t think Matthews would mind.

Good night.

11:20 p.m.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity told U.S. Sen. Mich McConnell (R-Ky.) he noticed debate organizers were giving away Bourbon. McConnell replied that Kentucky loves Bourbon and Hannity said he wondered if Vice-president Joe Biden had some before the debate.

8:50 p.m. 

Martha Raddatz on stage now at the Norton Center on CNN. She offers the cell phone warning and says that having worked in war zones she is not used to having her back to the audience and she is also not used to all the fuss prepping for the debate. “Usually I just roll out,” she says.

Props to CNN. It has not had as much of an on-air Kentucky presence as its cable news brethren, but in the final hour before the debate, CNN has been the network to convey the sense of an impending event from footage inside the hall to spin room interviews to moments others have not shown.

8:37 p.m.

Very cool that CNN is showing in a spilt screen the audience seated and the preliminary program before the debate. Really didn’t know there was a preliminary program.

8:07 p.m.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell is doing a standup in front of a banner that says NCAA 2012 Basketball Champions. Wonder how that slipped in to Centre College. Have to say that when we contacted MSNBC to ask who was coming to Danville, they named three: Chris Mattews, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell. But they actually have a good compliment of people in Danville including Tamryn Hall, Krystal Ball and O’Donnell, plus a number of their regular contributors like Mark Halperin and Eugene Robinson, who both have day jobs with print publications, on site.

Still, the left-leaning network’s coverage is anchored from New York with Rachel Maddow leading a long table of talking heads.

While Fox has Bill O’Reilly on now, they will be the only network actually anchoring from Kentucky.

CNN’s correspondent says that the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall is freezing and notes that most people in the hall are looking through the official program.

7:50 p.m.

Fox News live shot of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) shows an increasingly busy spin alley as debate time draws closer.

Coverage across the board is decidedly turning toward the main event at this point. Enough chat about bourbon and shopping runs to Walmart. The chatter is focused on R’s and D’s and last-minute prognostication about how the debate will go. Well, not all the chatter feels like it’s lasting minutes.

7:45 p.m.

I have to wonder what it’s like watching this fight between Chris Matthews, Michael Steele and Joy Ann Reid on Hardball with one of three fighters (Reid) not at the table.

7:05 p.m. 

Lots of blue Obama signs have flooded the background of Chris Matthews’ Hardball, though he has a pretty ardent heckler in the background. It seemed to be tripping up his opening monologue.

Fox and Shepard Smith  are once again inside the Norton Center with throws outside.

6:50 p.m.

Kind of a quiet hour Kentucky-wise. The network news shows threw to correspondents in Danville, but with short time, they were very focused on the event at hand. Looking to see how much the rowdiness has ratcheted up when MSNBC goes back to Hardball at sunset.

6:18 p.m.

Bret Baier of Fox News gives a tour of the Norton Center stage calling Newlin Hall an “intimate space.” He then takes a fast-forward walk over to the gym-turned-media center and Spin Room. A photographer in the background of Baier’s interview with Obama spokesperson Stephanie Cutter can’t seem to get out of the Fox shot.

6:07 p.m.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, in Danville, reports the Ryan camp is upset Time magazine released new photos of the vice-presidential candidate today. The photos, including Ryan in workout mode, have created a bit of a buzz in the political echo chamber. Wolf Blitzer says Time editor Rick Stengel says they thought it was a good time to put the images out.

6 p.m. 

Sign over Chris Matthews shoulder during the “Let me finish” segment on Hardball: Coach Cal for President.

Rev. Al Sharpton did not make the trip to Kentucky, so MSNBC is originating from New York the next hour.

Bret Baier’s Special Report is originating from inside the Norton Center for the Arts, which Baier fully name tagged in his intro.

5:50 p.m.

Kimberly Guilfoyle is on Fox News out in front of the Norton Center showing a nice display of Kentucky Beverages. “Don’t drink that!” co-host Eric Bolling shouts, but she does anyway. They and the other three hosts — it’s called The Five for a reason — then go into a quick discussion about how Ryan will win tonight and Guilfoyle signs off with, “Kisses from Kentucky.”

5:25 p.m.

Wolf Blitzer! You couldn’t move the Situation Room to Kentucky?

5:20 p.m.

Back from a drive-time errand. Heard NPR’s Don Gonyea talking about the beautiful drive from Lexington to Danville – y’all are here at the perfect time. He also talked about seeing a gas station with a big “Thrill in the ‘Ville sign.”

On MSNBC, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is on Hardball with host Chris Matthews and Stephanie Cutter, spokesperson for President Barack Obama’s campaign. Matthews asked Beshear, a Democrat, how he got elected in such as red state that has sent Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to congress. Beshear said Kentucky is a “schizophrenic state” that voted for Jimmy Carter, then Ronald Reagan, then Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush in Presidential elections.

3:25 p.m.

CNN has not originated a show from Danville since we have been watching, but they are doing a lot of live shots from in front of the Norton Center. Right now U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is in a spirited interview with anchor Brooke Baldwin.

3:05 p.m.

MSNBC’s Krystal Ball is live from Danville, opening The Cycle noting Kentucky is the home state of Muhammad Ali and invoking fight metaphors for tonight’s fight: Joey “Deleware” Bide vs. Paul “The Kid” Ryan. BTW, yes, that is Krystal’s real name.

Also, Centre’s Dead Fred is getting its moment in the spotlight, periodically being held aloft in the background on MSNBC. The portrait is of Fred Vinson, a Centre alum from Louisa who went on to become Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The portrait goes everywhere, including to all Centre home football games. According to the Centre website, Dead Fred was the first to be seated at the 2000 VP debate.

Chase Ely, left, Nick Hiller, Alyson Partain, Miranda Willis and Preetha Suresh attempt to be seen by MSNBC cameras outside Crounse Hall on Thursday. Debate Festival area outside the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate,Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at Centre College in Danville. © Herald-Leader photo by Jonathan Palmer.

2:04 p.m.

Fun moment: On Fox, Kelly did a throw to Ed Henry, who appeared to be standing about 10 feet from Kelly judging by the backdrops in the shot of her and the shot of him. Turned out, when Kelly outed the shot, it was even less than that. Henry stepped over and complimented Kelly’s Walmart wardrobe. Wonder if Bret Baier’s stuff made it to Kentucky?

Tamryn Hall’s show is now on MSNBC live from Danville with guest Chris Matthews, host of Hardball. Sign being held behind Matthews: “Chris Matthews listens to Nickleback.” Insult? I’d take it that way. The network’s promo for the veep debate is “Wingman Showdown.”

1:50 p.m. 

Delta Airlines is getting no love from Fox News’  Megyn Kelly. She says they lost her luggage, including the choice outfit she had for tonight’s broadcast,  and she had to go to the Danville Walmart for clothes to wear on the air today.

1:15 p.m. 

As we start at 1 p.m., both MSNBC and Fox News have gone live from the Centre campus. Andrea Mitchell is on the air with a sea of observers behind her hoisting “Centre Debate 2012” signs behind her. Supporters of Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Ryan also are flooding the backdrop for the Democratic-leaning network with their signs.

Over on Fox, Megyn Kelly has the Norton Centre for the Arts, site of the debate, behind her but not as much activity as the area in front of the Norton Center has restricted access. Fox has 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on commenting on debating Biden, who she faced four years ago. The former Alaska Governor, interviewed from a location that appeared far west of here and south of Alaska, recalled the man who played Biden was “a real stinker,” who made her wonder if Biden would be that much of a “stinker” and she said she thinks Ryan needs to trip Biden up on his flip-flops.

Earlier in the day, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd hosted his Daily Rundown show from the networks Centre outpost and guests including analyst Michael Steele and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) commented along with Todd that they could use a nip of bourbon to ward off the frosty morning chill.

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