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    Does the best debater win, or is it just a threshold issue

    Does the best debater win, or is it just a threshold issue

    E-mail from reader Scott:

    The reaction to last nights debate (and Perry’s poor performance in earlier debates) is that Perry is now disqualified from being president.

    If so, does that mean that Romney and Gingrich, the best debaters, are the only candidates we should consider? Does the best debater win, or is it just a threshold issue where you need to show a minimum level of debating competence in order to be considered, and then only after that we are permitted to look at your record, platform, etc.

    Inquiring minds…


    There is no threshold issue, you have to have it all.  You have to have a good record, platform, etc. and you need to be able to deliver it in a way that is effective in our mass media age.

    It may not be fair or right, but debates take on an oversized importance because it is the only time we see candidates face off, so being able to handle oneself on stage is very important.

    Does that mean we do not necessarily get the best person in the presidency? Sure.

    But my concern is that we not get Obama in the presidency again, and someone who cannot deliver the message is problematic to me.

    Update: Luntz focus group, courtesy Sheya:


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    A debate gives us a view of a person. Obviously, debate performance is ONE factor, not necessarily decisive. The format for the Cain-Gingrich debate was helpful, the others, not so much.

    “There is no threshold issue, you have to have it all. You have to have a good record, platform, etc….”

    Not necessarily. What kind of record or platform did Bill Clinton have in 1992? 1996? If a candidate is very personable and very glib, that can overcome a lot of other weaknesses. Gingrich isn’t overly personable, but he is certainly glib. As people in the video said, he seems in complete command of the issues. He has instant recall of so much factual information, Obama could not get away with the misstatements he is so famous for. Newt would make Obama look like the blithering idiot he is.

      MittensforMe in reply to JayDick. | November 12, 2011 at 1:12 am

      But with a capital B–how can family oriented conservatives who are always giving the litmus test to everybody accept a president with three marriages (divorce under nasty circumstances; change of religion; cranky disposition; probably high cholesterol because of weight problems; and a bleached blonde BarbieDoll wife? Did we not learn anything from 2008; we don’t need another old white haired guy with a plastic wife. Better pick a darn good candidate for Veep if this guy is running.

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