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McCain, Obama to Spar in Debates

7 years ago
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The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain reached an agreement on the procedural details that will govern the upcoming debates. According to The New York Times, each candidate will have two minutes to answer each question, followed by five minutes of free-flowing conversation between the candidates.

The McCain/Palin campaign demanded a very different set of regulations, however, for the vice presidential debate. In their only debate on October 2, the amount of time granted to vice presidential nominees Joe Biden and Sarah Palin for a response will be shorter than the period used in the presidential debates. The reason for that, according to sources cited by Times writer Patrick Healy, is because McCain advisers feel that Palin would be "at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive" due to her inexperience as a debater.

Common knowledge of the characterization of Palin as an inexperienced debater during these negotiations could be a useful tool for the McCain campaign, which would surely like to lower expectations for Palin ahead of the debate. This is a fairly routine tactic in politics. The media tends to judge a candidate's performance in a debate based on how much that candidate managed to exceed the media's expectations of their performance before the debate.

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