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Current TV: the funniest way to watch the debate

MccaintwitJust imagine if, when the TV cameras pulled back to show the audience during last week's presidential debate, Charles Gibson had breathlessly exclaimed: ''Uncomfortable chairs brought to you by Ikea!'' Or if, as the candidates ripped into federal mortgage agencies for causing the banking crisis, a reproving Katie Couric had decreed: ``Fannie and Freddie are totally not invited to my next pizza party!''

It may not be exactly the kind of political analysis you're used to. But if the first batch of presidential debates bored, terrified or annoyed you, consider a different way to watch Wednesday night's final square-off between John McCain and Barack Obama: Current TV, a cable channel that's mostly programmed by its own viewers, is running the debate with wisecracks and witticisms culled instantaneously from Internet chatter.

In perhaps the most radical attempt yet to merge television with the Internet, Current's Hack the Debate scrolls comments from the social-networking site Twitter.com across the screen, about one every five or six seconds, as the candidates debate. The comments -- known as ''tweets'' -- range from utterly hilarious to surprisingly insightful to unfathomably stupid. Read my full story from Wednesday's Miami Herald.



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