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Basic Info About Presidential Debates 1)Who sponsors the Presidential Debates? 2)Types of Debates – Toughest type 3)What criteria do you have to meet to.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Info About Presidential Debates 1)Who sponsors the Presidential Debates? 2)Types of Debates – Toughest type 3)What criteria do you have to meet to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Info About Presidential Debates 1)Who sponsors the Presidential Debates? 2)Types of Debates – Toughest type 3)What criteria do you have to meet to participate in a debate? 4)Is a candidate required to participate in a debate? 5)Why Debate? 6)Basics and historic examples

2 Basic Info About Presidential Debates 1)Who sponsors the Presidential Debates? The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election.  Primary purpose is to: 1)Sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates 2)Undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates.

3 Basic Info About Presidential Debates 2) What criteria do you have to meet to participate in a debate? ALL 3! Constitutionally eligible to be President Ballot access in enough states to win a majority of electoral votes (> or = 270) National support of > or = 15% of the voters

4 Basic Info About Presidential Debates 3) Is a candidate required to participate in a debate? NO (but if not, may be quite damaging) – How?

5 Why Debate? 1)National test of a candidate's ability to convey their message 2) Candidates trailing in the polls or confident in their abilities have always proposed debates in an effort to gain an edge over a competitor For the voters (make or break point)  "The debates are part of just seeing the candidate in action and getting a sense of him as a person in real time dealing with pressure."

6 Prior to a debate, the two major campaign teams and the Commission haggle over the details, such as: # of questions, the format, the height of the podium, who will be the moderator, controlled audience, location, glasses or bottles of water

7 Before the debates con’t THEN, the two campaigns agree to a "memorandum of understanding" over how this round of debates should be conducted. – The Commission on Presidential Debates doesn't sign off on the document It is not an official set of campaign guidelines. – But the commission is largely controlled by the parties, and it thus they tend to follow the rules as laid out in such memoranda

8 Candidates PREPARE! Ex: Election 2004 (Kerry vs. Bush) Bush  rehearsals at his Texas ranch, Camp David and the White House Kerry  Read Bush's campaign speeches to find potential lines of attack Both candidates held mock sessions, videotaped them to critique and review *Had fill-ins for the other candidatehttp://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-09-19-presidential- debates_x.htm

9 MEMORABLE MOMENTS Strangest opening James Stockdale, 1992: "Who am I? Why am I here?" Most powerful closing Ronald Reagan, 1980: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Most withering put-down Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, 1988: "Senator... I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy." Most questionable foreign-policy assertion Gerald Ford, 1976: "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." Most questionable foreign-policy adviser Jimmy Carter, 1980: "I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy... to ask her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weaponry and the control of nuclear arms." Worst non-verbal communication by a Republican George H.W. Bush, 1992: Glancing at his watch as though impatient to leave. Worst non-verbal communication by a Democrat Al Gore, 2000: Sighing loudly as though terribly exasperated.

10 Let's take a look at the debates of the 2008 Race for the White House Participants: John McCain - Republican Barack Obama - Democrat First Debate - Fri, Sept. 26th - University of Mississippi - moderator Jim Lehrer; FOCUS - foreign policy and national security, but due to the financial crisis, a portion of the debate was focused on economic issues – 90 minutes (divided into 9 9-min issue segments, allowing the candidates to discuss selected topics, answer follow-ups from the moderator and directly address each other Second Debate - Tues, Oct 7th - Belmont University, Nashville Tennessee - moderator Tom Brokaw - TOWN HALL MEETING FORMAT – Voters (either present at the debate or via the Internet), posed questions on a topic of their choice and Moderator would ask follow-up questions Third Debate - Wed, Oct 15th - Hofstra University, New York - moderator Bob Schieffer - FOCUS - domestic and foreign policy – Same as first debate ONE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE - Thurs, Oct 2nd - Washington University in Missouri - moderator Gwen Ifill - FOCUS - foreign and domestic topics MAINLY TALK UP THEIR RUNNING MATE

11 2008 Debates - # of Viewers First presidential debate Audience: 52.4 million viewers (36.2 million households). Second presidential debate Audience: 63.2 million viewers (44.4 million households). Third presidential debate Audience: 56.5 million viewers (40.0 million households). Vice presidential debate Audience: 69.9 million viewers Vice presidential debate (47.8 million households).

12 Third Party Candidates left in the cold Had 2 of their own debates - 1) Oct 15th Columbia University 2) Oct 23rd Washington D.C. Participating Candidates included: Ralph Nader (Independent) Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) Cynthia Nixon (Green Party) **Another candidate Bob Barr of Libertarian Party invited - but declined to participate (schedule conflicts)

13 Toughest Type - The Town Hall Debate Def: The questions (pre- screened) come from uncommitted voters (variety of socio- economic, racial and political backgrounds). The candidates can sometimes face curve balls As compared to the Formal Debates: – When political reporters are posing the questions, the candidates usually have a good idea what to expect *Like our debate tomorrow

14 Town Hall Format con’t Roughly 12 audience members out of about 80 will get to ask questions – Prescreened Questioners who deviate from the question they said they would ask run the risk of having their microphones cut off, – Unlikely that such a step would be taken unless the question is clearly out of bounds. Advantage – Voters can see their candidates think on their feet *more natural *more personal connection *how the candidate acts under pressure

15 Major Focus in Presidential Debate history... - 1992 Debate (Perot, Clinton, and Bush) Why? 1) First time 3 candidates shared a single stage in a televised debate 2) 4 Debates - all within a 9 day period (Largest audience to ever watch a presidential debate) HOWEVER IT WASN'T ALL NICE... Step Back - When Bill Clinton secured the Democrat's Party nomination in spring of 1992, polls showed: ROSS PEROT leading the race, followed by PRESIDENT BUSH, with BILL CLINTON in third place (In a 2 way trial between BUSH and CLINTON, BUSH showed the lead) But the economy under BUSH continued to grow sour - President's approval slide downward When CLINTON chooses GORE to be Vice President, PEROT dropped out of race (convinced if he stayed in the race, it would be decided in the House of Representatives) CLINTON campaign had biggest bounce in history (went from 25% to 55 % [BUSH dropped to 31%]) BUSH/QUAYLE Campaign began to hammer away at CLINTON's character (accusations of cheating, draft-dodging) PEROT re-enters the race (WELCOMED BY BUSH CAMPAIGN) - allowed to participate in 3 debates However, CLINTON did not want him back in the race PEROT's numbers significantly improved as CLINTON's numbers began to decline, while BUSH's numbers stayed the same

16 1992 – Oops moment – Town Hall George H.W. Bush was the first to respond to a question about how the national debt has affected the candidates personally. – The questioner pressed the wealthy president to talk about his own experience, prompting him to respond at one point, "are you suggesting that if somebody has means, that the national debt doesn't affect them? – “I'm not sure I get it." Mr. Bush later recovered to some extent, but it was an awkward moment. And it only got worse: When Mr. Bush finished, Bill Clinton approached the woman and asked, "tell me how it's affected you again?" He then said, in part, "in my state, when people lose their jobs, there's a good chance I'll know them by their names.“ Famous debate moment: Bush, Sr. checks his watch in 1992 It was one of those moments that gave rise to the notion that Mr. Clinton was particularly good at feeling the pain of the American people. Mr. Bush, meanwhile, was caught by the cameras checking his watch.

17 What happened? On November 3, Bill Clinton won the election to be the 42nd President of the United States Received 43% of the popular vote against: Bush's 37% and Perot's 19%

18 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/presi dential-debate-town-hall-format- poses-risks-rewards/ In this Oct. 3, 2012, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama wave to the audience during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Denver. The sixth "town hall" style presidential debate will bring Obama and Romney to Hofstra University on New Yorkâ

19 Be careful what you say What happened? Let's take a look... First Debate John McCain - repeatedly referred to his experience, drawing on stories from the past; often joked of his age Critics - he seemed to mock Obama; Didn't look at or talk directly to Obama during the debate - DISRESPECTFUL Obama - Tied McCain in with Bush Administration (referring to mistakes); repeatedly laid out his plans Second Debate Critics of John McCain - Referred to Obama as "that one"; and wandered around aimlessly about the stage during the debate while Obama was speaking

20 The Spin Room also known as spin row or spin alley What is this? – is an area in which reporters can speak with debate participants and/or their representatives after a debate. – The name refers to the fact that the participants will attempt to "spin" or influence the perception of the debate among the assembled reporters – As a reporter - HAVE complete access - with audio, video and photos from debate. For a U.S. presidential debate, the number of reporters in the spin room can number into the thousands.

21 complete with audio, video and photos. For a U.S. presidential debate, the number of reporters in the spin room can number into the thousands. [4] U.S. presidential debate [4]


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