Good debates should inform, not entertain – Rocky Mount Telegram


Response: This is right on point! Like I said I concerned about the facts.

Millions of Americans have tuned in to view the first presidential and only vice presidential debates of the 2012 election campaign.

The debates can provide a great opportunity to see the candidates in an unscripted setting, answering questions on the spur of the moment and having to react quickly to their opponent’s assertions. Regardless of one’s partisan allegiances, people can draw a lot from these one-on-one televised encounters.

At their worst, candidate debates can devolve into simple name-calling, counter-claims about facts and over exaggerated gestures and body language. But at their best, these question-and-answer sessions can provide serious and informative discussions of the pressing issues and challenges that confront the nation.

This year’s first two debates fell somewhere in the middle. Republican Mitt Romney was animated but vague in laying out his ideas for the future of the country. President Obama seemed to have barely showed up, offering little defense of his record and fewer details about his future plans.

The vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan offered a much more spirited, issues-orientated exchange, with each candidate defending their running mate’s records and policies in a swift, back-and-forth discussion.

But media coverage and public reaction so far unfortunately has focused mainly on the candidates’ performance rather than on the substance of their remarks in the debates. Next-day discussions of the debates mainly centered on the president’s flat performance and the vice president’s smiles and laughter.

Two debates remain between the presidential contenders. The candidates owe it to voters to engage in a much more serious discussion of the issues than we’ve seen so far.

Read more:

Mitt Romney

President Barack Obama

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