The Last Debate
Four journalists change the course of American history by influencing a presidential debate to favor the candidate they think should be elected. Based on the novel by Jim Lehrer.
It's less than two weeks before the presidential election and the polls show a dead heat. After months of negotiation, presidential candidates Republican pundit Richard Meredith and Democratic Governor Paul L. Greene have finally agreed to debate each other on live television. They have chosen popular political columnist Mike Howley to be the moderator of the debate and his co-panelists to be political magazine writer Barbara Manning, TV anchorwoman Joan Naylor and radio reporter Henry Ramirez. Just 24 hours before the debate, Howley is presented with damaging allegations regarding one of the candidates. With no time before the debate to check the veracity of the accusations, do the panelists use the information?
With the cameras rolling and millions of people watching, Howley, Naylor, Ramirez and Manning throw away the predetermined ground rules of the debate. They unleash a barrage of questions aimed at Meredith, accusing him of a pattern of physical violence involving his wife, his daughter and others formerly in his employ. A stunned and outraged Meredith storms off stage, but not before hurling a microphone and threatening the panelists.
In a landslide decision, Greene is elected President of the United States, his victory the direct result of his opponent unraveling on national television. Suddenly, the four panelists have become instant celebrities. Only Howley has chosen to shun the limelight, refusing to explain the actions of the panel other than that they felt their duties as patriotic citizens overrode their roles as journalists. Howley's reluctance to talk does not sit well with Tom Chapman, a contributing editor for "The 5th" magazine. He thinks the public deserves to know more than they've been told. Chapman's got a lot of questions he wants answers to as he attempts to get the real story behind the debate.