Presidential debate bingo

Watching the presidential debates is a duty for every American. I rank them right up there with flying the flag on the Fourth of July, saluting a veteran on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, and voting on Election Day.

On Monday afternoon, we were debating on what to do to engage readers and website visitors in Wednesday’s debate, which goes from 6-7:30 p.m. The economy is the theme of the first three segments. We thought about listing  five topics that are bound to come up and inviting comments.

In researching this idea, I came across a package offered by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, presidential debate bingo. We subscribe to some MCT services, but not the full-page packages they offer like this one. But bingo is not a unique idea. We’ve seen websites offer such games during the Academy Awards and other events. We decided it wouldn’t be hard to come up with our own.

PLAY: Presidential debate bingo

Here’s how it works:

Four squares with 24 words in each square. The middle square, the 25th, is free.  We’ll post it online to print out and run it on Wednesday’s Opinion page. Cut out the squares and hand out to family and friends. If either candidate says a word on your card, mark it. If you complete a line across, up and down or diagonally, you win. What you win is up to you and your companions.

During our discussion, one editor asked earnestly, “Are we being disrespectful?”

“No,” I said immediately. If this gets somebody to watch the debate and pay close attention, that’s great. It’s harmless fun.

We also heard that politico.com has set up a drinking game for that debate. Now, that’s disrespectful.