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How important do you think debates are in a political race?
Not at all. They've both contemplated the questions and answers. We know where they stand. Even if placed on the spot, it doesn't mean much. A totally capable and well meaning person can be placed on the spot by an undermining question and he may seem foolish or incompetent but only in action will the public know whether the candidate can handle a situation and what will actually come about. To my mind, it's just a show for TV.
I think they are not as important as the media makes them out to be. What I would prefer to see, as a voter, is a sit down with the candidates and let them expand on what they have only a few minutes to say in a debate.
During the last presidential election, Rick Warren did a sit down with both candidates. They each had an hour as I recall, and were asked identical questions. Each man had an opportunity to really answer the question and it was not about one-upping the guy in the podium next to you.
Public debates are like court trials. They pit one against another in order to test the relative soundness of each position in circumstances designed to provide equal footing for both. Debates not only put the issues to a forum of balanced argument, they try the ability of each candidate to think on his feet, a talent that good performance in public office demands. Some of the journalists who moderate them aside, the judges are not pompous, black-robed presiding jurists, they are the voters.
Debates are a great political tradition, and an important public service. Long may they stand.
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In the Presidential debates, behind the person asking questions the background is blacked out. Why?
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