Among all the surrogates and spinners and hangers-on gathered at Arizona State University this evening, only two are getting the real red carpet treatment. Walter Cronkite and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
The legendary anchorman is here to press the flesh and to pay public honor to the debate's sponsors and hosts. The plastic dog is here to harass people.
We caught up with Triumph as he hounded Greta Van Susteren. With a press following as big as the president's, Triumph pursued Fox's politically moderate legal beagle as she made her way through spin alley. Van Susteren stopped for a minute, put her finger in Triumph's mouth -- people like to do that -- and then begged off so that she could get to work.
"You've got to go and be balanced!" Triumph shouted out after her. "You've got to balance out like 20 other people at Fox."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.