What to Expect From The Debates
Section: Spin News
The first debate is tonight – 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET. The hour-and-a-half debate will cover the economy, governing, health care and the role of government.
Democrats have been downplayng expectations when the moderator is the most favorable to the President. The President has claimed he’s not that prepared and not a good debater. Clearly, they’re hoping for a blow-out.
Republicans have been claiming that the President tends to get upset and flustered and appear dismissive which of course is completely untrue. In fact, the same, Republican pundits have often criticized the President for being too cool. Most believe that he won the McCain debate and he decimated the Republicans in their congressional debate with him.
Since Romney promised to attack the President in his Republican debates, Romney may come out swinging and Republican after-debate analysis to claim that Romney’s personal attacks were fair and that the President overreacted or was dismissive of the attacks.
If Romney does engage in a number of personal attacks, he will lose disastrously as the fact-checkers will have a field day.
How did Reagan debate Jimmy Carter? Each time Jimmy Carter attacked him for being insensitive, he just shock his head, told an interesting story and appeared very grandfatherly and kind. If the audience doesn’t trust you and that was Reagan’s and now Romney’s problem, you want to build trust and not look like an attack dog armed with “zingers.” Reagan understood that. We’ll see if Romney does. That is, will Romney take the smart approach or take the approach demanded by his party?
As usual, third party candidates (e.g., Gary Johnson(Libertarian), Rocky Andersen(Justice Party) and Jill Stein(Green Party)) weren’t invited but will be tweeting away with their answers.
There are no minority moderators and few, if any, human rights issues will be discussed.
Moderator Jim Lehrer, of PBS is an independent and well respected journalist who has been hosting Presidential debates for many years. He asks broad in depth questions of both candidates that will give the press plenty of information to analyze for the next week. However, his in depth questions may bore the audience to tears. It’s almost a guarantee that he will try to pin down both candidates on how they will handle the deficit.
Questions Lehrer Asked in the Debate between McCain and Obama
Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?
All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.
All right, let’s go to the next lead question, which is essentially following up on this same subject.
And you get two minutes to begin with, Senator McCain. And using your word “fundamental,” are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama’s approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?
All right. All right, speaking of things that both of you want, another lead question, and it has to do with the rescue — the financial rescue thing that we started — started asking about.
And what — and the first answer is to you, Senator Obama. As president, as a result of whatever financial rescue plan comes about and the billion, $700 billion, whatever it is it’s going to cost, what are you going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that you would bring as president of the United States, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?
But if I hear the two of you correctly neither one of you is suggesting any major changes in what you want to do as president as a result of the financial bailout? Is that what you’re saying?
Before we go to another lead question. Let me figure out a way to ask the same question in a slightly different way here. Are you — are you willing to acknowledge both of you that this financial crisis is going to affect the way you rule the country as president of the United States beyond the kinds of things that you have already — I mean, is it a major move? Is it going to have a major affect?
All right. Let’s go another subject. Lead question, two minutes to you, senator McCain. Much has been said about the lessons of Vietnam. What do you see as the lessons of Iraq?
New lead question. And it goes two minutes to you, Senator McCain, what is your reading on the threat from Iran right now to the security of the United States?
New lead question.
Russia, goes to you, two minutes, Senator Obama. How do you see the relationship with Russia? Do you see them as a competitor? Do you see them as an enemy? Do you see them as a potential partner?
Obama and Romney will meet two more times on the debate floor: Oct. 16 and again Oct. 22.
The second debate moderator is CNN’s Candy Crowley who will host a town hall meeting. She has been accused of asking questions based on Republican talking points.
Bob Schieffer also was a debate moderator last time (see video above from Obama – McCain debate). He might ask some tough questions, especially if you don’t answer his questions and perhaps when you put him in an attack ad against your opponent as Romney did. However, Schieffer was close with the Bush family (his brother was a business partner) and wrote a positive book about Ronald Reagan. Expect him to be less accepting of the President’s answers than Romney’s. The left and libertarians have documented his bias and right have accused him of bias.
Below are Schieffer’s questions from the last debate. Note as a conservative his questions all focus on finance and saving money. In contrast, there are no questions about human rights, global warming or deaths from lack of health care or how either candidate will create jobs.
1. On the new economics plans this week: “I will ask both of you: Why is your plan better than his?”
2. Paraphrasing: What specific programs will you cut in light of the economic crisis?
3. Paraphrasing: Do you think you can balance the budget in four years?
4. Leadership and the campaign tone: “Are each of you tonight willing to sit at this table and say to each other’s face what your campaigns and the people in your campaigns have said about each other?
5. “Why would the country be better off if your running mate became president rather than his running mate?”
6. “Would each of you give us a number, a specific number of how much you believe we can reduce our foreign oil imports during your first term?”
7. Health care: “Given the current economic situation, would either of you now favor controlling health care costs over expanding health care coverage?”
8. Judiciary and abortion: “Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue?”
9. Education: “The U.S. spends more per capita than any other country on education. Yet, by every international measurement, in math and science competence, from kindergarten through the 12th grade, we trail most of the countries of the world. The implications of this are clearly obvious. Some even say it poses a threat to our national security. Do you feel that way and what do you intend to do about it?”
by Todd Miller
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