Perhaps I’m not as disappointed as Greg, but I am unimpressed with the ‘presidential’ debate at the AAAS. What we had was two assistants to the Clinton and Obama campaigns (the Republicans were complete no-shows) pop in to run through some canned promises. There was no debate. There was no commitment from the candidates themselves.
I think that the ScienceDebate2008 idea is a great one, and the failing is really on the part of the candidates and the parties themselves. Obama will happily leap to appease the faith-heads of an organization like Call to Renewal; Clinton thinks the Decorah First Methodist Church is an appropriate campaign venue; the Republicans traditionally kowtow to training grounds for anti-science morons like Bob Jones University; but none of them could invest a day speaking to scientists at one of the biggest science conferences in the country, sponsored by a prestigious organization like AAAS? Their priorities are clearly screwed up.
A presidential science debate is a grand idea. What we need to do now, though, is not praise them for a pathetic, back-handed, minimal effort, but rake them all over the coals for their inadequacies.