Presidential Debates Notes with examples

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Candidates used to stand behind podiums, some distance away from each other, and were
asked questions from a moderator
This developed into a panel of up to three members of the press who asked questions
In 1992, this developed into what is called the `Town Hall' style: candidates were seated on bar
stools, facing an audience of undecided voters who put questions directly to candidates
2000 saw the format of the roundtable discussion: candidates talked to each other
Only time a third-party candidate was allowed to participate was in 1992 ­ independent
candidate Ross Perot took part in the three presidential debates
Carter v. Reagan 1980 Reagan v. Mondale 1984
At the end of their 90-minute debate, each Comments were circulating concerning the
candidate had 3 minutes to make a closing age of candidate Reagan, who was already
statement 73 when running for president again in 1984
Carter went first: made remarks that were A panellist raised the issue of Reagan's age,
well meaning but eminently forgettable mentioning the fact he's the oldest
Reagan closed, cleverly posing questions to president in history and how he may not be
the people which he knew voters would able to function as well as Mondale due to
answer in the negative. his age
Election day was only a week away and he Reagan fired back with the witty comment: `I
managed to shape the way voters would am not going to exploit, for political
make their minds up in the last days of the purposes, my opponent's youth and
campaign inexperience' ­ audience laughed and this
drew a close to the age issue
Obama v. Romney 2012
In the first debate, Romney was animated,
coherent and quite aggressive
The president looked disengaged, bored
and flat ­ let many of Romney's claims go
Polls after the debate put Romney at the
Gallup poll = 72% people who watched
the debated thought Romney had won
Debate changed the shape of the race.
Within a week of the debate, Romney was
leading both the Gallup seven-day tracking
poll and the poll-of-polls


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