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Some find debate too rude

Published: Thu, October 18, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


This is presidential? They bicker, interrupt, talk over the moderator.

To some, the Obama-Romney rematch was squirm-inducing. But shedding some dignity probably won’t cost the candidates much. Since both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney came out swinging, neither was likely to claim a decisive advantage among viewers who thought the debate smacked of the wrong type of reality TV. And many backers who already were lined up on the two sides of the super-heated race were looking for a scrappy face-off.

“In the world of ‘The Real Housewives,’ everybody needs to turn over a table from time to time,” said Evan Cornog, dean of the Communications School at Hofstra University, where Tuesday night’s debate took place. “How good that is for the republic, I don’t know.”

The presidency isn’t a person, it’s an institution. And Americans traditionally expect presidents seeking re-election to maintain a certain level of decorum. Challengers get more leeway but still are expected to pay deference to the office of chief executive, if not to the man. Maybe that tradition is doomed in a conflict-addicted popular culture where even television cooking shows are “throwdowns.”

Can the notion of the dignity of office survive the era of flash analysis, when a phrase such as “binders full of women” launches a thousand Internet jokes — while the debate’s still in progress — and campaigns spin the matchup into attack ads within hours?

The tone of Tuesday’s face-off was embraced by Democrats who were dismayed by Obama’s dreary performance in the first of this year’s three debates. They had urged him to adopt a more brass-knuckles style.

When Obama stepped up to meet Romney’s hard-charging persona, the result was a presidential campaign matchup that stands out as one of the most rancorous on live TV, especially for an event in which the candidates were onstage with everyday folks, fielding their earnest questions. Whether that was good or bad, it was one of the most exciting to watch.

It’s probably too early to say whether Tuesday’s show and the fiery vice presidential face-off between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan might signal a more aggressive style of political debate for a coarsening American culture.


1CasLee(9 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

October 16, 2012
Hello, my fellow American voters!
I watched the Oct. 3rd and Oct. 16th presidential and Oct. 11th vice-presidential debates.
1st Romney-Obama debate covered 7 topics: jobs; budget deficit/debt; social security/entitlements; federal regulation of economy; healthcare; federal government role in economy; partisan gridlock.
2nd Romney-Obama debate covered 11 topics: college graduate jobs; gas prices; taxes; equal pay; Bush policies; Obama’s record; illegal immigrants; Libya; assault weapons; jobs; candidate misperceptions.
Ryan-Biden debate covered 10 topics: Libya; Iran; economy; medicare/social security/entitlements; taxes/tax reform/spending/budget cuts; military policy; Afghanistan; Syria; abortion; negative campaign tactics.
As an INDEPENDENT female feminist (egalitarian) voter, I support the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Romney and Ryan won all three debates, although Obama improved some in the 2nd debate.
Ryan won despite Biden’s consistently rude/disrespectful behavior during the debate
(Biden interrupted Ryan often, laughed often while Ryan was talking, pointed his finger often).
Biden’s tactics to evade issues/truth were disrespectful to Americans interested in facts, figures, forecasts, and solutions for real people with real problems.
Romney and Ryan won with substance, directness, integrity, respect, clarity, facts, commitment, inspiration, and leadership.
These debates confirm that Romney and Ryan are the best persons in terms of qualifications and character to lead our country to solve problems and make life better for all Americans.
I am inspired by Romney/Ryan, and I hope that you are too!
Best regards,
Cas Lee

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2JulietZavon(18 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm disappointed in the debates. They aren't real debates; they are orchestrated media events--a spectator sport performed by guys in suits and ties. Contestants are judged by their theatrics. It's a drama competition to show force of character, not persuasion or mastery of facts.

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