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Who’ll win tonight's presidential debate? You be the judge

Published: Wed, October 3, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

Valley speech coaches share tips on evaluating performances of Obama, Romney





RELATED: PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES: Sighs, slogans among pitfalls

By Denise Dick



Each candidate in tonight’s presidential debate has to demonstrate confidence while conveying messages, according to high-school speech and debate coaches in the Mahoning Valley.

President Barack Obama meets Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a debate at 9 p.m. at the University of Denver. It’s the first of three presidential debates this month. The vice presidential nominees face off once on Oct. 11.

“Generally with any type of debate, you need to sound confident regarding what you’re saying in order for anyone to believe what you’re telling them,” said Eric Simione, head speech and debate coach at Boardman High School.

Unlike high school debates, the presidential events aren’t set up in a win-loss format, Simione said. It’s more scripted, he said, and generally there’s not much follow-up.

Supporters of each candidate likely will declare that candidate’s victory regardless of the debate’s content, Simione said

“One of the things to look for is if they’d rather speak in a sound bite than answer the question that’s been asked,” said Thom Williams, head speech and debate coach at Howland High School.

Romney has appeared nervous to allow his personal life to be part of the conversation, Williams said, whether that be from concern that his religion would cause controversy or from wanting to shield his family from scrutiny.

“It seems like Romney is always spouting the same sound bites,” he said. “There’s no warmth to him. He needs to personalize things more and make himself more likeable.”

President Obama, on the other hand, needs to stick with more of a vision rather than talking about what he’s done, Williams said.

Mike Bassett, Niles McKinley High School’s head speech and debate coach, emphasized the importance of a debater’s posture and stance. Standing up straight with shoulders back denotes confidence, he said.

If a candidate looks away while answering a question or fiddles with a pen or notebook, it may make them appear unsure.

As far as content, viewers should look to see whether candidates’ statements are supported by research, Bassett said.

Jeremy Hamilton, Canfield High School’s head speech and debate coach, said both candidates have to strike a delicate balance with appearing likeable and personable while still conveying their individual messages.

“Obama seems to be a pretty decent orator,” Hamilton said. “Romney is more matter-of-fact in his approach.”

Different people may favor one style more than the other, he said.

It will be interesting to see whether either candidate changes his style in the second debate based on his performance in the first, Hamilton said.


1VindyPost(436 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Certainly, of course...Obama will win speech and the 2012 Election. Grand-Slam, Slam Dunk, A sure thing with a favorable outcome.
As for Romney... --Blunder-Blunder-- he will continue to put down middle-class Americans, out of touch reasoning, and stash his "hidden" millions in Swiss accounts and Cayman Island investments and never-ever reveal his taxes, wealth, income.

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2AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Obama will win all debates.
Obama will maintain his national lead.
Obama will win Election.
Romney >Done.<

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3NoBS(2391 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

This should be the pinnacle of the forthcoming election - the first time the contenders have faced each other for a live debate. Instead, since we've been inundated by political smear ads since MARCH, the majority of citizens won't even bother tuning in. Everyone's fed up and just tuning election rhetoric out.

I'm right there with them - my mind has been made up for a while now. I don't care who "wins" the debate. I'm not going to watch it. I find it really interesting, though, that both sides, and especially the Romney camp, are already acting as if they lost the debate. All this recognition of how the other side has the better debater, more experienced in debate, blah blah blah. I wonder what their reasoning is. Are they trying to minimize the effect actually being made to look like a chump would do to their efforts? With the news media poised to pounce, fat chance of that.

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4lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

There will be no winners only losers We The People .

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5fcb(417 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

If Romney can't debate the President how do some Americans think he can debate foreign leaders in critical world situations? I truly would love to see every American have a job,health care,and a booming economy,but there are other important issues to consider. At this time of world unrest I want a President that will make good decisions for the safety of our country. My vote will go to my President Barack Obama.

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6jojuggie(1621 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey vinny, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, PBS/OWS will say who wins no matter what happens.
Thank God we have Fox News to set us straight.
Remember Obama will not have his Telepromopter. He's doomed without it.

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7redeye1(5359 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The only way BO will win this debate is if they let him use a telepromter. But I wil be watching. To me I think its going to be very interesting. I just wish that they would let the general public submit questions the night of the debate. That way neither side could practice their answers.

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8Lostworld(7 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

There will be no winners or losers in this debate. Only the American people if Obama is re-elected. He is the worst president we have ever had in this country. He has put more places out of business and closed more plants than ever before, which is his purpose. Just get more and more people as takers from the gov't. Soon those of us in the middle class who do pay taxes are going to get a lot smarter and figure out ways to stop paying our taxes. Where does that leave you takers?
He is going to put the coal mines out of business and you will see the end of gas and oil drilling in this area. I guarantee it! That means this area will become the Rust Belt again. It's only taken 50 years to get back to a little progress here. Obamacare will break this country. There are over 300 million people in this country. Why did Obama want to completely change the system for everyone to provide insurance (not healthcare) for maybe 20 million? I'll tell you why. He believes in socialism. Have any of you seen pictures of Russia when Lenin and Stalin (socialists) were running the country? Have you seen the current pictures of Greece and Spain? That is what's coming here if Obama is reelected. The poor will suffer the most because there won't be anything left. All of you keep talking about how much money Romney has. Obama is now worth $11 million, just in 4 years. The Democrats in the House and Senate are all very rich. The Clinton's are multi-millionaires. The Kennedy's were among the richest in the USA when John Kennedy ran for President. Romney is much more generous with charitable giving than any of these Democrats.
This area will never go anywhere if you keep electing Democrats. I don't care what color your skin is, if you vote for a Democrat, you are a slave. They do your thinking for you. I have lived in Ohio for almost 50 years and the story is the same all the time. The poor, schools don't function, and gov't corruption. Obama doesn't give a rat's rear end about any of you. He only wants to "fundamentally change" this country. That means two classes of people. The poor and the elites. That's him.,

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9cambridge(3620 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Obama 2012!

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10CountryGirl51(221 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

OBAMA !! And he will win !!

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11bsafeandproud(46 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Romney/Ryan/Kacish/Mandel/Johnson will turnaround 40 years of Democrat debauchery that our valley has tragically experienced. I propose a celebration parade complete with floats, banners and confetti through downtown Youngstown the day we see the great deceivers Obama/Reid/Ryan/Brown/Hagan/Schiavone get kicked on their arshes far away from holding any political office.

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12redeye1(5359 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

I can't wait for November 7th and watch when the streets of Y-town become flooded with the tears of the D party .While Crying foul!

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13Delphisalariedretirees(76 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps Obama will stand there and try to give his equality for everyone, play by the same rules, and fairness speech like he did below at KSU...


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14jojuggie(1621 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Many people are just like natureman. They have no idea what is going on in this country & the world. We are drowing in debt up to our neck. We are finding out now that Obama is nothing but a liar about Rev Wright.

My goodness, it makes me sick to read posts like like naturemans.

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15DSquared(1569 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The Great Divider will continue to distribute misery to all. It would be better if AL-Queda nukes us now, and saves us the pain of 4 more years of this snot-nosed boy who would be king! Praise be Allah!

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