Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Politics Week: Debates

They say it takes a cunning linguist to mass-debate... so how did the candidates do in the American presidential debates? They've been battles of tongues rather than swords. OK, enough innuendos.

This is what they're fighting for. Not this tattered old flag.
Just to be in charge of every building that flies this flag.

Round 1:

The candidates, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the incumbent President Barack Obama, squared off for the first time on October 3rd. Policies aside, it was considered a pretty horrible battering for the President. Romney knew his way around a question and was clear in his answers. The President was noted for his inability to speak clearly and answer questions on the spot... which surprised many, as he is generally known for being a skilled orator. Even worse, he spent most of the night staring at his podium instead of looking into the camera. We all know how non-verbal communication can be just as important as verbal communication...

Round 2:

The second debate fell on October 16th, and was done in the "town hall" style. Instead of the moderator asking the questions, they were posed by local undecided voters. The stakes were raised, and while Romney could probably rest a bit on his laurels having done so well in the previous debate, Obama was back and swinging at the GOP's hopeful for the title. However, the whole thing turned into a spectacle more akin to WWE than what one would expect from two people expecting to run the world's most powerful country for the next few years.

Round 3:

The final debate on October 22nd started with Mitt Romney speaking a mile a minute, barely pausing for breath. He seemed anxious to get every word possible out of his mouth... perhaps he felt as if this was his last chance to convince American voters that he was the right choice? Obama spoke calmly and with purpose, and clearly learned from his mistakes in the first debate... no more staring down and ignoring the questions. They did have several verbal sparring matches, talking over each other until nobody could understand a word either of them uttered.

Have the debates changed the outcome? An estimated 4 million early voters had already made their decision by the end of the third debate. Has the election already been decided?