• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evaluate the role of Televised debates in US presidential campaigns

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Anya Roberts Evaluate the role of Televised debates in US presidential campaigns Televised presidential debates between the major party candidates have now become a traditional part of the campaign. Debates have varies in number and format since they were first used, but a pattern has no developed:three 90-minute debates between the two major parties? presidential candidates and one 90-minute debate between their vice-presidential candidates, occurring usually between late September and mid-October. The first debates were held in 1960, Nixon vs Kennedy, and set the tone for the importance of appearances in US politics. Over the years, different debate formats have evolved. Initially, the candidates standing behind podiums some distance from each other, were asked questions by one moderator. This developed into a panel of up to three members of the press who asked questions. A non-participatory audience was introduced in 1976. Then, in 1992, what has become to known as the ?Town Hall? style of debate was tried for the second of the three debates. The candidates did not stand behind podiums but were seated on bar stools, facing an audience of undecided voters who put questions directly to candidates. A moderator was there merely to keep order. This format stood for one of the three debates in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. ...read more.


Ronald Reagan also features in the second memorable debate moment. Four years on, almost to the day, President Reagan was taking part in the second and final debate of the campaign with his challenger, former Vice resident Walter Mondale. By this time Reagan was already 73, and age was becoming an issue in the campaign. Henry Trewhitt, diplomatic correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, one of the four panelists asking the questions that evening in Missouri, posed a question on Reagans? age and therefore, ability to function in such circumstances as the Cuban missile crisis. Reagan shot back a jokey response, mocking his opponent?s youth and inexperience. The audience erupted into laughter and applause. That was the end of the age issue and Reagan went on to a 49-state victory in the election. However, most debates are not ?game-changing? events. True Al Gore probably lost some support by rolling his eyes and sighing, while George W. Bush was speaking during their first televised debate in 2000. John McCain?s body language was heavily criticised in both the first 2008 debate 0 when he refused to even look at his opponent during the entire 90-minute encounter - and in the third debate when he was caught on camera ?smirking and googling his eyes whenever Mr Obama got a chance to speak.? The evidence suggests that, as with televised adverts, debates do more to confirm what the voters already feel about the candidates than to change many voters? minds. ...read more.


Whilst televised debates are crucial, they have become anti-climatic in recent years. Due to the stakes being so high during debates, candidates are well prepared and often ?play safe? when answering questions or responding to opponents. One could argue that presidential debates test characteristics that are not necessary for a president to thrive. If a candidate is not particularly good at reeling out off-the-cuff sound bytes, does that make him ineligible to govern a nation? However, equally it can be said that the image you convey in debates, is paramount to to who you portray yourself as and un turn how the electorate view you. The unexpected is part of the job as president and, particularly in times of disaster, you are the face of a nation and therefore your reaction when under pressure, communication skills and body language become consequential. It would be wrong to assume that if you win the debates, then you win the white house: issues/policies, conventions, trust, credibility and track record to name a few. What we can stress however is that in the new age of technology, debates are becoming slightly more prominent. This is largely due to the introduction of websites such as YouTube that allows people to view debates repeatedly, allowing deeper analysis and particularly pivotal if a candidate is crippled by a disastrous debate. In this sense, there is no doubt that the role of televised presidential debates has increased, yet the impact still remains slight. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Consider whether the growth of primary elections in the Presidential nomination process has reduced ...

    The national nominating conventions are also great media events, with almost all now staged around the idea of TV viewing. The image of an upbeat, united party makes for great viewing and can be a great opportunity to pick up more voters.

  2. To what extent can Reagan's electoral victory in 1980 be put down to the ...

    The job handed him with a perfect chance to groom his campaigning skills to a respectable audience of 700,000, which was tiny compared to the people of America but still a good start, where he learnt how to be a people person and how to work the TV.

  1. Who was Joe McCarthy?

    While in law school Joe also worked full time at a gas station and also joined the school's boxing team where he became heavyweight champ. Finally in 1935 McCarthy receives his law degree and passes the bar exam (Herman, 22-24).

  2. Presidential Debates.

    The press ridiculed this statement and it may have helped Carter take the election. In 1988, Michael Dukakis deepened and cemented his image as a stiff, unfeeling politician when he answered the question "Would you support the death penalty if your wife were raped and murdered?" with a turgid "No."

  1. 'Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of ...

    The Congress adopted the Khilafat movement as its own and included it in Satyagraha. Along with the demand for home-rule the concerns of the Muslim's of India regarding the issue of the Ottoman Empire, were also included into the platform of Satyagraha.

  2. The 1820 Missouri Compromise.

    consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it." Before this time the public had paid little attention to the question of slavery. Yet, in 1819 a bill was presented to the House of Representatives that authorized Missouri's request to join the Union and allowed it to draw up a constitution for statehood.

  1. Regulation of Solar Panel Production

    Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc. v. Public Service Com'n of State This case is important because it deals with a conflict between state and federal government on the topic of price regulation in regards to the development of alternate energy sources.

  2. Year 2000, Why An Electoral College?

    William Blackstone, whose 1765 Commentaries strongly impressed the Framers, wrote that "history and observation will inform us that elections of every kind (in the present state of human nature) are too frequently brought about by influence, partiality, and artifice."(Glennon 7)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work