Monday, October 22, 2012

Presidential Debate #3

Tonight marked the last presidential debate of the election season. This last debate focused on foreign policy with moderator Bob Schieffer.

Below are critiques about the debate from communication professors, students, and speech and debate members.

AP 2012

Daniel Wheaton, member of Cornhusker Forensics:

The strangest part of the final presidential debate was when both candidates agreed.

When it came to national security, relations with Israel and how to deal with China, the disagreement came in perspectives.

Both agreed to bolster our strength: either with a stronger navy or better technology. Both agreed to stand by Israel if Iran is able to get a nuclear weapon. Both agreed to stand firm on China's economic misdeeds.

As the debate went on, both candidates drifted towards the economy. Because the economy is most contentious issue in this election, the conversation drifted towards those issues regularly.

For policy hawks, this debate was blasé. Romney does not have enough foreign policy experience to adequately attack Obama. Without experience, Romney was backed into a corner by agreeing with the President. 

AP 2012
Jessy Ohl, PhD Student, Rhetoric and Public Culture:

Rhetorical critic Philip Wander has instructed that citizens and scholars should listen for which audiences and peoples are excluded in public addresses. The absence of any reference in the presidential debates to GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) issues such as gay marriage or the ending of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is incredibly significant. Critics of the first two debates had noted that GLBTQ rights had been left off of the docket. It was believed by many that in the third debate President Obama and Governor Romney would get the opportunity to discuss the inclusion of openly gay service members in the U.S. military. However, no question on the issue was asked and both Obama and Romney elected to completely avoid the subject. This decision is unlikely to satisfy gay voters which constitute a key voting block for Democrats.

AP 2012

Dr. Aaron Duncan, Speech and Debate Director:

In 1992 Bill Clinton famously put a sign on the door to his office at his campaign headquarters.  It read simply, “It’s the economy stupid.”  The phrase was meant to remind Clinton that no matter what the issue the real answer was America’s struggling economy.  It appears that both Governor Romney and President Obama are students of history, because a debate that was supposed to focus on issues related to foreign policy turned on discussion of auto bailouts, stimulus packages, and protectionist vs free trade economic policies.  In the end both candidates made clear that economy is really the answer to any and all questions this election season.

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