Several dozen of the 500 news media and bloggers credentialed for Thursday night's CNN-Politico-L.A. Times Democratic debate did a walk-through this afternoon at the Kodak Theatre. David Bohrman, CNN's Washington bureau chief, stressed that this will be a "no rules" debate, without time limits on answers or crossfire. He also raved about the Kodak itself. "This theater is so well-designed for television it's unbelievable," he said. I was more interested in the seating arrangements for VIPs. The front row had spots marked for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa next to LAPD Chief William Bratton and his wife Rikki Kleiman, whose seatmate to her right is Shirley Hiller, mother of Los Angeles Times Publisher David Hiller (and his date at previous events.) Elsewhere in the front row, Speaker Fabian Nunez was plopped between state Controller John Chiang and Secretary of State Debra Bowen, while Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is next to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. State Democratic Party honcho Art Torres has a center seat beside Bowen — and did I say that the state Dems are in charge of seating? Debate officials caution that the actual lineup could change before Thursday at 2:30 pm when attendees are allowed to start arriving for the 5 pm air time.
And on the Republican side: Wednesday's debate at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley will take place on a set raised high enough for the fuselage of Air Force One to serve as backdrop. CNN's Anderson Cooper will cover tonight's Florida election returns from there. John McCain won Florida and may be endorsed by Rudy Giuliani.